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Old 02-26-2010, 05:16 PM   #1
Polydwarf
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Crazy Idea -- Photo Frame as Book Reader

I was thinking about reading books using the PSP and how some people convert their books to jpegs and load them into the PSP's photo viewer.. As I was doing that, I was surfing one of the online bargain sites and saw photo frames on sale..

Which made me wonder..

Has anyone tried converting their books into images, loading them on a photo frame that has next/back buttons, and using it?

I'm just throwing the question out there.. It seems (and probably is) stupid, but hey, it's Friday and I'm wasting time at work before I go home for the weekend.
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Old 02-26-2010, 05:29 PM   #2
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It seems (and probably is) stupid, but hey, it's Friday and I'm wasting time at work before I go home for the weekend.
Definitely wasting time! You have nothing else of substance to ponder? (just kidding)
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Old 02-26-2010, 05:31 PM   #3
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Definitely wasting time! You have nothing else of substance to ponder? (just kidding)
The bosses get antsy when I look at failblog.
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Old 02-26-2010, 05:33 PM   #4
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What would be funny, is if someone posted that they did try it!
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Old 02-26-2010, 05:38 PM   #5
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Perhaps you're not an oddball after all:

http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=26295
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Old 02-26-2010, 05:38 PM   #6
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What would be funny, is if someone posted that they did try it!
I've been doing some looking around since I posted the first item.. Apparently, there are a number of people out there that have taken old laptops, taken them apart to flip the screen around and maybe some other hardware modifications, and created a photo-frame from them.

There are also actual photo frames that come with linux and wifi built in.
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Old 02-26-2010, 05:42 PM   #7
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On a serious note...technological creativity is not crazy! I scoffed at the Entourage eDGe when I first saw it. Now I'm interested in it and can't wait for hands on reviews.
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Old 02-26-2010, 05:43 PM   #8
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Perhaps you're not an oddball after all:

http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=26295
lol... what's old is new again.

And here I thought I had the most brilliant and unique idea ever. Oh well. Still, the price point of digital photo frames makes it attractive, if you get one that doesn't need to be plugged into the wall all the time.
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Old 02-26-2010, 05:45 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Polydwarf View Post
I'm just throwing the question out there.. It seems (and probably is) stupid, but hey, it's Friday and I'm wasting time at work before I go home for the weekend.
That probably wouldn't be worth the trouble for reading books, maybe (unless the photo frame could display a PDF as well as a JPG - I'll bet there are a few out there that could), but it would be an excellent way to keep a recipe file in your kitchen. Just glue a few magnets on the back of the frame, stick in on the fridge, and load JPGs of your recipes on it along with some nice family pics for when you're not cooking.
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Old 02-26-2010, 05:52 PM   #10
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That probably wouldn't be worth the trouble for reading books, maybe (unless the photo frame could display a PDF as well as a JPG - I'll bet there are a few out there that could), but it would be an excellent way to keep a recipe file in your kitchen. Just glue a few magnets on the back of the frame, stick in on the fridge, and load JPGs of your recipes on it along with some nice family pics for when you're not cooking.
There are a few out there that run a customized version of linux... Whether you could get a pdf viewer, or maybe even fbreader or something on them, I don't know.

As for the recipe idea... That'd be nifty, if there are frames that have a catalog concept. For instance, you could have a chocolate chip cookie catalog with all your chocolate chip cookie recipes, etc. Otherwise, if you have a bunch of recipes, it'd be a pain to have to scroll through them all.

I have no idea what any capabilities of photo frames are beyond "show pictures" so whether any have that idea, or they all do, I don't know.

Last edited by Polydwarf; 02-26-2010 at 06:00 PM.
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Old 02-27-2010, 01:13 PM   #11
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The resolution is probably not very good. Also you would be stuck with one size of font, no bookmarks, no way for the viewer to remember the last page you were on, etc. I actually tried some similar experiments way back when with a Sony portable DVD player, that is why I know it didn't work out very well. Plus it would take a long time to prepare each book.
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Old 02-27-2010, 02:48 PM   #12
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LOL I have to stop lurking when I saw this. While I don't really know if it would work or not, I do know there is a software called Ebooks to Images - http://www.merlinsoftware.com/ebook *, which mainly used for people reading on PMP. If you can play around with the image dimensions while converting, it may work for this purpose

*sorry, my URL link was not working in preview so rather then failed HTML coding, I added the link to the side

ETAops Link was already posted in the other thread. Oh well, it is nifty and deserved another mention

Last edited by alyknight; 02-27-2010 at 02:54 PM. Reason: add ETA
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Old 02-27-2010, 04:13 PM   #13
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The resolution is probably not very good. Also you would be stuck with one size of font, no bookmarks, no way for the viewer to remember the last page you were on, etc. I actually tried some similar experiments way back when with a Sony portable DVD player, that is why I know it didn't work out very well. Plus it would take a long time to prepare each book.
800x600 seems to be a pretty easy-to-get (and cheap) resolution for the 8" frames (judging by newegg, at least)

I did a couple of minutes of playing with the one linked above by alyknight, and it let me specify height/width of the output images, font face/size/color, background color/image, and even jpeg quality if converting to jpegs.

Setting it to 800x600 image size, and a jpeg quality of 40% (it looks ok at that level on the computer screen; I don't have a photo frame to try it with) and converting a novel, I got 186 jpeg files, with the file size ranging from ~100-130kB each, for a total directory size of 21.8 megabytes.

It took my machine (Intel E8400 cpu) about 40 seconds to do the conversion. This converter, at least, is not multi-threaded, so multi-core isn't really a benefit.

If I switched it to PNG, the time to convert was approximately the same, though the file sizes shrunk and were in the 80-110 KB range.

If I added PNG Compression, they are absolutely right, it is a ton slower; I aborted the process two or three minutes in, and it wasn't halfway yet. File sizes were in the 40-70 KB range.

Your points about bookmarks/page you were on/etc are absolutely valid. It also might look a little weird at a coffee place or an airport to pull out a digital photo frame. Here in the US, I think that's grounds for a *very* thorough full body search by a guy named Bubba, and after that you'd get a complementary tazing.
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Old 02-27-2010, 04:52 PM   #14
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Most photo frames can display txt formatted files, that feature has been around for awhile.
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Old 02-27-2010, 04:53 PM   #15
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Quote:
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What would be funny, is if someone posted that they did try it!
I did try it.
I have purchased very cheap digital frame (slightly damaged, but that does not play any role here).
It turned out to be unusable for book reading.
  1. display is very low quality lcd
  2. there is an "effect" when it changes pictures and there is no way to switch it off. Each change takes about 2 seconds and is implemented as an animation. Those animations would drive me crazy in a short time
  3. it has no battery and has quite high energy consumption (12V DC input, so the external battery pack would have te be quite big)
  4. the button for advancing pictures is in place that is uncomfortable to operate
  5. jpg - the only supported format is not very well suited for text. png or gif or whatever lossless format would be optimal
  6. there *are* models that are much fancier and support enough formats, are configurable enough, and have decent screen but those are close in price to a second-hand e-ink reader.
  7. did I mention the absolutely abysmal quality of display?
A portable DVD player would be much better for book viewing.
My friend has such player and I have already promised that I would provide a book for him that is a series of bitmaps. Such low-end DVD player costs about 50Eur if you look hard enough or when you find a sale.
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