A Picture Paints a Thousand Words

I’m not one for hyping products, but with Mother’s Day sneaking up, I can heartily recommend as a gift something my brother and I gave our Mom a while back.

It’s called a “CEIVA Digital Photo Frame” and there isn’t anything else out there like it.

Basic idea: a CEIVA lets you share digital photos from anywhere in the world with a family member who isn’t Internet connected or isn’t even computer literate.

How great is that?

It’s easy to set up and use.

  1. Buy a CEIVA (you have a few options as to the size of the flat panel display you want – but all are under $200), and buy a “Picture Plan” (about $100/year). You can buy them locally at places like Sam’s Club, order one through Amazon.com, or buy a frame directly from CEIVA at http://www.ceiva.com.
  2. Designate an internet-connected family member to administer the CEIVA account. Administering the account is a piece of cake – it takes five minutes to set everything up on the Internet side.
  3. Plug the CEIVA Digital Photo Frame into the recipient’s existing phone line.
  4. Tell family members who are Internet connected how to upload photos to the CEIVA account (it’s as easy as sending an email). You can also upload photos from your camera phone.
  5. Let the CEIVA receiver do its thing.

Each night (you can set the time for when it does this), the CEIVA silently dials a local number to pick up new photos sent to the frame. And then, starting in the morning, the CEIVA displays the photos in a continuous full-color slide show.

My Mom now starts every morning by watching new photos that have come in from all over the world to her CEIVA, sent by her children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews. It lets her share in all our lives, very close to real time, even though she lives far away from many of us and isn’t herself part of the ‘digital revolution.’

She loves it to bits.

Hands down, I think it’s one of the neatest gifts you can give.

Another Tax(ing) Day

So, have you got those taxes in?

We managed to jump that hurdle this year with nary a whimper from our usual Tax Day Hardware Curse. This year we got them printed without:

  • the laser printer going to printer heaven whilst printing out page one of our finished federal return (2003);
  • the power supply croaking on the computer just as the print button was clicked (2004);
  • the new laser’s printer drum imploding on page one (2005);
  • or the new color inkjet printer going belly up when the ‘on’ button was pressed (also in 2005).

The reasons why we don’t tiptoe past The Hardware Curse by electronically filing our taxes is a tale regarding The Great Taxation Software Curse that I’ll save for another time…

I’m not rejoicing, yet, in the glory of getting that 1040 out the door. I’m expecting something will go awry as our forms wing their way across the continent. So, if you see the headline “USPS Truck Hijacked By Swarm of Mutant Paper-Devouring Killer Bees,” you can rest assured: our tax returns were on that truck.

Tastes Just Like Chicken

Researchers have discovered that a collagen protein they’ve mapped from a T. Rex is ‘extraordinarily close’ to that of:

A chicken.

Think about it.

I can’t stop laughing.

“And here’s the terror of the Jurassic Period, chasing down his prey: ‘Bawk bawk bawk bawk SQUAWK!!’”

Makes me wonder how ol’ T. rex would stew up, topped with some nice dumplings and served with a chaser of shoo fly pie…

For the Beauty of the Earth

Look - a crocus the bunnies didn't eat!

Spring has arrived in our little village. As is usual here during this season, warm days full of glorious sunshine are followed by precipitous drops in temperature, with sometimes as much as a 50 or 60 degree ‘bounce’ in the temperature’s highs from one day to the next.

Two weeks ago we had record highs – 80F – accompanied by treacherous thunderstorms that spat hail and pounding rain. Today, however, we had one of those rare spring snowstorms which carries within it huge flakes the size of quarters that lazily drift and swirl in patterns that make me feel as if I’m inside an enormous snowglobe.

It is indescribably beautiful.