I have always considered myself reasonably capable of trying out new technologies. I usually can set up devices without reading the manuals (not cool, right?), have a reasonable intuition to follow the manufacturers weird UI thinking in getting things working.
So, first I tried using MMS to send pictures of to my Facebook account. While the messages clearly reach my GMAIL, Facebook shows no sign of life. After a number of frustrating attempts I gave up and decided to twitter for help. Nearly killed myself while Twittering and driving into a traffic jam at 120 km an hour, but luckily I got good advice from Reihmo (thanks!), and decided to go for Shozu.
So setting up my Nokia N95 mobile to upload pictures to the Internet using a well known software tool like Shozu should be a breeze right?
Well, uhm, not quite. I connected my Mobile to the Internet (using GPRS, wasn’t anywhere near a HDSPA network). Browsed to Shozu and pressed the download button. The N95 froze on me. Hmm, probably a glitch. Let’s do that again. Halfway through the download process the N95 freezes yet again, but now it also lights up every led making it a very cool but seriously worthless flash light in the dark.
It took me 4 attempts to get the application. Installation went fine. So now I can upload my pictures to m Flickr account right? Well, first I need to get Flickr and Shozu to talk to each other. Just a simple “press the button here” on Shozu and it takes me to Flickr which asks me if it is alright if Shozu has access to my Flickr page. Sure, no problem. I’m all set now. Turns out I missed a crucial ok button back on the Shozu page. And, did I mention I had to use my computer instead of my mobile to perform all these tasks? Just didn’t get it on the smaller device.
Well I’m finally of to sent pictures to the Internet. I watched my 7 yr old son play a soccer match this Saturday. Took some live action shots. Shozu kicks in nicely and asks me after every picture if I want to upload it to Flickr (why yes of course!). Exited I come home and immediately looked at my Flickr page using the computer. When pressing “My Photo’s” Flickr tells me “You have no uploaded photo’s”. What do you mean? Just uploaded a bunch of them from the soccer field.
Double-checked on my N95, Shozu tells me they have been uploaded. If I sent one again, Shozu tells me if I am sure I want to resend this picture. It still won’t show on my Flickr account.
After looking at help files, looking at settings on Flickr and Shozu and my N95, it turns out Shozu only sents things when connected to my home Wifi network. Changed the setting to include any Mobile network.
Phew, the pictures taken with my N95 in a zoo this weekend made it to Flickr. The battery of the N95 drained to death really fast though taking 5Mpix pictures and sending them off over the UMTS network.
So what is the moral of this story?
- I suck at understanding new (mobile) technology. I am a technology wimp (hate to admit it)
- The N95 is a great device but lacks battery power like any other great mobile device
- Once installed Shozu works like a breeze, but setting it up to actually work is NOT easy
- Spending more than 4 hours on installing and making things work is NOT COOL
- Although companies like Shozu, Flickr and Nokia are already taking away a lot of complexity from the mobile user (thumbs up), there is still a LONG way to go to make things simple.
See my other post on why Mobile Internet is not going to break through for the masses (yet).
DO you have similar experiences? Anything better out there that is simple in installation and usage?
Sorry to hear you had trouble setting up ShoZu, it is normally a fairly painless process. When you had trouble browsing our site, were you using http://www.shozu.com or m.shozu.com? You should find that m.shozu.com is formatted nicely for your mobile browser, our main site is not intended to be viewed on a mobile handset but perhaps we can make the mobile site a bit easier to discover.
Flickr is one of about 3 sites that we support which requires third party authentication. Basically, Flickr value the integrity of their network so they want to make sure there is another authorisation step directly from the logged in user before allowing third party software to access their site. What this means for ShoZu users is that you’ll need to click the authorisation link either from http://www.shozu.com or simply add Flickr under the Destinations area within ShoZu on your handset and we can generate this link for you in an email instead. This is all documented in popups within the application as you’re going through and also on our web portal, but I guess if you’re breezing through it they could sometimes be overlooked 🙂
In regards to your uploaded pictures not making it to Flickr, ShoZu will allow you to upload photos before you click the Flickr authorisation link so you don’t have to wait to start using the app. All your photos are uploaded to a temporary ‘bucket’ on our server, then as soon as you authorise Flickr they are forwarded right over from our server with no intervention from you. But now that it’s been authorised, you won’t experience this again.
By default ShoZu will connect for the first time using the access point you chose when activating the application. From here on you can specify as many as you like under Options > Settings > Advanced > Access Points. You can even specify the order in which you would like them to be attempted, for example, I have my Office Wifi as number 1, then Home WiFi, and if both are out of range I’ve specified my mobile data network as number 3.
I hope this helps! We really appreciate your feedback because it helps us see where people are running into problems and improve the activation process for future releases. Any other questions just let me know.
Thanks for the detailed explanation of the workings of Shozu. It clarifies a few things that weren’t directly obvious to me (and yes, I was on the mobile site). I am actually pretty impressed by the simple way of working with Shozu (once it has been installed and connected). The point I wanted to make is that in the combination of UMTS, WiFi, Mobile Handset, Shozu, Flickr and user (mis) understanding things are bound to go wrong. I think you guys at Shozu already did a great job in simplifying the installation and setup proces. But, the chain of things is as weak as any of the individual steps and that makes the entire proces of getting my pictures on to the Internet difficult (See, I am not really interested in the technology or the application, just in the service). That is why I think there are still many steps to be taken to make the technology actually work simple for the user. The question I always ask myself (especially after a frustrating installation proces) is “Would my wife, or any of my not-so-technical friends be able to accomplish the setup proces ?” Probably not just yet. And to be honest, I think that the teenagers now will have these problems as well. Most of them are used to things to work for them and have never installed complicated things themselves. But hey, on the bright side, Shozu works like a breeze once I got the setup right! Excellent service and I am impressed with the ease of use on my N95.
I have heard great things about Ontela (http://www.ontela.com). They landed something like USD$4M in VC because (a) they were able to take a picture, set the phone down, and have the VC go to a page and see it in 15 seconds, and (b) they have strong carrier traction.
Major ease-of-use apparently.
@Jordan, thanks, I will check it out.
Hi again Alexander,
Thanks for getting back to me with some more info. We will definitely take this on board because we are always trying new ways to simplify the activation process.
Life was so much easier about 5 or 6 years ago when all we did was upload pics/vids to our own server and you’d have to go to our site to get them. But not many people wanted to move from their existing community or sharing site. Now that we are integrating to so many communities there are sometimes a few unique steps along the way for some of the third parties and feedback like this helps us a lot.