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[personal profile] tugrik
So digital photo frames are, what, a decade old now? More, less? Who knows. They've been out for as long as companies could make a buck selling a sub-standard TFT display for grand'ma-ma to put on her countertop to show those new fangly 'digital fo-tos' her grandkids would send. For the most part I've found them all pretty lackluster and have successfully avoided buying any.

There were a few specifics I wanted all in the same device that I've been waiting to have come together:

  • Network connectivity
  • No pay-subscription required
  • Ability to remotely insert pics (email, client, etc) without requiring a local computer hookup or memory stick
  • Decent color quality, viewing angle and resolution
  • Low cost

My goal was always to buy one for my mom (and possibly other family members). I wanted something that she could set up without any great fuss and then us kids could just send it pictures whenever we wanted. That way there'd be new pictures on her living room table all the time.

It was always a "pick 4 of 5" problem. If it had all the features I wanted it was crazy-expensive. If it was affordable, it was crap. And if it was both affordable and looked good, it had a deal breaker in there like requiring a desktop computer or a pay-every-month account to use. I got so jaded about them that I simply stopped looking after a while. I'm not exactly sure what brought the Kodak Pulse 7" frame to my attention, but I'm glad some form of marketing did.

After reading the specs and reviews I ordered one for myself to give it a test-out. While not super-cheap, it's cheap enough: just over $100. The screen is of good quality: bright, decent resolution (800x600) and surprisingly good color. The off-axis is good left-to-right so it works fine as a desktop frame (not much tilt/up-down which isn't as nice). Most importantly, though, it comes with a free service from Kodak that lets you email it pictures.

The frame joins up via WiFi and registers with Kodak's service. From there it can get pics direct from the web-client, auto-download them from Facebook, or (the feature I like the best) has a direct email address. Email a photo and it appears; perfect for kids to send snapshots to their parents. It'll also link to the Kodak gallery if you use it, but that's not a big thing for me. Hopefully an API for it will open up to allow other custom sources.

Physically it's very nice: a gloss black frame with no obvious markings or buttons. There's a power button and a troubleshooting button on the back, out of sight. The primary interface is touch-screen. For you cube-dwellers who want one for the office it also has a handy Kensington lock port on the back. Huzza for deskchains. It weighs very little and the power supply is your standard wall-wart, though the cable for it is nicely slim.


Having set it up a few times now, I can say that it's definitely grandma-safe (and thus mom-safe too): 3 very easy steps with good hand-holding built into the interface. Join it to the WiFi, let it update itself with the latest firmware, and then it spits out a 'registration number'. Go to http://www.kodakpulse.com, create a free account and put in that number. The website is very mom-friendly too; Kodak is good at interfaces. Now you pick your email address, (optionally) link it to Facebook and/or Kodak Gallery and you're done. From that point on the frame just runs.

You can pick automatic on/off times so it'll not run all night and keep you awake with the light, or you can just use the power button on the back. You can choose how long each pic displays, how it displays (single, fade, collage and ken-burns effect), trash pictures or manually skip between them. Since people can email/facebook pictures to it, you can choose to view by friend or 'recent' if you don't just want it to run random pics. It holds about 4000 pics at any one time, depending on image complexity.

Lastly it has generic memory slots on the side - USB, memory stick, SD, etc. Put one in and you can copy the pics to the frame's memory (or just leave it in to use that as the memory instead). You can also use the web-client to directly upload pics to it.

If you're looking for a gift for the non-super-techie picture-lover in your family, I highly recommend this. A new one has been ordered for my mom; she'll get it Monday or Tuesday. I'm keeping this one on my desk at work I like it so much.

For the curious, I bought mine from Amazon.com for about $108 on sale. I think it's back up to over $120 now though.

Date: 2010-03-05 09:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dronon.livejournal.com
Now what you need to do is have a way to monitor when someone else is at your desk, then remotely change the picture in the frame to close-up images of your face scowling disapprovingly, followed by a screen of text saying "I'M WATCHING YOU." :-)

Date: 2010-03-05 09:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] collingslion.livejournal.com
What's the e-mail address for your frame? >:3

Date: 2010-03-05 09:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tugrik.livejournal.com
I am going to share it -- but due to the potential for abuse, I'm first making a proxy-forwarding address that I can shift about without exposing the actual addy of the frame. :)

(and also so I can do a quick NSFW manual filter operation before releasing them to the frame here in the office!)

Date: 2010-03-05 10:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zorinlynx.livejournal.com
Yay! I hope you don't mind my sending some of my photos. They tend to be more of animals and landscapes and interesting stuff than people, but they're neat nonetheless.

I'd feel happy to know my photos are in the rotation of someone's photoframe!

Date: 2010-03-05 11:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] collingslion.livejournal.com
Chicken. :3

Date: 2010-03-05 10:43 pm (UTC)
ext_646: (Default)
From: [identity profile] shatterstripes.livejournal.com
I was looking at these a little while ago, with an eye towards using it as an attractant at a con table. I had a desire you didn't: "can run off of battery". Had no luck when I was poking around, though I didn't look too hard.

Date: 2010-03-05 11:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tugrik.livejournal.com
I'm sure there are better options if you don't need the email/wifi capabilities... but this one would be rather easy to rig an external battery pack for; it's just a 5v input. Or, heck, a modified USB cable if your laptop is there already.

Got the pics, thanks! :)

Date: 2010-03-06 01:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] snowwolf42.livejournal.com
I'm glad they've fixed the vulnerability they had: http://yro.slashdot.org/story/10/01/05/0413228/Kodak-Wireless-Picture-Frames-Open-To-Public

But it does make me pause before I rush out to get one.

Date: 2010-03-06 01:45 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tugrik.livejournal.com
Yeah, the 'pulse' line uses a direct site and SSL link, not an RSS feed like the easyshare. But it also can't do all the little 'applets' the easyshare does; just photos. I think they got a little crispy over that one and took some of the fallout of that into account when releasing this model.

I hope.

Date: 2010-03-06 08:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] braxus.livejournal.com
Should be seeing the frame but first thing I noticed was the 7960 phone. lol

distractions! :P
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