Most of us have gadgets that are truly indispensable. My cellphone, for example, lets me email, surf the Web, store contacts and, of course, make phone calls. I found three other tools that make life simpler: The first wireless memory card for digital cameras, from Mountain View, California-based Eye-Fi Inc., a new universal remote from Logitech International SA and the latest password-management software from Siber Systems Inc.
Eye-Fi memory card: Although transferring photos from a digital camera to a computer using a USB cable is pretty simple, imagine how much easier it would be without a wire. The $100 (around Rs4,000) Eye-Fi memory card lets you move images from a camera to a computer using a wireless local area network, or Wi-Fi, connection. Eye-Fi combines storage and wireless into an easy-to-use 2GB memory card. Using the SecureDigital card format, it works on many digital cameras, such as those from Canon, Kodak and Nikon. (It won’t work on Sony and Olympus cameras, and others that don’t use SD memory cards.) The software installation was a breeze. I set-up Eye-Fi to transfer pictures directly to a folder in my PC’s hard drive and to a photo-sharing website. Supported sites include Facebook, Yahoo! Inc.’s Flickr, Kodak Gallery, Google Inc.’s Picasa and Shutterfly. Once the PC set-up was complete, I popped the card into a Canon G9 camera and snapped some shots. The wireless card transferred my photos to my system and to the photo site I had selected, Google’s Picasa.
The transfer time varies with the size of your images. It took me less than a minute to transfer a single 12-megapixel photo and only a few seconds for a 2-megapixel file. Uploading snapshots to both a computer and a photo site takes more time than if you choose only one source. Eye-Fi connects to only one computer at a time, though you can set it up on multiple machines. The card works on both Windows and Mac systems. For more, log on to ‘www.eye.fi’.
Harmony One universal remote: The new $250 Harmony One universal remote from Logitech, based in Romanel-Sur-Morges, Switzerland, eliminates the clutter of multiple remotes and lets me control almost all the devices of my home entertainment system.
All in one: Logitech’s Harmony One universal remote.
It pairs with most infrared-based electronic remotes and Logitech adds more as they become available. Unfortunately, that doesn’t include Bluetooth wireless technology, used by my Sony PlayStation 3. To sync Harmony One with all my devices, I had to first gather the make and model number of each piece of equipment. I then had to specify the input numbers for each remote connected to my plasma TV (for example, input 1 for the cable box).
Getting it all to work involved installing the Harmony One software (Windows- and Mac-compatible), entering the information about each device that the new remote would control and then connecting the Logitech device to my computer with a USB cable. During set-up, Harmony One uses its online database to find and assign the different activities associated with the devices. The entertainment activities, such as Watch TV and Listen to Music, are then displayed on the Harmony One’s colour touch screen. To watch a DVD, for example, simply touch Watch a DVD on the screen. For more information visit ‘www.logitech.com’
RoboFormpassword-management software: Like me, you probably have more usernames and passwords than you can remember. Let RoboForm, a $30 program from Fairfax, Virginia-based Siber Systems, recall them for you. Using version 6.9.87, the program saved all my online login information after the first instance. The next time I visited the sites, I selected a single on-screen button on the RoboForm toolbar and the program did the rest. RoboForm stores your passwords on your machine, and the company says the application encrypts the data for added security.