The FrameAlbum DNS server is…

The most difficult issue with creating a FrameChannel replacement service is how to get all those frames that are ‘hard wired’ to the FrameChannel service over to access FrameAlbum instead.  It is practically impossible to change the internal programming of photo frames to use a different service.  The manufactures refuse to update the software and there is no way for the consumer to do it on their own.  The easiest method is to utilize the ‘custom Photo RSS’ feed feature built into many frames (Kodak) but not all frames have this feature.

For those frames without a ‘custom Photo RSS’ feed feature (I’m talking about you Toshiba) the only option is to fool the frame into thinking it is talking to FrameChannel when, in fact, it is talking to FrameAlbum.  There are various methods of accomplishing this but the most straightforward is to utilize a modified DNS server.

A DNS server is akin to the contact list on your smartphone; when you type in ‘Dave Smith’ it ‘translates’ that to Dave’s phone number (1-234-567-7890).  A DNS server does a similar thing on the Internet.  When you type ‘www.streamingmeemee.com’ into your browser a DNS server translates that into a specific network address that your computer contacts to retrieve the webpage.  Your photo frame uses the same mechanism to determine which server to contact when it is trying to retrieve your photos.

I have put together a specially modified DNS server that when asked for ‘framechannel.com’ returns the server information for FrameAlbum.  When your frame is configured to use the FrameAlbum DNS server, rather than the server provided by your ISP, it will think it is talking to FrameChannel when in fact it is talking to FrameAlbum’s servers.  The somewhat tricky bit can be configuring your frame to use the FrameAlbum DNS server.  I’ll warn you now that it involves a bit of geekery.

All frames that I have seen require you to choose a ‘static IP network configuration’ to set a specific DNS server.  The method varies widely between frames so I will not go into detail on how to access or set this option.  If this is all gibberish to you I strongly urge you to reach out to your friendly neighborhood tech-head and ask them to give you a hand.

Here is the key bit of information you’ll need:

FrameAlbum DNS server IP address: 64.2.142.181
FrameAlbum DNS server hostname: dns.framealbum.com

If your frame requires two DNS server values simply use the same address for both entries.

Once you have set your frame to use the FrameAlbum DNS server you should receive an image on your frame providing you with an activation code that you can use to link your frame to your FrameAlbum account.  Simply log into the FrameAlbum website and choose the ‘activate a frame’ link.

Please post any questions in the comments section below.

Thanks for your patience!

34 thoughts on “The FrameAlbum DNS server is…”

  1. I like where you’re going with this.
    It should be simple enough to put in a static route in you network to redirect the URL.

    Which frame would are using to test? I’d like to pick one of them up and job on board.

    I’d like the greatest chance for success, so if you recommend a make and model, I’ll pick one up.

  2. Thanks for this update! I tried for a bit of time but have run out of options… I have Toshiba frame, DMF82XWU. I put in my static settings on my frame:
    IP: 10.10.0.70
    Subnet: 255.255.255.0
    Gateway: 10.10.0.1
    DNS: 64.2.142.181

    My router is 10.10.0.1, and is set to do DHCP from .3 to .64. With all these settings my frame just comes up with an unable to connect to online service error when setting mode to Framechannel. It can connect to Picasa web albums with these settings.

    Two strange things I also noticed when testing this out, framealbum.com DOES NOT take you to same website as http://www.framealbum.com, and once logged into http://www.framealbum.com and I click the activate button I get a blank page iwth just this on it: Unable to select database:[openchannel_beta]

    Any suggestions? Thanks in advance!

  3. @Peter: What website do you reach when you use ‘framealbum.com’? I am correctly redirected to ‘www.framealbum.com’ when I try it.

    I fixed the ‘activate a frame’ page. It was trying to access the wrong database. Thanks for the bug report!

    Your IP settings appear to be correct. If you could share your public IP address ( you can send it to framealbum@gmail.com if you don’t want to post it here) I’ll have a look at the server logs to see if there are any further clues.

    T.

  4. @Jose: I use the Kodak Easyshare W820/W1020 frames. They offer a ‘custom photo RSS’ option that makes it rather easy to use FrameAlbum.

    In fact, any frame that offers a ‘custom photo RSS’ or ‘custom MRSS feed’ option will be simple to use on the FrameAlbum service. The Phillips 8FF3WMI, Parrot Grande Specchio, Ziga DF800W, BrightSign/Roku HD210 and Apple iPads are reported to have this feature but I have not tested them personally. It is not necessary to twiddle with the network settings on these frames.

    eBay is your friend. 😉

    T.

  5. Now that my posts are showing up here I’ll try this again: after months of successfully using your DNS server, my Toshiba album stopped serving photos and went to the activation screen. The trouble is there’s no activation code. It just says “Your Activation code is: .” I’ve tried deleting my frame on FrameAlbum.com, but it still doesn’t give me an activation code. How can I proceed from here?

  6. An interesting issue I just noticed.. If I log into framealbum.com I get a set of data. I get a frame called HomeFrame (I set up a while back). If I now log into http://www.framealbum.com I get different data, a frame called Peter’s Frame is the only frame in my list (I recently set that one up). Also not that both frames are set up with the same FrameID, but have different RSS field urls. Very strange… I do want to thank you for all the help last week in getting my toshiba working, it appears to be past the activation screen now. I had only setup the weather radar which appears to show up as a bad image type that connat be displayed on my frame though, going to add a picasa soon and check that out.

  7. @Peter: The web addresses ‘framealbum.com’ and ‘www.framealbum.com’ should both get you to the same site. If you are familiar with the ‘ping’ command please try it and see if both names return the same IP address. If they are not the same, then the DNS server you are using does not have the current information for the FrameAlbum domain.
    To make things more ‘interesting’ this morning I was forced to restore the database from last night’s backup. The result is that any changes made via the website (adding/removing frames, adding/changing channels, etc.) from about 10PM last night through 9AM this morning (Eastern US time) were lost. I’ll be putting up a post with more details in a moment.
    Thanks for your patience!

  8. @TJ: I’ve assigned new activation codes to those few frames that were missing it. I do see that your frame should now have your photos as well as a weather radar image on it now. Are they appearing on your frame?

  9. Sorry if this is a double post. My first post said it was successful but didn’t actually appear. I received the activation code on my frame, but when I try to activate the frame on framealbum.com I get the “Sorry, that activation key is not valid.” message. I’ve tried deleting and re-creating the frame, activating with no frames created, and I still get the invalid message.

  10. Ok, this might not be the right place to post but I had some funkiness with my Kodak W820 (ebay is my friend.) No RSS feed would work, dropbox, Picasa, Flicr. Then the strangest thing happened. I put in a non working Dropbox RSS feed, deleted a non working Flicr feed, and added a formerly non working http Picasa feed. Attempted to use the Picasa RSS feed and Boom the feed worked. I then deleted the non working dropbox feed through the Kodak desktop software. Boom the Picasa feed stopped working (invalid RSS feed.) I then added the non working dropbox feed and reloaded the Picasa feed and boom the Picasa feed starting working. This VooDoo is repeatable and baffling. This strange configuration makes me feel uncomfortable that it may not last. However you or someone else may find it useful information. Either way I’d like to get into the beta testers for Frame Album so I can have, hopefully, a more reliable solution.

  11. @Jose: Wow — weird behavior indeed. Are you using the EasyShare software, or, are you using a browser to reconfigure your frame directly? I’ve had fairly stable results with accessing the frame directly with a browser.

    However, I did have one W820 that was VERY unstable and acted a bit like you describe. It would, among other things, spontaneously restart itself, jump into demo mode randomly, download partial RSS feeds, and the web interface was VERY SLOW. I’m using that one for parts now. 😉

    BTW, I dropped you a msg. on Facebook re: your beta invite.

  12. Hello,

    I configured my device to use the provided DNS. I got the activation key and the frame ID. I reset my DNS setting back to their original value. Will I be able to connect to framealbum now? Also, how do I configure channels on the framealbum.com site?

    Thank you!

  13. I finally got an acceptance into the beta. YAY! and thanks. Unfortunately, it appears that framealbum.com is now down. I setup using static settings per your instructions above, then tried to connect. I saw the green activation screen and added the code on framealbum.com. That part seems correct, since my frame details are now correct on your site. But cannot clear the activation screen, and I do see the wireless icon on my screen which would show that I have connected to framealbum.com. I have Toshiba DMF82XWU. settings are:
    IP: 192.168.1.120
    Subnet: 255.255.255.0
    Gateway: 192.168.1.1
    DNS: 64.2.142.181

    Instructions also showed FrameAlbum DNS server hostname: dns.framealbum.com, but my frame does not have a place for this. SO then I pinged framealbum.com from my laptop on the same network, and that timed out. So the site must be down? Thanks for working on this project.

  14. @MomCat1: FrameAlbum.com is indeed alive and well. The reason you are getting no response to your pings of framealbum.com is that it does not respond to pings; they are blocked at the firewall. 😉

    The problem you are likely having is that of latency. It can take up to an hour for your frame’s feed to be updated after you make changes to the feed contents (such as when you first register). Yes, this is non-optimal. 😉 It’s on my list of things to fix.

    Based on the time you posted this comment you should now be seeing your wonderful images in all their 8 inch glory, yes? Please let me know if you are not and I’ll get it sorted out for you.

    Thanks for using FrameAlbum!

  15. went over and got some work done on my laptop. indeed, after about an hour and a restart of the frame, it did connect to your server, but told me I had no albums attached to my account. i have 3 albums attached, I checked. THe previews show up correctly n my FrameAlbum account. After reconnecting several times, I am again getting a no connection error.
    Well, at least I got past activation. It’s a start. I had to put the frame back to my old direct connect to Picasa, since I will be unable to do more testing on the beta til tomorrow night, and I don’t want someone else in the house playing with the settings while I am away. I’ve had campaigning comments for all of the content I had on FrameChannel since it went down, so once this works on this frame, there will be an improvement. Thanks again!

  16. I got a green screen which says that ” Your activation code is—–no code displayed.
    I can see frame ID.

    Thanks for the help.

  17. Something of a bug report- when I am logged in and click on the activation link in Firefox, I get ‘The page isn’t redirecting properly’ and in IE the logged in page just refreshes. The activation link only worked in Opera for me, allowing me to enter my code.

    Thanks for taking care of all of us!

  18. Hello! Repointd my router to your dns, looks good and framechannel on the frame now goes to the FrameAlbum picture, but the Activation Key and frameID is blank. Can you help me out? Edge Wifi 8inch (no manual dns/ip config on frame)
    My public ip is showing as 108.36.118.
    and the last set is 183
    My request on the fram was made 10/14/2012 around 9:00 am est

  19. I am having a similar issue as Peter. I have a Toshiba DMF82XWU and my static settings on my frame are as follows:
    ip: 192.168.0.2
    Subnet: 255.255.255.0
    Gateway: 192.168.0.1
    DNS: 64.2.142.181

    I am using an apple airport extreme as my router not sure if there is some setting on there that is screwing things up. When I try to access frame channel the message reads: Connection to online service failed. Any help would be appreciated.

  20. Momcat – your ip settings look good – i had issue with my router not allowing the DNS redirect – I had to change some settings on my linksys and I did a hard reset on my frame as i believe the Toshiba DMF82XWU is caching values for the web settings

    Peter – I know its a PITA but I recommend resetting your router to the default standard values (or if you have one handy trying to set it up with another router) to test the configuration – the Toshiba. DMF82XWU is a bear to set up as it appears they hard coded the web service settings in the firmware and so the dns workaround requires the router settings to be set up correctly for this type of functionality (whereas the default picasa setup may not and may be ignoring ip settings entirely via firmware). Depending on the router you can set up the redirect from the router firmware interface based on the url/ip which may be easier than messing with the frame

    In both cases if you know how and have access, you can check your router/server logs to see what ip the attempts to connect are actually hitting and that should give an indication of where the problem is

    !!!Once you get your FrameId be sure to write it down!!!!

    lastly make sure you have a valid channel set up (start with weather its the easiest to configure) and that you have correctly entered your username/pw in the Toshiba DMF82XWU web service settings as it took me way to long to catch that mistake after my reset =p… and will throw the unable to connect error as well

  21. Hi,
    I’ve create an account on your FrameAlbum site a long time ago, and was never able to log in.
    Now, you have created the “Forgot Password” option but it seems not working also 🙁
    Can you help me ?
    Thanks in advance

    Fabrice – France – Kodak W1020

  22. First off, thanks for creating this service! I just went through the setup and I get a green screen stating “your activation key is: ” “Your frameID is “. Can you help me?” Thanks!

  23. Hi there — I ran across your post while attempting to solve my Kodak w1020 issues. The frame no longer displays the “network” option, so I cannot connect to my wireless network. There seem to be many people with the same issue, but no one with a solution. One person said that if you could get the frame to rollback its’ firmware (currently using 06152009) Are you aware of any way around this? I would love to use this frame wirelessly with FrameAlbum.

    Thanks so much for any advice you can give.

  24. Hmm… First time I’ve heard of this issue. My W1020 is running version 2009.06.15. I presume you have tried unplugging it for several minutes and the re-attaching the power supply?

  25. June 5, 2014
    In case you happen to look, it is still working. I brought my frame home from work, and reconfigured it – Kodak W820. Took a few power cycles, but it’s all good now. Tomorrow I will take it back to work since cable put a hotspot outside my office window. I’m not sure what I’ll use for the static, since they auto assign an IP every time you connect. If it doesn’t work out, I’ll just bring it home again and have another live frame in the house.
    Next to re-tackle will be my Toshiba!

  26. Our 3 x W1020s on different UK network providers all died at same time. Initial thought was that google rss had failed but, no, that was still ok. All the frames hang when trying to go to web media or rss. We do not even get to the point of seeing the list of RSS feeds. DHCP, google dns servers or our routers in the DNS settings all fail. The only way I can get the frames to work is to use your dns server for DNS1 and 2 in the manual settings. Not sure what is happening but seems to work fine with your dns. Thank you for providing this service.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.