Changes to PicasaWeb support – it now works for a lot more people

Based on feedback I received to yesterday’s post I spent a few hours yesterday re-writing the PicasaWeb feed grabber.  This new version pulls all public images in your PicasaWeb account regardless of the name of the album.  I think this better matches folks expectation of how it should work and puts it into parity with the Flickr photostream grabber.

I also added a feature that converts HTTPS links to standard HTTP.  I’ve found that some frames do not support HTTPS and therefore were not displaying PicasaWeb images that included HTTPS in the link (which is most/all of them).

The net effect of these changes is that PicasaWeb photos are now appearing on many more frames!  If you have configured a PicasaWeb channel and are still not seeing any photos on your frame please contact me.

Clarification on PicasaWeb support, and a few bug fixes

Some folks are having trouble with the new Picasaweb support in FrameAlbum.  I can certainly understand why, I didn’t do a particularly good job explaining it.  I’ll give it another go…

When you add a PicasaWeb channel you are asked to provide your PicasaWeb username; for most people this is your GMail address.  Please do not use your numeric user ID (very large numeric value that you may see on your Profile page link).  I do plan on adding support for using the profile ID value but it is not ready for release.

The system will then search for a album named ‘Public’ in your PicasaWeb account.  Any pictures in this album, and only this album, will be added to your frame’s feed.  No other albums are searched or will be included in the feed.  This is the largest area of confusion and generates more than half of all the questions I receive.  Sorry about that.

It’s clear that I need to change this — I’m interested in feedback from everyone on this issue.  Please let me know, via the comments below, how you would like the PicasaWeb feature to work.  Do you want all your public photos included in the feed?  Only specific albums included?  Inquiring minds want to know!

I also rolled out two fixes on the site — First is a fix that makes it possible to delete frames from your account.  The second is a cosmetic issue that most people will likely never notice.

FrameAlbum now supports PicasaWeb Public albums!

Today I enabled the PicasaWeb Public albums channel type.  This will allow you to add images from PicasaWeb Public folders to your frame’s feed.

You can add anyone’s Public folder to your frame as long as you know their PicasaWeb username, usually a GMail email address.  Also, like the Flickr channel type, you can add multiple PicasaWeb channels to you frame so that you can see multiple user’s photos on your frame.

This feature is available immediately to all registered users of the FrameAlbum service.  If you haven’t done so already, you can pre-register for the beta at

As always, if you notice anything wonky with this new channel type, or any part of the FrameAlbum service, please contact me — I can’t fix it if I don’t know it’s broken.

This is starting to get good!

How do I discover my frame ID?

I’ve had a few people ask about this so it seemed worth of a post.  This information only applies to folks who have modified their DNS, or, are using the FrameAlbum DNS service to direct their frames to the FrameAlbum service.  If you are using the custom RSS feed feature of FrameAlbum to get photos onto your frame this does not apply to you.

Every frame that utilized the FrameChannel service has a unique identifier referred to as it’s FrameID.  This ID is included in all requests sent to the service so that the service can identify the specific frame making the request and respond accordingly.  There are several different method of assigning FrameIDs.  For example, Kodak and Toshiba frames use the network MAC address of the frame as it’s ID.

When a new frame connected to the FrameChannel service it displayed an ‘activation code’ that you used to register with the FrameChannel website.  I may do something similar with FrameAlbum in the future but in the name of ‘get something up quickly’ I took a slightly simpler approach.

When your frame requests a feed from FrameAlbum it checks the database to see if that frameID is registered on the service.  If it is not it will generate a slide that includes the frameID used by your frame.  This slide will be shown by your frame.

Once you have your frame’s ID you can add it to your existing FrameAlbum account (or update an existing frame already part of your account) and start adding photo channels to it.

One thing to bear in mind; when you enter your frame’s ID into FrameAlbum it must match exactly the ID displayed on the default panel.  Be careful to include any ‘:’s in your frameID when you add/update your frame on FrameAlbum.

Netflix, or, “How not to change your business model.”

TechCrunch published a piece yesterday about the backlash to Netflix’s recent pricing changes.  This chart really brought it home for me.

With that single act, Netfix’s management brought the public’s perception of their company from rating higher than the next two competitors combined down to parity with the lowest sludge filled sub-basement level occupied by DirecTV.  DirecTV was formally owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation; <cough> a model of management efficiency and ethics if ever there was one <cough>.

Personally, Netflix is hanging by a thread in our household.  Their support for Windows Media Center, tenuous as it may be, is enough for me to keep the service for now.  If they should ever drop support for MCE I would drop Netflix quicker than you can say ‘cracked DVD’.

Big news day for FrameAlbum!

I’ve had two great ‘off the record’ conversations today that will have a great impact on the FrameAlbum project.  I’m not yet at liberty to discuss the details but suffice it to say that the result of these conversations will be greatly enhanced support for some frames.

Now, if I can only get my A/C unit to work harder and get the temp in my office below 85F… ;-(