Friday, July 30, 2010

Eye-Fi is so cool

I may have written about Eye-Fi before, but I don't care. If you have a digital camera that uses SD cards (like most cameras these days) and you don't have an Eye-Fi card, you are missing out on some great potential for your camera.

Eye-Fi cards plug into your camera and make your camera awesome.

First off, they have a wireless antenna in them.  So as you take photos around your house, they are instantly transferred over your home network back to your computer.  (Or, if you're out and about, as soon as you get home, turn on your camera and your pictures are whisked to your computer.)

Some cards don't need a wireless network and establish their own in order to let you move photos to a laptop while you're out.  There's even a way to combine that with a slideshow program so that the photos you're taking automatically show up on the slideshow.  What an awesome way to do a wedding reception or conference where you're projecting fresh photos up as soon as you've taken them.

You can also spend $30/year and it will move photos to your home computer anytime you're in the AT&T coverage area.   (When you do that, it also geotags all your photos.)

A "relayed upload" option lets you pass the photos through Eye-Fi's server.  Then when your computer regains internet access, the photos start rolling in automatically.

Some cards have an "Endless Memory" feature - as soon as it verifies the photo has safely made it to your computer, it removes it from the card to free up space.

Most cameras also feature a "protect" or "lock" mode for photos.  I'd never used it before on our camera, but you can tell Eye-Fi to (a) only upload the ones that you mark to your computer or (b) upload all photos to your computer but upload the marked photos to the online service you specify in advance.

And if you have an iPhone, there's a free app you can get for it that will let you also transfer your iPhone photos back to your home computer from anywhere as well.  (You have to own at least one Eye-Fi card in order to use the Eye-Fi iPhone app - even though you're not using the card in your phone, of course.)

And that's just photos.  They also have cards that do all this cool stuff with video.

The technical... I did not have any trouble setting up the Eye-Fi card with our wireless network at home.  (It's WEP-secured with a non-broadcasting SSID with specific-MAC-address only restrictions and fixed DHCP assignments - complicated) but I did have a little trouble getting the iPhone app set-up.  You'll need to be at home for the initial setup because you'll need to be able to go online and establish some of the settings and add the iPhone to your account.  Also, I had lost the card reader that came with the card, so I wasn't able to update the firmware on the card until I found a new card readerr, conveniently attached to the new work laptop, yay.
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