Over the weekend I bought one of those Flip Video Camcorder. I've been having so much fun with camera built into my laptop, and with what little clips I can record on my digital camera. I've always wanted a camcorder, since I moved away from home at 17 and left my mom and dad's big crazy VHS shoulder recorder behind. At $150 for an hour's capacity of 640X480 nearly NTSC quality video, the Flip Video is the right tool at the right price for farting around with video.
So far, I'm very impressed. The built in USB dongle makes getting at your media a snap, and although the bundled software tries to manage your movies for you, you can safely ignore it and move your data around via whatever tools your operating system provides.
And the video and sound quality is decidedly not bad. Better than most $300 digital still cameras, but not as good as a $700 digicam.
But here's where a strange quirks come. Because the camera uses a wacky, proprietary codec, (3vix) you're at the mercy of the codec's implementation. (And, reading between the lines on 3vix support forums, 3vix isn't supporting Flip Video-inspired questions.) Frankly, in OSX, the 3vix Codec doesn't play so hot with Quicktime, and requires you use the 3vix "Dvix Doctor II" and a couple of wacky AC3 audio codecs to turn the movies into Quicktime files before they'll place nice with the iLife apps. (And, for what it's worth, 3vix isn't supported without conversion on the PS3, either.)
On Vista and XP, the videos came off the drive and played just fine after I installed the 3vix Codec. On OSX 10.4, the videos rendered images but not sound without additional tweaking.
But, I'd still recommend the camera to anyone who'd like to dabble with video.
So far I've posted two videos I shot with the Flip.
This iMovie edited movie called Free Zoo Day and a Windows Movie Maker edited "Virtual View" of the view from my desk today as the ice comes off the lake. Don't compare the video qualities. It's not apples to apples. (The Zoo movie was uploaded as a much higher quality video.)
Edit: Oh! An important note: I forgot to mention that even with the Codex installed, It is my experience that movies will not render from iMovie 08. I had to use iMovie HD in order to get the Zoo movie to output a file.
If Jeni doesn't stop watching this clip, I'm going to cancel the cable.
She says, "It just gets better and better."
A church on Wisconsin Avenue freakin' exploded, man! Ask me what it was like on scene! Ask me!
I don't Freakin' know! I don't cover breaking news any more!
I've been quietly blogging at Ocono.com for a month or so, and today was the first time since I left Journalism that something happened in the city that I kind of secretly wish I could cover.
Of course, breaking news isn't really Ocono.com's forte, but I thought a Google news search was probably in order. You hate to leave your readers looking for news you're not offering them, but you hate to pretend news isn't happening.
Chatting with PRL today, he says: "Some days feel like successes and some feel like total failures."
And I ask, "Why don't they teach you _that_ in business school?"
I tweeted about it earlier, you may recall.
I just wish someone had sat me down and said: "Look, it doesn't matter what you do in life. There will be things that will suck. The trick is to minimize those and maximize the things that don't. Then everything will be ok."
I like to imagine that wise sage then leaning back in his comfy wooden college professor chair and smiling at me. Then he'd lean back in and with a twinkle in his eye, tell me this: "Also, one day, your boss' boss is going to use you as leverage against your boss. When that day comes, the best thing you can do is be quiet and slowly creep out of the room as if you were invisible."
I explained this sentiment to my wife last night. "I don't want to change the world," I said. "I don't need to make waves or break the system down. I can work the system. I just don't want to be hassled."
And she says, congratulations. You've turned thirty.
An observation: I realized what it is that's different about the Wii and the PS3. It's the controllers. The controller on the Wii sucks. Yeah, that's right. I _hate_ the Wiimote. In Nintendo's rush to break into the mainstream -- which they seem poised to do, if they could ever put enough consoles in the stores-- they developed and embraced a new paradigm in human/console interface devices. And I don't think the new Paradigm was warranted.
The Sixaxis controller, (Read: Dualshock 3) is a friendly, familiar pal that, with the exception of the pointing features of the Wiimote, does everything that the Wiimote does.
When I sit down with the Wiimote, I'm holding a 'mote. I'm preparing to interact with a console. Keeping it pointed and configured toward the screen is often a big part of what I'm doing with it. Don't get me started on the awkward mess that is the numb-chuck. I don't need a remote that I can't run one-handed.
The fundamental problem with the remote is one of responsiveness. When the wiimote controls are based on arbitrary arm movements, there is going to be a certain degree of vagueness in the interaction because of the variation in rooms, sizes, and arms. Whereas, pressing "triangle" to swing high and "square" to swing low is pretty concrete.
It's that concreteness that makes the Sixaxis a better controller. It's not vague, it's a "precision tool." My controller should be part of my hand, not something I'm holding on to. The Wiimote hasn't made the leap to intuitive friendly extension of my hand yet. It's gimmicky and unnecessarily imprecise.
Didja watch the 20/20 show on Prostitution last Friday night? I did. Sort of. It was on while we were making meatballs, anyway. Mmmmm... Meatballs. Anyway, I saw that one of the "legit" brothels uses the internet to process there transactions and what do they use to track their website traffic? You know it: Say it with me:
Of course, I pointed this out immediately, and J. told me that I was probably the only person in America that would take note of the web-metrics package that whores use.
If I was the Awstats people, I'd jump on this promotional opportunity right away. Awstats! The Web Analytics Software Choice of Whores!*
The Google Analytics people must be pissed.
*Because, honestly, "Awstats! The Web Analytics Software Choice of Whores whose web hosting provider allows Perl, CGI and log access" just doesn't roll of the lips.
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