Sunday, July 7, 2013

Trials of a mobile blogger

The past several days have been a harsh lesson in the difficulties of blogging with poor internet access. I'm relying solely on my iPhone 4S to write the blog, in an area without 3G coverage. Mobile apps for blogs hosted on Google's Blogger exist, but as I've already mentioned, Google's own Blogger app is very unreliable, and 3rd party apps using the Blogger API are equally affected. So, I've ended up having to rely on the web browser to make/edit new posts. This works fine for the text, but adding pictures is another story altogether.

I spent four hours yesterday morning solving the puzzle, and in case anyone else should find themselves in the same boat, this is what I found. The browser editor gives you four options for uploading images:
  1. Pre-existing images from the blog itself
  2. From Picasa Web albums
  3. From your phone
  4. From a URL
Pre-existing images are no use to me, because I want to add new ones. When you click on the Picasa Web Albums options, it doesn't seem to recognize any albums that I can upload to very easily. The "From your phone" option sounds like the one to use, but it depends on using Google+, which I downloaded, but it requires Auto upload of all pictures taken on the camera; this is impossible when every image is 6 MP and the network is going at worse than a 56k modem. The URL option seemed simple enough, until I found that neither DropBox or Flickr now allow direct access to images via an URL. Photobucket does, but the mobile app is literally broken, does not work at all - I tried it even though more than 80% of the 159 reviews are 1 star on the App Store! I have a Wuala account, but after getting the mobile app for it I found that it only works for downloading content you've already put there; new content can't be added from a phone.

To cut a long story short his is what eventually worked, using the "From a URL" option:
  1. Open photos in Photogene2, edit as needed (fantastic app by the way, can do some quite sophisticated adjustments, like increasing shadow exposure, color balance etc, as well as all the standard cropping, rotation, text, arrows), export reduced size images into Picasa.
  2. In Picasa Web Albums mobile app ($6), select image, copy URL
  3. Paste URL into blogger's browser interface
Even this solution is clunky at best, because the browser has a limited display of the editor window; if you load more than two images it won't scroll all the way down. I had to put all the text in and then gradually add the images from the bottom up, so I could continue to see and place images higher up the window.

Come on Google, get your act together and make the mobile Blogger app work as its supposed to!


  1. Yes, that is why I brought an android based tablet with me. Not as swift as my laptop but I was able to upload to Picassa and post photos. Did have to kick the router at the Twicey a time or two...


    1. If I was staying at the Twicey I would be OK, but I don't want to have to go there each day to post an update. The method I'm using , but each image takes 10-15 mins to add. Common House Farm is in the process of installing Internet access, so if I come again it'll be easy...