Why we can’t have nice things

My wireless SD card, an Eye-Fi Pro X2, bought in 2013, was a nice little card that went in my camera. When I took photos the card synced them to my phone, geotagging them in the process. The photos would then sync to Flickr when the phone was next connected to Wi-Fi. If I wanted to use mobile data I could share them from my phone almost immediately. Most of the photos on this site used that process. There was also a desktop app which didn’t reinstall when I upgraded my desktop PC to Windows 10 last year as I rarely needed to use it – the phone app was still working fine and I was very happy with it.

When I bought the Olympus Pen E-P7L in 2015 and found the wireless features to be effectively unusable I quickly bought another Eye-Fi card which was available at that timne, the Eye-Fi Mobi. I didn’t put much research into it, so I can only blame myself for not realising that its features were more limited. I do remember reading about Eye-Fi Cloud, but had no intention of using it because I was happy with the Flickr syncing with the other phone app. In practice I didn’t use two cameras at once, didn’t find the Mobi reliable and wasn’t impressed with the features so I kept using the Pro X2.

I haven’t been posting anything recently or taking many photos. I also managed to miss and email that I received in June saying that the Pro X2 would stop working in September. So I when I took some photos yesterday for the next review and wondered why they wouldn’t sync to Flickr a few minutes searching on Google reminded me why we can’t have nice things (or we can have them until someone realises they aren’t making enough money out of them).

If I believe the official line the Pro X2 had security vulnerabilities which could not be addressed through software. So for my own good the card won’t work any more, other than as a standard SD card. A desktop application has been provided which is supposed to allow wireless transfers, but I can’t get it to work and in the process it had eroded any remaining confidence I had in Eye-Fi to provide reliable software.


The Mobi card will still work (lucky I could still find the activation code), but with a different app now confusingly called “Keenai”. Oddly this wanted access to my contacts – should I be worried? It wouldn’t even show a thumbnail of a transferred photo until I rebooted the phone. It doesn’t sync to Flickr, although Google Photos will see the transferred photos and sync them, at least at the moment. It doesn’t seem to GPS tag either – I’ve read somewhere that the card is supposed to, but can see no option to do it in Keenai. It looks like to get full use of the Mobi I need to pay for the Cloud service which at $49 per year is nearly as much as I paid for the Pro X2 in 2013. Alternatively I could get the latest Mobi Pro version which has a year’s free Eye-Fi Cloud however based on my recent experience that’s not going to happen, so I’ll blunder on the the Mobi and its limited features until something better comes along.

To conclude, my suspicion regarding the Pro X2 is not that it had a security flaw but that it was just too good. It had all the features I needed so there was no need to upgrade or buy into the Cloud service which provided essentially the same features at a higher price. I have no illusions that this is about me individually – but I think that enough people didn’t use Eye-Fi Cloud that the company realised it had a problem. It was being denied the income stream that its investors expected, so it appears they decided to go the route of enforced obsolescence. This post dating back to 2012 seems quite prescient SmartBear, especially as 2012 is the same year that phasing out of the Pro X2 began. Of course other companies try this on a regular basis – I’ve already been on the receiving end of it repeatedly. However my direct experience of that so far has been to stop receiving software updates – not a piece of hardware that abruptly stopped working as it has previously. I am aware of the Revolv and the publicity over that has has been enough to put me off ever buying anything from Nest. This latest experience will put me off buying anything from Eye-Fi ever again.

Better get back to work on the overdue reviews.

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