Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Is the "Anniversary Edition" really SD or SDHC?

My "big" camera is a Nikon D50. It is a wonderful camera, but it is getting a bit dated and only takes regular SD cards, not SDHC. As I understand it, the SD specification is limited to 2GB, but the hardware can handle a full 4GB of addressing. The SD standards people artificially lowered the standard to 2GB either to move people to the SDHC standard faster or for some technical reason I don't yet understand. Are there technical issues with some devices and 4GB FAT16 partitions?

There is also evidently a requirement in the standard that SDHC cards be FAT32-formatted. Older cameras (like the D50) can't read this filesystem even if it were present on a small capacity card. The neat part of all of this is that some "4GB SDHC" cards are actually plain old SD cards electrically and just rebadged as SDHC since a 4GB card isn't allowed to have the 'SD' logo. What I'm saying here is all speculation on my part that I've pieced together from some very reliable web forums. :)

There have been some reports that, if you get one of these cards, simply formatting a 4GB FAT32 SDHC card as the older FAT16 will make it work in cameras like my D50. I really wonder if this new Anniversary Edition card is one of these special beasts. It would make sense for Eye-Fi to do this since "all" they'd have to do is replace the on board flash with a bigger chip and wouldn't have to change the card electrically to support true SDHC. For $79 shipped at Costco, I just may have to find out!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Latest Progress

I have not been doing very much Eye-Fi hacking lately. I do with I had been able to activate my new card without going into Windows, but that was really a one-time inconvenience. Not nearly as bad as some devices that need constant plugging into Windows. BTW, there's nothing especially wrong with Windows, I just don't like rebooting.

I had a Belkin N-1 Vision that turned out to be a pretty expensive ($179 when I bought it) piece of junk. My first one locked up (bad hardware?), and my second one seems to be unable to do IPSec passthrough. So, I just dropped in the Actiontec MI424-WR that came with my Verizon FiOS service. When the Eye-Fi card tries to upload through it, both devices reset themselves!

In all fairness, the Actiontec seems much more fragile than the Eye-Fi, and I do know that the Eye-Fi intentionally reboots sometimes to clean up transient error conditions. That's fine behavior for the card since it reboots fast and you can still take pictures. It is much less nice for a router to do that.

I also stumbled upon a neat blog entry about the benefits of open source. When I read it, I immediately thought of my little Eye-Fi card. I truly hope some day our friends at Eye-Fi decide to seize upon the community of really clever people out there that would love to build upon their fantastic devices.

Oh, and when is the Eye-Fi iPhone app going to be released?