Blogging on the road…

So far my attempts to blog while out on my rides have been limited to stumbling across internet cafes in random cities, logging into my account, and posting an update. While on the Alaska ride, I got slightly more sophisticated and set up a discussion list to which people could subscribe to get my broadcast emails.

For the x-country ride, I decided to further investigate different ways of blogging and sending real-time updates via my phone and/or computer. I am carrying a netbook with me to facilitate composing blog posts. I’ll update either when I have access to wifi/internet cafes or from my cell phone.

In my mind, there are two kinds of blogging modes – regular blogging and micro-blogging. Here’s some info on how to set up and use either mode.

MICRO-BLOGGING

Micro blogging is defined as posting mini-updates about your status to a feed that people can subscribe to. The most popular services are Twitter and Facebook. Facebook has a Twitter app that pulls Twitter updates (tweets) and posts them as your Facebook status updated. I figure that the best way to micro-blog would be to tweet via a mobile phone (a Samsung i760 which runs Windows Mobile 6) although you can certainly use a regular computer if you happen to be at one.

Here are various ways to mini-blog. The steps assume that you have a Facebook and Twitter accounts.

UPDATE STATUS IN PLAIN TEXT (VIA SMS)
Be warned that unless your mobile phone plan provides unlimited texting, this is a surefire way to rack up a huge phone bill. When I last checked, Verizon doesn’t allow unlimited texting except between mobile phones, so I decided not to go down this route.

1. Link your Twitter account to Facebook. Search for Twitter app and allow it access to your Facebook account. Note that your Twitter account needs to be set to Public for this app to work.
2. Log in to your Twitter account and go to Settings. Select “Devices”, add your mobile phone number and set Device Updates to “On”.
3. Send texts to the number 40404
4. Your texts will appear as status updates on both Twitter and Facebook.

UPDATE STATUS IN PLAIN TEXT (VIA EMAIL)
1. Link your Twitter account to Facebook. Search for Twitter app and allow it access to your Facebook account. Note that your Twitter account needs to be set to Public for this app to work.
2. Create a Twittermail account. You will be asked for your Twitter username and password and provided with a private, cryptic looking email address like abc123@twittermail.com. In Settings, you will need to set the email account that you will post from e.g. your gmail or hotmail email address.
3. You can set whether just your status update will be just the subject, body or both subject and body.
4. You can also set whether any images you send will be published to Twitpic if you have an account there.
5. Log in to the email account you set in step 2 and send email to the twittermail account.
6. Your email will be published to Twitter and Facebook in a few minutes. There can be a lag of up to 5 minutes.

IMAGE UPDATE STATUS WITH IMAGES (VIA EMAIL)
1. Link your Twitter account to Facebook. Search for Twitter app and allow it access to your Facebook account. Note that your Twitter account needs to be set to Public for this app to work.
2. Create a Twitpic account. You will be asked for your Twitter username and password and your twitpic account will be set up and you will be assigned a pin and an email address to which you can email updates. The email address will be of the form twitterusername.pin@twitpic.com.
3. Send an email from any email account to your twitpic email address with an attached email. If you are on a mobile phone, you can browse to an image you just took with your phone’s camera.
4. ALTERNATIVELY, you can send email to your twittermail email account from the previous section, and if it is linked to your twitpic account, you can post an image the same way.
5. The image you emailed will be uploaded to twitpic.com and your status update on Twitter and Facebook will be updated with a twitpic link.

UPDATE STATUS WITH VIDEO (VIA THE QIK APP)
1. Set up an account at Qik.
2. Link your Qik account to Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you have linked Twitter and Facebook, a post made to Qik is somehow posted only as one update on Facebook.
3. Install the Qik app on your phone (assuming they support your phone’s model)
4. Start up the Qik app and take some streaming video
5. The video is uploaded to your Qik account and a status update is made to Twitter and/or Facebook with a link to the video

REGULAR BLOGGING

Assuming you have a blog set up via a popular blogging service like WordPress, Blogger, Livejournal etc, you can blog in the following ways:

VIA THE WEBSITE
Obviously you can just log into the website and update your blog. It’s harder to do on a mobile phone, but it can be done. Try and compose your post offline on some word processing app on your phone, or on a computer and then transfer to phone.

VIA A CLIENT
If your blogging software provides a mobile client, that would be one way to go. I don’t know of any client for WordPress or Livejournal that works on WM 6.0.

VIA EMAIL
Blog on WordPress via email
Blog on Livejournal via email

If you attach an image to your email, it will be posted on Livejournal seamlessly. Not so easy for WordPress though because blogging to WordPress via email only works if you send email that is plain text, not html encoded, so there is no way to send images.

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