This app is cool. At $0.99 USD, it’s hard to complain about price. (The same cannot be said for the desktop version, however, at $9.99) DAY ONE (journal) for iPhone is a strong example of a straightforward app uncomplicated by features.
But what about Momento?How can I not mention Momento? After all, I featured it on this blog. Both are currently iPhone only (as iOS devices go). The two do differ, however. Momento could do everything that Day One does, but it’s not really built for just that. Momento is about capturing feeds and tagging posts; organizing a complex weave of photos, tweets, status updates and memos. Day One doesn’t do photos. It doesn’t do tagging, either. It doesn’t have these things… on purpose. What it does, it does so well; it keeps track of lightweight journal posts and quick thoughts, timestamps them, keeps track of particular favorites, and syncs it all with Dropbox. The app syncs with the expensive desktop version (I don’t understand the ten dollar Mac app price tag — at all. Come on, $4.99 tops, more like $2.99 and it’d be a super app), for those crazy enough to buy it. Momento does offer backups and exporting, but it isn’t super clean and automatic. The (current) lack of a desktop counterpart makes the exports fairly useless, too. Momento is like a personal status archive. Day One is a journal.
What else…DAY ONE is beautiful. Look at it; it’s stunning. It’s compelling; it makes writing easy, and it never feels clunky. I think that the app could use text markup, specifically bold, italics, strikethrough, but even without, why wouldn’t you use it. Day One journal app is perfect for beginner journal-keepers; paper journals can be daunting for newcomers and anyone who hasn’t actually finished a journal cover-to-cover, and this semi-safe little thing is a perfect tool to capture quick thoughts during downtime. To truly take advantage of its plain text self, Day One can be used with Dragon Dictation: on the go, thoughts can be verbalized, transformed to text, copied, and pasted into Day One with a few taps. Granted, a perfect integration this isn’t, but it’s not that bad. The lack of tagging and feeds is a good thing, I think… at least for some people — maybe most people. Integrating text and images from outside sources can mean clutter, and tagging just isn’t necessary for everyone. The tedium of tagging can be a turn-off; it isn’t useful if it’s only done sometimes, and to tag every single quick post just doesn’t seem (or feel) practical in the real world. Dropbox syncing is a far more practical feature. [If you don’t have a Dropbox account, make one NOW] Entries are therefore self-archiving, and the plain text can then be used wherever with simple copy/paste. Rich text would be neat, but it isn’t always better. Adding some kind of markup could mean loss of flexibility; some apps/websites/tools prefer HTML, some use Textile.
Closing thoughts; Bradtastic Approved?My recommendation is this: BRADTASTIC APPROVED. If you aren’t currently using a journal app, get Day One (Journal). Even if you do have something else, at $0.99 for an iOS app, the risk is small. Play around with it for a while before investing in the desktop app. I was hesitant of this app at first; I thought (and still believe) that the desktop app was overpriced, that it lacked value, and that there were numerous alternatives. Now that I have it, it’s hard to regret. I see this as a replacement for the now defunct IdeaPad app by Glowfilter. [I have no idea why IdeaPad was removed from the App Store; a copyright issue, maybe, because of the name?] Day One is clean and fast; 2.4mb and four dollars cheaper than Macjournal for iPhone. It’s also better looking by far. [and I actually really like Mariner Software in general] br> Keeping a daily journal is one of the best simple things anyone can do. Too often, people make excuses — “I don’t have time,” • “I’m not good at writing.” Those are decent reasons not to blog, but this journal can stay private. It’s straightforward and isn’t intimidating. I’ve never had someone I’ve recommended journaling to ever tell me they’ve regretted it, or that it was a bad idea. I do hear about a lot of false starts, however, and I think Day One is a decent countermeasure. [AND: Maybe my unendorsed glowing (fair and honest) review will convince the developers to give me a copy of the desktop app to try!]
I’ve been told that I may have the opportunity to review the desktop app for you guys in the near future (a few weeks or less). Also, after learning more about the app from the developer and @dayoneapp at Twitter, I can confidently say that I believe updates will arrive soon that will make Day One easily worth the $9.99 price.
As it is, if the desktop app is as slick and crash-free as the iOS app, it’s not money poorly spent, I think. If you have the means and desire to toss ten dollars at a cool app to support the development of making said app even cooler, by all means, I won’t argue!
As far as features go, I’ve been told that markdown is on the way.
In addition to that, I would appreciate a separate title field for entries, and reminders (a desktop feature) on the iOS app [though that’s not as big of a deal].
I have indeed given the Mac OS desktop app a thorough “testing;” I’ve been using the app for over one week now. It is brilliant! The concept behind Day One is something that I’ve come to really love: simple is better.
It’s not-so-much “less is more” as it is “keep it simple.”
D A Y O N E as they like to write it, is completely different from MacJournal. The iOS app differs from Momento. Day One is focussed—there’s no nonsense, no blogging from within the app, no tagging entries or importing feeds. Day One is a simple, put-your-thoughts-into-it tool. That’s why it is great.
If you like (or need) that sort of thing, get this app. Even if you think $9.99 might be too much for the desktop counterpart, it’s probably worth it for two reasons: you’ll get your value for money when the app is updated, it’s a small price to pay for a tool you can actually use everyday, quickly.
Day One is not an app that you feel guilty for ignoring when you need to, and you won’t feel bad about simply writing a few sentences (or phrases even), if that’s what is appropriate—or all you have time for. Day One should absolutely be used with Dropbox; not linking the two is such a waste, since Dropbox is free (or cheap, if you want to pay for it).
NOTE: If you’re concerned about privacy, DAY ONE might not (yet) be for you. The iOS app has password protection, but it’s light, and the data stored isn’t encrypted… and it’s easy to find. The desktop app is far less secure, so: if you think someone will try to snoop, find something else—or censor your writing. But if that’s the case… maybe you have a bigger issue to deal with.