I’ve been reading a lot of 9/11 tribute stuff today, both personal memories and tributes to those lost. It’s hard for me. It evokes a level of anxiety in me that feels dangerous. The truth is that I don’t watch the news and rarely read the paper; I find current events depressing and I’d rather be ignorant than scared.
[I’m not interested in debating whether or not this is a healthy outlook. I also can’t go to sleep with the closet door open or go on a trip with fewer than two extra outfits. I never claimed to be logical.]
Maybe I have an ulterior motive for not wanting to read about all of the ways in which September 11th altered everyone’s lives. Maybe a small, stubborn part of me wants to believe that it can still be a regular day for some of us, or maybe just Chickadee’s first day of preschool, and not a day of tragedy.
Anyway, I am going to deal with all of this in a supremely mature manner and do a little bit of talking about photographs instead of history or current events. This is me, burying my head in the sand, with a really cool digital photo frame down there to keep me company!
So, um, remember how I sometimes get free stuff and then I do product reviews and that’s sort of neat? This horrible thing happened. I, um,
grew a conscience signed an advertising contract decided I can’t accept free stuff anymore. So my good buddy Charlie sent me some mail and said, “Hey, want to check out one of these?” and I was all, “Yes! I mean, no! I mean, DAMMIT! Um, wait, I’m not sure!”
That was a fun conversation.
In the end, we decided that the product reviewing wasn’t a problem, it was just the keeping stuff that was a problem. So I agreed to do a review and send it back.
Immediately, I was gripped with remorse. Perhaps, I comforted myself, the Philips 7FF1 Digital Photo Display would just plain suck. I would spend a bit of time with it, get good and frustrated, and stuff it into the return mailer with a hearty “GOOD RIDDANCE!” and a little wrist flourish.
Sadly, I was doomed from the start. The frame comes in some sort of space-age cube packaging with a separate slot for each and every piece. It was great fun to take it all out. There’s also a thick user’s manual, but I try never to read user’s manuals. What’s the fun in that? Nope, I reasoned, it would be a good test of the frame to see if I could use it without reading the guide.
Well, I plugged in the power cord and put a memory card into the slot in the back. Voila! Pictures, flashing up in succession with a variety of effects when going from one picture to another. (Actually, that was sort of amusing, like watching an intro film student learning about the different ways to fade from one scene to another. Blackout! Slow fade! Crosshatch! Peel effect!) The only problem was that the pictures were changing about every 5 seconds and it was making me dizzy.
So I fiddled with some buttons on the back of the frame, and in about two minutes I had reset the interval to a full minute. Easy. I set it on my desk and admired the photos, which really do display beautifully.
After I played with it for a while, I took it apart and packed it back into its box, and then I checked out the review on CNET. Their big complaint was short battery life, which, um, battery? I guess maybe I should’ve read the manual.
CNET also complains that menu navigation isn’t as intuitive as they’d like. I dunno; I found it pretty straightforward. But this may just be proof that I’m a gigantic geek.
I should probably thank Charlie for sending me the frame to test, but instead I’m considering gently resting my head on the box and weeping for a bit before I have to send it back. This would be a superb gift for doting grandparents. At around $200 it’s a bit out of my price range right now. I guess my parents will have to settle for the calendar I usually make them for Christmas. Maybe I’ll even get the kids to stand there and wiggle their hands while turning the pages, and we’ll pretend it’s like the special fading effects of the Philips digital frame.
Okay, maybe not.
Thanks for letting me do a test drive, Charlie. (You bastard. I want one.)