Adventures In Photo Printing

My Wood Badge Patrol wanted to give our Troop Guide something to commemorate her great guidance during our course.  We decided to give her a signed print of the six of us.  So, I needed to have a good print of a picture taken as a selfie using a Galaxy S4.

I learned a couple new GIMP skills here, by figuring out how to turn the background on an image transparent.  I used three of them to decorate the photos.

I’m in the Boston, MA area.  I looked up FedEx Kinkos, since I know they do prints, the nearest is 10+ miles away.  At dinner, I remembered that Walgreens and CVS also do prints, and happily enough there is one of each about two blocks from my hotel.

I started off at the Walgreens.  It had two kiosks that had a variety of slots for various memory cards.  I had brought a USB cable that would let me plug my S4 in.  One of the two kiosks wouldn’t read the phone even after multiple tries.  The other side, and the kiosk went off and read every photo on the drive.  Note to kiosk developers:  add some logic to let the user select, say, photos from a certain day.

Regardless, I selected the appropriate picture.  Now this photo was a JPEG that was 1920×1080, so it is a 4:3 aspect ratio.  I wanted it printed at 5×7, but the kiosk auto-cropped the picture, cutting out two of the guys.  I tried a number of sizes, but auto-crop always kicked in.  I couldn’t turn the auto-crop off.  I even tried printing it on an 8×10 piece of paper, but again, it cropped.  So I left Walgreens and headed across the street to CVS.

CVS had two kiosks of a different brand (Kodak).  I never could get either kiosk to read from the USB cable connection.  These kiosks also had the ability to transfer files via WiFi, *if* you installed a smartphone app.  The left-side kiosk wouldn’t connect via WiFi, but the right-side device connected right up.

This was pretty cool.  The device changes the WiFi SSID for each transfer, and encodes the SSID and a password in a QSR code.  You select the picture(s) on the phone, then use the QSR reader in the app to grab the WiFi settings, then the file is transferred in less than a second.

The options for printing were far greater on this kiosk.  You could size the photo to 4×6 or 5×7, but they also had an option for 6×9 that worked well.  I selected it, they tried to sell me some extra stuff I didn’t need, and then it printed the picture on an attached printer automagically.  It looks pretty good, and cost me $2.

It dd take some futzing to get a working kiosk.  I was disappointed in the lack of options for the Walgreens unit.  The CVS units were pretty cool.  I’m a little concerned with the reliability, only one of four units worked.

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