You've Been Framed

One of my projects for our trip home was to setup the digital picture frames I bought for the family a while back. The idea was for each household to have an online photo album (eg. Picasa) that supported RSS. The picture frames would be configured to read all the RSS feeds and display a slideshow of everyone's photos.

After a bit of research I had settled on the Samsung SPF83V, as it supports WiFi and RSS. The marketing material was a tad misleading however. It claimed the SPF83v supported WPA (it doesn't) and multiple RSS feeds. The device does support multiple RSS feeds...just not at once. What I'd expected was for it to merge multiple RSS feeds but that was a bit optimistic of me.

Not supporting WPA was a royal PITA. I ended up biting the bullet and downgrading each of my families WiFi to WEP. None of them are in high density areas and they don't have byte charged internet accounts. So worst case some twit piggybacks on their network for a bit and we change it back to WPA.

The frame's woeful RSS support was a much larger sore point. I threw together some quick python code to do the RSS merging but the frame would just crash when reading it. I debugged for a bit before realising I'd rather be spending time with my family than coding. So I poked around on the net for existing solutions and they all crashed the frame too.

Then I remembered Yahoo Pipes and the sun broke through the clouds and a beam of golden light shone down upon me.

Yahoo Pipes is awesome. It reminds me of a graphical processing app I played with called Cantata (sp?) on a Sun SPARCstation in 1992. That supported working on images rather than text but it was the same concept.

A few minutes later I had a merged, sorted and pruned RSS feed that had all of our picture frames happily loaded and displayed.

Next step was to install/upgrade everyone's computers to Picasa 3 (which I must say is really slick) and show them how to upload photos.

Now when my sister adds more photos of my adorable niece Madison they automagically show up in my parents house.