19 January 2009

The Empire Strikes Back

Leave it to Ameer [High Entropy], my gadget guru, to once again show me the light. For the longest time the biggest impediment to proper iPhone moblogging has been its absolute inability to send more than one picture at a time. Aside from being annoying, it basically means you have to upload each individual picture, log into Blogger, mess around with copy pasting some code, and then re-jigger it all back together again to have it looking beautiful and presentable. The "mobile" in mobile-blogging was completely lost.

Dann [DLMOU] recently got a G1 phone and the thing I most envied about it -- not that I envied much, ahem -- was its ability to seamlessly send more than one photo at a time. His moblog could be truly mobile because he didn't have to sit down at a computer to mess around with combining multiple posts into one. I mean, he was moblogging from the slopes, he was moblogging from the bathroom, he was a moblogging machine. He stepped up the moblogging game like five notches (along with a little app that allows him to create captions and cartoons, dammit). I feared. Just a little.

But now Ameer has discovered the app that could change all that. Presenting "Multi-Photo," which allows you to send multiple pictures with just one email. So stupid that Apple doesn't do this already but whatever. For only $0.99, this was an instant buy and so far it's the only iPhone app I've paid for.

With this wonderful new tool, my moblog is coming back to reclaim the throne. Not that it had ever vacated the throne at any point actually...

My review of Multi-Photo: It's got a pretty interface, it works as advertised, and while I can forsee problems if you don't have good connectivity, it does everything admirably. Syncing up your email account is a breeze, picking out photos is easy, and overall the thing will probably change my life. Keep in mind I've only been playing with this program for like ten minutes. By this time tomorrow -- assuming I have something fun to go moblog about in the interim -- I might get down on one knee and propose. My only complaint so far is that the process could be streamlined but seeing as the app is new, updates could fix that soon.

One awesome thing about the app is that you can control the quality of the photos you're sending. Previously, you could only get 800x600 photos from iPhone to Blogger. Now it's possible to get full sized photos to your blog without syncing your iPhone. After setup, just go to General Settings and turn off the "Reduce Image Size" and crank up the "JPEG Image Quality." Voila, 1600x1200 pictures in all their glory.

I took the liberty of conducting some tests and it seems like the slider for the "JPEG Image Quality" thing is really more appropriately thought of as low, medium, high. Turning off the "JPEG Image Quality" option seems to be key because with it on you seem to be constrained to 800x600 regardless of the quality selected. While I don't want to blow people's eyes with 1600x1200 pics all the time, I do like being able to selectively put up bigger iPhone pics -- if only for Photoshopping afterwards.

By default, the images are set to be reduced in size and medium image quality. I left it on reduced but cranked up the image quality. I'd also highly recommend erasing the Default Subject and Default Body text, that stuff is just ugly. With this app and the right setup, there is no (technological) reason to not moblog anymore. I can renew my moblog evangelism straightaway.

I'm like all sorts of excited here. Can you tell?

Update: After further testing, I'm noticing that if you just send the picture through the iPhone's regular mail, it actually looks noticeably better than through Multi-Photo. Not in the detail but the color seems to wash out when it's sent through the app. A tad disappointing, but I can work around it. My settings were at full JPEG quality with reduce image size ON.