Getting started with Flip Ultra HD

August 21, 2009

I got a new toy last week, the latest Flip video camera – the Ultra HD and wanted to share my thoughts on the camera and the software.  I’ve seen a lot of Flips (especially since Cisco bought them) and the simplicity and portability put it on the top of my birthday list. Overall, I love the camera and the software is good, but could use some enhancements (if anyone has any corrections or tips on what I list, please let me know).


In choosing the model, the Mino line is smaller than the Ultra, but the new Ultra HD had two features that made me choose it: 1) 2 hours of capacity with the same HD quality as the Mino HD and 2) it comes with a rechargeable battery which is removable and 2 AA batteries can be used if needed.  Using the camera is very simple – there is an on/off button, a big red button to start/stop recording and you can zoom +/- while filming.  There is a USB plug on the camera which flips open and you can plug straight into a computer (having a USB extension cable can be useful).


FlipShare Software comes pre-loaded on the camera, so you can load it onto the computer.  I had read that there was a way to privately share videos on “Flip Channels” – I found the site, but at first couldn’t figure out how to get videos to the site.  It turns out that the camera came with the 4.2 FlipShare software which did not have the Flip channel functions.  There was no details as to how to add channels; after poking around on the Product page, I saw that there was an update of the FlipShare software to 4.5 version.  When I updated the software, the Channels options became available.  If possible, they should look to either automatically search for updates, or at least to have an option on the FlipShare menus to look for updates.  Also note that by default, the camera will create a “FlipShare Data” folder in the “My Videos” folder, you can change this at Edit>Preferences>Library tab.

The software allows for easy sharing via email, to the private channel, or to online sites.  From the desktop, you can post to MySpace, YouTube or “other” – this last choice simply compresses the video and saves it to your desktop.  For the Channels, a limitation that I ran into is that the largest file that you can upload to a channel is 450MB.  This is not listed in the documentation or on the site, I found it in the forum Q&A on their site.  If you try to send a larger file to the channel, it simply hangs when the bar reaches the end.  What you can do to get around this limitation is to first compress the video file (using the Share>Online>Other), but once you compress the video, you will need to re-import the file to the FlipShare by using Help>Import other FlipShare files.  Hopefully in future versions of the software, this will be easier.  From the FlipShare website (your channel, not the desktop application), you can share on Facebook.  It would be nice if you could share to Facebook or YouTube from both the desktop or web channel pages.

There is a basic editing, snapshot and movie making software on the FlipShare desktop softare – these are great considering that they are free.  On the editing, note that it will only actually cut the trimmed pieces of the video while the files are on the camera; once on the desktop it will mark your preferred beginning and end, but not trim.  The snapshots are nice – probably good enough quality for 4×6 prints and since the Flip is so portable and fast, it’s a decent camera while on the go (better than my Blackberry photos).  The movie making is also nice, very simple and allows for layering of music.  Flip also offers to make professional DVDs, I have a DVD creations software package, so I haven’t this.

Here’s a sample movie that I created at a monthly social media gathering that we have at EMC.

Comments are questions are always welcome and please consider subscribing to this blog.

Stuart Miniman

UPDATE: FlipShare 5.0 now makes it much easier to share HD videos directly to sites like YouTube and Facebook [Dec ’09]

Business Process Innovation: EMC Select

August 17, 2009


The EMC Select program turns five years old this month.  Having been part of the five person team that launched it, I’d like to offer a retrospective of this very successful program.

The benefits of the EMC Select program:

Access a range of solution-completing products from industry-leading partners. Reduce complexity and minimize risk when implementing multi-vendor solutions. By purchasing all solution components through EMC, you can significantly simplify the design, evaluation, and procurement of your information infrastructure.

There had been internal proposals for EMC to resell one of the cornerstone products of the program [Fibre Channel Host Bus Adapters (HBA) from Emulex and QLogic] every year for 5 years before the Select program launched.  I had done the business case a couple of times; EMC could easily bring in significant revenue at reasonable margins with an estimated one or two people to run the program.  Unfortunately, at the time, the revenue and margin bars for the organization were higher than what we expected to deliver.  There was also concern around the business processes for the stocking, shipping and support of the products.  EMC’s E-Lab qualified solutions and told customers what to buy and where to buy it.  It was quite frustrating for those of us involved with these products; we felt that we giving money away.

Luckily, the idea was not forgotten.  Howard Elias, who was relatively new to EMC at the time, became the executive sponsor to start a solution-completer reseller program.  Rather than following EMC’s standard processes, the new program would form a tight B2B relationship with the partners who would be fully responsible for the stocking, shipping, installation and support of the products.  The first products were the HBAs and tape libraries from ADIC (now Quantum).  The team was given some latitude to be flexible in pursuing opportunities and creating new processes.  An important piece of the program was to launch a new IT B2B system, which eventually leveraged across the company to support  other supplier activities.  The first couple of years of the program were a whirlwind of activity that included signing up dozens of partners and training internal and external audiences.  One of my favorite things about the program was that with such a small team, everyone pitched in to help however they could – regardless of title or traditional job function.  There were a lot of challenges, but we had a lot of fun.  Here’s a photo from EMC World in 2006, where we brought in Boston sports greats including Tedy Bruschi, Jim Rice, and John Havlicek as a metaphor for how EMC Select partnerships are like a championship team.

EMC Select @ EMC World 2006 Boston w/ sports greats

The program now includes thirty partners, has sold product to over ten thousand customers, and is bringing in a significant incremental revenue stream – and still only has about a dozen full time staff.

The success of the EMC Select program is the result of three basic notions.

We knew that that customers wanted these products and, given the opportunity, would buy them from EMC.  We discovered that it was possible to form partnerships that resulted in external support of products sold.  The new sponsor not only challenged existing processes, but included an ambitious push for multiple products at the same time.  This approach allowed for faster growth and avoided placing the fate of the whole program into the hands of one or two partners.

Do you have an old idea that should be looked at again or a “rule” that can be reexamined to accelerate growth?

Comments are questions are always welcome and please consider subscribing to this blog.

Stuart Miniman

Dilbert ∩ Convergence

August 9, 2009

I guess the topic of convergence is getting a lot of hype if even Dilbert is talking about it:

Sounds like they could use a private cloud solution.

Not only didn’t I need to make any edits to the strip to make it very relevant, but thanks to the wonders of the web, it is so easy to share or embed this without having to worry about copyright infringement.

∩ is the symbol for intersection.  As I always suspected, the intersection of innovation, social media, storage and virtualization is Dilbert.  Now I just need a good Venn diagram for the header for this blog – anyone with graphic talents want to help me make one?

Two Looks at Convergence with FCoE Webcasts

August 6, 2009

There has been a lot of activity with Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) over the last couple of months.  In June, the T11 FC-BB-5 group ratified the standard.  Cisco has started shipping their Unified Computing System (UCS) which integrates FCoE – see EMC’s full support statement and a whitepaper showing UCS support with VMware and EMC Storage.

In examining FCoE, the technology maturation and cultural impacts of converged networking must be considered.  There are two upcoming webcasts that will examine these issues.

First, Dave Vellante of Wikibon will be hosting The Business Impact of Converged IT.

DATE: Tuesday, August 11, 2009; TIME: 12:00-1:00 pm PT / 3:00-4:00 pm ET

Free registration at

It will be a discussion with customers looking at both the storage and networking groups and how convergence will affect their operations.  One of the great things about FCoE is that for customers that have Fibre Channel (FC) today, their current applications and storage management practices can continue unchanged; as shown in the diagram below, above the adapter and in the SAN, the packets are still FC.

FCoE _diagram

In the second webcast, I will be presenting The Journey Towards the Converged Data Center: Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) and iSCSI.

DATE: Wednesday, September 2, 2009; TIME: 11:00 am-12:00 pm PT / 2:00-3:00 pm ET

Free registration at

It is the September installment of the EMC Innovation Lecture Series, you can find links for upcoming and archived presentations on the EMC Community Network site.  I will discuss the history of technologies that have attempted to provide a single network for all traffic, how we are now developing solutions that will allow us to reach this ultimate goal and how we expect the solutions to mature over time.  As noted futurist Paul Saffo has stated, change never happens linearly, it happens as an S-curve where we overestimate how fast change will start and underestimate how fast it will take off once it gets going.

For more FCoE information including videos and presentations, please see my old blog site

If you are interested in continuing the discussion on FCoE, please consider subscribing to this blog.

Is your blog signal getting through the noise?

August 3, 2009

When I first started blogging, I wanted to make sure that I didn’t turn into a “New Media Douchebag“.  There is a line between over-promotion and under-promotion of a blog and from my observation, most bloggers fall on the under-promotion side.  It’s OK to self-promote your writing, here are a few tips:

Share your blog entries with all of your communities.

  • Facebook: even if your friends aren’t in your line of work, they may want to know a little about what you do (for me, it’s refreshing if they know more about what I do than that I’m involved with “high-tech/computer related stuff”).  You can either import specific entries or  set up the RSS feed to post to your account.  I felt that my Twitter activity was too noisy for Facebook, but a couple of blog posts a week doesn’t seem like too much and I’ve seen enough comments and “likes” that I’ve continued the feed.
  • Twitter: if people like what you say enough to follow you on Twitter, there is a good chance that they’ll want to see more than 140 characters at a time of what you have to say (plus Twitter searches may get you new followers).  Many blog sites allow for an automated feed of your post to Twitter.  I would also recommend that you mention in the Tweet that it is your blog post (such as starting your post “New Blog” or putting [blog] before the link).  I’m more likely to click a link if I know that it is original content from someone that I know than from a news or tech site.
  • LinkedIn:  If your blog is related to your work, put the link on your profile and there are also now applications that will post your entries.
  • FriendFeed: In addition to being an aggregation site, you can use FriendFeed as a distribution point for your activity.  Louis Gray describes how you can use FriendFeed to master your data flow.  You can customize which feeds get posted from FriendFeed to Twitter.
  • Email: If the blog post would be of interest to someone, don’t assume that they will have seen it through the other channels.  Go ahead and shoot them a note either saying that you thought they’d find it interesting, you’d like their feedback or just that it made you think of them.
  • In person: The chance that someone has read your post varies greatly through all of the electronic methods listed above, you have a much greater connection when you’re talking to someone in person.  I don’t promote my blog in person often, but if I’m having a conversation and believe that I’ve written a post that is relevant to the conversation, I will mention the post and email it to them later.

The best way for people to see your articles is if they are subscribed to your blog.  Make sure that it is easy for people to subscribe to your blog and it’s OK to remind them that they can subscribe to it. [I tend to post a reminder at the end of blog posts on new topics, so if you haven’t already, please consider subscribing to this blog.]

The title of your blog post is important – if people are scanning through their feed reader, will it give them an idea of what the post contains?  Having a catchy or funny title is OK, but a keyword of the topic is more important.  The keywords are also important for the indexing of your blog in search engines and it also makes it easy to post to Twitter if you can just send the title without having to add a lot of hashtags or explanation.

At the end of the day, I find that the best promotion is when others promote your posts; make sure that you’re getting your posts out to enough services and so that your contacts have the opportunity to share what you’ve written.  If nobody ever sees what you’ve written, they won’t be able to share it 🙂