If you don't have a webcam set up on your computer, you are missing out on an amazing communication tool that allows you to have video conferences with your friends and family for free. Here's what you need:
Webcam with built in microphone
Broadband internet connection
Computer less than 5-6 years old
MSN Messenger or Yahoo Messenger
This is such a simple thing to set up that its a wonder that more people do not take advantage of it. Both MSN Messenger and Yahoo Messenger allow you to video conference with anyone in the country who is a member of their messenger service. Anyone can join and it doesn't cost anything. Simply download the software from either Yahoo or Microsoft, install it, and sign up for an account if you do not already have one. (If you use Yahoo Mail or Hotmail, then you can use your existing username and password for your messenger account.........its all connected).
Most webcams come with built-in microphones and plug into your computers USB port. Just follow the setup disc that comes with the camera to install the hardware.
To start a video conversation in MSN Messenger, simply click on any one of your "buddies" and select "start video conversation." If its your first time attempting this, MSN messenger will take you through a few simple steps to configure your webcam and microphone. Once that is set up, your "buddy" will be notified that you want to start a conversation. After they accept your invitation, your be having a video conversation within a few seconds.
Yahoo works a little different. You first need to call your "buddy" in a voice-only conversation. Then, you invite your friend to view your webcam separately.
In my experience, MSN provides a higher quality video conference than Yahoo. But they both work great and its mostly a matter of preference.
That's all there is too it. Now get that webcam set up and start communicating like its 2007.