Once upon a time, using a memory card to capture pictures actually seemed like an extraordinary convenience. Compared to buying film, loading it, rewinding it at the end of a roll and taking it to the photo lab for developing, popping a card out of a camera, into a computer, and uploading photos to the web seemed like a snap. And it is. But it can get even easier.
A Californian company has devised an extraordinarily simple way to get photos to the web by cutting the computer out of the equation. Eye-Fi’s wireless-enabled memory card allows photographers to take pictures and send them directly to the Web from their cameras, without so much as clicking a single button.
Image Courtesy of Eye-Fi
Through some miracle of miniaturization, all the parts necessary to store both 2GB worth of photos and send them through a Wi-Fi radio have been stuffed into a package no bigger than the same 2GB card you might ordinarily use. The little SD card would actually be indiscernible from its conventional brothers if not for its bright orange color and Eye-Fi branding, and it will fit in all the same cameras.
This means there are no actual controls on the card. In order to initially configure it for what it needs to do, the card slips into a tiny USB dock that in turn plugs into a computer, where all the settings can be configured through an Eye-Fi application. This includes choosing a network for the card to interface with, and a photo site for it to upload to. Both 802.11b and 802.11g networks are supported, but it can’t handle hot spots that require users to log in through a splash page (like the type you would use for paid service at Starbucks), so only open and password-protected networks will be of any use. Fortunately, 17 photo networks, from Snapfish and Shutterfly, to Flickr and Facebook, are available to choose from.
After configuration, the process can’t get any simpler: Just take photos, and walk within range of your Wi-Fi network. The card should connect within 90 feet of a router when outdoors, or within about 45 feet indoors. There aren’t any buttons to press or menus to navigate, the card just sees the network, uploads, and the pictures appear. If you intend to save copies of the photos on your computer, it can even be configured to send them there instead, or to both a photo site and the computer.
The Eye-Fi wireless memory card runs for $99.99 USD, which could easily net an 8GB or even larger SD card – but not with the same ease of use. For a technologically inept relative or just an avid photographer who’s sick of cables, the Eye-Fi card offers an ultra-simple way to get images out in front of eyes, where they belong. Find out more information on the Eye-Fi website.