My So-Called (Digital) Life

Thursday, May 12, 2005

The Saga of the Digital Picture Frame

A few years ago, I tried a Ceiva Digital picture frame as a test-drive for my parents. I concluded it worked and was relatively easy to operate, so I gave one to my East Coast parents for Christmas. The price was $100, the subscription was $60/year, and I thought it might be worth it to help the grandparents stay in touch with their new grandkids.

Unfortunately, it was a lot of work for me. I had to upload images to two different web sites and I felt like a fool using the Internet to load images into a digital frame in the room next door to me.

My next attempt was to buy a discontinued Kodak digital frame on eBay. This required no internet connection or subscription -- it let you insert a memory card into the frame directly. It was a lot of work, though, as I had to bring all the photos down to a relatively low resolution in order to get reasonable performance from the frame. (If I didn't change the resolution, it took a minute or two to load each image.) The frame now clutters the corner of my kitchen where we keep the broken capachino machine, and three years worth of school bulletins for the kids.

The odd thing was once you introduced a digital picture frame to friends and family, they suddenly found it unacceptable to have the same images in the frame for more than a week-- "Aren't those the same pictures as last week?" Or, "Don't you have anything new?"

I'm back to the old-fashioned approach; I've printed and framed my favorite photos on the wall. Some of them have been up there for five years and no one has complained yet.

For a more thoughtful discussion, read David Pogue's review of Digital Picture Frames.


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