Most new computer users have a view of technology that us jaded old-timers consider charmingly naïve.
Presented with movies where computers almost never crash and AOL commercials where people always smile, they figure everything is push-button simple. Meanwhile, the rest of us smirk and think, just you wait.
Then a computer gadget comes along and vindicates them--and, occasionally, gives us cynics hope. In this case, that gadget would be the Kodak EasyShare Camera Dock system, which currently works with their DX3500 and DX3600 cameras. If you think of the Kodak PalmPix as digital camera technology coming to the Palm
handheld, then the EasyShare is, conceptually, Palm returning the favor.
Here's how it works: install the software, plug one EasyShare cable into an outlet, and the other into a free USB port. Once you're ready to transfer the pictures to your computer, put it in the cradle and press the dock's button. Depending on the settings you've chosen (which you can change at any time), either they'll all transfer at once or you can go through them one at a time to touch them up, change file names, or select a new destination.
Although its plastic shell makes it feel a little flimsy, the 2.2-megapixel DX3500 is a pleasure as well. While it uses a CompactFlash slot, it's actually for auxiliary storage: the camera has 8 MB of built-in memory. That means you can take the camera out of the box, pop in two AA batteries, and start shooting immediately. Incidentally, those two batteries had better be lithium or nickel metal hydride (NiMH); the dock also doubles as a battery recharger (the dock comes with a pair of NiMH batteries).
Maybe there's hope for us cynics after all.