Thursday, December 25, 2008

My First Digital Frame

Yesterday I bought my first digital photo frame. It's a Kodak W1020. It has its ups and downs (imho), and I've been stirring up some ideas for this new gizmo of mine.

The major ups:
  • It's wireless
  • It reads from media rss streams

Without too much hassle I plugged in the power, latched into my home wireless network, and had connected to my Flickr account. Soon after I connected to the open net the frame asked if I wanted to upgrade my firmware - I did so and it was painless and easy; I would reccomend doing this.

My major downs:

  • My second button on the vertical menu does not work. Darnit!! Most of the time it is used as a play button and I can get around not having it... but its just damned annoying.
  • Minimum change time of 3 seconds... would like it to be smaller (I'll explain why later).
  • I cannot get my (vertical) images to 'Fill screen'? (Image's can either leave space either side or get cropped in order to fill display real estate.. I prefer fill screen)

So I'm happy with the purchase but I think they've got a couple things to fix for the firmware upgrades.

Congrats and crits aside.. Here's my latest idea: Since the frame can read and display images from a properly formatted media-RSS feed, host such an RSS service on a machine on the same local network as the frame.

This RSS feed could/would be the aggregation of interesting media sources such as my Flickr stream, my contacts photos, youtube videos, etc. Further more I would like to be able to plugin RSS feeds that provide small amounts of textual info, like microblogging feeds or news headlines. The textual info should be rendered to an image, which is then cached on the stream server, and can then be picked up by the digital frame.

This is all a means to an end. The main idea here is that now I can write a small app that polls my email accounts. Then when I get an email I can push an alert to a text rss stream, which will feed into my RSS engine thingy, render the relevant picture, and ultimately get displayed on my digital picture frame sitting in front of me on my desk.

Further down the line I thought it would be great to hook the frame up to my VOIP client. So as I get a call, the frame should display who's calling me with a pretty picture of them. The problem here is latency of the picture change on the frame. 3 second changes for something more realtime as this is not practical. One last idea,.. Winamp plugin: on song change - display song details?..

The more I develop this idea in my head the faster it grows - cant wait to make this (or for someone else to make it first).

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