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Ceiva Picture Frame - and PoIP...
or  "How to Keep Grandma Happy with Pictures of the Kids"


An electronic picture frame with a connection to the Internet? There is VoIP (Voice over IP); now let's coin a new abbreviation right here on the spot: PoIP - Pictures over IP. - Read on.

Taking its cue from the outrageously overpriced Sony CyberFrame, a start-up by the name of Ceiva Logic in West Hollywood, California has gone one better with its innovative Internet appliance device named the Ceiva Internet Connected Digital Picture Frame. By simply plugging the picture frame into a standard electrical outlet and a telephone jack, the Ceiva turns into an "on line" display device that can receive digital photos which have been uploaded to the Ceiva Web site.

There is no keyboard, no mouse or a PC connectionů just two buttons on the back of the picture frame which adjust display brightness, allow for switching between either displaying a single image or cycling through a collection of multiple images, and control manual photo downloads.

To activate the Ceiva frame, an online account is set up which includes a user name, password and a "Buddy List", which tells Ceiva from whom it can receive digital images. Authorized senders can then forward and upload their digital photo's to the Ceiva Web site; the frame does the rest of the work by automatically calling a local access telephone number in the middle of the night, typically between the hours of 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m., to retrieve any new pictures which have been posted to your account.

Located within the Ceiva picture frame is a microprocessor which directs the collection and display of the images, along with a one MB flash memory card which holds approximately ten photo images. When the Ceiva frame dials up the local access number in the middle of the night, it will remove existing images on a one-for-one first-in/first-out basis to download any new photos which have been posted to your account. Purged photos will be stored back on your account at the Ceiva website. There is also a feature which allows you to lock images onto your picture frame and not have them replaced by newer images, if so desired. The download process takes about 4-5 minutes to complete a full ten photo download and your connected telephone line is obviously unavailable during this short time window.

A manual download, during the middle of the day, can be initiated by pressing and holding the white control button on the back of the picture frame. Because the frame incorporates flash memory, it can be disconnected from an AC electrical outlet and moved to a new location without loss of the last set of images displayed on the unit.

Additional features include the ability to vary your slideshow interval (through your account at the Ceiva website) and a capability to customize images by adding captions and turning photos into postcards. The Ceiva presently comes in only one color, black, although Ceiva has indicated that a wide array of colors and picture frame finishes will be coming soon.

The picture frame screen is a passive-matrix LCD which measures approximately 5" X 7". Ceiva released the product on-line on January 24th, 2000, and is making the frame available through their website. However, the automatic dial-in service only works in the U.S.

Price: $249
Service fees: $2.99/month (*)

(*)  associated with accessing the Ceiva website for image downloads, and for a local access telephone connection. $7.99/month for a toll-free (1-800) connection.

For further information and pricing updates, visit the Ceiva Logic website at www.ceiva.com.





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