March 15, 2004
Photo Moblogging with the Treo 600
Ever since cameras started coming out as features on on wireless (cellular) PDAs, I've wanted to arrive at a setup that would let me post photos and comments as new blog entries directly from the phone and with as little hassle as possible. Well, using a mix of readily available tools, I've achieved the first objective and the hassle factor is reasonably low.
Take a look at Live from Mundania -- that's the photo-centric blog that I've set up to receive my mobile posts. It's plain and simple, but it renders pretty nicely on a mobile device screen.
The requirements for this moblogging setup are pretty straightforward:
First, you have to have a handheld. Mine is a Treo 600. Fairly mediocre camera but best-in-class overall package.
Second, you have to have a blog to post to. Movable Type is an excellent, free blog environment with a vibrant user and developer community behind it.
Third, you need a way to get the content from your phone to your Movable Type server. This is the key. MfOP2 (or Moblogging for Other People Too) is a free service that will take any content emailed to it and post it to your moblog. It has an impressively flexible configuration and works amazingly fast and effectively for a free service.
Finally, you need an email client on your handheld. My client of choice is SnapperMail. It works really well with the Treo's built-in camera and other image-handling apps under Palm OS 5.
So, what's the hassle factor when posting a new entry? Here are the typical steps my setup requires:
1) Take a photo with the Treo. This can be done later, but it's easiest if this is the first action taken.
2) "Send" the photo to Snappermail (two taps). This creates a new email with the photo as an attachment. You can add other photos as attachments as well and, if you configured MfOP2 correctly, it will post all in a single blog entry.
3) I enter the email address of the MfOP2 server into the To: field. That requires all of two keystrokes and a stylus/fingernail tap.
4) At this point, you'd have to enter a fair bit of MfOP2 code to tell the MfOP2 server what your password is, what the title of the image is, what your comments are about it, etc., etc. I set up a Palm OS "shortcut" that enters all that into the email as a template. All I need to do is enter the shortcut symbol, hit my two shortcut letters, and all the MfOP2 code is dumped into the empty email. I then do a few minor edits as necessary and hit "Send."
That's it. About 1 minute later, my moblog is updated with my new post. As I said, the key to all this working so smoothly is MfOP2 -- it really is an amazing tool.
So, if you're wanting to give moblogging a whirl, give this setup a try. It's slightly less than trivial to get it all set up initially, but once that's done, it's pretty smooth sailing from then on.Posted by Craig | Permalink | TrackBack