At Home with Tech

It’s time to maximize the potential of all your gadgets.

Tag: Eye-Fi

At Home with Tech – The Year in Review

How about 50 Tech Tips for my 50th post to kick off the New Year? Let’s begin!

How about 50 Tech Tips for my 50th post to kick off the New Year? Let’s begin!

We’ve covered a lot of ground this year!
And what have we learned in our quest to keep our digital gears spinning at home?
The trek is never over.
But the journey doesn’t have to be so confusing.

That said, it’s time for my year in review!
Here are my 50 tech tips to take with you into the New Year:

50 At Home with Tech Tips

What’s Your Backup Plan?
#1 – Technology is a Tool That Will Eventually Turn on You
That T-800 with your name is never far away.
So don’t get complacent.

It Got Cloudy
#2 – Happily, There’s Life After MobileMe
If you want to share your photos online, use Flickr.
For your home videos, use YouTube or Vimeo.
If you need to share some files, then go with Dropbox.

Date Night and the 42” Plasma
#3 – Without Planning, You Can’t Guarantee a Good Date Night Movie at Home
(Even with full access to Cable TV, Netflix DVDs/Streaming, Apple TV, Roku, and Blockbuster!)

My Mission for the Perfect Picture
#4 – Taking an Amazing Photo Is Often Just an Accident
Embrace your accidents! And keep taking lots of pictures. It’s free.
Statistics are in your favor.

The IT Guy is in the Doghouse
#5 – Don’t Try to Win the Battle with Older Tech
Your tech is only as strong as its weakest link.
Enough said.

Your Shoebox Vs. the Cloud
#6 – Print an Annual Photo Book of Your Life
Otherwise, your best photos will get lost in the quagmire of your photo glut.
Time is your enemy.

I Am a Road Warrior
#7 – When a Tech Door Closes, Look for a Window to Open
My cable company locked down its box, which shut off my mobile media viewing on my portable DVD player. Then, streaming cable content on my iPhone became available through services like HGO Go.
Go figure.

With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility
#8 – Just Because You Know How to Make Someone Younger in a Photo Doesn’t Mean You Should
My digital moral code says don’t mess with someone’s CDI.
(The Core Digital Integrity of a person’s image).

Please Rate This Product…or Else
#9 – No Product Ever Gets a Perfect Score Online
You’ve got no choice but to rely on Tech Group Think.

Is it Time to Stockpile Light Bulbs?
#10 – New Tech Light Bulbs Cost $50!
Thank The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.
It says incandescent bulbs aren’t cutting it anymore and need to be 25% more efficient or else.
The solution? Pricey LED Bulbs.
The new darling ‘A Bulb’ by Philips launched with a steep $50 price tag.

The Art of Inaction, Part 1
#11 – The Tao of Total Tech Caution Says Don’t Upgrade Unless You Absolutely Have To
That also means never buy the first of anything.

The Art of Inaction, Part 2
#12 – Remember the Software Update Button
When you finally upgrade to a new operating system months after the rest of the world, don’t forget to immediately check Software Update.
Otherwise, gremlins will show up!

Parental Omniscience for only $24.95
#13 – You Can Have X-ray Vision Through Your Smart Phone
An Eye-Fi wireless memory card + a Flickr Pro account, + Flickr’s iPhone app = The power to almost instantly see photos of my lad’s adventures wherever I am.

Loving the Loser Light Bulb
#14 – Don’t Spend $50 on the Lexus of New LED Bulbs
Go with the runner up bulb for $15- Philips’ AmbientLED!

Joe and the End of Your World
#15 – If Your Coffee Mug Spills Near Your Computer, Game Over
Buy the HotJo Stoneware Wide Base Travel Mug.
(It’s pear-shaped!)

Living in the Amazon and Loving It
#16 – Amazon Prime Is the Best $79 You Will Ever Spend
Amazon to the rescue…
Every day!

Taming the Evil Work BlackBerry
#17 – It’s Okay to Turn Into a Pumpkin
Choose a time to stop responding to work emails on nights and weekends.
Everyone is supposed to catch some Z’s at some point.

Cancel the Cable TV Mutiny
#18 – 50,000 Free Hot Spots Coast to Coast
The cable industry announced it will share metro Wi-Fi services throughout the nation.
Now we’re talking!

Saying “Sleep Tight from 5,000 Miles Away
#19 – When Traveling Internationally, Keep Your Smartphone Connected on the Cheap with Skype
Buy a Skype Online Number plus a $2.99/month Unlimited US and Canada plan.

The Price of Staying Connected
#20 – Skype Video Can Work on 3G (4G) If the Signal Is Strong Enough

At Home without Tech
#21 – The Digital Sisyphus Always Looms
Do you fear being at home without tech?
Fear is a great motivator. And so is a deadline.
Do your Apple software upgrades or suffer the consequences.

Laptop Time Machine
#22 – Your Laptop Really Is a Time Portal!
The tether of your social media connections remains long after you’ve moved on.
Today’s younger generation will never experience completely losing touch with old friends for decades.

Remembering MobileMe
#23 – Life Isn’t Easy. Why Should Your Virtual Existence Be Any Different?
The marketing gurus say moving your email to iCloud is so easy even a child can do it.
I say you’d better have a child around to show you how.

I Sold My Soul to the Digital Devil
#24 – Final Cut Pro X Claims to End the Era of Pesky Transcoding
Yes, FCP X will grudgingly edit your camera’s native H.264 MOV files without you first having to transcode them.

High Tide at Grand Central
#25 – My Favorite New York Minute of the Day!

Singing the Blu-ray Blues
#26 – It’s Painful, but Stick with Blu-ray Disks
Here are five reasons:
-The downloadable copy
-The extras come with extra extras
-DVD Player, Say hello to VHS Player in the attic
-Owning atoms instead of bytes

The Joy of Shopping at Midnight in your Underwear
#27 – Unless You’re Out of Toilet Paper,
Online Shopping Is the Way to Go!

Who’s got time to waste traveling to the mall, hoping they’ll have what you need and then waiting in a long line?

GPS Jane
#28 – Garmin Nuvi Loses to My iPhone During Their GPS Smackdown
(Probably still holds true even after Apple’s ‘Map-Gate’ debacle)

Going Batty Buying Movie Music
#29 – It’s Almost Impossible to Purchase the Complete Soundtrack for
“The Dark Knight Rises”
I found at least five bonus tracks available across two sales channels.
Holy Complex Marketing Scam, Batman!

Five Tips to Rescue your Best Summer Family Photos
#30 – Brutally Choose Your Best Photos and Leave the Rest Behind
The more vacation pictures you bring home to clog up your computer, the smaller the odds are you’ll actually share any of your best photos with family and friends.
Your only chance is to quickly find the few gems and forget the rest.

My iPad Doesn’t Brake for Flash
#31 – Apple’s Mobile Devices Don’t Use Adobe Flash Player
Now, Adobe has removed its Flash Player from the Google Play store, which is the beginning of the end for Android and BlackBerry PlayBook owners.

My New Area Code Twists My Tech-Dentity
#32 – Skype Online Numbers Let You Choose Your Area Code!
Now, you too can be a New Yorker without moving out of the ‘burbs…

My Laptop Battery Got Pregnant
#33 – Don’t be Surprised If the Lithium-Ion Battery In Your Old Apple Laptop Turns Into the Hulk
Mine did. After some research in the X-Files, I realized I was not alone.

I Don’t Know How to Install my Wireless IP Camera, Part 1
#34 – This Journey Can Break Anyone’s Tech Zen
I had no choice but to continue on and risk ‘tech-tastrophe.’

I Don’t Know How to Install my Wireless IP Camera, Part 2
#35 – My Winning Tech Death Match Against the Foscam
Wireless IP Camera

(model FI8910W)

Ode to iPhone 5
#36 – My 4S Contract Says It’s Not Yet Time to Upgrade
Instead, write a poem!

Epson Multifunction Printer Vs. Multi-Talented Toddler
#37 – In the Hands of Baby McGyver, the Evil Power of the Penny Will Destroy Your Printer
Time to look for a new one on sale.

All I Want is to Have my Peace of Mind and Cloud Storage
#38 – You Need a Backup Cloud Solution
For total peace of mind you should create a copy of your precious home media offsite.
I went with the CrashPlan+ Unlimited one-year plan.

How to Rescue your iPhone Voicemail
#39 – Use an Old Analog Mini Audio Plug and Audacity Software
Rerecord your messages and save your visual voicemail onto your computer as AIFF audio files.

My Cable Box Blurred my Political View
#40 – Don’t Press the “#” on Your Cablevision DVR Remote Control. Ever.
Don’t lean on it. Don’t point at it. Don’t look at it.
You’re welcome.

How to Fix Your Broken Email
#41 – Use Connection Doctor
It will tell you if you’ve got the right incoming and outgoing mail server settings.
Then listen for the happy ‘Whoosh’ or ‘Ping!’

Fighting the Digital Darkness after Hurricane Sandy
#42 – MiFi Can Repair Your Broken Tech Bubble
If your smartphone has a signal, and you’ve got some power at home,
a MiFi mobile hotspot generator will get the rest of your tech back in business.

How to Lose Your Email while Upgrading from Entourage to Outlook
#43 – Moving to Outlook for Mac 2011 Shouldn’t Be Hands-Off
After loading it, you’ve then got to copy all your email over from Entourage!
And if you’re not careful, you’ll create unwanted duplicates from your mail server and then accidentally purge your entire email archive. (like me)
Check the settings first!

I Got Lost While on Safari 6.0.2
#44 – Safari Has Received Some Significant ‘Upgrades’
Get used to the Google URL OMNIBAR.

Best Digital Cameras to Capture Your Speedy Toddler
#45 – Buy Last Year’s Canon PowerShot S100 at a Great Discount
I also got the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens to upgrade my old Canon T1i DSLR.

The Beginner’s Guide to Editing Your Camera’s Video Clips
#46 – There’s Nothing Like a Deadline to Push Your Video to Completion!
Shoot some video. Edit it. And distribute the magic. All in one day!
I took the challenge and quickly created a little finished flick from my father-and-son outing to Stepping Stones Museum.

Holiday Gift Guide for Home Tech
#47 – Nine Winning Tech Gifts for Anytime of Year!

Blinded by the UltraViolet Promise in Your New Blu-ray Movie
#48 – UltraViolet Streaming Has Replaced Free iTunes Downloads on
Blu-ray Disks

This bait-and-switch has only further destabilized my commitment to physical discs.

What Photomosaic Software is Best?
#49 – Download cf/x Photo Mosaic v 2.0 for $29.99 From the Mac App Store
Become the new family Picasso!

#50 – Keep Blog Posts Short.
(I’m working on it!)

Happy New Year!
(And I wish you much ‘Tech Clarity’ in 2013!)

Parental Omniscience for only $24.95

This is Doggie, my son’s favorite lovey. Doggie is with my old Canon Elph 960 (yes that’s scotch tape holding it together) and its Eye-Fi card, which wirelessly uploads photos of my son to my iPhone. Recently, my boy’s photo stream stopped flowing. Doggie was sad. He asked Dada for help.

I know what it feels like to be Thor and cast out.
I had everything just the way I liked it, and I was happily ruling my own universe.

By that I mean I’d been using the magic of the Eye-Fi wireless memory card for the past two years to open up a personal portal into my son’s daily adventures.  While I was away at work.

Allow me to explain.

Eye-Fi Magic
The Eye-Fi card is a wireless memory card you put in your camera, just like any other card. The difference is Eye-Fi also has Wi-Fi built into it.
(That makes it twice as expensive.)

But for the price, you get the power of the Cloud. After you take a picture, your camera doesn’t need to be tethered to your computer to upload. Instead, Eye-Fi immediately sends your photos to your computer’s hard drive and the Web wirelessly and effortlessly.

So after a fun photo session of my son sucking down applesauce, my camera’s battery provides the 4 gig Eye-Fi card the power to chat with my MobileMe online photo gallery I created with iPhoto. Apple also has a great app called Gallery, which perfectly displays all of my son’s photos on my iPhone.

I could see all…
It was a beautiful thing.

And the piece de resistance?
My Eye-Fi account would then email or text me whenever new photos had been uploaded.

Say I was away at a boring meeting, wondering what my little boy was up to.
I’d hear the text ping go off, whip out my iPhone, and show my colleagues photos of my son’s latest milestone taken minutes earlier. Pretty cool!

This trick did wear out its public welcome, but it has been invaluable for me.
It seemed like magic two years ago, but with everything going Cloud based these days, it’s just another mortal tool to make your digital life a little easier.

Dark Clouds
But one day, a storm approached.
And I was cast out. I looked up, and I saw iCloud everywhere.
I would need to learn the ways of mere mortals.

We know MobileMe’s days are numbered.
But I think Apple has already begun pulling the plug.
A couple of months back, my Gallery app started crashing.
And then it never opened again.

Coincidence? I think not.
I needed to find a replacement and fast!

Join the Party
I have to admit; I’m a little phobic about putting unfiltered photos up on giant social websites like Facebook. (even if they are posted as private)
I’ve enjoyed the cozy feeling of presumed privacy with my obscure MobileMe photo albums. Being a part of the huge digital social universe feels a wee visible for my boy’s little photo stream.

This is not to be confused with Apple’s Photo Stream service. I’ll soon press the button to join with iCloud, but I’m not sure Apple’s Photo Stream will be a total replacement for the distribution of my son’s pics either. Remember I’ve got a very targeted way I want these particular photos organized and remotely served up to me and my wife.

You know, I don’t think I’ve really got a choice.
Either I play in the pond with the millions of other online photo sharers.
Or I will just see my son the old fashion way… in person.

So I decided it was time to join the party and hope that only my wife and I would show up.

I did some research and of course there are a crushing number of online photo sharing options. After some fact crunching, I came up with two leading contenders: SmugMug and Flickr.

I know SmugMug has a loyal fan base, and this service been around for a while.
(I’m always happy to let someone else kick the tires.)
The annual membership is $40.
And there’s the Smugview iPhone app for $2.99. All good.
I was 30 seconds away from pulling the trigger, but then I remembered I already had my toe in the digital water with Flickr.

D’uh! Flickr!!
You might feel this is the obvious choice. And I guess it is. I just needed to go through the exercise. I already have my Flickr account replacing my former MobileMe photo-sharing activity with family and friends. And I’ve upgraded to the annual $24.95 Flickr Pro subscription to better handle photos above the 200-picture limit in their basic (free) account.

Flickr also has its free iPhone app. And I know I can create private Flickr albums.
Let’s do it!
So I got to work.

  • On my iMac, I directed Eye-Fi to upload to Flickr with my normal user login info.
  • Downloaded the Flickr iPhone app. Signed in the exact same way.
  • Tweaked the settings to uber private.
  • Took a test picture of my wife reading Goodnight Moon to our son.
  • Opened up the Flickr app on my iPhone a minute later.

BAM! There it was!
And the email announcing the upload showed up a few minutes after that.

(Quite easily done)

The uploaded photos are organized into new Flickr albums (sets) each day.
Eye-Fi also simultaneously sends the pics to iPhoto for archiving.
(The only complaint I have is Eye-Fi doesn’t connect directly to Aperture, my preferred photo management/editing program.)

Back in Business
So there you have it. I’m omniscient again, knowing the business of my lad’s daily adventures while I’m off storming the castle during the week.

Flickr has done the job. Yahoo!

That said, if any of you have other solutions you’d like to share, I’m all ears.
I’m only $25 in. I could be convinced to try the next best thing…

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