04 January 2007

Use your "My Pictures" folder as your screen saver for a continuous family slideshow

Toni left this as a comment on "Flickr as kid entertainment," but I thought it should also get the loving attention of the front page:

I love this idea but am also concerned about the occasional surprise. To avoid this we avoid flickr altogether. Instead I set my screensaver to run through our "my pictures" folder. The kids love seeing themselves and identifying family members.

My parents in-law do this, and we're all mesmerized by the photos as they float by. This is arguably almost as good as a digital photo frame (not that I'd give mine up).

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We've been doing this for a couple of years now. It's great watching our two-and-a-half as he recognizes and calls out the names of people he sees in the photos.

I just recently switched the source folder for my screen-saver to the one containing pictures he's been taking with his kids tough camera. My wife is still using our all encompassing "Shared Pictures" folder.

For those of you that can't stomach a busy background or a background that changes often, consider using the Yahoo Widgets picture frame. (http://widgets.yahoo.com) This lets you put pictures inside of a "picture frame" that you can size to your liking and keep on your desktop. Similar to Mac widgets, you can press F8 at anytime to bring the photo to the top and F8 again to send it back. Works like a charm. The widget can also pull pictures from My Pictures, Flickr, or Y! Photos.

You can also set your background to cycle through pictures (at least on a Mac) although you'll probably want to set the time for each fairly high since it can be a little distracting while you're working.

I do this in my office using Picasa - it can create a screen saver for you. As I get pix of my kid that I like, I email them to myself in the office, add them to Picasa, and add them to the screensaver. It's lots of fun, and lets me show off my little girlie to office visitors.

My in-laws do this, too, and confess that they sometimes end up watching the screen saver instead of what's currently playing on the television.

One thing that ReplayTV has always had over Tivo is the ability to go to a photo screensaver when shows are paused. My wife and I really enjoy this. Our daughter isn't old enough to appreciate it quite yet.

Tivo can kinda do it, but it pulls it from another computer on the network and from what I've seen that has some hassles.

How do you set your screensaver to run your pics in my documents??

We have done this for several months now. I read somewhere that if you have distant relatives (my entire family lives 750 miles away), it is good to have the photos come up so that my 18 month old sees his family often and remembers their faces. It has seemed to work. When photos of my Dad come up, my little one yells "Grandpa!"

We've been doing this for years now and it really does mesmerize family and friends! (In fact, it interferes with my disseration.)

I've subdivided our photo folder into many subfolders within subfolders sorted by increasingly-specific topics. This allows us to use the entire My Pictures folder if we wish, to to specify a specific subset of images for special holidays or seasons.

Some examples of holiday subfolders:

Birthday (Images of each child's previous birthday parties, cakes, etc.)

Christmas (previous Christmas celebrations, scans of cards)

Election Day (lots of historic celebs from our favorite party)

Oscar Season (movie stills, posters)

Music awards (album covers, rock stars, concert pix, scans of old ticket stubs, sheet music)

Halloween (lots of scary stuff!)

We've got hundreds of folders now and the thing has become quite an institution. The neighbors make a point of coming by each holiday to see what's on our screensaver!

Can you get the title of the pix to show as well? I seem to remember that you could do this with XP but I can't see how to do it with Vista.

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