Friday, December 19, 2008

User Group Leadership: A Path to Success in Life?


I met with Steve Lemme of the IOUG for a story on user groups in Oracle Magazine, but the written story died during the editorial process. However I taped the interview for my Up Close series and the video lives on! My Up Close series focuses on the Oracle user group community. Steve is a true believer in user groups. He believes that joining one can make you better at using the technology. He believes that being a leader in the community leads to personal growth and professional satisfaction. But enough of me talking. Watch Steve tell you himself.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

"World Changing" Database?


“We’re living in the shadow of architectural decisions that were made decades ago... but all these architectural restraints have gone away...”
-- Terry Jones of Fluid Info.

When Scoble and O’Rielly call a new take on database technology “world changing,” I figure someone at Oracle should look into it. I would guess there are teams at Oracle thinking along these same lines, but I’m not sure exactly whom, so I shotgun this out to all. Here’s Scoble’s post with videos. Here’s the inventor’s blog. I’ll post something over at Oracle Mix to get the conversation started there.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

How to Talk to Your Boss about REAL Analytics

Jeanne Harris, co-author of Competing on Analytics knocked me out with her keynote address at the Business Intelligence, Data Warehousing, and Analytics (BIWA) Summit this week at the Oracle Conference Center.

I came away with an understanding of how analytics are being used by those who do it best. Her examples: Amazon, Harrah's casinos, and the Boston Red Sox have all “dominated their fields by deploying industrial-strength analytics across a wide variety of activities.”

The talk was not heavy on technical details (the rest of the summit would provide those). Instead it focused on giving IT people the language they need to discuss the power of analytics with upper management. I caught up with her after the keynote to ask her to repeat some of what she had said. (Her publisher won’t allow me to run video, so the window below will only play audio.)
video

Monday, October 13, 2008

A Map for the Post BEA Era

I stopped by Ted Farrell's keynote at Oracle Develop 2008 and heard him give an overview of Oracle's "go forward" dev tools strategy in the wake of the influx of great technology from BEA. Below is a key section of the talk:

Friday, October 10, 2008

Speak, Write, Win

If you look at the people that make it to Oracle ACE status, they aren’t just good at technology they are also comfortable speaking and writing about what they do. (I know because I’ve interviewed many of them.) My advice? Get serious about your writing skills (as in take a class) and get over your fear of speaking publicly (as in join a speakers group). Here are a couple of examples to show you (and me), how it’s done.

Here’s Tim O’Reilly helping his employees face the economic meltdown. It's a well thought out, well written blog post. His simple message: when things get tough be creative and do stuff that matters. Thanks to Scoble for leading me to this.

Seth Godin at Google pushing the ideas in his latest book. He speaks so well that you keep watching that little Web video to hear what he’s got to say.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Exadata: It really works!


For the past three months, I and a small group of people in the creative department at Oracle have been working in secret on the HP Oracle Database Machine that Larry just announced in his OpenWorld keynote. Our group has been writing scripts for demos and videos, designing branding elements, shooting photos, and art-directing Web and print pieces. But we had no access to any REAL information about how the product was doing in real-world tests.  


Then at an Oracle Magazine lunch on Tuesday I sat next to a beta participant for the Oracle Exadata Database Machine.  Once we had established that I was on the inside of the project, he shared a story that made me look forward to the announcement even more.


Without ever mentioning the product by name, the beta participant told me that the first time he used Exadata, he and his team thought they had made a mistake.  The query came back too fast. They spent two hours on the line with Oracle trying to fix the problem. But there was no problem; Exadata was simply faster than anything they had experienced before.


I look forward to watching the the development of this technology in the real-world.  And I’m glad the months of silence and code speak are behind us.


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Mix Profile - Ode to Gus


A friend of mine is a magazine illustrator and when the editors want to publish his profile he often just jots down what he's eaten that day and maybe something about where he's been and sends it to them. It's often the most entertaining and informative profile in the magazine and I'll tell you why: you learn about people from the details of their lives and the small choices they make.

In every beginning fiction class students are asked to create a character by showing the reader small details about the characters life, "what's in his fridge?" the teacher will ask, "what kind of shoes does she wear?"

So in honor of Gus and my creative writing teachers, I wrote a new profile for Oracle Mix. (It's not as cool as the ones Gus writes because I do have specific information I am trying to impart to colleagues. )

Jeff Erickson eats oats and fruit every morning in the Oracle Plaza building and then sits down to write a story for the Database Insider or the Fusion Middleware newsletter. Or he might work on a news story for Oracle Magazine or on his Oracle community column, Up Close. Throughout the morning he will fret about updating his blog. Then it’s off to the gym at lunch where he straps on his shoes for a run along the bay with friends. Except on Wednesdays when he meets the Oracle Speakers group in Building 300. After downing a sandwich at his desk, he’ll spend the afternoon lining up interviews or writing scripts for Oracle Demos or for his new show, One Minute Oracle. Throughout the day Lawrence Leung peppers him with requests to review updates or write short tech features for Oracle.com. Then he hops on his bike for the trip home and frets a little more about updating his blog.

Update: The character count in the Oracle Mix profiles is quickly eaten up by html links, so you can't publish link heavy profiles like this one. I've asked them to fix this.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

It's HARD to Break the Marketing Mold


Yesterday a friend who is starting an Oracle blog emailed me her first post. I won’t share it here, but it a was well-written piece of marketing copy about an industry analyst report. Here’s my reply to her:

It's good, of course, but I think it's off the mark.

I think your posts need to add value right off the bat and need to ENGAGE something that’s out there on the Web or at an event, or something that’s happening here at campus.

For example, what is [our competitor] saying about the analyst numbers and how can you set the record straight?

Or how are these numbers reflected in the moves that Oracle is making? Do they mean that we can scale up developers and do stuff that others can’t? Are there some examples, such as a hiring binge in India or China or here? Are we using our market share advantage to pump out database options that no one else has the resources to build and is there someone from one of those teams that has a blog you can reference?

Other ideas for posts: Is there a new database learning event out there and is there a blog post about it you can link to? Did someone from Oracle just go to the TDWI conference and give a talk or learn something new and blog about it? Or can you link to their abstract and tell people where to learn more?

Is someone you know planning something interesting (that we can talk about) at OpenWorld: an interesting session topic, or an off-site event; something “inside” that you can show people? This is the kind of stuff you should lead with. This is the kind of stuff that will engage people in the blog.

What do you think?
It's hard to break away from the official marketing voice that we've learned over the years and speak directly to people. I applaud my friend for making the first step.
- Jeff

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Where I'm Going with Web Video


Socialrank.com has a good example on their home page of where I'm going Web video at Oracle. Click on the move below "Introducing Discovery Engine..." and you will see a way to bring some enjoyment to you and your visitor while solidly making your point. This is the quality I'm driving towards with shows like One Minute Oracle.

Of course Web video is also good for spur-of-the-moment broadcasting and we'll see a lot of that at OpenWorld, including some from me.

Friday, August 15, 2008

How Quickly Can You Construct a Video?

In the Brand and Creative group we’re experimenting with iMovie as a storytelling tool that allows you to bring real human beings into your technology reporting. So while on staycation last week, I experimented with how quickly one could use iMovie to create videos. The following one, shot on a short Mt. bike ride from the coast into Big Basin park, took me about a half hour to construct after I had pulled in the video from our Flip video. IMovie 08 makes is easy to choose scenes, add transitions and titles. I “shared” the movie at the highest quality and then uploaded the 17MB file to YouTube. BTW, this is a great little ride; Waddell Beach to Berry Creek Falls. video

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

One Minute Oracle

Over the last couple of months, I’ve turned up the intensity on my search for a way to improve the content I get from my Technology beat here at Oracle. The search has been driven by a simple question: shouldn’t a person who has researched, interviewed, and written about a technology for three years be able to produce something original and unique about that technology?

I decided to write short scripts that distill a technology to its essence and film a video about it.

The result is One Minute Oracle, a series of short YouTube videos created with Apple iMovie and Apple Keynote. My first attempt is about Certified Fusion Middleware for Oracle Application. Does that not mean much to you? It will in a minute (and 26 seconds). video

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Ace Adventures - Dan Morgan

I’m trying to decide what was the best part of PSOUG’s Oracle Days event up in Seattle last week. Was it hearing an advocate of IBM Z series fire back, quite convincingly, at IBM’s blade server rivals? Was it getting a serious lesson in data storage by Pillar Data Systems as they introduced the Axiom 600? No, the best part would have to be riding to Microsoft in Dan Morgan’s Jaguar to shoot clandestine video for our upcoming Oracle Magazine story and video podcast.

As we were driving, Morgan, second in command at the Puget Sound Oracle User’s Group, discussed the benefits of being an Oracle Ace Director. “It doesn’t lead directly to money,” he said. But it does, he said, come with interesting speaking opportunities, such as upcoming engagements that Oracle booked for him in Finland and, I think, Bulgaria. And it does lead indirectly to money.

When Morgan, a teacher of database technology in University of Washington's continuing education program, does do consulting gigs being an ACE Director can help land the job. “”When I walk into a client who is also talking to a global giant like Accenture, I simply ask if the firm is going to put someone on their account who is recognized by Oracle as one of the top people on the planet who really, really knows his stuff,” he said. “So in that way, I guess it does lead to money.”

Take a look at Morgan’s library and you will see one reason he’s an Oracle Ace Director. Also check out the other resources on the PSOUG Website and you’ll see just how good a resources a regional user group can be.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Dev Day Afternoon

I stopped by the OTN Developer Day event at Oracle headquarters last week and brought my camera. I found everyone getting their hands dirty in the new Fusion development environment and generally having a good time. Want proof? Here's a little promo I shot while there:

video

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Now, Make It Sing: Bringing BEA Content to Oracle.com

As the tech editor I’ve been part of the evolving Middleware section of Oracle.com as the BEA and Oracle marketing folks hammered out a strategy and then turned it into Web pages. I agree with the Wall Street Journal, that Oracle does indeed understand how to to manage an acquisition. An interesting side of that is the participation of former BEA people in the process. As the July 1st Webcast approached I got emails at midnight and 5 a.m. as BEA people polished up the message to match the new strategy; a strategy that saw some of their beloved technology take center stage, some get parted out to other technologies, and some get parked in maintenance mode. Here’s a little guide to BEA Oracle.com:

If you read just one page, read this.
If you want to see where most of the BEA content went: Check out this page, and look under:
Application Server
Grid Infrastructure
Data Integration
Enterprise 2.0 and Portals
Event-Driven Architecture
SOA Governance
Service-Oriented Architecture

Thanks to all the BEA and Oracle marketing people who crafted this new content and made my job easy.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Narrative vs. Actionable Content

As a writer for both print and Web (who isn’t?) I’ve leaned to bring a different mindset to each medium. On the page, I take the reader with me on a journey by constructing active sentences that blend smoothly into enjoyable paragraphs that build a compelling narrative. But the Web requires a different mindset. I try to be aware of where the reader came from and where he/she might want to go at any point in my content. As part of this informative article, Jacob Nielson provides the best summary I’ve seen on the differences between writing for print vs. Web:

Linear vs. non-linear.
Author-driven vs. reader-driven.
Storytelling vs. ruthless pursuit of actionable content.
Anecdotal examples vs. comprehensive data.
Sentences vs. fragments.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Oracle Grid Grows Up

In the old days, circa 2004, many were heard to say that when it comes to grid computing at Oracle, “RAC is Grid”. But I recall meetings in 2005 when guys like Dave Pearson were arguing to broaden the message to include at least virtualization and hopefully more; anywhere we can help customers pool and share computing resources in the data center.

Well, I just read George Demarest’s brand spanking new white paper on Oracle Grid Computing and it looks like Oracle has, through a combination of acquisitions and home grown technologies, turned Dave’s vision for Oracle Grid Computing as a broad and supple software offering into a reality.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

New Community Market Near Oracle?


Hello my Oracle compatriots. This post is not about our technology but about our surroundings here at headquarters. There is a new kind of community market that’s helping revitalize the city of Napa, and there’s a move afoot to get a similar market in our neighboring town of San Carlos. There is an abandoned grocery store on the main strip in San Carlos that is begging for something like the Oxbow Market. Check out this story in the San Jose Mercury for a good summation of the Oxbow Market experience. There’s also this impromptu interview I shot with one of the Oxbow tenants while I was in Napa.

One of the interesting things about Oxbow Market is that alongside the charcuterie and the cheese shop and the bakery are built-in stalls so farmers can bring in their best seasonal produce. The whole presentation creates a great setting for the small restaurants.

For all of you who live in the area and would like to see something this progressive and enjoyable take over this abandoned market, there’s one simple thing you can do: visit this post on a popular San Carlos real estate blog and put in a comment supporting the market.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Bike to Work Day!

One thing I like about Silicon Valley communities is their progressive spirit. This morning at the San Carlos train station I ran into the “Bike to Work Energizer Station” sponsored by the Peninsula Traffic Congestion Relief Alliance, who can be found at www.511.org. Thank you, ladies!
video

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Web 2.0. It’s Good Old Fashioned Business

A business-savvy friend asked me to explain Web 2.0. For background, this friend has built several businesses, taken disruptive new technologies to market, and has now established a thriving consultancy in Washington DC. He knows more about the psychology and the nuts and bolts of a business transaction than 99.9 percent of the people at the Web 2.0 conference last week. But he knew he needed to begin to understand how to use Web 2.0 for the future of his business. I sent him the usual reading and a link to O’rielly’s “What is Web 2.0” page. But more importantly, I emailed him this short “Old vs New” list I leaned from Greg Syverson over at Grunt Media:

Old: Brand protection. New: Brand adoption.
Old: Credibility. New: Street cred.
Old: Corporate filter. New: Personal voice.
Old: Serious and square. New: Casual and real.
Old: Everything is just great. New: Everything is cool.

My friend quickly realized that Web 2.0 didn’t negate any of his accumulated knowledge, it simply embraced and extended the way he built his businesses in the first place, with honesty and personal relationships.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Guessing at the Future

One niggling task of a Senior Editor at Oracle is to occasionally update the Oracle Timeline with product news and other notable items. The idea is that the choices I make will serve as a public record for the future.

Those choices were much easier when I was writing about 1983 when we could look back and see that the decision to make Oracle database widely compatible and portable would turn out to be monumental.

But what decisions being made today will echo through the ages? I think the fact that Database 11g adoption is strong will be important. And there might be sleepers like the new Enterprise Manager option for monitoring the user experience, or the new testing suite based on the recently announced, yet already legendary Real Application Testing.

Will Oracle middleware for applications be seen as a step towards something huge? I think it will. But will the recently announced extension of support for legacy versions of E-business Suite, which is extremely important to current customers, be remembered as “news” in five years time? Your guess is as good as mine.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

ACE Adventures – Floyd Teter

When I asked Oracle ACE, Floyd Teter, if he had a minute to talk during the COLLABORATE conference in April he checked his iPhone and said, “How about 7 a.m. on Wednesday.” Here’s our conversation.
Check out Floyd's recent blog post: Fusion on a Shoestring.
And here are the OTN best practices centers where you can learn to put Oracle middleware for applications into practice.

video

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Collaborate08 Chronicles: Hands-On Labs - Middleware

One of my goals at Collaborate08 was to learn more about how my contented life as a writer about Oracle technology (middleware and database) is going to be disrupted by the ever-closer relationship between middleware and those formerly foreign objects known as applications. I thought the Hands-On Labs for Service Enabling your Oracle Applications, would provide some clues.

Juliana Button and her team worked with 550 people over the course of three days to show them how to service enable their applications. In a break between sessions she was nice enough to sit down with me and explain. Visit the new Best Practice Centers for E-Business Suite, Siebel, and PeopleSoft for lots of information and resources.


video

Sunday, April 13, 2008

ACE Dinner - Collaborate08



In San Francisco when you ask a waiter where their steak comes from they will usually tell you something about the farm where the animal was raised, like Neiman Ranch. At the Oracle ACEs dinner in Denver I asked and the waitress answered, “Texas”. But that is the only time at the ACE dinner when a question went curtly or vaguely answered. Oracle ACES were in fine form and the information was flowing. Highlights of the evening were Edward Roske providing the background I need to understand the things I’ll be hearing and seeing this week about Hyperion. He should know, he’s leading ten sessions in the Hyperion track over the next three days. I also met Peter Koletzke, author of JDeveloper for Forms and PL/SQL Developers, and set up breakfast to speak to Floyd Teter of ORCLVille blog fame. The ACE dinner was a great way to get in the swing for Collaborate08. And the salmon wasn’t bad either.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

APEX in Three Minutes



This is a follow up to my recent post on Oracle Application Express (APEX). The new product demo is live and except for a project management snafu that voided a few of my finer edits, it works admirably to tell the APEX story in 3 minutes.

If this demo piques your interest, check out David Peake’s blog, where he’s posted a list of APEX related sessions at next week’s Collaborate08 conference in Denver.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Database 11g: All the Ingredients for Success



The PR guys sent over a draft of a release about customers who’ve adopted Oracle Database 11g.
As I read about how well Database 11g is faring out in the world, I was reminded of the days when it was still cooking in the Oracle kitchen. Oracle was flying customers in to try it and signing them up for a broad beta. In those days we were like a chef serving up a new dish. Would they like it? Would they detect the finer details – that flourish in the mid palate; would they appreciate that satisfying finish? I interviewed beta tester after beta tester when they had sampled Database 11g and after a moment’s consideration, they each smiled.

“You like it?!” With some small qualifications, they did. Which left us dying to know what it was that they REALLY liked. Was it Real Application Testing? We put a lot of thought into that one. Was it Advanced Compression? What about Total Recall? What about Active Data Guard, and on and on. We were dying to know!

For many and various reasons, they did like it (check out this interview). You could see the measured satisfaction on the faces of the product managers as customers dug into the features and asked their questions.

Oracle Database 11g on Linux has been out for most of a year now and on Windows (or here) for many months. Customers are ordering it with increasing regularity.

With the nice press release, the cooks in the Oracle kitchen; the architects, developers, testers, product managers, and the rest can take some satisfaction at the success of their creation. Then it’ll be time to get back to the kitchen.

Photo by Cindy at food migration.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Oracle Wiki Weekly Digest. Yay!


I just got my first “newsletter” from the Oracle Wiki and I’m thrilled. How, you ask, can a newsletter thrill me? Don’t I receive five newsletters a day? Yes I do, but here’s the difference. The Oracle Wiki Weekly Digest is from a community to which I belong (Oracle Wiki contributors), and it provides a service that I need: It babysits the wiki and sends me updates on new and edited pages.

The other newsletters I get have a much broader focus and are intended to advertise. In some ways I’m really doing a service for the sender by receiving it because they get paid by getting me a newsletter and getting me to open it.

My question is, how can we make Oracle newsletters (for which I often write stories) more like the Wiki Digest? The answer is to keep a mindset of service, not advertising. People who receive the Oracle newsletters belong to the Oracle community. Many have staked their career on knowledge of Oracle technology, but they can’t keep track of Oracle’s growing product list and what people are saying about it.

I pledge to keep a mindset of service, not advertising, next time I put pen to paper for an Oracle newletter. Thank you Oracle Wiki Weekly Digest for the reminder.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Collect Data. Share a Narrative.


My friend Doria was recently blogged over at make money not art about her gorgeous RFID medical alert bracelets. One of the things she said reminded me a lot of what I heard people saying at the Oracle business intelligence user group (BIWA SIG) conference last year. She said:

“We have the technology to collect and process a lot of data. I'm more interested in the narrative -- qualitative than quantitative information. I'm more prone to remember a good story than facts and figures. My personal view is that of all the data we record, the most precious ones are stories. These are impressions --- real, reconstructed, or imagined memories -- that are a trace of our human experience. Ultimately, the network of things…is connected to a network of people.”

Doria was talking about making well-crafted objects that become part of the story of the user, but she might just as well have been talking about the RFID data collected from the bracelets and the collective human story it can tell (privacy issues aside). Tableau Software's presentation at the BIWA conference said much the same thing.

Oracle’s work in BI, data warehousing, and analytics is making this kind of qualitative storytelling from data available to a lot more people. The BIWA group and Oracle blogs (scroll down to BI blogs) are a great way to keep up with Oracle’s thinking on this.

Friday, March 21, 2008

You Should Know About Oracle Mix



A few days ago I started a group on Oracle Mix for my speakers club.

“Oracle Mix? Never heard of it,” said my club president, a longtime Oracle guy. I don’t blame him. Not many people know about it yet, and admittedly it’s still in beta.

But it’s here to stay and offers a new set of tools dedicated to communication between Oracle employees, partners and customers. Think of it as a big Yahoo group dedicated to Oracle, but with lots more chances for cross-pollination of ideas, knowledge, and resources.

Oracle Mix is predicated on the theory that the crowd is smarter than the individual. The idea is to give Oracle people a place to meet and they’ll spark ideas and help each other in ways that centrally controlled communications could never match. You can learn a lot more about social networking on the blog of the guys who created Oracle Mix.

The thing is still in beta and I’ve already experienced the magic.

I was looking to help a friend, who also works for Oracle, make contacts in a new division because he has great ideas about how Oracle can benefit form the new Apple iPhone SDK. I happened to be on Oracle Mix and noticed a Q&A conversation about the iPhone SDK and Oracle. I alerted my friend so he could jump in the conversation, share his ideas, and make his contacts.

Would we have found him the right people eventually? Sure. But with Oracle Mix he was able to jump into an ongoing conversation of like-minded people around the company and he was off and running. This is why you should know about Oracle Mix

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Enterprise Manager 11g: The Business Value of UI

I spent a day last week interviewing Oracle Enterprise Manager customers who were on the Oracle campus to beta test Oracle Enterprise Manager 11g. The interviews are for a feature story in the Sept/Oct issue of Oracle Magazine. Almost like a cop with suspects, I brought them individually into my interview room and asked them the same questions to see if their story held together. For the most part, it did.

These were all accomplished DBAs and architects, so I found it interesting that all but one started by discussing the new, highly improved Web-based user interface. When I asked why they cared, they told me that it has to do with bringing new DBAs up to speed in dozens of locations around the world, and having all those distant DBAs speaking the same EM language. It’s much easier, they said, when they are all sharing a simpler user experience. I’ll post screens when I get clearance. Which brings me to another point.

In future posts I will go over more of the features they seemed excited about, but as an Oracle employee I need to be careful when talking about features that may or may not make it into the release I’m discussing.

As feature lists firm up and the magazine story develops, I promise to discuss more than just the spiffy new user interface, which I’m pretty sure will make it in.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

APEX: Big Buzz for a Little Tool

Every time I turn around I find someone looking for help with their project to promote Oracle Application Express (APEX). First there was a podcast, then another podcast by a friend in product marketing, then David Kelly’s magazine article, then a flash demo with David Peake (who's blog is a great entry point into the blogesphere on APEX). Why all this attention to a small time tool in the database for writing simple Web applications?

A couple of reasons:

First there is a new release, APEX 3.1, about which Scott Spendolini has begun blogging. Scott was on the team that wrote HTML DB, the predecessor to APEX, and told me once that his team wasn’t sure if their product would ever find its way into Oracle’s product mix. Once APEX was live and customers started discovering the cool workflow and inventory apps they could throw together using this tool, it found a loyal fan base. (Scott eventually left Oracle and started this company building apps for departments and small companies using APEX.)

That brings us to the other reason for the all the attention to APEX. Oracle wants to stop the baffling practice by its enterprise customers of licensing an Oracle Database for its mission critical work and then licensing a competitors database for smaller departmental needs. With the new release and the accompanying buzz, Oracle is simply asking its customers, “why spend money on a less secure and scalable database when the best tool for your needs is in the database you already own?”

Friday, February 29, 2008

Guerrilla Video and You

Here in the Oracle Publishing group we’re always trying to expand our skills and find new ways to tell our stories. Last week I attended a “Video on the Web” course hosted by Stanford’s New Media Group. Here, my fellow guerrillas, are some quick takeaways:

Video:
Don't put your subject in the middle of the screen. Instead, follow the rule of thirds. From an artistic standpoint, this gives your subject room on screen to send their energy. A person in the middle of the screen is alone in the cross hairs. Consider this: When a person is in the center of the screen in the movies, he or she is about to be killed.

Don’t use the zoom on your camera. Walk closer to your subject.

Keep your camera still. If, for example, your subject mentions her watch and points to it, don’t pan down to the watch. Keep the camera on her face and go back later to get the watch shot.

If you’re filming someone up close, don’t cut him or her off at major joints (neck, hips, knees), but somewhere in between.

Audio:
Rule #1: Get your microphone close to the source.

If you’re recording sound with a separate device from your camera, get both devices rolling and then clap or snap your fingers three times, that will give you a strong digital signal that you can use to sync the video and audio while editing.

Lighting:
Don’t film near windows. Otherwise, lighting is complicated. Ask me if you want more. My little Flip video camera is fantastic in bad light, so I’m not going to worry about it for now.

Publishing plan:
Is this a one-off video or a serialized video? What’s the format: interview, talk show, spokesperson, documentary, guycom?

Distribution:
Are you going to stream or are you going to offer a progressive download. (YouTube and Kite.tv are streaming video, podcasts are progressive downloads) Both have their merits and their drawbacks. Brightcove or Cachefly can host progressive downloads of your video podcasts.

Editing:
If you’re using something like iMovie to edit, always save at the highest resolution. You can optimize it later with something like Visual Hub.

Image resource:
Check out iStockphoto for royalty free photos for only a few bucks.

The New Media Group will be sending me their picks for affordable, high quality video and audio equipment. Will pass that along.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Oracle's New Data Integration Suite

Just recorded a podcast for Oracle Magazine about Oracle Data Integration Suite with Jeff Pollock from the server technologies group at Oracle. We then stepped outside and shot this video so I could get a little more background on Jeff and his work. For more about the Suite, Loraine Lawson offers a review at IT Business Edge. You can also read Vincent McBurney’s post at ITtoolbox, “With a wave of the magic wand, Oracle produces a data integration suite.” Dive deeper on Oracle.com and OTN. video