10 great Wi-Fi gadgets for work and play

Add these Wi-Fi devices to your network for a new world of wireless productivity and entertainment

Wi-Fi SD card and camera: Beam up your snapshots

Eye-Fi Share card

Nobody likes wasting time fumbling with flash cards or cables to get photos out of a camera and onto a PC or online photo-sharing service. It's hard to believe, but a Wi-Fi network can help you put your pictures exactly where you want them.

The US$100 Eye-Fi Share card squeezes a Wi-Fi radio and 2GB of flash memory into a tiny Secure Digital (SD) card. Basically, it works with any camera that has an SD card slot and supports 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi equipment. After loading the software on my computer and entering my network's security code with my PC's keyboard, the card quickly connected with my Wi-Fi network; in all, it took 2 minutes.

Now, whenever I bring my Nikon D50 within 75 feet of my router, the photos are automatically transferred to either my PC or an online picture service -- or both. Eye-Fi's Manager software can forward the photos to any of two dozen online photo services, from Blue String to Web Shots. It takes about 7.5 seconds to move a 1.5MB photo. If I'm out of range, the Share card holds up to a thousand top-quality photos until it's close enough to transfer them.

If you're not interested in uploading photos to an online service, consider the Eye-Fi Home card, which costs US$80 and sends the images to a computer only.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ50S camera

If you're in the market for a new camera, Panasonic's US$400 Lumix DMC-TZ50S has it all. It's a capable camera that bypasses the PC and beams its photos over an 802.11b or g network, but rather than the choice of several online photo sites, it works only with Google's Picasa service.

The camera has a Leica 10X zoom lens, excellent automatic exposure and a 3-in. viewscreen. It can upload snapshots from a home or office router or a T-Mobile hot spot. (For the sake of security and battery life, I'd recommend turning off the Wi-Fi radio on the camera when you're not using it to send photos.)

Setting it up is more time consuming than with the Eye-Fi card because you'll need to enter your Wi-Fi network information, plus your Google Gmail account name and password with the camera's clumsy screen entry system; figure on spending a total of 20 minutes. Once set up, the camera moved a 1.5MB image to my Picasa Web photo album in 27 seconds.

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Tags wirelessPrintersWLANperipheralsconsumer electronicsdigital camerasentertainmentpersonal storage

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Brian Nadel

Computerworld
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