Today, Cisco decided to kill off its line of Flip video cameras, effectively acknowledging both that enterprise networking and consumer cameras don't mix well and that smartphones are taking over the consumer video space. But what happens if you do have a Flip and you want to keep using it?
Cisco has said that it will "support current FlipShare customers and partners with a transition plan", but details are sketchy. Nonetheless, it seems unlikely that we'll see many (if any) more releases of the actual FlipShare editing and sharing software, and that might be of concern to you if you're already a FlipShare user.
Note that at this moment, there's nothing to stop you keeping on using the existing FlipShare software you've got for editing, or from using it to upload video to YouTube or Facebook. What is likely to disappear eventually is the ability to create private Flip Channels for sharing. Over time, it's also probably that the FlipShare software itself might not work so well. In truth, the software has always been the weak link in the Flip chain -- it's buggy, difficult to update, and very resource-intensive. Future patches and updates to Windows might well render it inoperable.
I've been a keen Flip user for some time, but I've tended to avoid using its software. While it does a reasonably efficient job of transferring movies from the camera, the editing tools are minimal, and I've often found the file sharing tools don't work at all. This is how you can get the same tasks done on Windows without using FlipShare.
TRANSFERRING MOVIES: When you connect your camera to a Windows PC, the Flip will most likely pop up a window like the one pictured here. If you select the 'Open folder to view files' option, you'll see the Flip mounted as a drive. Navigate into the DCIM folder and then the 100Video folder. Any videos you have shot will be here. You can drag or drop them to any other location (most likely your Video library) to copy them to your PC. (If you don't get the pop-up window, select Computer from the Start menu and you should see the camera on the list of drives.
EDITING MOVIES: Check out our Hive Five of video editing software. For basic editing, the free Windows Live Movie Maker software is pretty slick -- certainly a lot better than FlipShare itself.
UPLOADING MOVIES: Once you're done editing, using the built-in upload tools on YouTube and Facebook is actually just as efficient as FlipShare, and normally gives you a better indication of how uploading is using. For YouTube, sign in to and click on the Upload button in the top bar. In Facebook, click on the Video button (just below your News Feed headline) and choose Upload a Video.
I'll emphasise again -- if FlipShare is working well for you now, it's not likely to stop working well straight away. But it might be a different situation a year down the line. If the camera itself is still working and meets your needs at that point, you're not completely reliant on the software.
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