posted by Leah

I’ve spent the last year working on the voice and video features of messenger. Often people ask me what I like about it, and being the hopeless romantic that I am – I always touch on the emotional:


“Webcam is for the long distance couple. They can’t cuddle, but at least with a Video Call they can whisper sweet nothings and gaze longingly into each other’s eyes. It’s also for the traveling-for-work mom who uses webcam from her hotel to watch her baby sleeping at home.”


Aly Valli (my first mentor at Microsoft)  told me a story the other day in which he was talking to an aunt over Video Call. The aunt was holding up her baby son, who was eating an ice cream cone. The adorable tyke offered a bite to Aly by smashing it into the computer screen. Damaged computer screen aside, does it get cuter than that? Seriously?


warning: if you have a sentimentality-allergy, you’re probably already sneezing and scratching. If you continue reading, these symptoms will only get worse. Read on at your own risk!


Well, here’s another webcam scenario that tugs at heartstrings.  Because I work on these features, I was recently forwarded this letter is from Anne Galvin, Founder of  4 The Troops:


Attached please find a picture from the soldiers of HHB 3/29 Field
Artillery, a unit of 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division
out of Fort Carson, CO who recently received 100 Logitech webcams
thanks to the generosity of Microsoft and Logitech.  The unit
installed the webcams in their Internet cafes and distributed them to
various cafes to benefit other deployed troops from various units.

Thus far, we have sent them to various military units such as the 3rd
Marine Aircraft Wing unit based out of Camp Pendleton, the Army’s 32nd
Signal Battalion, the 49th Military Police Brigade and the 101st
Airborne 3/502 unit.  We have also donated them to eight military
family centers for the 40th Infantry Brigade Combat in California and
to the Internet Cafes for both the USO Bob Hope in Los Angeles and the
upcoming USO in Ontario, California.

I am hoping to send you more pictures of troops receiving the webcams
but is has been a challenge due to their 16 hour missions. The troops
receiving them have been speechless to your generosity.  Thank you so
much for the donation.”


I don’t know whether reading this made me more proud to work on the features that enable this scenario, or to work for a company that makes these types of donations. Either way, even with great technology out there, the story made me realize how lucky I am to be near (at most a short plane ride) from the people I love.  Ok, I need to go video call my parents.