Photo sharing sites like Flickr, Webshots (a CNET affiliate), Zoomr, SmugMug, and others provide a cheap (usually free) and easy way for users to share their digital pics with friends, family, or the site communities at large. There's always a slight delay, however, between downloading pictures from your camera or cell phone and actually getting them published to those sites. If you're a Flickr user, you can eliminate that delay completely with Foldr Monitr, a free utility that automatically uploads images from specified folders on your hard drive to your Flickr account.
Foldr Monitr works nearly as simply and effectively as its description promises. After installing and running the app, you'll need to "authenticate" Foldr Monitr with your Flickr account. Clicking the "Authenticate" button in the Foldr Monitr interface will load the Flickr authorization page, launching your default Web browser if it's not already running. After authenticating Foldr Monitr on the Flickr Web site, you're not finished. Click the "Finish Authentication" button in the Foldr Monitr interface to complete your login.
Once logged in, the Foldr Monitr interface will display your Flickr username. (It's also supposed to display your Flickr profile image, but mine was broken.) Automatically uploading new images to Flickr is simple. Click the "Browse" button to navigate to the directory that you want to monitor, select the checkbox if you want to include subfolders, and then click the "Go" button to start monitoring.
It's important to note that Foldr Monitr will only upload new images in that selected directory, once it has begun monitoring. If you already have existing images that you want to upload, it's best to create a new directory and then move images into that folder once Foldr Monitr is running. Also, Foldr Monitr seems to support only JPG and GIF formats. Although I didn't test the wide array of file formats out there, I was unsuccessful with two other common formats, BMP and PNG. Flickr supports them, but Foldr Monitr doesn't.
The customization settings of Foldr Monitr are fairly limited. Clicking a blue "Options..." link spawns a new dialog that allows you to: specify how the new images will be named on Flickr (removing the file extension is the default); upload all Foldr Monitr images to a specific Flickr "set"; or upload all Foldr Monitr images to new Flickr sets based on their subfolders.
You can also select whether the images that you upload via Foldr Monitr will be accessible by your Flickr friends, family, or the public at large. If you choose to make your images available to the public, you should know that they will also appear in a live feed on the Foldr Monitr Web site. Deleting photos from Flickr will also remove them from the Foldr Monitr page, as will unselecting the "Public" checkbox in the Foldr Monitr options.
The program seems to be pretty new, so there are a few understandable bugs, such as the broken profile image mentioned above. The biggest bug occurs when saving images from the Web to your designated Foldr Monitr folder. Foldr Monitr seems to always upload those images twice for me. It could have something to do with another copy of the image in my browser cache, but regardless, it's a bug.
I should mention that as an automatic backup service, Foldr Monitr isn't anything new. There are plenty of other apps that will automatically back up a specific directory on your hard drive. I'm personally a fan of BeInSync, and my colleague Rafe Needleman recently covered AOL BlueString, which is supported by the XDrive online-storage service.
Also, another free utility called FlickrSync accomplishes the same goal as Foldr Monitr, but with a slightly different interface. FlickrSync provides a bit more functionality than FoldrMonitr, by letting you select multiple folders from all over your computer to synchronize with Flickr sets. However, my FlickrSync experience was buggier than Foldr Monitr, and I couldn't find anyway to automatically synchronize folders whenever new images were added. That's the killer feature of Foldr Monitr, in my opinion.
For quickly uploading images to the Flickr site, Foldr Monitr is a powerful addition to the existing add-on tools for Flickr. If you're a Flickr user who is constantly pestered by friends and family to "Upload your images!" to the site, Foldr Monitr should silence those nagging voices and provide you with a much more current Flickr portfolio to share.