I am now back from two weeks in Italy where I experimented with live blogging. You have probably noticed that some presentations from the meeting at CoSBi in Trento were covered on Buried Treasure within a matter of minutes of them ending. Also, quite a number of pictures were posted in the associated Picasa web album while the presentations were still ongoing. Here is a brief explanation of how I planned to pull this off and how it worked in practice.
My original plan was to use WordPress through the web browser on my smartphone together with a foldable bluetooth keyboard. This was how I first imagined that my live-blogging platform would look:
It seemed a good idea at the time, but there were a couple of “minor” problems:
- The mobile web interface for WordPress does not enable you to upload pictures.
- The full web interface for WordPress works neither in Microsoft Internet Explorer Mobile nor in Opera Mobile.
I thus started looking around for alternative clients for WordPress and eventually found ShoZu, which allows you to upload pictures from your phone to a variety of services including WordPress blogs and Picasa web albums. However, it is not a true blogging tool and only enables you to write a short description for each picture. I thus accepted to the real blog posts would be written on my laptop, whereas the following platform would be used for live blogging in the form of images with short descriptions:
This seemed like an even better idea at the time, but again I ran into a few technical problems:
- Due to strange combinations of firewalls, HTTP proxies, and complex login web pages, I never managed to get my smartphone reliably connected to the internet.
- The camera in the smartphone was unable to take even half decent picture under the poor light conditions.
In reality, I thus ended up using my old Apple PowerBook G4 and my Lumix TZ3 camera. They got the job done in terms of covering the presentations, but live blogging from poster sessions was practically impossible.
I have now put on my thinking cap to come up with a live-blogging platform that would work for poster sessions. You generally have too little time for too many posters, so it has to be very fast to snap a photo and post it. The light is often poor and people tend to use too small fonts on their posters, so you need a good camera to get a readable result. Finally, the lack of space and tables prevents you from using a laptop. The Eye-Fi Card might be a solution as it would enable me to upload images directly from my camera to, for example, a Picasa web album or Flickr. Please let me know if you have any ideas, experiences, or thoughts on this.