Daily Archives: January 19, 2009

Kyte.tv goes 16:9 (video showing Opera’s latest now up)

This week I’m doing a ton of HD testing. Here’s the first piece of that test and is my first FastCompanyTV video on Kyte’s new 16:9 format player (wide screen). Looks pretty nice, but wait until you see these videos on some of the other systems that support 16:9 AND high definition!

I met with a couple of geeks from Opera last week. They are the browser folks. But I bet you didn’t have a good look at what they’ve been doing lately.

Perfect chance to play with my new Flip Minio HD camcorder. You can buy this for just about $230. I don’t use any external microphones. No lenses or filters. Nothing but that little tiny camcorder. It is really wild to be able to get video out to the world. This is mind blowing. 20 years ago you would have needed a $200,000 set of cameras and a TV station to broadcast it. Now anyone can do it.

One problem I found is that with HD the file sizes are massive (these two videos were 1.1 gigs in my camera). I tried to upload it to Kyte? Failed. Facebook, too big. Viddler? Failed. Vimeo? Too big. YouTube? Too big. So, I went back and split it into two pieces. That took a little bit of time, but isn’t hard.

Anyway, here’s the two parts:

Part I, Opera browser updates (here is the same video on Facebook, so you can compare quality — the Facebook one is a LOT nicer)
Part II, Opera browser updates. (Here’s the same video on Facebook).

One thing, if you are using one of these small cameras you MUST use a monopod or tripod to get them steady enough to look good. By using a monopod with these videos they look much more professional than if I had held the camera with my hand.

So, what will I be testing out this week? Well, like my friend Chris Pirillo did recently, I’m going to be testing out several HD camcorders. The Flip Minio HD is the first one. I will also test out a Kodak Zi6 and a Creative Vado (Pirillo likes the Creative the best). I’ll let you know about those tests later.

Why all the focus on HD? Well, Facebook, Smugmug, YouTube, and Vimeo now support 720p HD video and next week I’m going to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland and I can’t bring Rocky (my video producer) so I’ve got to be able to shoot all my own stuff and carry my camera equipment too. That means going with small cameras like the Flip I used last week with the geeks from Opera.

More over the next week or so as I learn more about the cameras and see if my results match Pirillos.

[kyte.tv appKey=MarbachViewerEmbedded&uri=channels/6118/321312&tbid=k_1929&premium=true&height=500&width=425]

Seagate learns important PR lesson: keep the customers happy!

First, a disclaimer. Seagate is one of the sponsors of FastCompanyTV (the video network I manage) and has been a great partner of mine for two years.

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Seagate (maker of hard drives and storage devices) has been getting slammed on forums and blogs the past couple of days. Partly because they had a bad batch of hard drives and didn’t properly recognize or fix the problem quickly. Partly because they removed a few anti-Seagate threads from its forums.

I wasn’t asked my opinion about either of these things, but if I had I would have recommended that they jump on the problems and take care of customers quickly and I’d never recommend removing nasty posts unless they explicitly broke some rule like using nasty language or being racist or something like that. Why? A happy customer will tell maybe a handful of people. If you are really lucky, like Apple, they’ll blog about it.

But an angry customer? They’ll tell 30 times more people. And, because negative news gets more attention, it’ll spread much, much faster.

And an angry customer that had a post deleted? They’ll find 20 other places to spread their anger and get you to pay attention to them. At Microsoft I called this “throwing a brick through the window to get your attention.” Incoming!

A great reputation can go down in flames in a weekend. Which is what was going on. Bricks were flying through the window and, like usually happens when bricks fly, that gets people to start seeing the implications to the business and paying attention to customers again and making sure they are happy.

Which is what Seagate was working this weekend.

One thing, if you have troubles with your Seagate drives, let me know. I’ll find out what’s up, as I did in this case. It might take a day or two but we’ll get you taken care of. This is one reason I love Seagate. They’ve always taken care of problems for me and I love their products and we use them all over the place (and I’ve bought most of my own Seagate drives too, both before and after they’ve been a sponsor).

The folks I talked with at Seagate apologized for not taking care of this issue faster and better.

Here’s the details they just sent me (Engadget also covered this news):

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Seagate has isolated a potential firmware issue in certain products, including some Barracuda 7200.11 hard drives and related drive families based on this product platform, manufactured through December 2008. In some circumstances, the data on the hard drives may become inaccessible to the user when the host system is powered on*.

As part of our commitment to customer satisfaction, we are offering a free firmware upgrade to those with affected products. To determine whether your product is affected, please visit the Seagate Support web site at http://seagate.custkb.com/seagate/crm/selfservice/search.jsp?DocId=207931.

Support is also available through Seagate’s call center: 1-800-SEAGATE (1 800 732-4283)

Customers can expedite assistance by sending an email to Seagate (discsupport@seagate.com). Please include the following disk drive information: model number, serial number and current firmware revision. We will respond, promptly, to your email request with appropriate instructions. There is no data loss associated with this issue, and the data still resides on the drive. But if you are unable to access your data due to this issue, Seagate will provide free data recovery services. Seagate will work with you to expedite a remedy to minimize any disruption to you or your business.

For a list of international telephone numbers to Seagate Support and alternative methods of contact, please access http://www.seagate.com/www/en-us/about/contact_us/
*There is no safety issue with these products.

Manufacturing is changing with us

Back in 2004 I wrote Bill Gates a letter telling him how to compete with the iPod. I said to design it in public view with everyone’s help. I was called a massive idiot back then.

It has totally shocked me that more companies haven’t taken my advice. This weekend shows that things are changing and that my advice in 2004 is now being heeded.

1. Bug Labs is working with famous design firm IDEO and is designing its UI in public eye. VC Fred Wilson reported that on his blog this weekend.

2. TechCrunch is designing a Tablet PC for less than $300. Mike Arrington gave a report on that this morning.

This is huge and is only going to get bigger. Thanks to companies like PCH in Shenzhen, China, and Twitter and friendfeed (where you can have conversations with thousands of people in live time) we’re going to see new companies spring up and design products and build brands.

Is Techcrunch a blog anymore? Or did it just become a consumer electronics brand?

Or, even better, if you read my comment over on TechCrunch maybe TechCrunch isn’t a brand at all. Maybe they’ll charge you to put YOUR brand on the Tablet PC.

After all, you can already get camcorders with your own image on them (Jeremy Toeman showed me his and it’s very cool) so why not get your own brand on everything?