This is a tutorial that shouldn’t need to be written, if half the parties involved weren’t being ridiculous. My problem: I have Art Academy on my Nintendo 3DS and I want to post my paintings on Tumblr. I don’t want to remove the SD card every time I want to get an image off of my 3DS. The solution I discovered is a circuitous one.

First, let me tell you what doesn’t work:

  1. Nintendo has an image sharer site just for the 3DS. You can post photos from your 3DS directly to Tumblr, Facebook, or Twitter. Sounds exactly like what I want, right? Well, it is, except for one stupid restriction: the photo has to come from an approved list of software. By some genius oversight, Art Academy is not included. So instead of posting my photo like I wanted, daddy-knows-best Nintendo throws an error message and my photo goes nowhere.
  2. I can upload to my Dropbox via the Dropbox web site. Why not upload a photo from the Nintendo 3DS browser? Because Dropbox, in all the glory of the modern age, has lost its way. At its heart, it is an image upload form with a list of files. However, the fancy Dropbox site would not load in the very basic Nintendo 3DS browser. I managed to get logged in, but then the Upload button was nowhere to be seen and the page was mostly blank, with none of my files showing. Something was obviously awry. Dropbox has a mobile site, but it doesn't have any option to upload files (!!). Why would I ever want to upload a file to Dropbox?? I mean, who does that? Moving on...
  3. Imgur would not load in the 3DS browser, so I couldn't upload an image and then post it to Tumblr later. I even tried the ?noFlash URL but that didn't work any better.
  4. My Tumblr dashboard would not load in the 3DS browser, so I couldn't post to Tumblr directly.
  5. I tried to sign up for a new Photobucket account because I saw they have a mobile site, but I got leery because they had restrictions on my password: "can only contain the characters a-z, A-Z, 0-9, -, _, contain no spaces, and cannot start with a zero". Why do they care what I put in my password? Sounds like improper password storage to me.

All right, now that I’ve got some frustration out of my system, here’s what I did that worked:

  1. Load up in your Nintendo 3DS browser. Yep, that's right, Gmail with all its bells and whistles and JavaScript and CSS3 will still work in the dumb 3DS browser. You're greeted with a login page that looks like it's built for a tiny mobile screen: the user name and password fields are large and centered, the submit button is equally legible.
  2. Once you're signed in, Gmail tells you that you might not get the full desktop experience. I don't care, the basic "send an email with an attachment" experience is all I want! Hit Compose.
  3. Now, you can either send yourself an email with your photo for later use, or you can (in a separate browser since the 3DS doesn't handle Tumblr well) look up your Tumblr post email and post directly to your Tumblr via email. Fill out the recipient email in Gmail.
  4. If you're sending the file to Tumblr, put the photo caption as the email subject.
  5. Scroll on down with your little stylus and you'll see a super simple file upload field for an attachment. Huzzah! Tap Browse and find the image you want from your Nintendo 3DS's SD card.
  6. Scroll on down and tap that Send button. Thank fuck Google kept us dumb-mobile-browser users in mind.

And you didn’t have to remove that tricksy SD card!