The Arctic Sunrise departs shortly on a voyage that will take her to the end of the world .. beyond 75 degrees North, and out of the range of the much-beloved VSat that brings us broadband connectivity even at sea.
Now this puts us in the same pickle we were in many years ago, when all we had was a very slow and very expensive dialup connection, and we wanted to blog live from a voyage. Using the html interface for Movable Type was right out, so we had to work out a way to email entries to the blog.
In the dark days of the old millennium, we accomplished this with brute code force. We set up an email address on our pop server, and ran a php script called pop2blog, which we set up on an every 20 minute chron job. It would monitor the inbox of the target account, and if it found mail, it would stuff it into the movable type database as the latest post. If that email had a jpg attachment, it would post that. Sometimes even, if you were very very lucky, in an aesthetically pleasing way.
It was a nightmare to maintain, and threw some unexpected wobblies — none of which the onboard blogger himself could either see or fix, since fetching a webpage from onboard a ship was an absurdly expensive proposition. So we’d end up having to back them up with a landlubberblogger, rather defeating the purpose of the automated post.
But, hey kids, it’s 2009! I’m posting this blog via something called posterous.com
— a site Eoin Dubsky discovered a while back and which he showed to me in the spirit of pure research — we had no direct application for what it did, but cool, you could post to a blog instantly by sending an email.
Well damned if that wasn’t exactly what we needed, a few weeks later, when Dave Walsh posited the problem of connectivity for the Arctic voyage.Thom Looney, our radio operator par excellence
, had worked out how to keep us on line — with a wacky unit that is made, quite literally, of 64 Iridium phones linked in parallel and locked into an epoxy block. Only trouble is the cost. Can’t be browsing, can’t be using a web interface to post. Enter posterous.com
All Dave needed do was point posterous to the blog site, enter an admin name and password, and hey diggity, you’re set up. I’m typing this post as an email, which I’m sending to post (at) preposterous.com
, and it magically appears in my blog. (pre)posterously easy!
Posted via email from brianfit’s posterous