Monoprice Wi-Fi microSD Adapter Review

I recently bought the Monoprice Wi-fi microSD adapter because it sounded like a fun way to share photos with people as I was shooting with my DSLRs which don’t yet have wi-fi capability. I’ve also got a project in mind where I download and display images using a RaspberryPi, but that’s still in the idea phase.

The adapter comes with precious little documentation, but in a general sense isn’t that complicated a device. Put a microSD card in the adapter, put the adapter in a camera and, just like magic, it starts broadcasting a wi-fi signal. Use any wi-fi capable device to connect to that network, and your browser will display images straight from the card. Sweet, right? And compared to my experience with the Eyefi, much simpler.

(there’s bad stuff lower in this review… keep reading)

So here’s what it looks like from the browser perspective.

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I’ve got some quibbles with the design, but the functionality is there, and reasonably responsive. Click on an image to see it bigger, or click Download to pull down the full size pic. Easy peasy.

monoprice3One thing you’ll notice–Nikon’s raw files (.NEF) don’t show previews. For such a simple device, that doesn’t surprise me, but it does present some challenges if you tend to shoot in RAW. What formats does it display? Yeah, not sure. The docs are pretty weak. JPG–definitely, so that will cover 90% of the target audience. I can configure my two-slot-Nikon-D7100 to store raw files on one card and JPG on the other, so I figured the wi-fi adapter would serve that second role so that no-one would be confronted with raw files.

So what if I don’t like the SSID or the password? Hrm, docs don’t say anything about that. But there is a “change configuration” link at the top, so lets check that out.

monoprice admin password

Well, snap. What does that highly detailed quick-start guide have to say about the admin password? Nada. It took me around 8.3 seconds to guess the administrator password. For search engine ease:

The default administrator password for the monoprice wi-fi wifi microSD sd card adapter is: admin. Monoprice wifi password admin administrator sd microsd card adapter.

After guessing the password, I was able to change the password, SSID, WI-FI password and the wi-fi channel. That’s pretty cool, and gave me a nice warm fuzzy.

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After changing the SSID, you’ll need to re-connect to the wifi signal.

Back in the main display, the web page separates photos and videos. Why, I’m not sure. But anyway, it does, and it looks like this:

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Again, no thumbnail, which is a minor annoyance, but not really a big deal to me.

The mobile version of the website works pretty well.
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When you view the images, you’re reminded you can save them to your mobile device by pressing and holding the image for one second. That’s a nice touch because I certainly wouldn’t have remembered.

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One other note about the mobile version: in the video gallery, I was able play a video directly without having to save it to my local device. However, the throughput was slow enough that the playback on my phone was choppy and stopped a few times in the 30 second video.

And now for the bad.

FullSizeRenderWhen I insert the Monoprice WI-FI microSD adapter with microSD card into my Nikon D7100, I get ‘CArd Err’. No amount of fiddling with menu settings gets it to work. Since my D7100 is my work-horse camera, this is a deal killer for me. I’ve submitted a support request to Monoprice to see if there is any resolution. If there isn’t, I’m returning the card.

Since I’m a curious bloke, I put the adapter in my Nikon D5000. Voila, it worked! No muss no fuss. I connected to it with my laptop, and after an initial view of the web page, it stopped working. That’s right, after about 15 seconds, I could no longer see the wi-fi. My camera was still on, but it was evidently not sending any power to the wi-fi card anymore. The D5000 has one menu to set ‘auto-off timers’, and I set them all to their maximum value. No matter what I did, the LCD would turn off after 15 seconds, and as soon as it did, the wi-fi signal went away. In fairness, this is not specifically a problem with the wi-fi adapter, but it is a significant limitation to the whole idea. While I kept the LCD screen active, the card worked like described above.

Next I tried the card in a Nikon Coolpix S9500.  I set the auto-off timer to 30 minutes, and, just like magic, the camera and the wi-fi card stayed on the whole time (and that’s how I got all my screen shots above and actually had time to play with it). Again, since I’m curious, I put the card in a Fujifilm Finepix JX, set the Auto-off to ‘Off’ and it worked just fine–the wi-fi stayed powered on as long as there was battery power.

So in summary, it seems like an interesting device, and could have its uses, if your camera supports it. If your camera will recognize the card, and keep it powered, then you might be able to do some interesting stuff. Monoprice could turn this thing into a DIY/Maker hit if they made it hackable. If they exposed the directory structure that contains all the web and wi-fi code, or at least allowed more customization via some sort of config file, this could be a really fun device, and could be used in more ways that just in cameras. As it is, it is very basic, and will be of no use if you don’t have the right camera for it.

Rapid Rewards Marketing Failure

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I’ve been traveling a lot for work recently, 25 legs in 40 weeks, and all of that travel has been on Southwest. I’m sure there are road-warriors who travel more, but, from Southwest’s perspective, I’m an up-and-comer, or something like that. Pretty much unknown to them until the beginning of this year, I’m now an ‘A-list’ member of their rapid rewards program.

As a kind of ‘thank you’, they’ve sent me, for the second time, four drink coupons.

I find a few bits interesting about this marketing piece:

  • If I redeem this coupon, there is a real cost to Southwest. It isn’t a big cost, but it has a cost. The value to me is $6, and the cost to them is probably $3. In comparison, if they were to give me a free early-bird check in, it costs them nothing, and saves me $12.50. It seems to me that this a more ideal ‘give away': more benefit to the customer for no cost to the company.
  • Only about half of the US population drinks alcohol on a regular basis. So it seems like a fair number of these coupons will go unused. Which may be Southwest’s goal, but if that is their goal, then it is an even deeper marketing failure than I can address here.

The converse of that last point, is that 30 percent of people haven’t drank in the last year. Given the strong cultural prevalence of alcohol consumption in our country, I’ll assume that these people are probably actively resisting drinking. Like me.

So what this means is that Southwest has just sent a “thank you” to some of their most valuable customers that a non-trivial number of those customers will be actively irritated by receiving.

Or put another way: Southwest has likely encouraged/enabled alcoholism.

So that’s why this seems like a massive marketing failure–nearly half of the recipients of this marketing will be at best ambivalent, and maybe as many as a third will be insulted/irritated by it. Considering how easy it would be to offer other perks for free (early-bird check in, a month or two of a-list status, free WiFi internet) that would not actively offend a portion of the population, it surprises me (a little bit) that they’ve chosen this method of marketing.

 

 

 

Separation

I’ve finally decided to separate my photography website stuff from my personal blogging. Having them conjoined caused me a wee bit of stress for reasons I’m sure few would care about. So as of today, posts about my photography will be posted to http://RickBennett.Photography/

Yes, that’s a real domain.

Anyway, this site will continue to be about pretty much whatever I feel like, except pics related stuff. Thanks for reading.

My Story, video form


As a photographer I’m pretty consistently being asked if I can “do video”. My answer is usually a tepid “yes”. And that yes is usually followed up with some additional clarifications. I’m just now beginning to feel like I’ve developed some skill with photography, and everything I know about making images leads me to be incredibly intimidated at attempting to create video at the same level.

My biggest concern with video is the story telling aspect of it. Once you step out of the “look what my baby/pet/sibling did” realm of video, and actually attempt to produce something with mean, story is king. And I don’t tend to think I have stories to tell. But after a couple of recent inquiries regarding video for musicians, I decided to work on my own personal story. More specifically, my story related to alcohol. The video above is a retelling of this blog post. The narration is mostly true, while the video is all staged/reenacted/inspired by potentially real events in my past. What I mean is, this is not a documentary. No consumption of alcohol was actually done in this video. It is a story.

I didn’t make it because I needed to tell my story. I made it because I needed to practice story telling in a video form. I also had 6 bottles of beer left in the house that I was tired of keeping around for no reason. So maybe it is a ceremonial discarding of perfectly good beer. Sorry about that.