As I indicated in my previous post, my trip to New York earlier this week was a good opportunity to try out the ‘Blog This’ feature of my new Sony Ericsson K800i, and I guess the whole concept of keeping a moblog as well. Here are some of my thoughts from this experiment.
As you you can see if you visit the site I was posting to, there are only a few images that I managed to post during my three day trip, one of which is posted a day after the picture was taken. This should give you a clue as to how good the ‘Blog This’ feature actually is on the K800i.
These are just some of the problems I encountered:
After posting an entry to your blog, I would get a success message, and then the opportunity to view the blog. At first, the link to my blog had been mangled into an unrecognisable character, meaning I had to manually change the bookmark to my blog. Whether this was a result of me changing the URL I wanted to publish to within Blogger, I’m not sure.
More problematic, was that on viewing the blog, I would often find that the entry had not in fact been published. I got the impression that you needed 100% connectivity during the upload, for it to actually have worked.
In these such cases, the entry I had just written was not saved anywhere on the phone, and I was often having to write an entry two or three times before it would appear on the site. I expected upon hitting an error (when it recognised an error had occurred of course) that you would be returned to the editing screen, but this was not the case.
Another incredibly limiting feature was that you could not publish portrait photos. Whenever I tried, the image would automatically rotated on to it’s side, meaning I couldn’t upload a lot of the photos I wanted to.
Finally, the HTML (or XML) that the phone spits out is very poor and unstructured—being a single
<span>element. There is also nowhere that you can actually edit this template (at least to my knowledge).
Another problem, relevant to this topic, and equally as annoying, is that if I rotated or altered an image in any way on the phone, it’s ‘received’ date was updated to the time I performed that action (i.e. the modified date became the created date). I have yet to see if this effects the EXIF data on these images, but again, this was totally unexpected, and damned annoying—especially given the new ‘Browse by date’ view that you can choose when browsing photos. Right now, and because of this issue, it’s a totally meaningless option.
Looking for Alternatives
In short, this experiment has ended in failure. I actually enjoyed the idea of keeping a moblog, and when it worked, it worked well, but those times were few and far between. The whole experience was hampered by ill-conceived software that has been badly implemented. Until this improves, I will need to find an alternative method of quickly posting photos direct from my mobile, which I am still interested in doing.
Thanks to Ian for pointing out the Flickr service on the new Nokias (which I believe also have Six Apart’s Life Blog service included too), but I won’t be getting a new phone for some time, and I do like the Sony Ericssons. So right now I’m looking for a Java app that I can install on my phone, and will let me upload photos to my Flickr account (this being a quicker method than by e-mail, which also isn’t working on this new phone). Perhaps, I can then use their API to stream them into this site, who knows.
Either way, the K700i, is not a great phone for moblogging, and the feature stinks of gimmick rather than a useful tool. It’s a great user-generator for Blogger, but this experiment has only gone to remind me how much that sucks too.