Transfer Photos to Your Computer Wirelessly

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Q: Honestly, I've been spoiled by the iPhone. Now when I take a picture, I want it uploaded to the cloud immediately. Is there a way that my digital camera can do this?

A: I have always hated looking for the cable that attaches my camera to my computer. It's such a small and insignificant step, but it's still annoying. Batch transfers via a cable? Come on! What is this, 1988? And yet we all still do it, rifling through electronics drawers until we find the SD thingie or correct cable.

The Eye-Fi memory card solves the problem. After a quick setup process to give the card access to your network, you can simply snap photos and have them appear on your computer. There are plenty of settings that allow you to control which photos get sent to your computer and uploaded to photosharing sites like Flickr and Picasa. The Eye-Fi employs the "protect" feature on your camera and has worked well for me. I select the photos I'd like sent over and they just appear on my computer. It feels more magical than it should, maybe.

For a while, I had the EyeFi coupled to Flickr, but I realized that I only want to share a small subset of the photos that I send to my computer. You'll probably have to spend a little time getting your settings just right for your particular preferences.

Two supersmart features you should know:

  • "Endless Memory," makes space for you as you go, deleting your oldest content after its been safely transferred to your computer. You can turn it on or off, depending on how you like to manage memory.
  • You can setup hotspot access through AT&T so that (for example) you can upload your photos at Starbucks without your computer.

My minor quibble is that you have to set up the Eye-Fi on any network on which you want to use it -- and you can't do that from the camera. It works great from home or work, but if trying to surf from free WiFi hotspot to free WiFi hotspot, it's a bit of a pain. If the Eye-Fi could automatically use any open wireless network, it would be perfect.

Even so, the Eye-Fi is a fantastic product. It will impress your friends and neighbors.

Tools mentioned in this entry:

More questions? View the complete Toolkit archive.

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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he oversees the Technology Channel. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer calls Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science Web site in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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