Facebook launches Workplace

Satire begets reality, I suppose. The Onion had an article about a company shutting down their internal mail system and using Facebook, since people were on it all day anyway.

Facebook launches Workplace, a version of Facebook aimed at businesses, nonprofits and other organizations. The platform is ad-free and not connected to users’ existing Facebook accounts. Instead, businesses sign up as an organization and pay a monthly fee based on the number of users and type of organization.



Workplace features group chats, video calls, live video and a news feed, much like the regular Facebook.

Workplace was called Facebook at Work and has been in a private pilot program for 18 months. The tool is based on an internal service that the company’s own employees have used.

Pricing is competitive; Workplace will cost $3 US per user per month for under 1000 users, $2 US for 1001-10000 users , and $1 US for more than 10,000 monthly users. There’s no word of an unlimited site version yet.

Slack, a similar messaging and collaboration platform costs $6.67 per user per month for a standard version; an enterprise version is still in the works.

More information is available at https://workplace.fb.com/.



Eye Fi progress



The September 12th deadline for Eye-Fi discontinuing their online servers (and bricking their older generation cards) has come and gone. There are two solutions that seem to work.

Eye-Fi has released the Eye-Fi X2 Utility, which appears to duplicate the card-to-desktop transfer mode well as well as give you the ability to locally configure X2 cards; at a bare minimum this will keep the X2 cards working. Operation is just as before — I set my camera to view mode, the card connects to my desktop via wireless network and transfers the pictures to my desktop.

The holy grail for me is Direct mode – I want to be able to transfer pictures directly to my phone when I’m out and shooting. Pictures are then available for posting via Instagram and backing up to the cloud along with my phone photos.

According to the press release from Eye-Fi, Direct Mode would work after the cutoff date. Direct mode works for me, Eye-Fi doesn’t promise that it’s always going to work.

I found an Android app called Fe-Fi that seems to work for Direct mode – you’ll need to dig up your “Upload key”; on Windows it’s in C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Eye-Fi\settings.xml. I’d grab that file and save it somewhere before you remove the legacy Eye-Fi Center software.

Fe-Fi is available on the Google Play store at https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=fi.eye.android&hl=en

I have an older Canon Powershot camera that I love; between using CHDK to allow me more control with the camera and to shoot RAW mode images and my Eye-FI cards, I felt like I had a camera that was significantly better than when I bought it. I have a level of manual control over my camera and can upload photos to my phone, which automatically uploads photos to my Google Photos account. I don’t need the Eye-Fi cloud features; that would be one more service to deal with.

Having a solution for Wi-Fi transfers now buys me some time until the next generation of Wi-Fi enabled cameras comes around.