X Marks the Spot

random commentary on life, the universe, and anything

Journals, Journaling, and the app journey (which was pretty brief, actually)

Well, after some encouragement from my therapist (dealing with my mom’s rapidly declining health), and some procrastination, I’m finally biting the bullet and doing what all the, heck, not cool, but actually, who journals?

Rabbit hole: https://medium.com/mind-cafe/why-keeping-a-daily-journal-could-change-your-life-9a4c11f1a475

I guess you can take the boy out of the workplace and make him work from home because of COVID-19 but you can’t take the informaticist out of the boy.

Functional Requirements:

  1. A good UX and UI
  2. Nice fonts
  3. Makes it easy to write
  4. Easy to add photos or video from iPhone (or desktop but mostly iPhone)
  5. Integration with Facebook, Instagram, maybe Pinterest (for recipes, seriously guys, stop hating), and this WordPress blog
  6. Integration with Peloton (seriously, don’t appreciate the judgment)
  7. Available on MacOS with apps for iPhone and iPad that take into account that they are different platforms
  8. Sync across platforms, frequently, so that can start on one, continue on another
  9. Exportability in case someone gets greedy and I need to cash out my chips from that platform

Assumptions:

  1. Freemium is not going to be enough. What’s the threshhold? Probably $3/month (one Starbucks-ish)
  2. Apple ecosystem is priority over others
  3. I need to do the least amount of work possible to include the most amount of information

Research:

Candidates:

  1. Evernote – simple, basic, I use it for note keeping (outside of the notes I keep in OneNote)
  2. Day One – minimalistic, Instagram integration is out of the box, uses IFTTT for sync (yay since I already use that), covers the platforms I would likely use to journal (MacBook, iPhone, iPad), but uses own sync service
  3. Journey – closest to Day One but cross-platform and web (but really, how important is this? am I ever going to do this on an android device or linux box? nope), Zapier for integration, uses Google Drive to sync/store data

I really wanted to test out the sync had to buy something. Rolled the dice, ignored the people bitching about Day One moving to a subscription model (hey, they have to pay for infrastructure somehow), bought it.

Some problems:

  1. If you sign up for Day One first using google authentication (OAuth2), but then purchase through apple authentication (in-app purchase), you wind up with two Day One accounts. Took a bit of figuring out, but deleted the google account and then logged into Day One using apple account.
  2. Why did I need to do this? Well, IFTTT is the sync tool. You have to have the premium version of Day One in order to use IFTTT. But the premium version was registered to the apple account and I was logged into the google account. Yes, it’s been that kind of day.
  3. I can’t get twitter and facebook integrations to work through IFTTT. It fails the service check. (“There was an error during the check process.”) Will it work? Only time will tell.
  4. I guess this is the check on whether the WordPress integration works. Here goes nothing.

Addendum:

  1. WordPress to Day One worked!
  2. Sort of.
  3. If you include an image URL in the recipe, and there is no image, it breaks and shows a file not found image. Okay, that makes sense. Thanks IFTTT for great documentation and putting the URL to the explanation *IN* the image itself. That was really nice.
  4. No HTML formatting.

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