Tech Talk: One for the family album

Digital Photo Frame
Digital Photo Frame
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How best to enjoy your digital snaps? asks David Behrens.

THE days of passing around four-by-six photos in paper wallets has long gone – so what’s the best way of showing off your family snaps in the online age? You’re no longer limited to a computer screen. Here are some of your other viewing options...

On your TV: The box in the corner of your lounge is the ideal place for a family slideshow. You can animate your pictures the way they do on documentaries and play background music to accompany them. The pictures themselves can be stored on the web, a USB stick or a computer elsewhere in your house – you just need a compatible set-top box to wirelessly connect source to screen. The £30 Raspberry Pi mini-PC is the cheapest way to do this, unless you have a Smart TV with the facility already built in.

On the web: Online services like Flickr and Shutterfly let you upload your best photos (and videos) and share them. They can then be viewed on computers, phones or tablets anywhere with an internet connection.

On a USB stick: A cheap and cheerful pocket storage device is the easiest way to take your pictures with you. But they’re easily lost, so make sure you have backups somewhere more permanent.

On a digital photo frame: Electronic mantelpiece frames make ideal gifts for relatives; you simply load your photos 
from an SD card or USB stick. Screen resolutions vary enormously but as they tend to be viewed from a distance, it’s less of a consideration than on close-up devices.

On an iPad: The latest release of Apple’s operating system includes an all-new photo browser that lets you see your snaps on a timeline based on shooting date and location. You can add the geographical information using Google’s Picasa photo organiser. Similar viewing apps are available for Android tablets like the Google Nexus.

On your PC: No-one wants to huddle around a computer screen, but Macs and PCs are still the best places to store and collate your photos. Tools like Picasa make it easy to navigate even the largest libraries.

Of course, you can also print out your pictures the old-fashioned way – but none of the other devices will sting you with a bill for overpriced ink cartridges.