Saturday, June 24, 2006

Digital Picture Frame

I've tried in the past to make my own digital picture frame. With many of the ones out there not terribly expensive, but actually having monthly fees per month (which is insane). Prices have really fallen on units like these, so what I did wasn't a tremendous cost savings, but it does allow you to customize it to your liking and mine can actually do a lot more if I feel like doing some upgrades.

Before we moved to North Carolina, I had built a larger one out of an old internet appliance called an I-Opener. It was a 10" passive matrix display, and loud. On the plus side, I had it running Windows Server 2003 and it had a wireless usb connection to the network. Not bad for a computer running a 200Mhz processor. By alas, it was too loud for my wife to accept in the living room and it just didn't look right.

I'm not going to go through a serious step by step process with pictures because what took me about a month last year, only took my an evening and I got it going.

The digital picture frame you see above is make up of only 4 parts.

1. An 8" LCD TV. I chose the Buslink 8" LCD TV because I could get it for $90 after coupon on An 8" screen will fit exactly into a 5x7 frame. This is definitely the highest priced item.
2. Sandisk SDV1-A . Truth be told, I went as cheap as I could on this. This is simply a digital card reader for display on the tv. It doesn't matter what I model you get as long as it support RCA video out and it will do a slideshow. If you want to get really fancy, some of the card readers for televisions support things like music and video. I went with the one that was $18 after coupon on I think I must have bought one of the last ones they had but you can get it elsewhere.
3. A memory card. You don't need a very big memory card, and the ridiculously small ones that comes with new digital cameras work fine unless you need a really large variety of pictures. Lucky for me I've got a couple compact flash cards just collecting dust and I pulled out my 256mb and popped it in.
4. Any 5x7 frame that is to your liking. I chose a black one at target that about $20.

Total cost: ~$128
I also picked up some hooks that I screwed into the back of the frame to mount the tv onto it. The best part of the tv is it already has a stand built into it to keep the picture from up! I plugged everything together and discovered I had no way of turning the tv on. So I drilled a small hole for the remote control sensor on the tv and had it up and going. The Sandisk card reader has a remote of its own so thats how I know how 2 remotes for this thing.

Like I said, I had it going in one evening. My only regret was not getting the proper tools so the wood around the hole for the remote sensor is a little bit raised on the front and I had to take a sharpee to it to make it black again, but I'm okay with it. For some reason, that imperfection is a lot more obvious in a photo than real life so I'm not posting it with the flash on. :)

Since the tv supports rca in, I could conceivably hook up anything to it in a pinch. I could put a dvd player up to it and bring it into the bedroom since we don't have a tv in there. If I wanted to get real fancy, I'd mount the card reader to the back, but at this point since all of it is black it really doesn't look too bad.

Definitely a lot quieter (virtually silent) and better looking than the i-opener turned out last year.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

On no, the humanity......

Updated 6/21/06

Ok Folks, I'm doing it and you can't stop me. Top 20 movie list in no particular order. It's my list so I'm making the rules. Movie series, no matter how long count as 1. This is probably more interesting to me that to anyone else reading this - but I've tried to pick out movies that I've that are really "Tony" movies as my wife would say. If you haven't seen anyone of these, I of course recommend them since they are my favorites and I'll defend my choices.

If you don't see something really high on the list and you think I'm nuts for forgetting it, I probably just forgot and I'll add it in later. That is unless it didn't make the cut. Miss anything, let me know.

Top 20 List
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Indiana Jones Trilogy
Star Wars (from best to worst - Episode V, IV, III, II,VI,I)
Lord of the Rings Trilogy (Extended)
The 5th Element
Raising Arizona
Moulin Rouge!
A Life Less Ordinary
Hudson Hawk (thanks Zigzag!)
Total Recall
Adaptation (updated 6/21/06 - Thanks Dan!)
The Shawshank Redemption
Rob Roy
Lost In Translation
Garden State
L.A. Story
12 Monkeys
Star Trek (II,VI,VIII,IV,VII,III,IX,X,I,V) - Ordered from Best to Greek Tragedy

Honorable Mentions
The Matrix (first one only)
Edward Scissorhands
Strange Days
Die Hard I and III
Big Fish
Harry Potter Series
Real Genius
Office Space
Super Troopers
The Green Mile
Before Sunrise (and Before Sunset)
Terminator 2
The Bourne Identity
Playing by Heart
Love Actually
Finding Neverland
A Guy Thing
Dark City
Pulp Fiction
High Fidelity
Field of Dreams
Back to the Future Trilogy (how could I forget this?)

Edit: Forgot Hudson Hawk and BTTF.

Try making a list yourself. It is harder than you think!

Thanks for all the suggestions everyone!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Saw This on Craigslist Free Stuff Today

I seriously found this on craigslist today

Free cat! Looking for pure white cat to replace.
Reply to:!%20Looking%20for%20pure%20white%20cat%20to%20replace.Date: 2006-06-13, 3:51PM EDT

We have had this cat since it was a baby, but unfortunately my family has decided, with our new political/social beliefs, that it just no longer fits in with us. We're looking to find a replacement cat, preferably a kitten. The only requirement is that it must be pure white, no blotch of black or yellow or red in it. Anything less than 100% white will not suffice. The temperment of white cats is calm, thoughtful, intelligent, whereas that of the black cats is aggressive and demanding.

· this is in or around Raleigh
· no -- it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests


It has since been deleted from Craigslist, but WOW. Just WOW.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Microsoft Time

Just at techie thing, but look closely at the % I've downloaded so far of Vista Beta 2. I've always made fun of their time estimates, but know I know their programmers were on crack when determining any numbers estimating time. This is not a doctored image.