My mom loves seeing my digital photos, whether they´re of far-off places or my latest culinary creations, so I´ve long thought about building her a digital-photo frame that would show a new shot every time she walked by. But instead of loading 1,000 images onto a hard drive, I wanted to be able to update the library remotely, adding new pics as I shot them, so she could always see what I´d whipped up that night or where I´d traveled that weekend. I also wanted the whole project to be cheap, because, well, I´m cheap.
Mission accomplished. The hardware: a four-year-old IBM laptop donated by PopSci´s IT department. Ask around and you´ll probably find a similar castoff machine, but if not, there are hundreds of suitable notebooks on eBay for less than $200-just about anything running Windows 2000 or better will suffice. You´ll also want to add Wi-Fi, either through a USB adapter or a PCMCIA card, so your mom can set the frame anywhere. (If the folks don´t have Wi-Fi, you can pick up a wireless router for about $20 online). To fit the screen´s nonstandard dimensions, I ordered a custom-made frame from americanframe.com, which offers hundreds of styles and materials and lets you visualize the matte and frame together before you hit "buy."
But the real star of this project is Slickr (free; download here), a screensaver that displays a constantly updated slideshow of images from my account on Flickr.com, a free photo-sharing site. I can even set it to show only shots that I´ve tagged â€formom,â€ so any time I upload a photo with that tag, it appears on Mom´s mantle. See the basic steps and parts and details on the build. Mom will thank you for it.
- IBM ThinkPad T21, 800-megahertz Pentium III processor, 10-gigabyte hard drive, 14.1-inch LCD: free (donated)
- Custom 151/4-by-123/4-inch polished zinc frame with mat and mounting boards: $50; americanframe.com
- Cnet Wi-Fi card: $30; newegg.com
- Before you start disassembling the laptop, download the Slickr screensaver from cellardoorsw.com and enter your Flickr account information. Then check our Web exclusive article "Windows Rehab 101" for steps to protect the laptop from viruses and malware.
- Take apart just enough of the laptop to get at the ribbon cable that connects the LCD (usually under the keyboard), and carefully unplug it.
- Remove the plastic housing from the LCD. Measure the bare screen and order your frame. Skip the glass, but order two self-adhesive foamcore mounting boards -one to strengthen the mat and one on which to mount the laptop bottom.
- Assemble the frame pieces-mat, LCD, mounting board and laptop bottom-using tape. Make sure everything works, then hot glue it all together.
- Reattach the LCD cable to the laptop and reassemble the keyboard. Attach a piece of foamcore to make a stand.
- Give to Mom. Start it up. Add shots to your Flickr account for Mom to see.
More Assembly Details:
- Laptop Bottom
I planned to pull all the laptop guts out of the plastic shell so I could mount just the motherboard and hard drive onto the foamcore, but the â€powerâ€ button was on the keyboard, and removing the bottom of the case looked like a pain. So I kept it simple and disassembled only enough of the laptop to disconnect the screen. Then I reattached the keyboard and glued the whole thing to the foamcore mounting board.
This came with the frame but can also be found in any art-supply store. I punched several ventilation holes through the foamcore under the laptop bottom and then hot-glued it to the outside edge of the frame back.This created a small pocket of space between the foamcore and the LCD to allow for cooling airflow.
The screen attaches to the mat with hot glue. Be very careful removing the plastic border from the screen-there are several thin cables, and if you rip one, the LCD is useless.
I trimmed a piece of self-adhesive foamcore and stuck it to the back of the paper mat to provide extra
support for the heavy LCD.
My frame is polished nickel, but wood would work as well. Just get one that´s at least an inch deep to allow for ventilation space behind the LCD.
American Frame included several of these, and I used as many as I could fit to keep the LCD and mat wedged securely in the frame.
The Easy Option
If building a digital frame seems too daunting, you can still give Mom a direct line to your Flickr shots with the eStarling photo frame ($250; thinkgeek.com). The 5.6-inch display pulls shots over Wi-Fi from e-mail or a Flickr RSS feed and rotates through the most recent 30 photos.
Very Nice post
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hello i just wanted to see if you had any where else to get the slickr software as the link above doesnt work thanks
The link you requested for slickr
I have yet to use it, but the file is there. Also as stated you do need a flickr account, but this was easy since you can use your yahoo email acct credentials for the creation of the flickr account seems they are one in the same, as for the api key once logging into flickr the link is right there to get your api key, although I don't know why this is needed since I have yet to install it. Seems they (flickr) wants to make sure your not using this for a commercial venture.
Here is the link you requested.
Seems the file is there and as stated you do need a flickr account but this was easy for me since I could simply use my yahoo credentials to create the account seems they are one and the same. Seems that flickr wants you to get an api key to ensure your not using this for a commercial venture.
I did this!!! (Had wanted to ever since I saw the post.)
I used an old Sony Vaio laptop, with similar specs, and I did it for about $20.
A couple things I did differently (I won't say tips, b/c I'm not sure my way is any better):
-Rather than order a custom frame, I went down to the arts & crafts store and bought a "shadow box" that was a bit bigger (11x17) than my screen. I found one that had broken glass and got it for for about $10
-To fix this non-custom-ness, I tried to buy a photo matte to fill in the edges, but realized this would be impossible for me to cut well, so I went for some nice poster board. ($2)
-Everything else, cost-wise, was tools. I made liberal use of hot glue, but did not use any of the foam-core mentioned (I wanted good air flow.)
-Had to use Windows' pre-loaded "My Pictures" screen saver, as "Slickr" was not compatible with my hardware's video card.
-I now use networking to put new pictures on, and LogMeIn to perform other maintenance functions on the machine (I removed the keyboard and trackpad.)
I completely dismantled the old laptop, which makes the finished project nice and light, but a word of caution: removing the bottom portion of the case made it impossible to screw certain things back on, like the hard drive cage. I'm not sure how long it will stay attached with the wishful thinking that it is currently sealed on with.
The finished product is AWESOME!!! Not sure how long it will last, but for now I feel very accomplished! :)
If you need a light OS for your digital picture frame you can use this one based on openSUSE11.3: <a src=http://susegallery.com/a/OFJVZe/photoframe>http://susegallery.com/a/OFJVZe/photoframe</a>