Wow.  What a great development in my life as a result of the EA SPORTS Active 30-challenge that has zero to do with exercise and everything to do with probably my most favorite hobby: Photography.

When Kari and I arrived in California we met our fellow challengers.  One of the most innovative social networkers I've ever met, Jessica Smith, aka @jessicaknows, immediately started talking about Whrrl.com and being an avid iPhone user herself, told us about the app we could download, for free, and begin telling stories about where we are in real time with photos and text.  Kind of a super sized version of Twitter, but in many ways better. 

Whrrl.com  allows you many different options, so here are the ones I like the best:

1) you can broadcast a story from where you are and it geotags you.  That can be good, and we also try to not post the exact location of our house so as to deter nutcases. But you tell a story based on where in the world you are and as people log in, see your story, photos and text, they can also see right where you are.

2) if other Whrrlers are there with you, they can join your story.  That's incredibly cool because then you're not just getting the story from one perspective.  You can be getting it from many and reading them all in one place.  Now that's functionality at it's best and if you think about it, could really make citizen journalism something very, very exciting.

3) if you're an avid photographer like I am, there is an exciting new technological development: Eye-Fi transmissions of your photos through Wi-Fi directly into your stories.  WOW.

My friend EC from Whrrl, whom I've never met but think the world of, hooked me up with a 2 gig wi-fi card for the Nikon D-40.  The software was very easy to load onto my 17-inch MacBook Pro.  Getting it to send from the camera to the Net was a bit more complicated, but I have figured it out. 

As you know, if you take a photo with a Nikon D-40, you can review the photo by pushing the button on the back of the camera, just above the menu button.  But the presets on the camera only leave the photo visible for about four seconds in order to preserve battery life.  If you don't take a photo within a few minutes of your first, the camera goes into a hybernation, again, to preserve bat life.  And here's why when I was taking photos and trying to upload them to Whrrl.com, they're weren't fully loading: The camera kept going to sleep.  The Eye-fi directions pointed me in the right direction on the camera for changing this, but they're not complete enough. 

What I had to do was go into one menu and tell the camera to expand the list of options under the CSM/Setup Menu, and increase them to "Full."  Instead of there only being about five options, this expanded them to about 14.  

I then proceeded to that menu and found "Auto-Off Timers."  For the time being, I've set all three options to the longest times available.  I just took three or four photos and saw that within a matter of minutes of taking them, they'd already posted into my earlier story of the day from shopping at Wal-Mart. 

All I need to do now is go back into Whrrl.com through the iPhone app I have, change my location away from Wal-Mart, where I left hours ago, and then any new pics I take the rest of the day will post to it.  Needless to say, that's pretty darned cool.

I've become a great fan of Whrrl and I'm amazed at how you can post a few photos, add some text, and then simultaneously post an update to Facebook and Twitter and how fast the views on the story accumulate.  That's the power of social media and real time applications of it like Whrrl.com. 

I also like how for $14.95 a year, I have geotagging available for all the pictures I take with the Eye-Fi card, and can log on to any Wi-Fi hotspot I come across and automatically, my pics are posting once I turn on the camera. 

I've suggested to Whrrl.com that a plug-in to Aperture 2 would be a great thing to have, too.  That way I wouldn't have to tether the computer to then be able to edit pics.  And of course, I love to shoot in RAW photo format so that I have as much data as possible in my pictures, and at present because the files are so HUGE in RAW that wouldn't work with Wi-Fi transfer, but I know some day as we increase bandwidth etc over the Net, that feature will be coming along. 

I am absolutely enjoying the Eye-Fi card.  It is worth getting one for yourself.  And don't forget to Whrrl.




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