Long before digital photo frames could be found at places like Walgreens, I experimented with making one of my own. Using an old laptop I copied a bunch of pictures on to it and, using an old version of LView, set up my own little photo slide show. It wasn’t the best solution and it didn’t look anything like a photo frame, but the seed was there. Later when wireless networking began permeating our lives I moved my digital photos to a shared network folder and streamed them wirelessly to the laptop.
I retired that system years ago when someone — my Dad, I think — bought me a digital photo frame. The screen size is smaller than some of the frames they have available today, but it’s worked great for me for many years. It reads pictures from an SD card, which works great, and even came with a remote for controlling things. I’ve had the photo frame for at least five years now hanging on the outside of my cubicle at work. I change the pictures regularly and people always stop and make small talk about whatever location or event that happens to be taking place in the photo that’s on display when they walk by. Life’s been good.
At work a couple of weeks ago at work I moved from one building to another. I haven’t talked about it much because frankly it’s a bit of a sore subject, but suffice it to say I no longer sit in the same building that I’ve spent 15 of the past 17 years sitting in. That being said, it is what it is, and a place to sit is a place to sit. During the move I ended up taking most of my personal items home to lighten the migration, and only in the last couple of days have I started setting up anything other than work-related items in my cubicle. One thing I set up was my old photo frame.
If you’ve ever worked in a cubicle you know that sometimes you have to be creative. My whiteboard currently hangs from a couple of handmade hooks, custom-bent just so by a pair of pliers. Our calendar hung from a chain of paperclips fastened together for years.
To hang the photo frame, I first re-used the same sticky double-sided Velcro that had already been holding it in place for years. I pressed everything down tight and was confident it would do the trick. The next day when I returned to work my friend Howard had already picked the photo frame up off the ground and placed it on my desk. My second attempt was a bit more kludgey and used a small clip, another custom-bent paperclip, and a bit of masking tape. I’m sure it would have held forever as long as nobody ever touched it — but if you’ve ever worked in a cube, you know that’s not very likely. For my third attempt I went back to Velcro. During lunch on Friday I picked up some sticky-backed Velcro from Family Dollar and used it to stick the photo frame to the outside of my cube. Perfect! Perfect, that is, for about ten minutes. Then I heard the crash. This fall had not been so kind to the photo frame.
Not visible in this picture is the fact that the front and the back of the photo frame completely separated. I spent about ten minutes reattaching wires into plugs and small, paper-thin ribbons into their proper places, but even with the delicate wires replaced there was no fixing the screen. After any salvageable bits were saved, into the trash it went.
Today is December 22nd. Christmas shopping for everyone, I hope, is done. Santa’s Elves are done making toys and are busy wrapping gifts and doing last minute errands. I know it’s too late for Santa to get a new digital photo frame into my stocking this year, and I dare not break the family rule of buying myself something before every last gift has been opened. For now I remain frameless … but if anyone sees any go on sale the day after Christmas, let me know, eh?