The Perfect Gift for Grandma:
A 'Net Connected Photo Frame
everyone rushing to solve problems using the Internet, we've seen a number
of odd appliances with senseless Internet connections.
stereos, even cars are hooking up to cyberspace. Since SemperAptus.com is
founded on the principal of "net connectivity", we wanted to
find the "killer app" of web-connected hardware, and we did.
Logic LLC, a
Hollywood-based company backed by former Disney executives sells a single
product: the Ceiva digital picture frame. The device is brilliantly
simple; plug it into a power outlet and a
phone jack and you're ready. The device automatically connects to the
Internet using a local dial-up number and downloads pictures once a night.
When you awake, the frame rotates through all of the photos (up to 10 at a
time) that have been sent to your frame. Matching the two easy
installation steps, the Ceiva frame has only two buttons to control it.
One button controls the contrast on the display and need only be used
once. The second button scrolls through the photos in your frame and (when
held down for 5 seconds) will manually dial the Ceiva service and download
frame displays pictures on a nearly 5"x7", 640x480 pixel color
screen, a standard used by many digital cameras and graphics programs.
Photos sent to the frame in other resolutions are automatically displayed
with a black background.
the frame works extremely well, we did have a few issues with the set up
process. While Ceiva Logic's web site clearly states:
don't need a computer, an Internet account or a secret password to
receive pictures on your Ceiva digital picture frame. It doesn't require
a mouse, a keyboard or any prior computer experience"
will need a computer and Internet access in order setup their Ceiva
account, give permission for other users to send pictures to the frame,
and to send pictures themselves. Once that is set up, the Ceiva frame can
receive pictures without any other interference. Since the frame can only
hold 10 pictures, the oldest pictures will be removed as new ones are
uploaded. Favorite pictures can be "locked" so that they stay on
the frame and not replaced by newer pictures using the Ceiva web site. The
only time the frame owner will have to log in is if they want to give new
people permission to upload to their frame. Savvy computer users will be
able to easily manage the entire set up and maintenance process should
they purchase the frame for an elderly or techno-phobic loved one. And, to
Ceiva's credit, they have a wonderfully easy-to-use web site which almost
coaxes us to let them slide by on this marketing slight-of-hand.
The well-designed Ceiva web site
allows you to upload new photos, organize existing ones, and send photos
to any Ceiva frame or E-mail address.
from the nearly false claims of "no computer needed" we have
only one other bone to pick with the company. Although they boast over
2,000 local dial-in numbers, we noticed certain rural areas were extremely
thin. Oklahoma, for example has only 5 numbers for the entire state.
Readers considering the purchase of the Ceiva, should check for local
numbers using the company's lookup
page as users without local coverage can use a toll free number, that
costs an extra $5/month.
of which, cost for the digital frame is US$249, with a service charge (for
picture downloads and web site access) of $2.99/month. Using the toll free
service brings the monthly charge to $7.99. While we here at SemperAptus
don't make enough money to buy a Ceiva for every member of our family, the
$249 price is far lower than Sony's digital picture frame that runs $899
and only receives pictures from their Memory Stick technology, not the
Internet. For those of you that really want to get on Grandma's good
side, Amazon.com offers a
bundle: the frame and a one year subscription to the Ceiva service for
Brilliant concept, simple
enough for anyone to use, excellent "automated" Internet connectivity.
Limited local number area,
requires computer set up.
said, and even counting our hesitations, the Ceiva picture frame is our
choice for the "killer app" of Internet appliance connectivity
for the first half of the year 2000. Almost everyone but the truly inept
should be able to use this "device" and who wouldn't love the
ability to automatically receive a picture of your newborn grandchild
without even lifting a finger?