If you make a browser these days, you MUST support a simple, basic, easy-to-use, tag called type=file in your web browser. It enables those forms we see which allow you to browse your local ‘memory’ (which you paid extra for) then upload a file to a website. Just like YouTube lets you upload a (potentially) massive file to create (and freely host) a smaller flv file in the browser – with progress bars! (If you need a desktop app to convert to flv BEFORE posting to YouTube – let me know – I have it built right here)
If your mobile browser does not support this then you’re losing out – trust me. Those that DO support it – don’t just support one system. The Metaweblog API (and even the Blogger API) was created for a reason. Those blogging vendors who don’t support that are leading your device into a walled garden – and no one wants that in the long run/tail.
It’s simple. This form tag supports systems that are easy to build. It’s ‘open’. It’s been around for years. If your device’s native browser does not support this, then it’s clear to me that you’re not supporting the user : you are supporting the carrier alone (hello iPhone) . Did you know that an MMS post typically costs about ten times the amount that a file upload via your mobile connection costs? If your device does not support open ‘wifi’ even though you harp on about that kind of ‘802 dot’ connectivity – forget it.
This is why I created camoby.com – which is now noklog.com for now. (Links to come once I sort out some setttings on WP which I fiddled with) – if your device’s web browser does not support the type=file tag then I’m sorry, but you’re missing out. You’re not in the game. You’re playing catchup with those that do support it. And what’s more : your carriers are rippiing people off. Period.
If you are a device product manager, or have any kind of sway in what goes out to the consumer, then please..’do what is right’. Enable the ability for mobile web developers to create systems which enable the owner of a device/phone/etc. to CREATE as well as CONSUME content. Your device CAN do it. If your app supports the ability for the device owener to add and browse OPML and RSS, then you just about have it right there. Hi Noki!
If your device supports the ‘podcasting standard’ of recording mime types of (at least) mp3, and your browser can upload that content, without installing anything at all, then you have ‘it’. (If not, then sure, we can transcode it for you!)
There are billions of mobile devices out there around the world. Sure, the majority of those devices stay used for years, and only recently are beginning to get updated more frequently, due to network availability, so .. why not enable that user to harp on about who or where they are, using a mobile blogging system which they control?
I believe that those device manufacturers which embrace this opinion will ‘win’. People WANT to upgrade their ‘pocket computer’.
I rest my case – aka/now pocket 😉
This great new device from Sansa (built by Zing) has wireless sharing over the internet with your contacts. This means when you scan for people to share with, you’re looking online, like an IM message list, not for just those people with a device within the local vicinity.
Presenting NOKLOG.COM!!! 🙂
So, what else have I been working on? Well, some of you will already know about the BlogHUD system I built for Second Life users, which lets them post messages and articles to a blogging system. It will also crosspost the post to your external blog too (WordPress, Blogger, Typepad, etc) – as well as send on any images you take to your flickr account.
Well, all this is really a model for a simple web application for mobiles which I started think about and testing back in 2004 called ‘camoby’. I used it to post articles of gadgets back to the BBC News website while I was out at CeBit in ’04. The editor back in London watched my RSS feed for things he liked for the site, then republished them on the BBC news site like a blog (one of their first, actually!)
So, the camoby system has evolved – as have I. Since learning many new skills since then,I was able to sit here in my hotel room in Boston/Cambridge yesterday and build the whole proof-of-concept system at noklog.com. (This will probably move to another domain eventually, as more manufacturers allow this very useful feature)
NOKLOG is a mobile publishing system, optimised for mobile browsers which support the oft-requested file upload form tag. (input type=file) Nokia’s Symbian Series60 web browser and Sony Ericsson’s phones with the Symbian UIQ browsers have supported this for a while. No need to build and install more apps on the phone. It all goes via the web. Sweet! it also works with the connected Archos devices (PMA430 and 604WiFi).
The difference with this and the camoby system is that I can now support ALL media types which the handset can produce. Ie: Images, Audio and Video. Once uploaded, the user can choose to publish/post the media to the main noklog.com blog, when the server then processes the image to a sensible jpeg size (with branding / watermark) and transcodes audio (.amr, .wav etc) to mp3 for podcasts and flash players AND now also video – .mp4, .3gp etc will get transcoded to the ubiquitous Flash video format (.flv) to use in a webbased Flash player, a la YouTube. No reason why I can’t transcode to MPEG4 H.263 for iPods and PSP too. It’s easy once you know how 😉
BUT, not only that – like the blogHUD system, users will also be able to share this content and extent its reach even further by crossposting to your own blogging system – if it supports XML-RPC / MetaWeblog / Blogger APIs or email publishing. There is also no reason why I couldn’t FTP the media to a host provider like Libsyn too!
This means that as well as sending you post to your blog, you can also send images on to your flickr account or even your YouTube or blip.tv account – AUTOMAGICALLY!!! W00t! (as they say!) heheh Also each user has their own ‘home’ page and RSS feed to share their mobile life. Aggretastic!
I’ll be improving this system over the next few days, as I stay out of the cold currently blowing over Massachusetts and add things like tagging etc.
Using Second Life and the blogHUD to model this system – as well as model my own abilities and support/iteration mechanisms has been a truly wonderful experience, One which I emplore any developer to try out. You will not regret it.
I’ll keep you posted when I can let some testers to NOKLOG in to try the system out. It shouldn’t be too long – because it’s simple! Just the way we like it 😉
Naturally, all this fits in perfectly with the podcast.com system I am creating, which is about to get a big overhaul to the new system upgrade I have nearly finished 🙂