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Gadget Guy: Eye-Fi Explore

Published On: Sep 30 2008 02:08:23 AM CDT   Updated On: Oct 02 2008 02:17:24 AM CDT

EYE-FI ExploreRating: 5 out of 5 Price: $129

How long do your pictures sit in your digital camera before finally making it onto your computer? What if you never had to worry about transferring them at all? Well now you can with a gadget called the Eye-Fi Explore.

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It's a brilliant idea and the fact that it works with any digital camera that uses an SD card makes it even more valuable. So what is it? At first glance, it looks like a standard SD memory card, but it?s certainly not. It's true it does have two gigs of space for pictures but it also has a built in WiFi chip!

That means when you take your pictures they are transmitted instantly to your computer, or if there's not wireless internet around the pictures will wait to transfer until there is an internet connection. And the pictures don?t just go to your computer; you have about 20 other sites they can automatically upload to as well like Google's Picasa, Facebook, CVS, etc.

But wait it gets better yet. It's called Eye-Fi Explore because when you take a picture, the card will also "geotag" the picture and that means it will mark where you took the photo as well! Then when the picture is uploaded, let's say to a site, like Flickr, those geotags remain in place and you can search via location.

Here's how the process works: When you first get the card you place it into your computer and a small program is installed. This allows you to select your preferred wireless internet connection. You can even connect to secured networks as well, and it's through this Eye-Fi manager, that you add in the passwords.

The manager also allows you to select which online services to upload to. So automatically the pictures will go to a folder on your computer but you can also select to have them automatically placed wherever you like. Then you slide the card back into the camera and really that could be the last time it's ever removed!

Use your digital camera like you normally would and watch as they show up on your computer.

So how'd this one rate?

We don't do this very often but it's getting a 5 out of 5.

The Upsides: Setup is a breeze and takes just a couple of minutes. After that it's super easy to use. Point and shoot and watch as the pictures arrive on your computer.

The Downsides: It's only available in an SD card format. In addition, it doesn?t support shared wep encryption but not a lot of people have their networks set this way.

The Bottom Line: If you are looking for some help when it comes to managing your digital photos, you?ve come to the right place. Once you use it, it's going to be hard to live without it!

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