The majority of Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick's vision of the future from 2001: A Space Odyssey
has not yet been realized: popping over to the moon to have a look at the most recently unearthed alien artifact is not a common practice in the late-noughties, although one technology demonstrated in a minor scene of this science fiction epic has caught on. Video calling, once the preserve of video phones owners with expensive ISDN lines, has now become a day-to-day activity thanks to cheap broadband and a multitude of platforms that
have made video chatting easy and affordable. Unfortunately, due to a variety of limitations -- lack of bandwidth, slow computers, poor quality webcams -- the majority of video conferencing solutions are of the 320 x 240 / 15 fps ilk: not something we want to hear in the era of HD
. For those that do have sufficient bandwidth, a fast enough computer, and a capable webcam, there's an experimental hack for Skype that allows you to increase the resolution from the ancient 320 x 240 standard up to a much more tolerable 640 x 480. The hack only works one way, so users on both ends will have to apply it in order to see each other's zits with increased clarity. If we had a way of routing live high definition video through our PC, we'd attempt to increase the resolution even further, although that would of course require the help of something we've always found it hard to acquire: friends.