OurDoings 2.0 Mobile

(Bruce Lewis) I hope you've had a good summer. I sure have. I've been vacationing with my family, enjoying various local beaches near my home on the North Shore of Massachusetts, and adding exciting new features to OurDoings.

When you visit the page where you upload new photos, you'll notice a bulleted list of ways to upload multiple photos. I already wrote about the Picasa button in July. In August I added another option, "get an upload email address." You can create a random, secret email address to send a photo straight to the web, or straight to your "draft photos" page, as you choose.

Did someone email you photos of your doings? Just forward the message to your secret email address and dispense with downloading and uploading. Want to publish photos from your mobile phone? Send them to that email address. Want to temporarily authorize a group of people to publish photos on your behalf? Create another email address on the same page where you made yours, send it to your friends, then delete it a week later without having to change the one you've been using in your phone.

Of course, OurDoings isn't just about photos; it's about news too. My wife and I use it to record kid milestones, for example. Wouldn't it be convenient to have other ways of recording such status updates without having to log in to a web site at all? There's a fresh new service called ping.fm that's made for exactly that sort of thing, and now you can use it with OurDoings. Want a simple interface for your mobile phone? They have it. Do you use instant messaging (AIM or GTalk) to tell your friends what's happening? Use it to tell ping.fm too. Just register with ping.fm and follow the easy instructions on your OurDoings site integration page.

Those are new ways to put news and photos in. I've also been working on ways to get news and photos out. Hopefully most of you have already used the spiffy OurDoings email update feature, the best ways to send photos by email. Thanks to this feature, you can record comprehensive doings on OurDoings, then go through occasionally to add titles, pick featured photos, etc. Then when you send an email update, you have the chance to select the most interesting stuff for your eager audience.

That has worked great where everybody uses email. But in this Web 2.0 world, email isn't always the place people want to get updates from their friends. There are sites like FriendFeed and Facebook that can periodically read your OurDoings site and republish whatever you've put there. The problem is they do it all the time. Sometimes you would like to make them wait until you've done an email update and everything's ready for the general public.

Well, now you can make them wait. Just remove your main OurDoings page from FriendFeed or Facebook, and add the page you get to by clicking your "Get Updates" tab. It will only feed entries that you've sent out in an email update. Help filter the noise!

If you're not familiar with Facebook or FriendFeed, I'd recommend looking at FriendFeed first. It's now smart enough to pick up the photos from OurDoings automatically. This is a recent improvement, and obsoletes the less automated "FriendFeed integration" that you can still find on your OurDoings site integration page. That will be phased out or replaced with a different way of integrating FriendFeed.

While you're on the "Get Updates" page, take a look at the embeddable slideshow near the bottom. There's a button to add the slideshow gadget to your iGoogle home page. Enjoy your photos as you go about your business. I think an actual wireless photo frame is better, and OurDoings supports them better than any other photo-sharing site, but the iGoogle gadget is nice too.

In summary, it's been a busy summer. I've had fun implementing these features. Now you go have fun using them. Get a wireless photo frame (make sure it supports Media RSS!) and set OurDoings up so you can email photos to it. Get creative. Let me know what interesting things you do with these new features, and what you'd like to see down the line.

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