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And use the BlurbsViewr to navigate our blogs via an interactive lifestream map.

2008-10-02

BlurbBits History

The idea of BlurbBits started during our 5 year Sailing Trip around the world. We rarely had access to the internet and if we did it was usually slow AND expensive. We started adding Blogs through email (using Mail-To-Blogger) during our second year. We could update our friends and family from anywhere, literally from the middle of the ocean.

We always reported our position at the top of each Blog which I'm sure was treated as gibberish to most non-sailors who saw it. At this same time, we started using Google Earth and Satellite photos to help us find anchorages in remote poorly charted places while saving our GPS tracks for each leg. I was getting into mapping in a big way.

A couple years later, I wanted to create a web page that would allow me to upload a small blurb about our day at sea while building a historical track of our positions. We were heading into the "pirate" areas of the world and I thought a small photo and a quick note might ease some fears with our friends and family (something like "hey look we're still OK and here's a photo to prove it").

The problem with most people is that they think an update to friends has to be HUGE. Now that is impossible via email from sea but we found a little blurb here and there really helped everyone. It even helped us remember things when we went to add more details and photos, it was our base to build on. In fact once we got to port we wished our friends and family members had been keeping little blurbs about their lives.

When we finally had a little down time I investigated hundreds of options to help make this available to friends.

Key Features:
  • Easy to use with common software (i.e. support groups, help etc)
  • Must support Email posting including optional photos
  • Extensible to existing websites and blogs
  • Must be able to add and update Photos, Text and geotag Locations
  • Must use common photo management web services (Picasa/Flickr). i.e. No special uploads of photos to custom blog/website.
  • Should support non-Web based management of Photos
  • Must support multiple data entry options. i.e. Web based GUI and text file or spreadsheet entry
  • Auto generation of maps with different views
  • Easy to share through embedded gadgets, links, and email/IM
  • Should use common web standards if available
  • Should be available to users viewing through Feeds
  • Must be Free (hey my friends are cheap)

What I found was that although bits and pieces were available, not everything could be had in one spot. So I wrote BlurbBits. It was really written as a bribe to get people to take the time to enter Location data specific to their Blog Post, Web pages, Photo Album or Photos. Wouldn't it be cool if you could combine your maps, photos and journals in one easy to use place?

Welcome to BlurbBits.. and this is just the beginning!!

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