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Beware Country-Specific iTunes Stores

If you buy an iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad, and you happen to be a user of the iTunes Store in more than one country, take note which country's store you're viewing in iTunes when you plug in the device for the first time. This will be the country the device will register with, and you will be forever barred from purchasing or even updating free apps from anywhere else. The only way out is to delete everything on the device and do a full restore.

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Eye-Fi's Geo Targets Apple for Wireless Photo Transfers

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Eye-Fi has extended its line of Wi-Fi-enabled memory cards with the $60 Geo model, which combines support for iPhoto with geotagging - the addition of geographic coordinates to a photo - at a relatively low price. The location data works with iPhoto '09's Places feature to position photos on a map. Eye-Fi sells a line of cards from $50 to $150 with varying features; this model will be available only from the online and retail Apple Stores.

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The Geo automatically either transfers images to a folder on your Mac or imports the pictures into iPhoto. For an extra $10 per year, the Geo can be upgraded to upload images over the Internet to photo-sharing services, including MobileMe and Flickr. Eye-Fi also sells a model with local and Internet photo uploading and geotagging; it costs a flat $100, and also provides video uploads.

The Eye-Fi firmware originally uploaded every photo you took to a computer or an online service. A software update earlier this year lets you use the protect or lock feature that's available in most digital cameras to select which pictures to upload (see "Eye-Fi Pro Card Adds Raw Uploads, Computer Transfers," 2009-06-10).

Eye-Fi embeds a Wi-Fi radio and a processor into a Secure Digital (SD) card. The Geo sports 2 GB of storage; other models have as much as 4 GB. The Eye-Fi has to be configured with the company's software while mounted on a computer, but can then automatically connect to networks you've programmed it to recognize and for which you provided Wi-Fi passwords.

The geotagging feature relies on Skyhook Wireless's system for associating a snapshot of Wi-Fi network identifiers and signal strengths with latitude and longitude - it's not using GPS and thus will work only when you're within range of a Wi-Fi network that Skyhook has mapped. Skyhook's system underpins the Wi-Fi positioning feature in iPhone OS 1.1.3 and later, and is used in various Mac OS X, Windows, and Android software as well. (See "Loki Here," 2007-06-18, for background on Skyhook's system.)

We've written about Eye-Fi extensively because of its Mac support. Adam Engst wasn't fond of the Eye-Fi features as of a year ago - see "Why I Hate the Eye-Fi Share Wireless SD Card," 2008-08-18 - while I was generally positive - see "Why I Like the Eye-Fi Explore Wireless SD Card," 2008-08-18. Newer software and hardware have modified our opinions slightly.

 

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