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Ask Slashdot: Skype Setup For Toddler's Room?

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the long-distance-day-care dept.

Communications 302

New submitter mmmmdave writes "My parents love to Skype with my kid. My kid loves to mash laptop buttons and drool on the screen. And because we don't want to spend forty minutes every night holding the laptop outside of baby arms' length, we're looking to build some sort of wall-mounted monitor + webcam thingy. I'm sure there's a much cheaper option than sticking an iPad on the wall; what's more, non-touchscreen is probably better, so my daughter can't hang up the calls. Any ideas?"

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302 comments

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What Year is it, Again? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40006307)

Did you name your kid Winston, by any chance?

Bad idea, dude, bad idea.

Now that's what I call... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40006311)

Good parenting!

Plexiglass ? (3, Funny)

polar red (215081) | more than 2 years ago | (#40006317)

Can't you protect the laptop/baby with plexiglass?

Re:Plexiglass ? (1)

bundis (118225) | more than 2 years ago | (#40006395)

Yes, put an old laptop behind plexiglass. Or just mount it up high and out of reach.

Re:Plexiglass ? (5, Funny)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | more than 2 years ago | (#40006411)

We tried protecting a baby with plexiglass once, but it was a disaster. We were thinking of getting Baby 2.0 to see if the problem has been fixed, but the delivery time is outrageous!

Re:Plexiglass ? (4, Funny)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#40006613)

We were thinking of getting Baby 2.0 to see if the problem has been fixed, but the delivery time is outrageous!

Instead of having one employee work on it, just assign nine, and guaranteed it'll be done nine times faster; maybe even faster with synergy. Don't they teach anything at MBA school anymore?

Re:Plexiglass ? (0)

g0bshiTe (596213) | more than 2 years ago | (#40006741)

I use synergy [synergy-foss.org] at work all the time and increases my productivity.

Re:Plexiglass ? (3, Funny)

idontgno (624372) | more than 2 years ago | (#40006799)

Where did you get your MBA, Bob Jones University?

The obvious answer is to rightsource the job. You can get 18 contract wombs in India for the price of just one here. So, you can have Baby 2.0 delivered within three* weeks of specification.

*Yeah, within three. Fabrication requires two weeks, but unless you're paying for teleportation technology, the fastest you'll get the baby delivered is a few days after completion of manufacturing.

Re:Plexiglass ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40006905)

Not only that, you can get one that has been pre-loaded with potty training, politeness, and an engineering degree. Just download the H1B requisition forms from the State Department website.

Re:Plexiglass ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40006817)

But look at the benifits to the ordering!

Doomed (5, Informative)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 2 years ago | (#40006331)

Sounds like you're seriously underestimating a toddler's resourcefulness, frankly...

Re:Doomed (1)

Eponymous Hero (2090636) | more than 2 years ago | (#40006553)

no shit. skype in the crib? i'll expect the little guy to touch type by 2 years old.

Re:Doomed (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40006585)

See Molly-guard [wiktionary.org] .

crib mount ipad. (0)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#40006333)

Crib mount an ipad or use an ipad arm. all done, easier, cheaper, faster.

If you are anti apple, then any tablet that has a front facing camera.

Re:crib mount ipad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40006505)

If you are anti apple, ...

Then he needs to get a grip. The same to the anti Microsoft people and everyone else who's "anti" whatever. It's just so ... adolescent.

Re:crib mount ipad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40006791)

As opposed to posting trollish comments AC, which is the height of maturity.

Re:crib mount ipad. (4, Insightful)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 2 years ago | (#40006865)

If you are anti apple, ...

Then he needs to get a grip. The same to the anti Microsoft people and everyone else who's "anti" whatever. It's just so ... adolescent.

Yeah, people with any sort of idealism should just give it up and go with the flow. Idealism is for adolescents. You have a philosophical problem with Apple? Just get a grip, Apple is not going to go away. You're against religion in schools? Just get a grip, religion in schools is here and is not going away. You think there's not enough religion in schools? Just get a grip, there's never going to be religion in schools and that's not going to change. If you're not satisfied with the status-quo, well, just get a grip because it's never going to change.

Imagine how much better things would be if no one had adolescent idealism and just accepted things as they are even if it goes against their personal beliefs, especially if their idealism is different than my own.

Re:crib mount ipad. (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#40006623)

He might not be anti-apple just pro-cheap. In that case I suggest an hptouchpad from ebay, a cheap android tablet with a front facing camer, an ipad2 or a used laptop.

Re:crib mount ipad. (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#40006723)

A tablet is easier to make baby drool proof. a tablet can be slit behind a piece of plexiglass and the kid can drool all they want or even rub snot on it. 20 minutes with plexi, pieces of wood and some glue and you can easily make a holder for in the crib.

TVs with skype (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40006337)

You can try LCD/LED TVs which have Skype app integrated into TVs
Ex Panasonic, Samsung

Funny (5, Funny)

AshFan (879808) | more than 2 years ago | (#40006339)

That's funny, because it's my parents, not my kids, who like to mash on laptop buttons and drool on the keyboard.

Re:Funny (5, Funny)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | more than 2 years ago | (#40006675)

Oh, I don't know. Reading the summary and wondering how the fuck this question made it to Slashdot's front page made me drool and bash my head on the keyboard.

Re:Funny (1)

g0bshiTe (596213) | more than 2 years ago | (#40006767)

If I currently had mod points you would get them all.

Re:Funny (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40006805)

Ask Slashdot

Hi, slashdot, I want to hook up a mouse to my computer. I already have a mouse, it's in a box on the sofa, and my computers across the room at the desk. I don't think the cord will reach that far, and I really don't want to use it from the couch anyway (my keyboard's at the desk, so I'd be walking back and forth a lot). Any ideas?

-- AC

Skype + TV (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40006341)

Why not take a laptop or PC with Skype & webcam and hook it up to a HDTV using HDMI?

Skype on a large HDTV is fun for the kids.

Low Tech Is The Way To Go (2)

American AC in Paris (230456) | more than 2 years ago | (#40006357)

Build a simple, flat wooden box with an opening at the back that you can slide the laptop keyboard into. Add vent holes if necessary. Affix a cheap keyboard to the top if your kid tries to take off the box to get at the laptop keyboard.

I'd start with a TV (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40006359)

Maybe an LCD. Then I'd get a computer. I'd hook the computer to the TV. Get that working. Then I'd get a webcam and a microphone. Two turntables maybe. Then I'd hook those to the computer.

Why didn't my ask slashdot submission get accepted? I'm looking for a good way to copy my files from the computer in my living room to the computer in my bedroom without using wireless internet. Any ideas?

Re:I'd start with a TV (1)

Vanderhoth (1582661) | more than 2 years ago | (#40006429)

...Wouldn't a a USB stick work if you didn't want to use Wireless? otherwise you could run Ethernet cable through your attic and put drops in your source and destination rooms.

Re:I'd start with a TV (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40006649)

Well, I forgot to mention that my electricity has been turned off for about a week. That's why I can't use USB or wireless. I'm going to run the ethernet cable and see if that will work. I'm really worried about my bits rotting because there is no electricity going to my linux boxen where my files are. I may have to get a battery operated (and open source, of course) data pump to move the data over the cable. The main pump in the boxen probably won't work without electricity.

Re:I'd start with a TV (5, Funny)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#40006559)

Why didn't my ask slashdot submission get accepted? I'm looking for a good way to copy my files from the computer in my living room to the computer in my bedroom without using wireless internet. Any ideas?

Noobs. Us old timers know everything. Use the unix "split" command to make a bunch of little 2 kilobyte files, turn each into 40-L QR code each of which holds about 2900 bytes, print those bastards, hand carry or armed courier or military gunship escorted transport chopper, whatever is needed in your situation to approach the bedroom, then feed the QR codes thru ye olde sheet feeder scanner and use unix "cat" command to merge the binaries together. If you're really leet you'd use PAR files but I can be arsed to figure out the options to split down to 2 K. Bonus, it uses linux. This is also a pretty good backup scheme. The bad news is I assume you're transferring blueray dvd pr0n rips downloaded from u****t so thats gonna be about seven million pages at one QR per page. Well, if you wanna be 'leet you gotta pay the price.

Re:I'd start with a TV (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#40006703)

I don't know which is worse - your method for transferring files, or the fact that it sounds like fun and I really, really want to try it myself now...

You bast-ed.

Re:I'd start with a TV (2)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#40006891)

There's a fireproof safe bolted to the floor with my GPG keyring on it using something extremely close to this method.

My lazy ass solution was uuencode and uudecode because thats very easy to split at line breaks and I used somewhat smaller QR blocks since each line is short. Its no great achievement to put a GPG key on a couple sheets of paper... after all I can put darn near 4800 bytes of english text characters on each sheet so... if I was less lazy about packing the QR codes in...

A previous version involved simply PAR files with extremely high redundancy and uuencode the works and print it out and hope OCR doesn't fail me.

"Somebody" out there should make a dedicated android / iphone backup and restore app to print and scan tiny, yet important, data files like this. Assuming it's not already been done. I suppose I'm missing out on becoming the next facebook IPO by posting this instead of monetizing this.

"sheet of paper filesystem" or "sheet of paper enclosure format" or whatever.

webcam or Samsung Galaxy tab (1)

neurocutie (677249) | more than 2 years ago | (#40006367)

Any laptop.with an internal.webcam or a $10 usb webcam should be fine. However a simpler solution is a $200 Samsung Galaxy Tab or other cheapo Android tablet.

what......? (4, Insightful)

Aryden (1872756) | more than 2 years ago | (#40006369)

40 minutes of your parents talking to your baby daughter every night? I can't imagine that. Is your last name Focker?

Re:what......? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40006409)

No, it's phukingeediot.

Parenting? (0, Flamebait)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 2 years ago | (#40006371)

Seriously, is it too much to ask for parents to do their jobs? Spend that 40 minutes with your child, rather than just plonking them down infront of grandma and grandpa and walking away... You can interact with them during that Skype call - theres no need for them to get anywhere near the computer in question, especially if you are there!

Re:Parenting? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40006611)

You must not be a parent. The parents *are* there. The OP mentions holding the laptop. You try holding a laptop in front of a child and see what happens. I bet they spend more time hitting buttons than interacting with the people on the screen. Because this is what my kid does too. This is the problem the OP is trying to solve. A parent saying "don't touch that" and restraining hands isn't much fun for the kid. A setup that has the hardware transparent to the kid will be fun.

I'd go with a TV displaying from the laptop and webcam mounted on top of the TV. I have been meaning to set this up for my kid, but have stalled (it's the in-laws that skype, not my family :P) Maybe get an older HD CRT that is safer for the kid to touch. (Our kid manhandles our CRT TV all the time, and it's fine.) I don't know if you'll want a 20' display cable (HDMI or VGA), or something wireless. I'd try VGA because I have that option and it's cheaper. The cable itself won't be too interesting across the floor, so I imagine you don't need to route it all fancy. At least, that is what I have been planning to do.

Re:Parenting? (0)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 2 years ago | (#40006681)

Put the laptop on a table, out of arms reach and hold the child on your lap. There. Problem solved. No need for restraining of hands, you just hold the child on your lap as you would any other time.

But from the summary, thats not what the parent wants - he wants to stop several very easily prevented actions, such as touching, ending the call accidentally, drooling on the devices etc. All of those things would not happen if they were there supervising the child during the conversation.

Re:Parenting? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40006807)

Put the laptop on a table, out of arms reach and hold the child on your lap. There. Problem solved. No need for restraining of hands, you just hold the child on your lap as you would any other time.

But from the summary, thats not what the parent wants - he wants to stop several very easily prevented actions, such as touching, ending the call accidentally, drooling on the devices etc. All of those things would not happen if they were there supervising the child during the conversation.

Again, spoken like a non-parent. I have yet to see a child that wants to be held on a lap. Children naturally move about and interact. Supervising (parenting) involves watching the child, not preventing them from interacting. You actually *want* your child to move and interact, just like a real person. But, you want to steer them away from interacting with the parts that'll spoil the interaction.
In practice it's a challenge to prevent actions without treating the child like an object. You can either try telling them 40 times "don't touch that, look at grandma", or you can move "that' out of the way so the only interesting interaction for the child is the appropriate one. I still agree the OP has a good question, though the solutions are probably simple trial-and-error hardware approaches.

Re:Parenting? (5, Insightful)

psmears (629712) | more than 2 years ago | (#40006813)

Put the laptop on a table, out of arms reach and hold the child on your lap. There. Problem solved. No need for restraining of hands, you just hold the child on your lap

Something tells me you've never actually tried this with a live toddler. That, or you were using a different model of toddler to the ones I've encountered...

Re:Parenting? (1)

Lurker2288 (995635) | more than 2 years ago | (#40006733)

Then maybe, I dunno, explain to your parents that there's no a lot of value in sitting there while your child bashes at the laptop for 40 minutes a night. I mean, Jesus, seriously? NOTHING a two year old does is that interesting.

Re:Parenting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40006837)

You try holding a laptop in front of a child and see what happens. I bet they spend more time hitting buttons than interacting with the people on the screen. Because this is what my kid does too. This is the problem the OP is trying to solve. A parent saying "don't touch that" and restraining hands isn't much fun for the kid. A setup that has the hardware transparent to the kid will be fun.

... unless the hardware was the fun. Let me get this straight... you start the skype call, put the laptop in front of the kid, and the kid thinks "Ooooh, buttons!" and starts mashing them. Meanwhile, the grandfolks are on the other end trying to get the kid to look up and acknowledge them.

Am I the only one who can see what's going to happen when you take the buttons away (or make them not do anything) and all that's left is a screen with a couple of geezers crowding in front of a webcam? The kid is going to start thinking that riding the tricycle or playing with blocks just moved way up the list of priorities.

Re:Parenting? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40006629)

It sounds like you don't have children. Ever spent 40 minutes trying to keep a toddler from mashing buttons? Not exactly what I'd call quality time if all you're doing is saying no/ restraining the kid.

Also, I would not assume that the kind of parent willing to set up a whole skype system for their toddler isn't "doing their job" and spending time with their kid during the other 1400 minutes in a day. It's perfectly fine to set up activities for your toddler to entertain themselves with for a while (with you very close by, ready to attend to their needs). They need you available for interaction, but they really do not need you hovering over them every second.

Re:Parenting? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40006861)

Kill the kid. Get a goldfish instead. Problem solved.

Why do you want to torture your kids? (4, Funny)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 2 years ago | (#40006381)

Why do you want to torture your kids with 40 minutes of grandparent gooing on the screen?

Re:Why do you want to torture your kids? (5, Informative)

garcia (6573) | more than 2 years ago | (#40006551)

My son (a little over 2 years old) LOVES to Skype with his grandparents. In fact when I am on the laptop and he's in the room he's usually begging me to see "Nana and Pop-pop".

To answer the OP; we generally do it while he's eating in his high chair. I can keep the laptop on the table, out of his reach and since he's locked in place he can't reach the keys.

While ripping keys off the keyboard was a problem in the past, he's to the point at two+ that he can listen to instruction and know consequences (time out). He basically just talks to them, shows them his latest favorite toy, and/or tells them whatever it is that's going through his mind at the time.

They're happy. he's happy and my MacBook is safe. That said, if he's not in his chair I don't leave him alone with it and/or use it as a babysitter. In between his ramblings I chat with them until he comes back to say hi again.

I think that you need to find what works best for your family and your child. While I don't think putting it on the wall or leaving the kid unattended with Skype open is a good idea, perhaps it's best for you.

YMMV.

Popo and Nana (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40006641)

In fact when I am on the laptop and he's in the room he's usually begging me to see "Nana and Pop-pop".

Do you put on Ice Climber [ssbwiki.com] on an emulator?

Re:Why do you want to torture your kids? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40006701)

They're happy. he's happy and my MacBook is safe.

I really expected "and my MacBook is happy. [wikia.com] " ;-)

Re:Why do you want to torture your kids? (1)

McGruber (1417641) | more than 2 years ago | (#40006619)

Why do you want to torture your kids with 40 minutes of grandparent gooing on the screen?

Because Grandpa is more entertaining than the teletubbies.

Re:Why do you want to torture your kids? (1)

idontgno (624372) | more than 2 years ago | (#40006853)

For appropriate values of "Grandpa", Grandpa has always been more entertaining than the teletubbies. This speaks well of the entertainment value of certain Grandpas, and poorly (but accurately) of the entertainment value of preschoolers' edutainment television programming.

lame (5, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#40006391)

this must be the lamest ask /. I've ever seen.

If only you could buy a box, that when plugged into a computer and peripherals, was just like a laptop, except it didn't use batteries and wasn't portable and was cheap. Why, I bet you could place a technological marvel like that on a desk, instead of on a lap like a laptop. I'm sure marketing can come up with a good name like the ideskbook or the desk-ster or the e-mini-desk or the deskr or maybe the socialdesk or something like that. Hmm like a laptop but instead of sitting on a lap it sits on a desk... what could that be called... Naw I got nothin' Sorry. Good luck dude!

Re:lame (2)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#40006645)

How About the "Autocompumodualstation" ACMS for short.

Re:lame (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40006843)

You're only alowed to use one of those if you live on a volcanic island with a skull shaped rock formation, and you have to glaot about how the ACMS will make you unstoppable when you capture Captain Stupendous.

Re:lame (1)

strength_of_10_men (967050) | more than 2 years ago | (#40006889)

I agree, it's totally lame. But to geek-ify it a little, try to do something like this: Portal-style videoconference [zdnet.com.au] .

And then slave this [slashdot.org] to the webcam, under the control of the grandparents for "corrective" actions.

Well.... (2)

wbav (223901) | more than 2 years ago | (#40006465)

It is nice that the grandparents want to be involved, but let me say technology and kids do not mix. I'm living proof of that

PB&J sandwich in the VCR at the top of an 8' book case. I'm not saying how I did it.

Plexiglass case + tablet is your best bet.

E*TRADE (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40006473)

whatever you do, don't install E*TRADE on said laptop

Re:E*TRADE (2)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#40006669)

yeah that's what happened to JP Morgan. Oh no wait you're talking about that old commercial. Same difference.

Re:E*TRADE (1)

CityZen (464761) | more than 2 years ago | (#40006683)

Why not? The kid would have as good odds on filling out his college fund as anyone. (Just don't set up a margin account.)

Seriously... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40006487)

Tell your intrusive parents to buzz off.

Ten minutes 2 or 3 times a week would be PLENTY of skype time.

40 minutes a day, every day is completely absurd.

Ipad (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 2 years ago | (#40006491)

My first thought was to set up an iPad perhaps with some speakers. I have done Skype on iPad and it works really well. If you have an HDMI TV, the iPad could be hooked to the TV, with iPad set up for outgoing video, and all the interaction could be on the TV. That way the baby can drool on the screen as much as it wants.

why in the childs room? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40006501)

We have a PC setup on our wal mounted living room tv, with a web cam on that.. and when grandparents want to skype.. I hold keyboard &mouse & todler interacts with grandparents..
She loves it.. parents love it cuz they see every one.. win-win.

A "smart TV" may be the answer. (1)

Above (100351) | more than 2 years ago | (#40006503)

There are a number of TV's and Blue-Ray players that have Skype clients [skype.com] .

The Tely-HD [skype.com] is a stand alone solution that does the same thing.

It's easy to find wall mount units for a TV, I suggest using Monoprice [monoprice.com] .

Setting the grand parents up with one of these units so they can sit in their living room and use the TV, along with some sort of unit in the kids room is the way to go. The TV can always be easily repurposed later. If you already have a TV adding a Blue-Ray with the capability is a nice way to get Skype now and be able to play Disney movies for the kid later.

Re:A "smart TV" may be the answer. (2)

berashith (222128) | more than 2 years ago | (#40006609)

Blu ray is a horrible way to show movies to kids. Do you realise that a 2 year old has the attention span of a gnat on speed? They want a movie NOW. Any time spent between asking for the movie and the damn thing playing is time spent hearing a kid lose their mind. Or dad losing his mind due to the kid freaking out because they want the movie. Media destruction take a distant second place to the reason that I rip content.

Re:A "smart TV" may be the answer. (1)

i.r.id10t (595143) | more than 2 years ago | (#40006671)

During the last hurricane induced power outage (a few months before katrina) we had no power for 8 days. Had a 3 year old... imagine her whining "daddy, i want to watch finding nemo"... cute huh? Now imagine daddy sighing and saying "i want you to watch finding nemo too sweetie....". Depressing huh?

No generators to be had. A few weeks later, second long term power outage due to another 'cane. Daddy went and got a 400w inverter from a car audio place (still no generators to be found no matter the money). Was able to run a few fans, a few lights and the tvt/dvd player...

The answer is in your question. (5, Insightful)

HockeyPuck (141947) | more than 2 years ago | (#40006529)

wall-mounted monitor + webcam

Mount a LCD monitor on the wall or put it out of arms reach of the kid on a dresser with a webcam and some cheap PC speakers. Put the computer farther away using a 10ft VGA/HDMI cable.

Why make it so complex, does your toddler really need to touch the screen?

Also, nothing like exposing your kids to the benefits of watching TV when they're still in the crib. Instead of TV being the "new babysitter", it'll be skype.

Cheap Android tablet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40006535)

Just mount a cheap Android tablet on the wall with a piece of Plexiglas in front of it. Probably about $150 minimum for one with a camera and enough power to Skype (yes, Java sucks but it's where we are).

Or a used iPad if you want to spend a little more. A used iPad 1 is about $180 or so.

Alternative would be a cheap LCD TV (Plexi in front also) and webcam hooked to a computer in another room. Seems overkill but I guess it could be repurposed as needed.

Re:Cheap Android tablet (1)

CityZen (464761) | more than 2 years ago | (#40006709)

Yes on the cheap Android tablet, no on the iPad 1 (no camera).

Errr... (4, Insightful)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 2 years ago | (#40006537)

we're looking to build some sort of wall-mounted monitor + webcam thingy

So, um, grab a monitor and a webcam, and mount them to the wall...

Ceiling (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#40006539)

Toddlers grow fast, better mount it on the ceiling.

Disable the keyboard (2)

cheese_boy (118027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40006567)

get a program to disable the keyboard.
For example:
http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/11570/disable-the-keyboard-with-a-keyboard-shortcut-in-windows/

It won't solve problem of her hitting the power button - but depending on the model, you may be able to disable the functionality of the power button in a separate program.

So as long as she is just mashing keys, not popping keys off the keyboard, that should solve your problem.

If you really want a separate machine, so you can read a recipe for dinner on your laptop (or whatever) while she interacts with grandma/grandpa, there have been other suggestions that look like good options.

Re:Disable the keyboard (1)

tokul (682258) | more than 2 years ago | (#40006893)

get a program to disable the keyboard.

You won't need that program after toddler disables keyboard physically. Not every solution is implemented in software.

First World Problem (3, Insightful)

CMYKjunkie (1594319) | more than 2 years ago | (#40006569)

I can think of no better example of a first world problem than this!!

Mod parent up! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40006633)

Indeed. These are the sort of difficulties one struggles with only in paradise.

Re:First World Problem (1)

CityZen (464761) | more than 2 years ago | (#40006739)

You mean where hundreds of solutions exist for a niche problem, but the poster can't afford them?

Re:First World Problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40006929)

You mean where hundreds of solutions exist for a niche problem, but the poster can't afford them?

The first world; a place where all real problems have been solved, leaving only exaggerated, self-inflicted non-problems with which to struggle.

The Truman Show (1)

kawabago (551139) | more than 2 years ago | (#40006575)

Poor kid.

baby monitor and usb video into a pc (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40006591)

We used a baby monitor that had video out, plugged into a USB video input that skype recognized as camera source. An old PC configured to run nothing but that and to auto-answer. Let's them view the grandkid's room any time they'd like. We didn't connect the audio. The gee-whiz factor of it wore off quickly.

Now we just just use either one of our android phones or an iPad to do the calls now and then. Realistically, no child really wants to spend much time this way. Think about it, even when physically in the same room there's not going to be a lot of direct interaction. There's not going to be enough going on within that tiny screen to keep a child's attention. Even when using a big TV as the screen it's still not enough. That and listening to the in-laws trying to force the interaction gets old... fast. So trying to shoe-horn all that through a webcam link just isn't going to have a lot of success.

Sure, it's nice now and then but definitely not on a regular basis.

As for parenting advice, give it a rest. Either help the folks or STFU.

Keep it simple stupid (KISS) (1)

devilsdean (888911) | more than 2 years ago | (#40006595)

Put the box in an area out of reach, in another room etc, and run the monitor, sound, and web cam cables to the desk. Use a wireless mouse and keyboard that has an off switch. Let the baby chew on the powered off keyboard while skyping. Now on to solving world peace.

Wide-angle webcam is the way to go (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40006635)

The way I set it up at home with a toddler was: Attach wide angle webcam (say, for example, a Logitech Pro 9000 or similar) to a laptop or HTPC and place the webcam on the TV, with the computer placed inside the home theater cabinet, which is out of the toddler's reach. After this, just let the kid run around in the living room like usual -- control the computer with a wireless mouse and keyboard if necessary. Grandparents will be able to watch the kid run around, and you can use the digital zoom feature to make the little one bigger as needed.

Why do I read slashdot comments, ever? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40006651)

Son. Of. A. Bitch. This is the second time in two days I've clicked on a slashdot link to read the comments, hoping desperately that it wouldn't be full of the usual dreck, only to be disappointed. I was hoping that somebody would have something useful to suggest, since we also have a toddler that would love Skyping with his grandparents but that we can't use a laptop with because he'll button-mash all the settings into something unusable. The plexiglass could be a good possibility, perhaps a setup to protect the keyboard so he can see the screen easily but can't actually *get* to the trouble-causing buttons.

But for the rest, we get jokes about putting the baby in a box, combined with complaints about how the OP is a horrible parent for wanting to let their kid talk to the grandparents every night. OMG! Parents actually want to help extended family to be involved with their child! Call the cops immediately!

This happens every time I click on a slashdot comments link, it seems. Why aren't all of you people over on reddit or 4chan or something; I thought it was generally accepted there that having absolutely NOTHING to contribute on a topic but doing so anyway was considered a badge of high honor?

a cheap ipad? (1)

pjr.cc (760528) | more than 2 years ago | (#40006653)

as in, second hand/older ipad really aint that expensive, and you'll be hard pressed to find anything that'll beat it for price... cheap chinese android tablet is really the only other option... you might get a laptop (netbook style one) for cheap, but probably not much cheaper... its a pretty low price point to start with imho.

The other problem is that you may find trying to protect anything is going to be the hard part (or perhaps expensive/tedious) rather then the device itself.

By that I mean saying that you could "get a cheap tablet and stick some plexiglass in front of it" sounds easy in practice, but not if you dont have the right tools. Personally i'd consider one of the older 10" android tablets and just put it out of reach - of course out of reach (For those with kids) often means "challenge" for child and can result in some truely god like resourcefulness on the part of the child.

Its quite possible, however, that theres an app on the android market that'll lockout an android tablets control surfaces (im pretty sure i've seen something like this).. im not sure if the same exists on the ipad, but maybe thats the way to go?

Easy (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40006663)

Buy a monitor with a built in web cam (ASUS VK246H 24-Inch Widescreen LCD Monitor - Black with Webcam -- $200 on Amazon) and a VESA mountable or "gum pack" computer to mount to it and put it in Windows kiosk mode with only Skype running. I do something similar with Google Talk for the same purpose. Works great and costs about $400.

Seriously?? (-1, Redundant)

himurabattousai (985656) | more than 2 years ago | (#40006673)

This is the your big concern? [quickmeme.com]

Three-year-olds shouldn't be using Skype at all, and most certainly not unattended. If you're tired of holding the laptop for her, then don't use Skype. It is okay to say "no."

Help her get an actual social life. She'll benefit far more than by talking to the moving pictures on the laptop. In fact, I'd guess she may not even know the difference between the stimulus provided by the laptop and the television.

Skype and Grandparents (5, Insightful)

American AC in Paris (230456) | more than 2 years ago | (#40006699)

There are a lot of 1984/Truman Show/No Real Parent posts on this thread. Folks, understand that for some families, grandma and grandpa are a time zone away at best, and a grandkid is lucky to see her grandparents in person once a year, if that. Skype/videophone is a fantastic way to help bridge that gap. My parents can read our daughter stories. My wife's parents can sing songs with our daughter. They can see each other and interact in ways that you just can't do over the phone or with text.

Our kid is lucky--she gets to see each set of grandparents in person about twice a year. For the stretches between those times, though, she can still visit with them over Skype. It's far from perfect, but it's a huge leap ahead of a phone call, and helps all sides of the family feel closer.

You wouldn't mock people for calling their parents to let their kid talk to grandma and grandpa over the phone. Why the special hate for the extra level of closeness?

Jesus.. (2, Insightful)

gallondr00nk (868673) | more than 2 years ago | (#40006711)

Is this what passes for Ask Slashdot submissions these days?

Buy a cheapo TFT new or second hand and mount it on the wall if you want. Buy a $10 webcam, do likewise. If you can't manage that, what the hell are you even doing here?

Re:Jesus.. (2)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#40006763)

Is this what passes for Ask Slashdot submissions these days?

Buy a cheapo TFT new or second hand and mount it on the wall if you want. Buy a $10 webcam, do likewise. If you can't manage that, what the hell are you even doing here?

bragging that he has a wife and a baby?

CRT (1)

Liquidretro (1590189) | more than 2 years ago | (#40006717)

As scary as this might be for a slashdot user to have in their home, what about an old CRT monitor with a wireless keyboard? I am sure you can find a CRT monitor for free on Craigslist, at work, or a thrift store. Put a webcam on top, hook it up to an old computer or laptop (Close the lid, must set it to stay on). Put the wirless keyboard and mouse across the room on a dresser or something and you should be good to go. The toddler can poke the CRT all they want with their fingers with no trouble, although I would still try and teach them not to since they might try the same with LCDs and we all know what would happen then.

Re:CRT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40006875)

Or you could use an LCD, which you can remove from the baby's room to avoid any sort of monitor-falls-on-baby accidents.

Go baby monitor, internet enabled (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 2 years ago | (#40006721)

Bambino Wireless Internet Baby Monitor w/iPhone, Android, and Web Viewing (Windows PC required)

You get what you pay for. Costs $88, connects via a wireless USB dongle to a PC. PC sends it to the internet if you want.

Google it or similar 'wireless baby monitor internet'.

Skype VoIP Box (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40006725)

They make them. Use google. Problem solved.

CR? Rickroll? (2)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#40006743)

no chatroulette jokes? no rickroll jokes? /. going downhill.

from apple store (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40006745)

would this do the trick?
http://store.apple.com/us/product/H7559VC/A/ibaby-monitor

Buy a DropCam (1)

backtick (2376) | more than 2 years ago | (#40006753)

Just buy a dropcam; WiFi, 2 way audio, powered via supplied microUSB cable and wall wart, and even lets you use it as a security camera and such the rest of the time. I don't work for them, etc but I own a couple and they work.

Impact damage (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 2 years ago | (#40006769)

Whatever solution you end up with, make sure the screen can withstand a direct hit from the child's heaviest toy.

Smartphone as webcam (1)

na1led (1030470) | more than 2 years ago | (#40006819)

I had an old HTC Touch Pro 2 that I wasn't using anymore, but it had a good camera on it. So I installed a webcam software that allowed me to broadcast over the web or to an iPad/Android tablet. I just used a basic car mount and placed on the dresser, worked like a charm. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.pas.webcam&hl=en [google.com]

your daughter's webcam (1)

BigMike (122378) | more than 2 years ago | (#40006825)

So, you WANT your daughter to have a webcam in her room that callers control? A lot of parents seem to be going in the other direction ...

How about an even easier solution (0)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 2 years ago | (#40006847)

Give your parents/inlaws a 40 minute video clip of your kid just sitting there doing whatever. Tell them to play it and talk to the screen like they normally would. If that isn't satisfying, they should just visit in person.

What we did (1)

INeededALogin (771371) | more than 2 years ago | (#40006915)

Wife's parents are in Japan. MacBooks on both ends. We ended up just using an end-table and placed the laptop on the top. When they can't move... it is easy to just point the screen at the baby. Those early years are more for the grandparents anyways. As they start to move, we kept the same setup and just used it as a lesson for the kid. "We don't push the buttons, we talk to grandma". It has been a challenge, but he quickly learned that that laptop doesn't yield anything useful.

Bonus: The laptop is agile so you can move it around the room, house as the kid moves. This interactive experience for the other side definitely makes it awesome.
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