Pocket Phojo Short Review
Pocket Phojo by Idruna Software is an image manipulation, editting and transfer application designed for PocketPC PDA's. Specifically, this application can browse, edit and tag images on a storage card inserted into the PDA (depending on the PDA / sleeve used) and then transmit them via FTP back to 'the office'. With the advent of the new faster PocketPC 2002 PDA's many of which have built-in communications interfaces this ultra-compact method of image transfer is very attractive to Photo Journalists. I've taken a quick look at Pocket Phojo running on my Compaq iPAQ H3870.
Pocket Phojo features
- Support for large images (up to 8.5 megapixel)
- Browse as list / thumbnails (two sizes)
- View image and magnify up to 800%
- View image histogram
- Set image caption (including IPTC data)
- Rotate image (90, 180 degrees or 'Any angle')
- Resize / Crop image
- Save As another file
- Image filters: Level correction, Colour correction, Sharpen
- Transfer: Send single image via FTP, send 'batch' of images via FTP, send via email
Example Pocket Phojo setup
This is probably one of the most convenient setups, Compaq's iPAQ H3870 has built-in Bluetooth, Ericcson's T68 (one of the best phones in the world) has tri-band, Bluetooth and GPRS. This means that (at least here in the UK) it's possible to connect to the Internet from the H3870 (via the T68) at approximately 40.2 kbit/s downstream and 13.4 kbit/s upstream. Of course it's also possible to connect your iPAQ directly to a cellular phone and use GSM data (about 9.6 kbit/s).
So, with a Compaq CompactFlash 'Sleeve' I simply popped in a CompactFlash card from my camera, started Pocket Phojo and manipulate / transfer my images back to my home FTP server (or the office).
Manipulating images starts with the browser, you have three different views. Below you can see the small and large thumbnail views. Select an image to load it. This browser is also used for selecting multiple images for 'batch FTP' upload.
Clearly PocketPC's aren't as powerful as your desktop machine and so some functions can take a while. On my H3870 nothing (including loading, rotation, filters, saving etc.) took more than a few seconds working on a 4 megapixel image. Below are examples of simply viewing the image, first of all the default view and then 'full screen'.
Obviously you can also magnify and move around the image, this is surprisingly fast and scrolling is instantaneous. By default Pocket Phojo interpolates pixels under magnification, I turned this feature off as I prefer to be able to see the 'true' pixels at magnification levels > 100%.
Image Information (IPTC)
|Here you can see the Image Information page. This page allows you to set various IPTC information which is then embedded into the image header. This is extremely valuable for Photo Journalists a lot of whom are required to attach IPTC data to an image before uploading it to their office.|
Rotate / Crop / Resize
Pocket Phojo allows you to rotate images by any angle (or preset 90 or 180 degrees), crop an image by either typing in the co-ordinates or simply dragging a box over the image and resize it to any dimensions (up to 8.5 megapixels).
Colour / Levels / Unsharp mask
The two animations below show the levels and unsharp mask pages. Users of other image manipulation packages will be right at home here, and it's relatively easy (and quick) to make such adjustments to the image. Note there's also a colour adjustment page (not shown).
Image transfer via FTP
At this point I should own up that despite being able to use all other internet applications via my T68->GPRS we did have problems with Pocket Phojo. Paul Nolan, CEO of Idruna Software has identified a bug in the FTP library used and is working on a fix. This seems to be solely isolated to GPRS because testing Pocket Phojo over ADSL worked perfectly.
The first screen below is the 'Send via FTP' setup screen, here you need to enter your ftp server name, username, password and remote directory. Click on Ok and your PocketPC will automatically connect to the Internet (if you've got it setup that way) and begin the transfer. I would have liked to have seen an option to save the server settings into separate server groups which would allow you to simply pick where you want to send your images and the application would just get on with it (without prompting for server / user name / password each time).
Pocket Phojo is unique in its functionality (especially considering the built in IPTC and FTP support) and appears to work well. Using it on the new more powerful PocketPC 2002 devices it felt relatively quick (considering the sizes of files I was working on) and didn't "hiccup" apart from the GPRS problem. Wireless technology is advancing every six months or so and we all live in hope that broadband wireless is just around the corner, when that happens applications like Pocket Phojo will be perfectly placed for use by everyone, not just photo journalists.
Assuming Idruna can solve the GPRS FTP problem I wouldn't hesitate in recommending Pocket Phojo in combination with one of the newer PocketPC devices as an ultra-compact solution for the transfer of images from the field.