% fortune -ae paul murphy

Sony's S-Frame

Last week we bought a Sony digital photo frame - specifically a model DPF-V900 - as a gift for #1 Grandma. It's a very cool product: basically you load it up with digital images and it sits there showing them just like a real photoframe except that the picture can change in random or directed order at varying time intervals you set.

Sony, incidently, is not the only company making these: others, including Kodak, make competing products and Apple, I think, has a prototype they tested but didn't release a few years ago.

The images the Sony shows are tiny: the display offers only 800 x 480 pixels - it's unbalanced because it can show a clock or calendar beside or below the image. For our first test, however, we simply put the SD card from small boy's 8MegaPixel camera in the thing's SD slot, thus forcing it to rescale the images and that worked perfectly with no set-up or other hassles.

But, we wanted to store the images on the thing's internal flash memory - there's 444MB of it available, and after running gimp's convert to rescale the images to 640 x 480 just about 900 of them didn't quite make 50 MB, so there should have been lots of room.

Being naive Mac users we simply mounted the thing as an external usb device and told iPhoto to export to it - and that worked until image number 362 caused the Sony's software to collapse. Nothing worked to bring it back - not factory reset, nothing.

So we got a new unit, loaded 350 images, no problem. Loaded 20 more, bang! memory errors and write failures - but this time factory reset worked. So then we read the documentation...

Connecting to a computer

You can connect to a computer to view and copy images of the internal memory of the photo frame to the computer, and copy images of the computer to the photo frame. [Yes, it really says that; pretty sic, eh? ]



Recommended OS: Microsoft Windows Vista ... Pre-installed at the time of shipment from the factory


Recommended OS: MacOS X (10.4) or later ... Pre-installed at the time of shipment from the factory




Operation with all computers that satisfy the recommended system requirements is not guaranteed. [Emphasis added]


The photo frame has been demonstrated as operable with connecting to a PC or Sony Digital photo printer. When other devices are connected to the photo frame, these other devices may not recognize the internal memory of the photo frame.

In other words:

Dear customer:

You bought it, you figure it out.

Sony's lawyers.

And the right answer?

Write the images, in pre-shrunk form, to an SD card and then use the photo frame's on screen menu to get it to copy them from the SD card to internal memory. That works - and with less hassle than trying to get a factory installed copy of Vista to work.

You know what this is? it's a fine product made by an excellent company whose reputation and product usability is now being placed at risk by two tyrannies: the arrogance of the Microsoft majority and the greed of the litigation lawyer minority.

Paul Murphy wrote and published The Unix Guide to Defenestration. Murphy is a 25-year veteran of the I.T. consulting industry, specializing in Unix and Unix-related management issues.