With the current interest in blogging it is unsurprising to find constant offerings to help you publish yours with your PDA. But SplashData, rather than sticking with your standard text-based blog, have jumped ahead and released a product to dive into the growing market for photo-blogging. On a camera-phone such as the Treo 650, or even a Zire 71/72 with Internet connectivity, it promises a seamless process by which you may take, annotate and blog your photos. Further, they offer a free web-log to get you started at SplashBlog.com (while also offering compatibility with TypePad).
Unfortunately I don’t have a camera phone - I’m using a slightly scuffed Tungsten T3. However all hope is not lost – you can upload photos from a memory card or from the Palm photos application. It was a simple process to take a photo on my phone, send it to the Palm via Bluetooth and post it on the website, although it does demonstrate the poor quality of the camera on the Sony Ericsson T630.
The Palm application is clean and straightforward. From the main screen you have quick access to the camera, to add an image from the device or to synchronise your local information with your blog, picking up categories and current photos. For those who need to save bandwidth you can easily adjust what size of image is uploaded and, should you desire, downloaded. It certainly had no problem working with the 5MP pictures from my camera and scaled them to a reasonable 320x240 for upload.
Selecting the blog to publish
When you add an image you are presented with a selector dialogue that bears a remarkable resemblance to the Palm Photos application (one suspects they’re reusing it). Using either a list view or thumbnails you can select external or internal images before choosing. Then you have the option to select a category, date/time, title and description. Once published, the textual items show when the image is selected but not on the image list page. The categories and date/time, however, are used to populate a menu on the blog giving quick access to subsets of your photos. You also have the option of publishing an item immediately or waiting until you synchronise – handy for those of us without an inbuilt phone. There’s also some camera processing options available, but they’re not much use on the T3 and so have gone untested.
The main view
Selecting an image to upload
Once on the SplashBlog site, however, a clear line is drawn between administration and viewing. Photos can have their attributes updated from the administration interface but there is no shortcut to this when viewing individual images. One of the more recent changes was to give users a number of options by which to group images (day, week, month or year) but as yet you can only date photos from 2000 onwards.
Also, it being a templated site, you are limited to the set designs they make available. While these are of a very high quality there’s not a huge amount of flexibility available and there are but a few. However SplashData have said more are coming.
It should be noted than this product is currently in a public beta phase. So while I did manage to crash it once there are continuous updates occurring, to the SplashBlog site in particular. But as with all SplashData products you can download a free 30 day trial version and discover the latest additions and should you be keen they’re currently offering it at a cheaper introductory price.
While uploading from a memory card is all very well the real power of this application is likely to be seen by those with Treo smartphones. For those all-in-one devices this software provides a very streamlined way to obtain and publish images with minimal delay and for those without existing blogs it offers a nice complete package. If you’ve wanted to give photo-blogging a try there’s been no better opportunity.