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    MOFT: Episode 2 (The Flip Mino Video Camera)

    So I still happen to be digging Geo Challenge - I don't even want to think about all the hours I've spent on Facebook Playfish games this year. I think they somehow figured out how to put crack cocaine in their code and time-capsule release it over the wires on the Interweb and through the speakers on my computer. I think in some states, Playfish and I would be common law married about now.

    But My One Favorite Thing this week (or at least my My One Other Favorite Thing - the much more enjoyable-to-pronounce MOOFT) is the Flip Mino video camera. What a clever little device. I've been using it a ton on my trip home, including capturing the touching moment when my girlfriend and i first surprised my parents, as well as the night when I hung out with some old high school friends and their kids. The Mino was made for those types of events - short experiences when you either don't want to lug around a more substantial or expensive video camera or when you want to be somewhat surreptitious that you're taping things.

    I bought the video camera on Amazon after much hesitation for about $140. I thought it could come in handy, but I wondered if I would use it enough to justify the expense. I must say that I think I made a wise purchase. In the past month, I've filmed parts of two birthday parties, a poker game, a football game, a bunch of scenes of my dog being super cute, and various other notable events. I love the fact I'm building a collection of memories that I will be able to watch in the future.

    The Mino feels good to hold in the hand, and operating the device, especially the responsive touch-sensitive control panel, is both easy and enjoyable. It holds an hour of video and the battery lasts a very long time. It has a nifty USB plug attached (but normally hidden) which charges the device when connected to a computer as well as launches a software program that allows you to save and work with your clips.

    The video imaging software is basic but relatively easy to use (though certainly not as seamless or genius a piece of software as ITunes). You can share videos with others via private email or by uploading (compressed versions) to public Web sites. You can edit videos for length and also make very simple movie mixes with the free version of the software, but for more indepth options you'll have to upgrade to the rather costly premium version (which I think is sheer nonsense - Pure Digital, the makers of the Mino, ought to realize that software differentiation and functionality will be key if they are to be anything more than a flash in the pan).

    As far as other suggested improvements, I'd like a bigger LCD screen in the front (or better yet, a small screen on back with the lens so you can see what you're filming when you're pointing the camera at yourself). A headphone jack on the device would be convenient for playback. Also, I'd like a way to customize the length of the auto shut-off option as several times I've attempted to capture a fleeting moment only to realize the device powered down. I also wish it had a better zoom functionality (limited digital zoom is all that's there).

    Technically the video and audio is pretty darn good, more than sufficient for Web viewing, and ok for TV as well, which you can do with an included cable. My device isn't high def, tho they just came out with a new Flip camera that is HD (it's more expensive and a bit bigger and heavier, and taking a bunch of HD videos would quickly eat up a lot of space on a hard drive).

    Obviously, a lot of digital cameras and even mobile phones take video but the simplicity and features of the Mino make it a compelling stand-alone product. Right now, Apple can't even do pictures well with its iPhone, but I'm sure eventually they'll find a way to effectively converge video functionality so that the Mino becomes obsolete.

    In the meantime, however, I highly recommend anyone interested in a portable, fun, easy-to-use, fairly inexpensive video camera that is perfect for taking short video clips and then sharing them on the Web with others take a look at the Mino.


    I finally tried that Geo Challenge game (I know, off-topic....) And I think I figured out the secret: they design it so you can learn the game. You get faster as you memorize the country shapes that they use, which are a little stylized, that sort of thing.

    I just tried it too. (Nice work by the way.) And I agree that it's a memorization game. That was somehow disappointing to me. Anyone who plays it enough (and has quick fingers), should be able to master it. But maybe I'm just poo-pooing it because I'm nowhere near Deadman's score after playing it a few times.

    the past is gone but something might be found to take its place, hey jealousy, hey jealousy, hey jealousy, hey jealousy.

    so mr. poo-poo, of course the game is mostly a memorization game - isn't that what geography is?? the point is my geographic knowledge has expanded tenfold from playing the game.  also, who has the biggest brain and word challenge - two other addictive playfish games - most certainly aren't memorization games, and i also rock at those. i am a playfish genius. bow before me.


    I will never bow before anyone who quotes gin blossoms at me. But I'll try biggest brain when I get a chance. Glad that you're learning your geography. I know flags better than I did and feel much enlightened for it.

    The older Flip, the Ultra, is great underwater, too. (About $35 for the underwater case).  You can see it in action in an episode of a video series my partner produces, called Orwell Was An Optimist.  The underwater Flip comes near the end of the video, about 6 minutes in:

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