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What To Do With Those First Generation Photo Frames? 146

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the beowulf-cluster-of-course dept.
First time accepted submitter icepick3000 writes "There are probably many digital photoframes unused these days laying around. Mine is from the first generation meaning you can only insert a compact flash card and display photos. Newer models nowadays can display weather, news, and stocks. Anyone have some good idea's how to give these old frames a second life? I have been thinking about compact flash cards that support wifi... maybe someone has a better idea?"
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What To Do With Those First Generation Photo Frames?

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  • by MrLogic17 (233498) on Monday October 22, 2012 @11:27PM (#41737005) Journal

    Um, use them as designed? Why do you need all of those extra features for just a photo frame?

    If you're still on the upgrade treadmill, give the old frames to someone who will use it.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 22, 2012 @11:32PM (#41737049)

      Bravo for saying what needed to be said so politely!

    • by Scutter (18425) on Monday October 22, 2012 @11:38PM (#41737105) Journal

      I thought this was Slashdot. This should be the home of people hacking devices and breathing new life into them.

      • by tibit (1762298) on Monday October 22, 2012 @11:45PM (#41737131)

        It's a photo frame for crying out loud. If it doesn't work, you can perhaps fix it. If you want weather on your fireplace's mantle, punch a hole to the outside and be done, mmkay?

        • by Scutter (18425) on Monday October 22, 2012 @11:53PM (#41737179) Journal

          You seem very angry about some guy who just wants to tinker with some old piece of electronics. Did a digital photo frame once fall on your head or something?

          • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @12:54AM (#41737619)

            They.. They took my job. Those photo frames.

            I hate them all.

          • by tibit (1762298) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @01:43AM (#41737933)

            I thinker too, but man, if you need to ask around on slashdot for inspiration, you're in a real dry rut :)

          • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @01:52AM (#41738003)

            Your first grade teacher was wrong, there are such things as stupid questions.

          • You seem very angry about some guy who just wants to tinker with some old piece of electronics.

            It's just that it's so very lame to ask a question that is essentially "what can I do with an LCD panel?". If you don't know already, you probably will have no use for the answer.

            It's also a bit absurd to think a photo frame it broken because it doesn't display something besides photos you can get more easily and with better detail on your smart phone.

            • maybe he doesn't have a smart phone you insensitve clod!
            • Anything that can display pr0n is not broken.

        • It is not a "photo frame". It is a full-featured, though weak, embedded computer with a LCD display. Just because it has a limited firmware and marketers call it a "photo frame" does not take away from its inherent nature.

          What's it with people these days that they let themselves be limited with how things are named?

      • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

        by Auroch (1403671)

        I thought this was Slashdot. This should be the home of people hacking devices and breathing new life into them.

        ... Sorry, not since 2004 and the release of the ipod mini. Here, we praise the almighty apple, and their policies of less-than-user-repairable designs.

        • by gmhowell (26755)

          I thought this was Slashdot. This should be the home of people hacking devices and breathing new life into them.

          ... Sorry, not since 2004 and the release of the ipod mini. Here, we praise the almighty apple, and their policies of less-than-user-repairable designs.

          Looks like you need to get a better Rx on your bifocals or perhaps a stronger magnifier [amazon.com] (not an affiliate link). Plenty of instructions and parts here [ifixit.com] and elsewhere for 'less-than-user-repairable' designs. Let me guess, you think you can't change the oil on a modern car, either?

          I've delved into a couple of iPods and my brother has repair at least three iPhones. No tougher than replacing bits on a modern laptop, and only slightly more involved than replacing bits in a modern tower PC. Had you mentioned the g

          • by tlhIngan (30335)

            Looks like you need to get a better Rx on your bifocals or perhaps a stronger magnifier (not an affiliate link). Plenty of instructions and parts here and elsewhere for 'less-than-user-repairable' designs. Let me guess, you think you can't change the oil on a modern car, either?

            I've delved into a couple of iPods and my brother has repair at least three iPhones. No tougher than replacing bits on a modern laptop, and only slightly more involved than replacing bits in a modern tower PC. Had you mentioned the g

            • by gmhowell (26755)

              I don't have anything with the pentalobe screws. Last time I looked was shortly after they came out when the drivers weren't well sorted out. I'm sure it's different today.

              FWIW, I didn't link to iFixit as an example of 'non-repairability' but exactly the opposite.

        • by morgauxo (974071)
          try hack a day
      • by asmkm22 (1902712) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @12:53AM (#41737615)

        You're thinking of Hackaday.com

        Here's a fun project, even if it's limited in scope.
        http://hackaday.com/2011/06/13/wifi-sniffing-digital-picture-frame/ [hackaday.com]

      • No (Score:3, Interesting)

        This is Slashdot 2012, home of console gamers and modding everything as troll and flamebait that people don't agree with.

        The real hackers moved on. They didn't tell me where. Hackers and my parents... is it so hard to leave a forwarding address?

    • by rolfwind (528248)

      Maybe the screen quality is better on the new ones.

      Personally, I just print out and hang the photos I like (dye sub, not horrible inkjet, store quality would suffice as well). Much less energy use in the long run. Plus just playing with it won't erase the wanted image from it.

      My girlfriend uses her iPad as a photo frame some of the time (obviously not all), much more easily updated with new stuff without going out of the way to only just that, and the (slide to unlock) makes it automatic. The screen is m

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @12:25AM (#41737391)

      > give the old frames to someone who will use it.

      Like your local animal shelter - we use them at ours to display pictures of adoptable animals in local businesses, a volunteer drives around once a week with updated CF/SD cards. Much better than static posters.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        Like your local animal shelter - we use them at ours to display pictures of adoptable animals in local businesses, a volunteer drives around once a week with updated CF/SD cards. Much better than static posters.

        Hmm... I have an idea for some fun hijinx... you're not perchance in the Seattle area, are you?

    • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@NOspaM.gmail.com> on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @12:40AM (#41737505) Journal

      Frankly there needs to be a "+10 Truth" mod because you sir should have one! I mean what is this complete obsession with putting every damned thing on everything else? I gave my GF a photoframe that...gasp! Just shows photos a couple of years back and she still loves and treasures it, it sets in the middle of the TV shelf right above the set so anybody who sits down in her home has their eyes drawn to its constantly changing pictures and with the 8Gb SD card and reader she can just slap pics straight off her phone onto the card and have them instantly ready for viewing which she loves.

      You already get news and weather on your PC, your laptop, your phone, why can't a picture frame just be a picture frame?

      • I mean what is this complete obsession with putting every damned thing on everything else?

        That's the idea that we can re-use things that we own. Recycling, if you will. It's kind of a thing on slashdot that we have the right to tinker and be in control of the things we own. There's that noticeable shift from being owners to renters even when it comes to our hardware and software. That irks us. We push back. When we buy something, we own it, and we will damn well do whatever we want with it.

        I too have one of these photo frame things. I guess I've used it a couple times at parties, but otherwis

        • by swalve (1980968)
          This isn't an ownership or rights thing, this is pushback against the "hack everything" lifestyle. A photoframe that doesn't give handjobs like the newer models isn't broken or worn out or unsuitable for its original purpose. Use it for the purpose for which it is sufficient: displaying photos.
      • You already get news and weather on your PC, your laptop, your phone, why can't a picture frame just be a picture frame?

        In the OP's defense, though, it's a DIGITAL picture frame. When they first came out, I bet a lot of people said, "Why can't an analog picture frame just be an analog picture frame?" He's got something that probably does have other uses besides simply displaying pictures and all he did was ask if anyone has any other ideas.

        In the spirit of Halloween, I give you this [wordpress.com].

        • by hairyfeet (841228)

          Because a digital frame makes sense? I mean who uses analog cameras and film day to day anymore? With the digital frame they are filling a need, the fact that modern users are taking their pictures with digital cameras and smartphones, and fills the niche that was once filled by Polaroid instamatics in that you can take a picture and have it on a frame on your desk in mere moments, shorter for the wireless ones.

          But trying to stuff weather onto these just doesn't make sense, because the weather is one of t

    • Yeah, I have a nice Garmin GPS unit, which, after a firmware upgrade(!), is now only usable as a digital photo frame. I would love to be able to use it as a GPS unit...
      • That's pretty good for a Garmin. They're generally just useful as night lights.

        Consider yourself lucky!

    • That's what I was thinking of too. Load it up with family photos and give it to an older relative who otherwise would want printed photo albums. (Then, periodically, refresh the frame manually with new photos and/or teach your relative how to do this.)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 22, 2012 @11:28PM (#41737017)

    1) Download image http://i.imgur.com/Oq3OW.jpg
    2) Place image on digital photoframe.
    3) Place digital photoframe outside front door.
    4) ???
    5) Peace and solitude.

  • New Year's Gift (Score:5, Insightful)

    by guttentag (313541) on Monday October 22, 2012 @11:32PM (#41737053) Journal
    1. 1. Open MSPaint or similar program
    2. 2. Create a horrendously-ugly pixelated painting
    3. 3. Superimpose large (not anti-aliased) text over the painting that reads "New Year's Resolution"
    4. 4. Create a second painting with the text "Stop buying 1st Gen Hardware"
    5. 5. Repeat step 4 with "?????" as the text, where ????? Equals your other new years resolutions (as many times as necessary)
    6. 6. Profit!
    • by guttentag (313541)
      (of course, load said images onto your compact flash card and set it to play through each one)
  • Porn (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anubis350 (772791) on Monday October 22, 2012 @11:35PM (#41737075)
    A giant wall of porn to great you when you, er, come home. /burn karma, burn!
    • I was just about to cum.. err, come.. suggest boobies. I mean, who needs weather or fancy ticker or anything when you can just stare at a glorious pair of boobies? Even better if you have multiple pairs to stare at!

    • by TeknoHog (164938)

      A giant wall of porn to great you when you, er, come home.

      Did you mean:

      1. greet?
      2. great, as in make yourself bigger in size, if you know what I mean?
  • idea (Score:5, Interesting)

    by viperidaenz (2515578) on Monday October 22, 2012 @11:41PM (#41737115)
    Pray your old photo frame supports SD cards
    Use the GPIO on your Arduino/RaspberryPi/Anything network connectable really to emulate an SD card with a filesystem and produce the images to display stock prices/weather/intertubes content on your legacy photo frame.
    • Well consider that there are stock cf to sd card adapters that's not much of an issue.

    • by robogun (466062)

      There are sd cards that are wifi capable. I assume you can write to them (they were meant to deliver images real time from camera to computer), no need for hardware development.

    • Would it be possible to use this to display an X server and have it as a (horribly lagging) extra monitor?
      • Samsung did a photo frame which was able to be used as a display port device. making it work as a second monitor I did have it in mind as a portable second monitor for a netbook. Some reason USB display port devices cost stupid money, as in more than the frame would cost. hopefully they have dropped to a price point where they are reasonable.

        My Nas is hacked to run debian,I guess it could be used with display port and a photo frame as a display usb sound cards are supported also...

      • You could just buy an HDMI -> LVDS chip and connect that to the LCD screen. They're pretty cheap these days
  • by guttentag (313541) on Monday October 22, 2012 @11:48PM (#41737151) Journal
    Take headshots of your significant other looking very impatient, occasionally slightly moving to create the appearance of a live image. Glue a black plastic sequin to the middle of the top frame so it looks like a built in camera. Set the frame in portrait orientation and have it display the images in quick succession on your desk. Then whenever someone you don't want to talk to approaches, start apologizing to the frame, then turn it around for them to see, and whisper this: "I've got my wife on the telescreen... I have to take this call..." Bonus points if it is your wife who you avoid talking to in this way.
    • by rwa2 (4391) * on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @12:50AM (#41737583) Homepage Journal

      Heh, I like that!

      It's almost Halloween... I would just hook one up to a battery pack and make it part of my costume somehow. It could display the blue screen of Death! Or you could just get the t-shirt.

      Maybe load a few pictures of evil-looking eyes, and hang them out in a dark corner of the yard.

      Or load a few pictures of x-rays on it.. with a little rehearsal and good timing (or maybe it just has a "next photo" button). Then you can hold it in front of various 'ahem' parts of your body, and show off or something.

      There are so many crappy old laptops around with nicer displays and better functionality to waste time hacking a photo frame, though.

    • by swalve (1980968)
      Finally, a use for sequins.
  • Hack the firmware (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 22, 2012 @11:48PM (#41737153)

    Use them as a video output device.

    Many picture frames can be hacked and used as displays. Cheap and very handy for devices lacking traditional a traditional video out.

    Some smart people have been working on this over at the Doozan forum [doozan.com].

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Use them as a video output device.
      Many picture frames can be hacked and used as displays

      Funny, I've been using mine as a display for my photos and didn't have to hack anything.

  • Wow, I don't own any digital photo frames yet and wasn't aware we had hit "generations" of them now. I was wanting one that could display animated gifs if anything so I could do something like a Harry Potter-ish moving picture such as these [annstreetstudio.com]. Either that or a e-paper one so it would run off batteries for weeks.

    • by Shag (3737)

      Actually, I'm pretty sure any photo frame that's digital is at least second generation - a "first generation photo frame" to me is something made of wood or metal that I can put a print in. I have several of those, but none of the digital kind.

  • by Okian Warrior (537106) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @12:19AM (#41737351) Homepage Journal

    Do you want a bigger house? Own your own business? Climb Kilimanjaro? Put frames that show those goals into it and let the photo frames remind you. This will make a powerful subconscious urge for you to achieve your goals.

    Do you want to learn rote things, such as another language? How about showing word - translation flashcards for the language, or whatever information you need to know. Put them on your desk and occasionally glance over and try to guess which translation will follow the shown word. (Or the times tables, or whatever info you want.)

    How about installing quick-reference sheets for work? (I personally have an ASCII chart hanging in my office since I can never remember the codes.) You can have a "perl quick reference sheet", "perl debugger sheet", "Cisco router quick reference sheet" and so on. Most of the frames have buttons to stop or flip through the images - find the reference sheet you need and freeze it.

    The photo frame can hold all sorts of static information within limitations.

    • by dasunt (249686) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @12:42AM (#41737523)

      Googling "digital photo frames hacks" I find the following suggestions as well:

      • Put recipes on it, store in the kitchen.
      • Store pictures of art you like.
      • Store poems you like.
      • Scan manuals you use frequently.
      • Two images, the first saying "breath in", the second saying "breath out", in slideshow mode with the shortest delay possible. ;)
      • Put recipes on it, store in the kitchen.

        I tried that but it was pretty hard to make a soufflé before the five seconds were up.

        Scan manuals you use frequently.

        I had to wait an hour for the instruction manual for my mixer to come up.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Googling "digital photo frames hacks" I find the following suggestions as well:

        • Put recipes on it, store in the kitchen.
        • Store pictures of art you like.
        • Store poems you like.
        • Scan manuals you use frequently.
        • Two images, the first saying "breath in", the second saying "breath out", in slideshow mode with the shortest delay possible. ;)

        How is any of that a "hack"? That's the actual purpose of the device, you're not hacking jack shit.

        Let's start with something that should be right up the slashdot alley: http://hackaday.com/tag/digital-picture-frame/
        Use it as a cheap monitor for a Rasberry Pi setup. That's a hack.
        Here's another- reprogram the guts and put Linux on it. http://hackaday.com/2012/01/10/this-digital-picture-frame-runs-linux-better-than-you-might-think/

        Seriously folks, come up with something better than "durrrr show a picture on

        • by mulvane (692631)
          Hacking doesn't HAVE to involve breaking open or doing something outside of the devices current limitations. A HACKER is someone who can also make new use of a device by further understanding its uses within its current limitations and adapt it to his/her need. Hacking is about understanding why things work and how you can make them work better for you also...
    • by Chrisq (894406)

      Do you want a bigger house? Own your own business? Climb Kilimanjaro? Put frames that show those goals into it and let the photo frames remind you. This will make a powerful subconscious urge for you to achieve your goals.

      But I just want a new photo-frame you insensitive clod

      • by yurtinus (1590157)
        ...so put a picture of a new photo frame on your old photo frames.

        Do we have to think of *everything* for you?!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @12:50AM (#41737587)

    e.g on openwrt

    https://forum.openwrt.org/viewtopic.php?id=34133

    Where are the nerds today?

    • by tgd (2822)

      e.g on openwrt

      https://forum.openwrt.org/viewtopic.php?id=34133

      Where are the nerds today?

      Back in my day, "nerds" hacked things to make things you couldn't otherwise do.

      Hacking a $20 photo frame to do something a $40 photo frame can do? That's not being a "nerd". That's just being bad at economics. When people were asking ten or fifteen years ago what they could do with their old laptops and the answer might've been "hack it into a photo frame you can hang on a wall!", that was hacking. You couldn't buy digital photo frames. When a digital photo frame was $300, that was creative recycling and a

  • by naranek (1727936) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @02:38AM (#41738211)

    I think you mean second generation photo frames. The first generation had superior DPI, didn't use any power and was a lot cheaper. It was also often made of wood.

    • Nah, analog is generation zero, mostly because back then nobody gave a shit about retarded marketroidese like "generations".

  • which I upgrade by taking the back off and putting a new photo in it....
    back on topic .. maybe something to experiment is CF to SD adapter and see if you can push new images on the fly to a eye fi card?
  • Why the fuck would you want the weather or anything else in your photo frame. It's a fucking photo frame.

    Hey slashdot, I have a cat but my cat doesn't display the traffic conditions outside my house, what can I do to upgrade to a second-generation cat?
  • Here are some options:

    Turn them into some kind of art project.

    Run linux on them.

    Connect them to an arduino or raspberry pi.

    Send them into space using cubesat, as a kickstarter project.

    Write a slashdot article about them (oh wait, you already did that).

    Or my personal favorite: Sell them.

  • Anyone have some good idea's

    Why not display images on them? Start with this one [angryflower.com], you bent-wristed neckwetter.

    • by Dr. Hok (702268)

      Anyone have some good idea's

      Why not display images on them? Start with this one [angryflower.com], you bent-wristed neckwetter.

      The dude has an excuse: he is Dutch, and they legally use apostrophe's for plural's (for some word's).

      • he is Dutch, and they legally use apostrophe's for plural's (for some word's).

        Gosh, what's not legal in Amsterdam? Have these people no standards at all?

  • by BlackPignouf (1017012) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @05:30AM (#41739011)

    We seem to get a "What to do with this useless crap I bought 2 years ago?" question every month.
    Don't buy it in the first place!

    If you think you want to buy something, write it down in a "could_buy.txt" list.
    Take a look one month later, and more often than not, you'll ask yourself why you even considered it.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Carefully remove the LCD panel, electronics and power supply from the frame a discard them.

    Now print out one of your favourite photos on glossy paper, and mount it in the now-empty frame behind a piece of glass. Put it on your wall or mantelpiece for a beautiful display that you will treasure.

  • by Radak (126696) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @05:50AM (#41739131) Journal

    Anyone have some good idea's how to give these old frames a second life?

    Display a different grammar rule every day. You can start with correct use of apostrophes.

  • by silentcoder (1241496) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @07:04AM (#41739399) Homepage

    what if you put some favourite pix on a compact flash card, load it in there... and use the thing to look at the photos or display them to visitors ?

  • Glue 4 of them together in a box shape, solder all the usb sockets together and upload a totally white pic. Now you have a unique lamp.

  • by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @11:06AM (#41740351) Homepage Journal

    Help the new owner load some pics of the grandkids from their kids' Facebook page.

  • I used three cheap-o digital photo frames (that my wife and I received over the years as gifts) for the displays in a jet cockpit set piece for a short film I made. They worked great - the slideshow feature worked well to display updating info on the tactical display, etc. The main display was an old IBM 17" LCD monitor I had in my closet. They weren't used to cure science or find alien intelligence, but they looked great in the scene.
  • I'm guessing they probably don't have enough Flash to be useful simply by 'rooting' them so just installing an X server is out. If I am wrong then that is probably the way to go. However, there have been a lot of display driver boards on EBay lately. They are marketed towards allowing people to take the screens from old laptops and make them useful again as monitors. There are ones that do VGA, DVI, HDMI, Composite, etc and various combinations of those. Some have built in audio amplifiers so you could

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