Thu, 17 Jan 08

Emailing photos to flickr from my Skypephone

I wanted to get my thoughts down more than trying to write something particularly coherent so I apologise for the unstructured post.

I’ve been trying to get this working for the last week or so, without much success.

The first problem I ran into was my general impatience and incompetence. I was able to receive emails to my 3mail.com address but sending of emails was not working (attachment or not). I struggled alone for a bit before heading for the instruction manual and realising that I hadn’t actually configured my email settings.

I needed to change the username (from the default ‘3Mail’ to my mobile number) and the password (to the four digit code set-up at some point during the enrollment process). I also changed the Mail address to my 3mail.com address but I’m not sure whether this was necessary or not. Changing these settings allowed me to send email (I started by emailing my personal account). As I was successfully receiving emails before these changes I can only assume that the username and password are required for SMTP and that IMAP authentication happens in some other, magical, way.

The 3mail service appears to use standard IMAP (imap.three.co.uk) and SMTP servers but I’m guessing that access is restricted by IP address. I certainly couldn’t access them from my laptop on the end of an ADSL connection.

I was monitoring the costs of the emails being sent and soon realised that every email that included a picture cost fifty pence. I sent a simple text email with a tiny subject and body and it didn’t affect my credit at all so I’m not entirely sure of their charging model (it could be that I pay for attachments or just messages over a certain size). I wondered whether the data used in sending the email would come out of an Internet bundles. I purchased a fifty pence, one day, Internet bundle and sent another message: my credit decreased by fifty pence again. D’oh.

It might be useful to note that you can send one email to multiple recipients (I tried two) for the same price (fifty pence for the email with picture that I was sending).

I emailed the same photo to flickr twice, cc’ing my personal address one occasion. Neither email made it to flickr (well, it’s difficult to know that for sure but it certainly didn’t show up) but the email cc’d to me came through fine. To ensure that ‘email to flickr’ was working correctly, I sent the picture I’d just received to my flickr email address (copied from the email) and it showed up almost immediately. Hmm, so I’ve now wasted a couple of quid and still can’t email my photos to flickr.

I was able to send the message as a picture message to flickr (and my personal email) at a cost of twenty-five pence. There are two (smallish) downsides to this approach: the pictures are resized to 640×480 before sending and, as it goes through an MMS to email translation phase, the email you receive doesn’t have the subject and body set correctly (screenshot).