What's New in Technology for May 2009

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Technology: Moving photos from your mobile phone to your computer

Depending upon which mobile device you are using as a camera, the options you have vary in complexity --depending upon your hardware and, sometimes, on your phone service provider. Here are a few methods:

Transferring from a smart phone is a simple, easy way to transfer photos from your phone to your computer. For this to work, your Internet and email functions must be enabled. After you take a photo, most smart phones offer a menu of choices at the bottom of your picture. These probably will be “store”, “delete” or “email”, and they may appear as icons. If you choose email, you then fill in the appropriate email address. Once the photo arrives as an email attachment in your inbox, it is a simple matter for you to save it to your photo file (with or without storing the picture on your PC) or to send it on to your friends and family. You can do this not only with new pictures, but with any of the photos stored in your smart phone . Just select the “email” option and proceed as above.

You may have a phone that doesn’t offer email, but allows you to transfer images to your PC using USB cable. Check the place you store all the paraphernalia that came in the package with your phone, as you might already have the data cable you need. If you can’t locate one, check to see if the manufacturer offers them for sale. Software to facilitate the transfer and synchronizing of your digital phones from your phone to your PC is needed too. You will need to check if your PC has this capability or if you need to buy and install software.

Some Bluetooth users will have the option of sending photos via wireless network from the Bluetooth device directly to their PC. This will only work if users are near a computer when you make the transfer. For this option, your computer must have Bluetooth technology—if it is not a feature on your PC, you will need to buy a Bluetooth “dongle ” . This permits your Bluetooth-enabled phone to communicate with your computer via its USB port. If you are contemplating this option, bear in mind that not only are you limited by short-range radio, which means you must be physically near your PC, but also you’ll have to install software and link the two devices. If getting devices connected and up and running is not your strong point, you might want to get help or reconsider.

You may be aware that social networking sites like Face Book or Flickr offer you the means to send photos from your phone to your profile pages, where other members of the network may view them. These sites make accessing and sending photos very easy—just follow their simple instructions. Remember all your “networking friends” who communicate with you will be able to see your photos too, unless you change your privacy options. These social networking sites are free and so is photo transfer service.

If you don’t want to interface with family or friends via an online social networking site, there are a variety of online storage companies –some like Shutterfly are free and others – that offer album and printing services — charge monthly fees. Prices range from the very modest (under $5.00 per month) to $50.00 or so. The services offered by the sites that charge subscription fees are much more extensive than ones offered by the free services.

While you ponder your options for your phone/camera, you might consider a related subject -- using a photo storage site to back up the digital photo files on your PC. If your computer crashed, you might lose your entire photo library as well as your other files.


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