Noah J Nelson on Monday, Oct. 1st
As a massive, massive fan of Moleskein notebooks I’ve been reluctant to go digital with my journaling habits. In fact I’ve been downright fickle. From the time I picked up my first iPhone (the 3G), I’ve been trying app after app, hoping to find one that would provide at tenth of the satisfaction that my trusty black journal did.
At one point I was drawn to the social media enabled Momento, which aggregates status updates from multiple platforms and journal entries into one calendar. Momento, however, is an iPhone/iPod touch only app. What I really wanted was a single application that worked across multiple platforms: phone, tablet and laptop. Which is what I found in Bloom Built’s Day One (iOS/Mac OS).
The two pieces of software that make up the Day One suite, the iOS and the Mac OS programs, will set you back about $15 in total. (Although the Mac OS version happens to be on sale for half off right now, at $4.99, meaning that the whole package comes in at less than $10.) Once set up you’ll find a consistent, minimalist interface that plays across the platforms and synchs to either Apple’s iCloud or Dropbox. This keeps your journal up to date no matter which front-end you might be using, provided that you have an active internet connection.
On the Mac an icon can be placed in menu bar, which draws up a quick entry box. This means you’re always just a click away from dumping an idea into the system. Getting ideas back out requires search, which is fairly snappy, but a long-promised tagging feature has yet to materialize. This remains my greatest frustration with the software.
Both mobile and desktop versions feature the ability to set reminders. Sadly these do not synch cross platform, and remain independent of each other. That sort of cross device communication could be great for sharpening discipline without having the app become a nag. Both versions also feature the ability to add photos to a post, allowing for some serious scrapbooking. It’s possible to check in with Foursquare or Tweet from the mobile version, while the desktop relies on Mountain Lion’s share sheets and gains Facebook sharing while losing Foursquare.
While some of the recent feature additions like automatic weather tagging, and location information have hit the mobile version without crossing over to the larger sibling, the two versions tend to keep version parity. The most recent updates have added the ability to embed YouTube or Vimeo videos directly into the journal with just the URL. Find a video online, past it into your journal, and then have it with you for reference wherever you go.
All versions support the Markdown formatting syntax, which allows for all the basic manipulations of text you might want, without having to learn big chunks of HTML or CSS.
I’ll admit that my first flirtation with Day One lasted only a few days, I was soon back to the Moleskein. Once I decided that I wanted to make a concerted effort to do shorter form journaling the app suite became indispensable. If they will just add a tagging system– not that it wouldn’t be possible to gin up one of my own– then Day One will be very close to a perfect program.