Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.
I'd like to ask Joi to tell us all, how his moblogging implementation works. What is the mechanism of getting that photo from the phone, to the PC and then into a blog. I know you use Moveable Type. Do you send the photo as an email attachment or some other form? Do you completely bipass the 'mobile carriers' or simply pay for he usage/bandwidth time? If your scenario is other than email, then what routing, access or commercial gateways do you have to navigate through - to get data onto the net?
We use email. Email is received and processed by a Python script. The script stores the attached jpg image in a directory and renames it with a unique name. It then posts the entry to MT using the MetaWeblog API to create an entry with the subject of the email as the title and puts the body of the email and an img src link to the jpg in the entry wrapped in div tags. Pretty simple. It would be easier if someone added more image handling in the API. Take a look at the Python script for more details.

We pay the carrier for the transmission of the email. Wish it were flat fee, but it's by the packet. Need to find a less "intelligent" network.


Well at least you can get it to work - at all! That's something!

Could text in the body of the email be a way of annotating the photo? I'd love to read your opinion of Ellison's Japanese Mansion versus Dave's.


Yes. It's set up so that you can do that. The only thing is, it's so easy to squeeze off shots on the run, while driving, while talking, etc. Focusing on thumbing in an annotation is kind of a pain. I've thought of sitting down in front of my computer later and adding annotation, but I end up writing on my main blog instead. hmm... So little time, so much microcontent...

I agree that it'd be nicer if the API had image handling -- e.g. uploading and creation of thumbnails. In addition, it would be nice if the posting-by-email functionality were built into to MT.

I've been told that other blogging software (e.g. Radio Userland) has had this functionality already for some time.

Radio Userland will upload a picture that you place into a directory, and then optionally create a post with that img tag. It will also create a post from an email. It will not, however, post an email image attachment. (Unless I missed something...)

I recently created a tool that lets you blog using a regular phone. I posted about PhoneBlogger to my weblog tonight. I built it with VoiceXML, Python, and JavaScript. Your mail2entry script sounds like it's very similar in design to my Python scripts, except that I am saving and linking to an MP3 file. I don't have a high quality whole word speech recognition engine set up for converting the recording to text, so the big drawback is that currently you get only a recorded audio file.

Joi, seriously, how much has your bill shot-up since you started photo-blogging? I just got a camera-phone and I'm thinking of setting something up, but price is non-trivial. In terms of photo-blogging popularity, non-flate rate is prohibitive. Imagine if you had to pay every time you posted to your normal blog. You use docomo probably?

I'm surprised by your comment about annotation. Don't you send a million little email messages a day? Most people are pretty fast at entering text. Though kana input is faster than English. I think putting a comment to give context or even a punch line is a lot more interesting. I suppose it's a matter of style.

What interests me is automatically sending location data. Not necessarily GPS points, but more useful information like "I am at the starbcuks on omotesando". GPS coordinates on a map look cool, but really have little meaning. Locations where people congregate have actual meaning. If you can have a dictionary of regular haunts, and can flip through it quickly/easily when you post, you could store this information on the web. The idea is to be able to pull up a list of what/where people on your contact list are currently up to (last photoblog, current location). But it would have to be very elegant for people to actually use. I've often wondered how to get at coding those java applets for phones. I bet there's huge licensing fees associated with getting at those cellphone apis though...know anything about that?

Ian. I haven't looked at my bill. ;-p It's probably pretty bad...

Yeah, I think it's style. If I have time, I'd rather be writing on my main blog.

There are a bunch of location things going on check out my resources page.

I like the idea of location bookmarks.

I have been thinking about "Location Bookmarks" a lot recently. It's so nice to have a name for it now!

I think GPS points are actually quite useful so that they can be used to create a URL to one of the popular mapping sites like or Though it is difficult to find your coords without a GPS or some kind of lookup.

I agree that GPS points are (or should be) useful. What is needed is for businesses and others that care about location services, to provide GPS data. For example, the cash register at my local Starbucks should have a GPS sticker facing me, so I can enter it into what ever device I am using.

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