Category Archives: Photography

Nixplay Seed Wave Adds Sound at CES



I always think of digital photo frames as cinderella gadgets that don’t get the attention they deserve. I’m a fan, especially when the frame can connect into services like Google Photos meaning there’s no need to copying photos about the place on memory cards. Smartphones are great for taking photos but all too often the photos stay on the phone.

Nixplay, the global market leader in connected photo frames, is introducing its all-new Seed Wave at CES, adding a new dimension in sound and music to its best-selling smart connected photo and video frames. The Wave gives Nixplay users the ability to add music and sound to their photos and videos, so the images don’t just look good, they sound good too.

Building on the best-selling design of the Seed line, Nixplay is adding two new premium 5-watt Bluetooth speakers with a dedicated bass and audio amplifier, to allow Nixplay users to stream music from their Bluetooth-enabled devices by simply pairing a phone, tablet or PC to their Seed Wave. The improved functionality also gives Nixplay users enhanced audio performance to watch their video memories, all on the popular, crisp widescreen frame. So much family fun.

Nixplay owners can now entertain friends and family by sharing their precious memories paired to their favorite tunes from any room in their home,” said Nixplay CEO, Mark Palfreeman. “We know the mantelpiece is still considered the focal point of the home and the backdrop of our family photos so that’s why we created the Seed Wave to have a sleek, minimalist design that makes it the perfect addition to your mantelpiece.

With the Nixplay mobile app, users enjoy on-the-go functionality and creativity. The app allows them to easily share photos and videos directly from the app to their Nixplay frame anywhere in the world over Wi-Fi. Note that currently the iOS and Android apps are not equal, and there are some limitations around video.

Other features include
– Dynamic Google Photos connectivity gives users Live Albums on their frame.
– 10GB of secure and free online cloud storage.
– Connects albums from all social platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Dropbox, Verizon Cloud, and Google Photos.
– Works with Amazon Alexa.

The 13-inch Widescreen Seed Wave is available for $249.99 on Nixplay.com and Amazon.com now.


National Geographic Best 100 Photos of 2018



As the planet twirls to the winter solstice, the “Best of 2018” starts to emerge. Most of these are worthless click-bait, but National Geographic’s Best 100 Photos of 2018 presents truly amazing photography from the world around us.

NatGeo’s great photos aren’t just well composed shots of still life.  For us, they show 2018 through a temporal lens, from the joy of humanity to the tragedy of life; the incredible diversity of our species saddled by the divisions within. For the other inhabitants of the world – the animals, the fish, the birds, the reptiles – appreciate their beauty in increasingly rare natural environments. For some of these, it really is last chance to see.

Take the time to look and take in every single one. It’ll be worth it.


Flickr sheds the Yahoo login requirement



Flickr has become one of the top photo sharing services online since its founding in 2004. It’s extremely popular with pro photographers and bloggers. The company was sold to Yahoo and began requiring a Yahoo account to log in, but since April of this year, it has been owned by Smug Mug.

There was a problem there — many people don’t have a Yahoo account, especially the younger ones. More importantly, many didn’t want one.

Now that Flickr is out from under that umbrella, it is doing away that requirement. The photo-sharing service says it had many complaints about the proprietary login even stating the CEO had been locked out during some confusion.

“Here at Flickr, we’ve long wanted a simpler login solution that would allow each member to use the email address of their choice. And since SmugMug bought Flickr from Yahoo, we’ve been working toward this goal,” says Flickr

This won’t roll out until early 2019 and it will work Amazon AWS to add an extra layer of security to your account.


Google’s Live Albums Keeps Families In Touch



Google’s Pixel 3 event today didn’t bring too many surprises on the hardware front: most had been leaked well in advance of the presentation. What caught my eye was not a device but a new a new software feature called “Live Albums”.

Dave Loxton, Google Photo Product Manager, explains, “Many of us share the same photos with the same people over and over, whether it’s photos of your children to their grandparents, or cute pics of your pup to your best friend. Every time, we have to find the photos, select the ones we want to share and send them to the right people. And that’s if we even remember to share them at all.

Live albums start out as ordinary albums – you select the special photos of friends, family and pets. Here’s the clever bit…once tagged as a live album, freshly taken photos will be scanned by Google’s AI smarts and if they include people in the live album, they’ll be added into the album automatically.

This is fantastic for those families wanting to share photos with far-flung relatives. Instead of constantly having to remember to send photos to granny in Edinburgh, create a live album of the grandchildren and share it with her. New photos of the children will be added in as they’re taken, and granny gets to see the photos straightaway.

Google touts its Home Hub as being the ideal picture frame to display live album, though it’s only 7″, which I think is a little small for a photo frame. Priced at US$149 or UK£139, the Home Hub is competitively priced against wireless photo frames from the likes of Nixplay. I can see the Home Hub taking market share this Christmas.

The updated version of Photos with live album support will be rolling out shortly, so wait for it to appear on your smartphone.


Death by Selfie



Research published in the Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care reveals that taking selfies can be a dangerous business. In a six year period from 2011 through to 2017, 259 selfie-related deaths are recorded worldwide.

That’s likely to be a considerable underestimate, too, as death “by selfie” isn’t an official cause of death, whereas drowning (70) and falling (48) are recorded on death certificates. In order to come up with a figure, the researchers relied on selfie-related searches to find articles confirming that people died while trying to take selfies, either in the instant or on adventures to get that perfect selfie shot.

The paper looks at the actual causes of death (usually drowning), age group (mostly 20-29 years) and gender (three times more likely to be male). The study looked at whether the selfie-taker was engaged in risky behaviour at the time. For men, risky behaviour resulted in more selfie deaths (115 risky v 38 normal), but surprisingly, more women died engaged in non-risky behaviour (27 risky v 31 normal). The paper is an easy read, so take five minutes.

Compared with many other forms of premature accidental death, such as road accidents, the figures are minuscule in comparison. For 2017 only, there were 40,100 motor vehicles deaths in the US alone. Considering a notionally riskier sport, skydiving suffers from around 20-25 fatalities per year in America.

Assessing statistics like this can be cold. One death is too many and it’s particularly sad to realise that every single one of those deaths was avoidable. Without the pressure of social media, it’s very likely all these people would be alive. And to end this sad tale, I’m reminded of Narcissus and a myth that goes back at least two thousand years. Nothing is new.

Photo by Tuce on Unsplash.


SmugMug has Acquired Flickr



SmugMug announced that it has acquired Flickr. SmugMug believes “You are not our product. You are our priority.” Those who are current users of either SmugMug or Flickr should read SmugMug’s FAQ page.

According to its FAQ, your SmugMug and Flickr accounts will remain separate and independent for the foreseeable future. Users will continue to log in with their current credentials and have the same experience they are used to.

If things change in the future for Flickr, SmugMug says it will be as transparent as possible about the process and give users as much notice as they can about the issues that matter to you.

Users will still be able to access their Flickr or SmugMug photos, and those photos will retain the same URL. Over time, SmugMug will be migrating Flickr onto SmugMug’s technology infrastructure, and user’s Flickr photos will move as a part of that migration. However, the photos themselves will remain on Flickr.

It is important to know that Flickr users should read over SmugMug’s Terms of Service. You will have 30 days (from the date an email about SmugMug’s terms was sent) to either accept SmugMug’s Terms or to opt out. If you do nothing, your Flickr account will transition from Yahoo’s Terms to SmugMug’s Terms. If you don’t want to make that change, you can delete your Flickr account.

SmugMug says that it will continue to offer Flickr’s free accounts, stating “We are not making any changes to Flickr plans or rates at this time”. SmugMug will let Flickr Pro customers know if that changes.

Those who currently have a Flickr Pro subscription will continue to enjoy all the benefits of Pro membership. SmugMug does not offer a free account. Plans range from $3.99/month to $29.99/month.