Compaq IA-1 Digital Picture Frame

Amanda’s birthday was July 27th, and she turned 19. I spent a lot of time thinking of a gift, and I finally decided on hacking one of my old gadgets into a digital picture frame.

This is the IA-1 before modding:

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This is the IA-1 after the uberleet casemod:

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These pictures both came from my Compaq IA-1 Digital Picture Frame set on Flickr.

Anyway, I took a Compaq IA-1, and attached a picture frame to the display. I didn’t remove any plastic, I just hunted hard and long for a decent sized picture frame that would snap on the existing plastic bezel. I found a matte that would cover up the plastic. Then I had to work on the software.

The IA-1 only has 64 megs of ram, and no hard drive. It has a 16 meg internal CF, and an external CF slot. I could conceivably smash a digital picture frame running linux and nfs and such into 16 megs. I know I could do it, but the time-effort tradeoff pushed me to find a spare 64 meg CF and put a slightly modified DamnSmallLinux distro on it. DSL is so unbelievably nice that I could have just put feh and unclutter on it as extensions, and then smashed them on the CF. However, when doing that, I ran out of ram on the device and it wouldn’t boot. So I remastered DSL without Firefox, and put feh on it natively.

Now it can show pictures, but I need to let it see pictures. So I took Amanda’s flash drive, and put a bunch of pictures of us, and also a blank cursor to erase the default X cursor, and set it to automount on boot. Then modifying the .xinitrc, I had it start feh at boot. The result?

Amanda plugs her thumbdrive in the IA-1’s back, and plugs it into the wall. The picture frame displays a picture of us every 5 seconds until you unplug it.

Yay! Functional, nerdy, me.

Pssst.  I wrote more on how I did this on the next post!

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