In September last year I reviewed Day One, the no-frills journaling app that synchronises your life between Mac, iPhone and iPad. I have now completed 563 entries and haven’t missed a single day. It’s the first time in my life that I have managed to keep a diary for more than a week (usually the same first week of January following Resolution Day). I have tried them all: the Enid Blyton Schoolboy’s Diary, the Economist week-to-page for economical doings, a clutch of Filofaxes, and a string of computerised journal applications such as Momo, Per Se, and MacJournal.
All are excellent in their own ways, most offer more advanced features, but none has captivated me as completely as has Day One. After a year I am now beginning to feel like Samuel Pepys, but with far fewer interesting doings and not quite as much baisering as the old 17th-century reprobate. I am even sneakily adding entries from important dates in the past.
But back to Day One, the app. It started off last year as a very, very simple daily journal. No categorisation or tagging, just an entry against a date. This was its initial attraction: Free from distraction. It has since blossomed with additional features, including automatic location tagging, daily weather report, embedded photographs (works a treat with the iPhone) and Markdown support.
But two features have been missing up to now: tags and search. It’s remarkable not to have had even simple search facilities before, but full search and tags have come at last to the iPhone and iPad apps via version 1.9. It also adds support for MultiMarkdown footnotes. Sadly these additions are not yet reflected in the Mac app, but the raw data will be there for when the desktop version is updated soon.
I came late to journal writing but younger Pepysians have a lifetime to record. I would strongly recommend starting now, adding significant images and gradually building up a fascinating, searchable and tagged autobiography. You will appreciate it when you get to my age. For my part, I regret not having had the willpower to keep up a journal when it involved far more effort and dedication than Day One now demands.
The beauty of Day One is that it is universally at your disposal. You can add your thoughts wherever you are, on iPhone, iPod touch, iPad minor or major, Mac. It is superb and Federico Viticci agrees. See his review of the updates at Macstories.net.
My only disapppointment is that Day One failed to find the weather details for today, Sunday 18 November in the year 1668. It must have been quite favourable, though, because Sam was back and forth across London in search of a kiss or two.
by Mike Evans, 18 November 2012