Boris Mann

Open Source. Community. Decentralized Web. Building dev tools at Fission. Cooks & eats.

Home mini-review: audio via phone and video posting

So, after completing the previous post about storing video and other large files, I did go off and buy my membership for a year (you can try a 7 day free trial as well).

Over on my personal site, I posted my first moblog: I called into the AudioBlog phone number with my cell phone, recorded, and hit publish. I had previously set AudioBlog up with all my blog details (I have 4 set up so far -- this site, my personal site, Bryght, and Urban Vancouver), and you punch a code into your phone identifying the blog to which you want to publish. You can also just record and handle the publishing details later on through the website.

Everything went pretty easy, minus a few things I had to fiddle with in Drupal to get things working seamlessly. The two things you need to know here are 1) choose MovableType as your blog type...the Drupal one falls back to using the Blogger API, which doesn't even support titles, never mind categories; and 2) AudioBlog uses an iframe to display the Flash audio player, which won't display unless you have Full HTML and/or iframes not filtered by default.

As well as posting by phone, you can also upload MP3s directly, or record directly through a Flash app on the AudioBlog site. 

Next I tried uploading a video, also viewable over on my personal site: a baby seal, how cute! I talked to Eric Rice, the man behind AudioBlog, about my views on uploaders (i.e. a desktop app like the one that Revver provides or the Ourmedia CCUploader). Basically, my previous experience with web uploads has been that they don't work well for files over 10MB in size. Also, things like batch uploads and resumable uploads are also not supported by web-only clients. Regardless, the videos that I uploaded all worked fine with the AudioBlog web uploader. It has a nice little AJAX-y progress bar to show how much has been uploaded and how much longer it is estimated to take. I uploaded 3 videos in total, all between 40 - 50MB in size, and they completed no problem. I was still nervous about navigating to other portions of the site in another tab, but this might very well be down to previous experiences with bad uploaders.

The one downside I could find with both audio and video is that it's a one shot deal -- you publish, and it appears on your blog. If you change any details, you'll need to republish. The one feature request I have: give me an HTML snippet for each video so I can cut and past the iframe HTML wherever I need it (kind of like Flickr's multiple size view for cut'n'pasting anywhere). OK, OK -- there's a second downside -- no direct links to the source video (audio blogging provides direct MP3 links at your option). 

I haven't covered all the features that AudioBlog offers -- it's got extensive support for podcasting and iTunes feeds that you can work with directly from within the system, whether or not your particular tool supports it. As well, the video features are only in beta, with lots more changes (especially iTunes / video iPod specific ones) coming. Check the AudioBlog News site to keep up to date. Much like Flickr, right now AudioBlog is looking like a great app to use and an easy price to pay to take care of all of your audio and video blogging needs.