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Posted in Flip Ultra, Madison WI, Miscellaneous on May 31st 2008 by Randy Reichardt

.: I was in Madison WI for a week recently, and had a very nice time. Madison is the capital of Wisconsin, and home to the University of Wisconsin’s main campus. I divided my five day stay between the homes of two friends, Jude and Lenny. Both visits were relaxed and low-key, which was just was I needed. Madison is a beautiful, seemingly gentle-paced city of about 225,000 people or so, with the campus population around 45,000 during fall and winter session.

While in Madison, I made good on my desire to buy a Flip Ultra, a little camcorder that has a good chunk of the US camcorder market, and has been getting good reviews. For unknown reasons, it is not sold in Canada (like the iPhone, the Kindle, and many other products), and those who sell it online only, like, will not ship it to Canadian addresses. I first heard about the Flip when I was in San Francisco in March, and wasn’t able to find one at the Best Buy store there, because it was sold out. While in Wisconsin, Lenny and I made a pilgrimage to find one, and we went to the four locations that sell it in-store. The first stop was Target. We went in, and approached the woman at the electronics service desk. I told her I wanted to buy a Flip, and her reaction suggested to me that I might as well have been staring into the eyes of a chicken – she had not a clue what I had just said to her.

We left the store, and went to Best Buy. The staff member there did know the Flip, they had one on display, but when she went to check for inventory, she reported that there wasn’t a single Flip Ultra at any Best Buy store in Wisconsin, never mind just in Madison. At Toys ‘R’ Us and OfficeMax, we found the basic Flip Video camera, but not the Ultra. As we were leaving, Lenny suggested we try Sears. I mentioned that the Flip web site lists Sears as an online retailer only, but we figured why not check anyway, as it the store was across the huge parking lot from OfficeMax. We walked in, and at the electronics counter were greeted by a large Flip display. Pleased to see that, we inquired about an Ultra, and the staff member produced one for us. Even better, it was the black model, the one I wanted. Needless to say, I was thrilled. Later that night, I checked in with a colleague was interested in getting one as well, and she said yes, so the next day we went back, and I bought a second unit, in the process learning that I had in fact purchased the last two models in stock, perhaps in the city!

When I returned on Friday, 23 March, I drove home from the airport, and straight to the guitar shop to retrieve my RainSong, as I had a gig that night with Carrie Hryniw. Carrie and I are planning a mini-tour in the first week of July, that will see us perform in Winnipeg on Thursday 03 July, and hopefully Friday 04 July as well.

I will continue my travels in two weeks when I fly to Seattle to attend SLA, and upon my return, fly to NYC to see Steely Dan and hang out with friends.

My most heartfelt thanks to Keith, who recently helped me considerably with the purchase and installation of a new desktop computer. In the process I gave Keith my old Dell Dimension 4400, which I had purchased in March 2002. It had slowed considerably, and was probably about 150 years old in computer years. Keith cleaned it up, gave it a new hard drive and whatever else it needed, and passed it on to a teenager eager to run iTunes. Reports indicate this young person has adopted the Dell and apparently the old machine loves its new home very much. Thanks, Keith.

Finally, on a more serious note, I learned this week that my Mom has breast cancer. We are hoping that an early diagnosis, combined with her age, will result in successful treatment and cure. I’m looking forward to a visit from my parents on June 5th for a few days before they head back to Winnipeg. Please keep my Mom in your thoughts and prayers.