iPhone editing and viewing
Posterous claims to be the easiest way to blog. You can literally email pictures, video, or text, and they convert it into a blog post for you.
I’ve got issues with this as a concept.
The most obvious problem I can think of is what you do if you make a typo? What if you want to go back and replace a photo, with a better/different one?
When you access Posterous on the iPhone to attempt to make such changes, the interface isn’t great really. They don’t seem to have a mobile editing site, and although they have an app called PicPosterous, it is geared more towards photogalleries. Which is probably great for photographers, but I wanted more of a photos/text mix.
There is the option on their homepage to email them content without even signing up. That’s all great, but how are you going to remove it later?
When I went to a blog (picked at random) on my iPhone, I got a very easily navigable system though.
I’ll give them marks for a nice mobile experience, from a reader’s point of view.
Someone asked me what I thought of tumblr a few months back. I’d never used it. Had no opinion really.
From what I could see though, people seem to use it mostly for kinda photo-diary type projects.
It looks pretty nice from an iPhone, and I like the fact that you don’t get presented with a list of text when reading a blog. You get all the posts, expanded. I like that a lot.
Especially with viewing a photo blog, that looks really nice.
They also have an app in the app store. For making said posts, from a mobile location. Excellent.
This urged me to actually create an account.
Especially because on Tumblr’s site, they state that they offer “the best iPhone publishing app in existence (for free)”.
I signed up for an account, downloaded the app, and had a go.
Unfortunately, within about 20minutes, I’d decided Tumblr wasn’t for me.
For one, the options to post something ask if you are posting a photo, text, a video, etc.
What if I’m posting a couple of photos, AND writing some text to go with it?
Sure you can write a description and tag it to an individual photo, but that’s hardly ideal, is it?
I like that when you post, it gives an option to “send to twitter”. It’s not a all-sent, or no-sent. You can pick and choose.
I also like the fact that you can change the date when it posts, and that you can queue it to post later. However, if after you’ve posted it, you want to change the post date – tough. No logical reason I can see for this to be unchangeable.
Also, if you have something you’ve posted which has a mistake in it, you can change from “publish now” to “save as draft”, and…where’s it gone?
After a bit of searching, I found it again. It disappears off a few menus down. Not the greatest user interface.
Nonetheless, I picked a photo and uploaded it.
Next thing I went to my computer and opened my new blog.
There’s a picture I’ve just uploaded from my iPhone. Great!
So where is that stored then?
I’ll be screwed if I know.
I right-clicked and “copy image URL”, then logged into Tumblr and deleted the post.
Then I pasted the image URL into the address bar and hey presto – the image is still there.
So I’ve deleted the post, and it no longer shows up in the Tumblr dashboard, or through the app, but the image remains somewhere on Tumblr’s servers.
Are they stockpiling my old images?
I couldn’t find how to remove an image PROPERLY in any online help, so I emailed Tumblr about this.
24 hours later, after clearing my browser cache, and I can still see the picture I’ve deleted.
Several days later, I get a reply saying that the image has now been removed.
That’s great for one image, but what if in three years time, I want to move my blog (including ALL my photos) to somewhere else?
They are my photos, no? I can do what I like with them (including deleting them)?
This “looking like it’s deleting things, but then it isn’t really” put me off Tumblr.
Even Blogger uploads your photos to Picasa, enabling you to later go and remove them from a kind of media library (although this might take a while with a lot of posts, as there’s no obvious way to show which photos are linked to which Blogpost posts).
Side note: This is just a comment, but why does Tumblr’s site feel like Facebook? I hate Facebook. Facebook is a shit layout, with a shit search system.
My radio site (parkandgardner.com) uses WordPress.
Although my Blogger account predated my initiation into WordPress, I like WordPress a lot. The reason why I’m so harsh on Posterous not having a full-featured iPhone app, is because WordPress has one.
And WordPress’ iPhone app is better than Tumblr’s app, because I can change the dates of posts, and post multiple types of content at once.
WordPress’ app isn’t perfect though. I can think of obvious improvements.
For one, it isn’t immediately obvious which posts are drafts, and which are published. You have to go into each one and see to find out. This could so easily be rectified in design, by just colouring them differently on screen.
The preview doesn’t work brilliantly, and although you can add multiple photos (but no videos at all), because it adds them in a html view, more than a few at once would easily get confusing.
While you can set the date on the post to whatever you like (occasionally handy), the timestamp is not changeable. Not sure why this would be.
You can however, edit any post shown, and switch from published to draft at will. The posts you set back to draft don’t disappear off to another menu anywhere.
A self-hosted WordPress blog doesn’t by default have a mobile theme. There is one free though, called WPTouch, that you can install yourself.
If you get a blog at WordPress.com, hosted by them, they include this mobileness as standard.
My posts are all very readable on a mobile, and when I log into the admin page from a computer later, I can see exactly which photos are attached to which posts in the “media library” section, and delete them as I wish.
It lists all photos you have uploaded, and which posts they’re featured on.
Not to sound like a control freak, but after my recent hassle of experiences with deleting my own photos from Tweetphoto, Yfrog and Twitpic, I’ll take a WordPress site over any of the other above offerings, any day.
First impressions of wordpress.com
Like I said, bjsproductions uses WordPress. But I self-host a WordPress.org installation, which gives me a lot more options. WordPress.com is nice, and they do the hosting for you, but a bit lacking.
For example, before I set up a free wordpress.com account, I searched through the themes available at wordpress.org.
Having found a couple of really nice themes, I then set up a wordpress.com account (the one they host for you).
Sadly, there seems to be a much more limited supply of themes for wordpress installs hosted by wordpress. A paltry 96. Some really ugly ones.
None of the ones I really liked from WordPress.org are available, so this will have to do for the moment.
Also, although they install WPTouch as standard on WordPress.com, they do insert an advert into every post, which they don’t do when you host it yourself. I suppose they have to make some money somehow.
So ok, WordPress.com isn’t perfect. The lack of options is already getting on my nerves, I’m not sure I like any of the available themes, and I’ve had to give up attempting to edit this on Google Chrome because it just doesn’t work (I finished it in Firefox, with no problems). I’ll probably end up on a self-hosted WordPress.org installation, once I’ve thought up a domain name.
Which really, when I think about it, means that I’ve spent several weeks looking at different blogging platforms, for “something like WordPress”, and picked WordPress. Time well spent, I’m sure you’ll agree.
(Note: This post was updated on 29th November 2012, to reflect a website name change. bjsproductions.co.uk is now known as parkandgardner.com.)