Archive for September, 2006

Ultra-mobile Blogging

Thursday, September 7th, 2006

I think that yesterday’s post to the News & Information site sharing initial photos of the eo v7110 extended battery provides a great example of using a UMPC for blogging on the go. This post is going to be essentially the story of the “making of” yesterday’s post.

For convenience, my wife and I rent a mailbox from a shipping store fairly close to my office. This allows us to receive packages without having to worry about one or the other of us being home when they are delivered. Since the FedEx tracking provided by TabletKiosk had shown the package as delivered, I headed over to the store during my lunch hour yesterday and picked it up.

The photos that were included in the post were all actually taken on the front seat of my car while still in the parking lot of the shipping store. I used the built-in camera on my Motorola v551 cell phone to take the photos. The camera on this phone generally isn’t all that great, but it does take photos that are acceptable for that kind of quick web posting, as long as the photos are being taken in fairly bright lighting. This is the main reason why I took the photos right away in the car.

Next, I drove to a McDonald’s near my office for lunch. I selected McDonald’s not for the food (who goes there for the food???), but for the fact that they offer a couple hours of wi-fi access for $2.95. After getting my burger and fries, I found a table and powered up the eo. I loaded up Firefox and entered my credit card information to purchase the block of time on the WayPoint wi-fi service offered at the restaurant.

I transferred the photos from the cell phone via a retractable USB cable that I keep in the carrying case with the eo. I could have also used Bluetooth for this, but since I had the cable and was in a location where I had plenty of room to connect the phone in this way, I took advantage of the somewhat faster USB 2.0 transfer speed.

I reviewed the photos on the eo using the standard Windows XP photo viewer application and quickly narrowed it down to the 5 photos that I had ended up posting. I simply deleted the rest of the photos (which didn’t look very good) and renamed the ones that I intended to use to something more descriptive than the time/date stamp filenames generated by the phone. Although I do have Adobe Photoshop Elements installed on the eo and have found it to be usable for light photo editing, these photos didn’t really need any touch-up. Since the file sizes were all fairly small, I decided it wasn’t even necessary to re-size the images, even though I would be displaying them on the post at only 50% of their normal 640×480 size.

I then used the standard Windows XP FTP tool to transfer the photos to the images directory on my website. This file transfer was the main reason that I went to a restaurant with a wi-fi hotspot instead of simply using the slower Cingular EDGE connectivity with my cell phone. Since it was still my lunch hour, I was on a bit of a tight timeline to get this project completed.

I then browsed to to actually type in the post itself. Since I can still type on a keyboard faster than I can use any of the built-in input methods on the eo, I used my ThinkOutside folding Bluetooth keyboard to type in the post. With the eo propped up on its stylus and the keyboard sitting in front of it, the little workstation fit easily on the restaurant table. The post wasn’t very lengthy, so it didn’t take very long to type it in and publish it. The only real mistake that I made was that, in my haste, I didn’t think to add “href” tags to allow readers to click on the photos to see the full-sized images. This is a correction I went in and added this morning.

With that, I had completed the post. The whole process took less than an hour, including travel time and the time to pick up the package from the store.