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PicPosterous for the iPhone is nearly perfect

I've spent the last few weeks with Posterous, a blogging platform from Sachin Agarwal and Garry Tan. The result is both a modest record of my travels and a powerful enthusiasm for the service.

Posterous is going to be huge. Even Andy says so.

Over the years, I've used every blogging platform I've found, including (but not limited to) WordPress, Typepad, MovableType, Squarespace, Vox, Livejournal, Blogger and Textpattern. The easiest among those are the hosted solutions, like Typepad, Livejournal, Blogger, Squarespace and Vox (note that Typepad, Livejournal and Vox are all products of Six Apart). WordPress and MovableType are (usually) self-hosted and require the blogger* to create and link to a database.

After installation is complete, they all require some degree of fiddling. Customizing the layout, design, colors, graphics etc. takes time. Adding something like an image gallery is even more time consuming, and often requires a plug-in which you must find, upload, configure and test on your own.

By contrast, here's how you create a complete blog with Posterous:
Send an email message to post@posterous.com.

That's it.

Here's how you create a full-featured, thumbnailed photo gallery with built-in navigation on Posterous: Email your photos to post@posterous.com.

Want to post a video? Same thing. It'll even encode it for you. Send nearly any codec you want.

It's brilliant because there's nothing to learn. Everyone knows how to send an email message and customers can use the email client they already know; the client that's always available via a laptop, phone or iPod. Additionally, Posterous can notify your other accounts, like Facebook and Twitter, each time an update is posted.

The only drawback I found was in updating a gallery throughout the day. Let's say I want to document a trip with multiple photos added to a single post as the day progressed. How can I do that? PicPosterous [App Store link] is the answer. I spent the last couple of weeks using a beta of PicPosterous and spoke with Sachin about it. Click below to read my reaction and conversation with Sachin.

*Some web hosting companies provide a one-click install for WordPress and MovableType. Wordpress.com also provides free and premium plans for WordPress users.


When PicPosterous is first launched, you'll be asked to allow the app to note your location. That completes your setup. From there, all you've got to do is send a photo along. Either choose one from your library or snap a new shot. You'll get a preview and an opportunity to accept or reject your image and create a new album for it. From there it's posted to your Posterous site.

The next time you take a photo, PicPosterous remembers the album you used last. When I recently spent a day at Fenway Park in Boston, I took picture after picture with PicPosterous, each adding one to my "Boston" gallery. In that way, the app sorts your photos into "events," which is exactly how Sachin describes it:

"You are typically going to be taking photos for one event for a while, so just default to that automatically. And if you do want to post a one-off photo in a new 'event', that's still only a couple clicks away.

There are other services that do photo sharing more in a 'stream' format, like flickr. But that always bugged me because your photos are in the wrong order! The newest photos are on top; that's not the way people want to see photos. I want to create an album, and then post photos in chronological order. When people go to that album, the first photo they see is the one where I'm walking into Disneyland, not the one when I'm leaving at the end of the night."

Posting photos is as simple as using the iPhone's built-in camera app. In fact, posting a photo to your site is only one additional click (choose your album). That way, you can take photos with PicPosterous and get them into a nice gallery with practically the same effort (if touching a button beneath a glass screen can be called "effort") as storing local photos with the camera app. Uploading video uses the exact same process. You can go back and add to albums you previously created at any time.

As I suggested in the title, for me it's nearly perfect. I do find myself wanting to add captions to photos, which is something I can't do. Also, the 3rd-party service notifications (like Twitter and Facebook) only occur when an album is first created and not when additional photos are added; granted, a notification with every photo might well overwhelm your socially networked 'friends' and turn them into former friends.

Those are minor complaints that don't detract in any significant way from the pleasure of using this app. PicPosterous is available from the App Store now and is free.

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