Eye-Fi (something I saw at MacWorld 2010)

I've ordered an Eye-Fi card so my camera can geotag and download pics without a cable: Full line of products or via Picasa Get it "free" with a Picasa paid storage account.

Your camera thinks it is a 2G memory card. However, it has a WiFi thingie built in and your Mac or PC sees it as a computer it can download pictures from. The advanced cards have an "infiniite memory" mode where it is always downloading to your computer, freeing up space for more pictures.

The company's comparison chart defaults to only showing "featured models" but when I clicked on "Show all" I found a page that listed the exact combination of features that I wanted: Free geo tagging for life and basically nothing else. The other features looked good, but I'm too cheap. I find that with electronics I'm happier when I err on the side of cheapness.

As cameras get bigger and bigger memories I download the photos less and less often. I recently found 1+ year old photos that hadn't been copied to my computer. That means if the camera was lost, stolen, or broken I would have lost those photos. Someday a device like this should just notice when it is near a WiFi hotspot and magically start uploading the photos to an online service like Picasa or Flickr without any manual intervention. The most expensive model has all the features to permit that (including a $14.99/year service that gets "free" wifi at major hotel and other hotspots) but at $149.99, + $14.99/year (first year "free"), I'm willing to do it manually.

If I do start to crave the new features, I can upgrade this model (they have tons of activation codes for sale, but you have to call their customer service people to find out they exist). Or, I can buy the super cool "Pro X2" model that has every feature under the sun, and re-gift my current model.

I had heard of this product before but what convinced me to get one was the demo I saw at MacWorld 2010 2 weeks ago. The company had booth and were doing demos. I was impressed and the woman said, "Do you have your camera with you?" I said yes and soon she had pulled her demo unit out of her camera and put it in my camera. We took a few pictures which were instantly displayed on her computer's big display. Proof positive that my camera was compatible. I nearly bought one right then and there!

Posted by Tom Limoncelli in Misc

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I was going to buy one of these until I learned that the Geotagging feature isn't actually using a GPS in the card - it's using Skyhook's Wifi-based location system, so if you're away from wireless networks, it won't be able to supply a location:

http://www.eye.fi/how-it-works/features/geotagging

It would probably be fine for someone who only takes pictures in urban/populated environments, but not for people who want to use it away from civilization.

True. However, for the cost, it is completely reasonable. A real GPS would be a lot more expensive.

Also, it doesn't require you to be logged onto a WiFi network, just near a base station. They use the base-station ID to figure out where you are and that can be determined without actually being on the network.

How do they know where a base station is? Suppose you have a cell phone with GPS and WiFi. When it detects a new WiFi base station, it uses the GPS to send the base station's location to their central database. As long as cell phones that are using their software have been near that base station recently, they have a fairly good guess of where it is. (they do the same thing for non-GPS cell phones using cell tower triangulation)

Not super accurate, but a brilliant idea.

I'd be happy if my photos were just tagged with the right state or country. Any info is better than no info.

Tom

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