Couple that with the fact that I've had 2 external hard drives die in the last 7 years, I'm tired of burning CD/DVD backups ad nauseam, I'm lazy when it comes to posting and sharing photos, and you can see my dilemma
In walks the solution . . .
As I'm setting up the Eye-fi, I see that they've done their homework and offered out-of-the-box integration with 15+ photo sharing sites. One of the sites they integrate with is phenomenal -- unlimited high-res photo sharing (SmugMug). I set my Eye-fi up to automatically create galleries on SmugMug. Here's how it works now:
- My wife and I take some pictures at some event (wedding/family get-together/etc)
- We come home, turn on the camera. The camera automatically, wirelessly (802.11 - no special camera usb cables!) transmits the high-resolution (8megapixel) photos to my computer. During transmission, a new SmugMug gallery is automatically created with a default name like "Photos taken on January 27th, 2007". The photos are automatically uploaded to that gallery.
- If the photos are ones I want to share, I only have to flip a switch on that gallery and give it a name. If they are photos I don't want to share, I simply leave the gallery as is.
Now inevitably, the people that I've explained this process to so far have responded in one of the following ways:
- I back my photos up to an external hard drive.
- I don't trust photo sites . . .they've disappeared on me . . . How do you know they won't go out of business?
- How do they make money?
- That's cool. But still a look a of skepticism -- as if you have to be some tech guru to set this all up.
- They store the full res photos????? (i.e. - How can they afford that?)
- Hard drives have a limited life span. It will die eventually. What happens if your house burns down?
- This is a profitable business focused on a discriminating user. They are a standalone company who's entire consumer base has bought into the specific services they offer. Go read about them and see what you think. Also, you can order a DVD backup of your photos at anytime (about $20). If you use the Eye-fi approach I'm describing, you'll have a backup on your computer anyway. For the more technical, you can mount your photo site as a virtual drive (WebDAV) and drag and drop backup photos to whatever other format you like at any time. They are not free. They are, however, fairly priced. $40/year for unlimited high-res photo storage and spam-free, login-free sharing. They claim the photos are backed up in three different states.
- You pay them $40/year.
- The Eye-fi makes it simple to get the photos there. You still have to learn a little SmugMug to get your sharing settings right, but it's quick once you get familiar.
- You pay them $40/year. Hard disk space is cheaper than it has ever been.
Maybe I'm just a sucker for shiny things, but the almost effortless instant wireless photo sharing and backup at full resolution, for the cost of an Eye-fi ($99) and SmugMug ($40/yr) feels like a heck of a deal.