Saturday, February 23, 2008

Eye-fi wireless SD card - cool, but could be so much better

Eye-fi have released a 802.11 wireless SD card, which is pretty amazing tech considering the form factor. This is a very cool idea, but there are a few things I don't like:
  • If you upload to a website like flickr, all your photos first go through eye-fi, which sucks. Why should they get copies of all my photos? They say it is so you can resize them before posting to Flickr etc. I don't think the posting process is that complicated it needs to be done by the back end.
  • You can only upload to nominated SSIDs. This isn't how I want to use this thing - if I'm at home I can just use the card reader, backing up is easy, and I don't take any photos at home! I want to use it on holiday, where I have no idea what APs are available and definitely won't know authentication keys.
  • There is no open API to extend the use of this tech. Take a leaf out of Google's book! Imagine applications in scientific data recorders sending back data, or GPS nav devices sending tracks so others could track progress of relatives driving from out-of town, friends on holiday etc. in near real-time.
  • It doesn't work on linux, but someone is working on that. If the device was more open, linux developers and users would have it written in days!

Here's how I would like it to work:

  • I specify a list of preferred APs, which it checks for reasonably frequently. I can also set a longer interval after which if it can't find my preferred networks it associates to any open AP that can get to the Internet.
  • Card makes an SSL connection to flickr/picasa and checks the certificate against the certificate fingerprint I supplied at configuration time. This means your data is encrypted and has not been a man-in-the-middle victim, circumventing the suite of nasty attacks that malicious APs can make. Photos uploaded directly to flickr/picasa, I don't waste bandwith/battery sending them to my home computer since I can download them off the card when I get home anyway.

Imagine the possibilities if one of my access points is Free the net!! Photos backed up to flickr as I wander around the city.