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d's Digital Download Picture Archive System

By John Virata

Over the course of the last several years we have received quite a few products here for review at DMN. We've received all manner of creative software, scanners, cameras, workstations, displays, even color calibrators. We have also received a variety of products that fit into that other "category," we maintain here, a category with products that we often deem as unusual in the sense that the products in that category are unique. We have had one such product in our possession for several weeks that fits that category. It is a device created by d's Digital Download's Andre Sensnovis that he calls "Your personal, on-site, digital picture archiving service." The device is basically a computer running the Linux OS coupled with a CD burner and a 6-inch LCD encased in plastic. For lack of a better name, we'll call it D's Picture Archiver.

What it does is enables you to archive the images that you have on your digital camera's memory card to a CD. But wait, can't you already do that with the computer you have at home? Yes. You can. But D's Picture Archiver is intended not for home use, but for use when away from home or computer. The archiver is intended for use in settings when you are away from home and don't have access to your computer and need to just dump your full memory card's images onto CD so you can continue shooting photographs. Sensnovis has rented the device to several convenience stores in the Orlando, Florida area, a photo shop, and a crime lab. While Sensnovis has seeded his archiver in some disparate locations, he is also hoping that it will show up at weddings and other special events where guests who bring digital cameras to these societal and family functions can easily contribute to the memories of the event by donating what they photographed to the principals of say, a wedding.

How does it work?
The device is actually pretty fool proof. There are no input devices such as a keyboard or mouse or touch screens. The only user interaction that comes with the device is the CD tray for loading the blank media, and the memory card slots, of which MMC/SD, Smart Media, Compact Flash, and Memory stick are supported. When the device is powered up, you follow the prompts that appear on the LCD display. The prompts will ask you to load the memory card, (insert card) the reader will read the data on the card, and if there is more room on the CD, it will prompt you to "add another memory card before timer expires", of which you have about 10 seconds to insert any additional cards. The device will then prompt you to insert a CD. It will then begin to burn the disc. As the device burns the data to disc, sample images of what is being burn scroll across the screen. This is about as graphic as it gets. D's Picture Archiver burns all the data that comes off the memory cards, not just the images, so if you used your memory card to store a word processing file, it will archive that as well. After you remove the memory card and insert another memory card, D's Picture Archiver will show a prompt, "Downloading Data" and will scroll the first image that is on the card across the screen. A download progress bar will is also visible.

So is it too much?
This device doesn't really do anything special that a PC already is capable of doing, so is it an overkill device? For its intended purpose, I would say no. It does one thing with minimal user interaction and it does it well. The challenge for Mr. Sensnovis is to seed these picture archiver kiosks in the right locations. Convenience stores and photo outlets, and hotel lobbies in tourist areas are a good start. Crime labs are also a pretty good location, as are photography departments at college campuses. Imagine an officer who has to go out to a scene and shoot all the evidence of a crime, that officer is using a digital camera, takes all the shots needed to illustrate the scene and can conveniently archive the images onto a CD and then place that CD in the folder related to that particular case. The same can be said for an insurance adjuster or even a real estate professional. IT departments wouldn't have to outfit each workstation with a memory card reader. They could just acquire or lease one of these D's Picture Archivers, place it in a location accessible to all, and let the single machine do the work of many machines. While this machine is an early prototype, Sesnovis promises that a machine that enables the burning of DVD discs is in the works, especially given that some of the latest Compact Flash cards are being offered with 1GB capacities, and some companies are already offering 8GB memory cards in differing formats. For more information, visit







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John Virata is senior editor of Digital Media Online. You can email him at
Related Keywords:digital imaging, digital image archive, d's digital download


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