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 <img> and <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.