DIGITAL PHOTO FRAMES COME WITH A VARIETY OF OPTIONS, LIFESPANS

I love being in homes where I can see photos going by in a digital photo frame. But before ordering one, I asked for input from friends.

One friend has had four digital photo frames since 2011, all for around $60, all eight inches in size. Each had a lifespan of about three years. By 2023,  he will have spent $240 over 12 years on frames from Aluratek and Micca. That works out to $20 a year. He says it beats spending hundreds of dollars on a frame that might not last the decade. The problem is humidity, which  affects the contacts. After a while, the frame won’t turn on.

The cheapest digital frames are bare-bones, no Internet involved.  To show photos, you save them to a memory stick or SD card on your camera. Then you stick it in the frame. Fortunately, all digital frames, even the cheap ones, display videos, music and photos.

Though I like the resolution of the Aluratek frame, having seen it in person, I decided to spring for the $169 “Aura Carver” as a Christmas gift for my sister, in hopes that it will last longer. It’s Oprah’s choice, gets good reviews, and offers unlimited free storage in the cloud.

By buying from AuraFrames.com, I was able to load photos remotely with a link the company emailed me. Thirty-one photos were in the frame even before it arrived at my sister’s house, which was just two days after I ordered it.  I can load more photos any time; it holds an unlimited number. But that’s an AuraFrames.com deal.  if you buy one from another site, you have to have the frame shipped to you first. Then, once it’s set up, anyone with an invitation can add photos to the frame. In short, an Aura frame seems like a great deal.  I’ll  tell you more about if after my sister opens hers on Christmas.

A cheaper alternative is a so-called “smart display,” like the Google Nest Hub for $70 or the Amazon Echo Show 8 for $80. With the Hub, you make an album in your Google Photos account and load it remotely onto your device or a loved one’s. Then just tap a setting in the app to choose that album to display.  To have the Amazon Echo Show act as a digital photo frame, search on “How to Add Photos to the Amazon Echo Show.” Of course, not everyone wants a smart device that can listen to them. They might forget to turn the microphone off when they’re planning a heist.

Plank Machine

I haven’t had this much fun since I owned a Bongo Board. The $99 “Stealth Core Trainer” distracts you with video games while you’re toning your body.

To use it, get into a push-up position, either on your knees or toes, with your elbows on the board and your hands grasping the sides. Your phone is on the board in front of your face, either vertically or horizontally, offering you games through the Stealth Fitness app. You steer a game by rocking from side to side as you grasp the board, which pivots on its stand. You’re constantly turning or tilting left or right or up and down in order to steer. That works your core even harder.

The Stealth comes with a few free games. I enjoyed flying through hills, going through hoops and knocking down hot air balloons while avoiding big black birds and tall trees. To go beyond the freebies, you can pay $25 a year for 16 games with new ones coming in periodically. I signed up for the free trial and enjoyed racquetball. But I also discovered I could get a work-out just by watching part of a video while rocking around. When I joined the Stealth Facebook community, some were bragging about lasting one minute.

A family who visited me recently is totally onboard. None of them had done core exercises before, so they mostly did the push-up position on their knees. Their 6-year-old let her legs rest completely flat on the floor, only working her arms. When her dad tried it, he went for the more advanced plank position.  “Dad, you’re shaking,” his 10-year-old told him. More info at gameyourcore.com.

Buddha Board

Another big hit with me and my neighbors is the “Buddha Board.” It comes with a bamboo brush that you dip into water to make Japanese-style strokes on a white surface.

Since your masterpiece will evaporate in one to ten minutes, it’s a “live-in-the-moment” kind of experience. My neighbors’ kids drew faces, flowers, birds and leaves. They snapped a picture of their masterpiece before it disappeared.

The Buddha Board comes in three sizes. They’re all so lightweight, you could easily carry them into Nature to sketch.  Prices start at $15 and go up to $35, depending on the size. The smallest is a five-inch square, the largest is around 13 by five inches. The largest one has its own water tray that doubles as a stand. The smaller ones fold back to become their own stand.

Holiday Apps

  • Imagine AR” is a free “Augmented Reality”  (AR) app that allows you to look at Santa on your phone as if he were in your living room. I saw “Guitar Santa” in front of the TV.

  • Decorate your Christmas Tree” is a free app that lets you decorate a tree you can email or share on social networking.

 

Comments are closed.


Warning: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/5/d239308448/htdocs/wp-content/themes/digg-3-col-b/footer_top.php on line 1