erik lundegaard

Tuesday September 28, 2010

Fun with Pandigital Photo Frames

Here's a story.

A few years ago, we received a Pandigital photo frame for Christmas, loaded it with photos and forgot about it. Saturday afternoon, getting ready for a dinner party, we looked at it, thought: “You know, we should really update these photos.” So we hooked up the frame to my computer, an iMac, deleted the photos we didn't want, added about 50 more from the last two years—trips to Vietnam, Rehoboth Beach, etc.—and unhooked it.

And that's when the frustrations began. Count 'em off:

  1. Mac files include a kind of ghost file when viewed on a PC (techies: is it a “Mac resource fork file”?), and this photo frame, a Pandigital photo frame, was apparently made for PCs. It had downloaded all of these ghost files—the original file name preceded by an underscore, and seen as blank pictures with the words “Format Not Supported”—which aren't even visible on the iMac and thus can't be deleted via the iMac. They have to be deleted manually from the photo frame. A Pandigital photo frame.
  2. Oh, and the earlier photos I thought I'd deleted via the iMac? They were still there. These, too, had to be deleted manually via the photo frame. A Pandigital photo frame.
  3. There are five button options on the frame: ENTER, EXIT, left arrow, right arrow, SET-UP. None of these buttons are very responsive. One really has to press hard to get anywhere.
  4. There are two ways to delete a photo. Photos are viewable as thumbnails—six thumbnails per page—and one can navigate to the offending photo, press ENTER to select it, press SET-UP for options, then press the left or right arrows to navigate to the “Delete Photo” option. Press ENTER again. A question: “Are you sure?” Press ENTER again. Now it's gone. That's a lot of button pressing to get rid of one file. Particularly when one needs to delete about 50 such files.
  5. But that's not even the real problem. The real problem? Once you've deleted the photo, the frame automatically returns you to Page 1, Photo 1. Not a problem at the beginning when you're already on page 1. But by the time you're on page 4 or 5? A bitch. Let's say you wanted to delete photos #23, 25 and 27. To do so, you have to press 23 times to get to photo #23 and press a few more times to delete it; then you're automatically returned to the start and have to press 24 times (photo #25 minus the ghost file you've just deleted) to get back to where you were. And on and on.
  6. Ah, but there's another way to delete photos: from the thumbnail. Navigate to the offending thumbnail but don't hit ENTER. Instead, hit SET-UP and navigate to “Delete Photo.” Of course the step skipped by not hitting ENTER at the thumbnail is added in the deletion process: you get two windows rather than one to confirm the deletion. So it's not an advantage.
  7. No, the greater advantage to this method is you can remain in SET-UP mode and can then navigate to the next ghost thumbnail to delete it. Or so you think. This is actually the biggest bug of all. Because while it looks like you're deleting, say, the fifth photo on page 3, you're actually deleting the second photo on page 1. Because, even when the viewscreen shows otherwise, it automatically returns you to Page 1, Photo 1. In this manner I managed to delete some of the photos we actually wanted to display.

And that's how I spent my Saturday afternoon.

Posted at 06:26 AM on Tuesday September 28, 2010 in category Technology  
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