Date-Focused Note Taking

Posts tagged with "day one"

365 Days

Today, when I remembered that exactly one year ago I was hospitalized for 22 days for a series of treatments to save my life, I tweeted about it. And then I opened Day One.

In the app’s Calendar view, I changed the year to “2012” and, sure enough, the “August 1, 2012” entry was there, showing photos of my hospital room; my girlfriend sending a selfie from home; and a note that I wrote about the doctors being “nice”. Bits of life. A combination of old thoughts and visual memories that I still have, in some form, in my brain, but that here, in this app – right now – I can hold and directly look at. It is, indeed, far more powerful than memory alone.

It sounds so trivial because we’re used to it. It’s diary app! Of course it lets you browse old entries in a calendar, and of course it’s got search, and of course it accepts photos as attachments, and, okay, the fact that you can see old weather information is neat – but yes, it’s because of the GPS. Common technology terms for yet another app. But does it have a URL scheme? We often lose track of the magic of software.

Sometimes, on days like today, I like to appreciate the simple things of my job. The fact that somebody out there has made an app that lets me cringe at my mistakes and cherish old moments. The fact that in this very moment I can take these old photos, and send them to my parents with a comment that says, “365 days ago…how things change”.

Isn’t that amazing?

Day One for iOS With PDF Export

Day One for iOS With PDF Export



Day One is my favorite journaling app for iOS and OS X. The app was chosen as Mac app of the year by Apple, and for good reason: both on Macs and iOS devices, Day One is a finely crafted piece of software based on an even more powerful idea – archiving your memories. From my review:

Day One stands out because it’s not a tool, it’s a personal experience. I can tell you what Day One does, and I can write about the things I do with it. But I can’t tell you how you should use it.

In November 2012, the app was updated with tags, search, and support for MultiMarkdown footnotes. Version 1.10, released today, brings a new option to export your entries as PDF. The update also contains fixes and other improvements such as a new reminder sound, historical weather data increased from 3 to 30 days (useful when adding old entries), and a new font option.

PDF export is interesting because it enables Day One users to get their journal entries out of the app and save them in a format that is more future-proof than Bloom’s own file format. Available in the Settings, you can export all entries at once, or filter specific ones by date range or tag. In my case, I filtered entries tagged with my dog’s name and emailed a beautifully formatted PDF full of photos to my friends. Exports are listed in the same menu and they can be deleted with a single swipe. Email exports can contain attachments up to 25 MB in size, but the app also comes with an “Open In…” menu to send PDFs to other apps like Dropbox and Google Drive (if installed).

I like the changes in Day One 1.10 and I keep recommending the app as, by far, the best journaling experience on iOS and OS X. Day One is available on the App Store.


Slogger and Day One Memories

Slogger is a fantastic script created by Brett Terpstra. With a bit of manual setup, Slogger can run on your Mac and, on a daily basis, pull entries from various Internet sources – such as Twitter and RSS – and put them into Day One automatically. It is a way to fill Day One with social updates for stuff that you write elsewhere. Brett is awesome, he’s working on new stuff for Slogger, and you should definitely check it out (and consider a donation) if you’re interested in its functionality.

I, however, have turned Slogger off a couple of weeks ago and removed the entries it created. This happened soon after the release of Day One with tags and search, which made me realize “automated logging” is not for me. Slogger was a placebo, not a medicine to let me write more. Somewhat intrigued by its scriptability and automation, I fell short of my own promise:

In twenty years, I’m not sure I’ll be able to remember the songs I like today, or the faces of people that I care about now. I don’t even know if I’ll be around in twenty years. But I do know that I want to do everything I can to make sure I can get there with my own memories. We are what we know. And I want to remember.

It took a while for me to realize I wasn’t fixing the right problem. Instead of making an effort to document memories I care about, I was passively watching another Internet pipe feeding a digital archive of my life with tweets, liked items, starred posts, and everything in between. Brett is awesome, but Slogger is not for me. At least not with the current version of Day One, because there’s no way to meaningfully separate “social entries” from “actually-written-by-me entries”. My wish is for Slogger to eventually mature into a standalone app for “social archiving”, separate from Day One.

I want my thoughts – not my stupid Twitter jokes – to be read by someone who, for some reason, will care about the life I had. There are several aspects of my digital life that I like to improve, but I won’t automate my memories.

Day One is a personal experience, and as such, I want it to be mine.

Day One 1.9 with Tags, Search, MultiMarkdown Footnotes

Day One 1.9 with Tags, Search, MultiMarkdown Footnotes

Day One is one of my favorite apps of this year. I wrote extensively on the importance of software like Day One in my review of the app a few months ago:

At this point, it’s clear to me that Day One wants to be more than a journal. I see Day One as a variegate, yet elegant mix of thoughts, photos, and data that, in the end, define what we do, what think, and what we remember. It still isn’t perfect: I’d like to see support for videos (though that might be tricky for uploads), and integration with services we’re already using to share moments of our lives. The obvious one is Facebook – but wouldn’t it be great to have our Instagrams pulled into Day One, too? I think there’s plenty of room for growth in this regard: Day One could easily become a destination for many of the status updates and photos we’re already sharing elsewhere.

I often say that Day One is not an app, it’s an experience. I see going back through my log entries as a trip down a memory lane of facts, places, and faces that become blurry with time. But Day One can’t escape from its app nature, and that’s why when I compared the app’s Markdown support to other apps I made a note:

As an extra, I also previewed my text in Day One, as I think it’s got one of the nicest MMD previews on iOS. It’s based on Sundown, and it shares the design aesthetic that made Day One so popular. Unfortunately, in its current implementation, Day One doesn’t render footnotes and header levels correctly. More importantly, it doesn’t have a “Copy HTML” option. It looks very nice, though, and I believe the developers should consider adding better support for MMD previews.

Day One 1.9, released today, brings support for MultiMarkdown footnotes, different styles for Markdown headers (such as H2 and H3, which I use), auto-hyphenation improvements, and a built-in web browser to open links directly in the app without Safari. I use Brett Terpstra’s excellent Slogger to save web content as Markdown entries in Day One, so I welcome the new features and I look forward to having more footnotes in my daily notes.

There’s more to Day One 1.9 than just Markdown improvements, though. The app now has a Search functionality, which makes sense considering users like me have been writing in Day One for over a year now. Search is located above the main timeline entries, and it allows you to quickly look for specific text, names, or anything you remember about an entry. It’s a terrific improvement, and it even supports advanced operators (documentation is available in the Search Tips).

The other big feature of Day One 1.9 is support for Tags. Long-awaited as a way to better organize entries by topic (rather than day or location), tags have been cleverly implemented: people who, like me, have been using hashtags in entries can now run a built-in converter to turn them into tags, which can be browsed in a dedicated menu with sorting options for name and usage. You can choose to automatically turn #hashtags into tags, or simply select the tags field when editing to enter some manually. I like how the Day One team thought of existing “unofficial” solutions for tags and is now offering support for making them work properly within the app.

I’m constantly impressed by the amount of polish and usefulness that Day One adds on each release. It is, by far, one of my favorite iOS apps – and, above all, a piece of software with far-reaching consenquences that go beyond simple note-taking. Day One 1.9 is available on the App Store.


Review: The New Day One

Day One

Day One

Twenty years from now, what will you remember?

Last week, a friend of mine found an old MP3 player in her drawer. Upon recovering the contents of the device[1], she synced its music back to her iPod nano, and then she gave it to me. It was full of songs we used to listen to years ago. If songs can be associated with certain moments or periods of your life, than that MP3 player was like a photo album in sound form. Memories. Old emotions and melodies coming back to life, not a distant echo anymore. It felt like grabbing the headphones of 16 year-old me, today, with the knowledge that those moments won’t be coming back, but the experience of someone who cherished them will.

But what do I remember?

In twenty years, I’m not sure I’ll be able to remember the songs I like today, or the faces of people that I care about now. I don’t even know if I’ll be around in twenty years. But I do know that I want to do everything I can to make sure I can get there with my own memories. We are what we know. And I want to remember.

Where the human mind can’t get, I think software can help. In the connected and post-PC era we’re living in, I believe the devices and apps we use play an important role in enabling us to create memories. But just as relevant as “content creation” has become to this discussion, we have to ensure the memories we create today will be preserved digitally for the future.

For the past few months, I have been using a new version of Day One to build an archive of my life. Released today, the new Day One goes beyond the previous version’s support for text entries and adds photos, location, and weather information in an app that, for me, has become more than a simple journaling utility.

Developed by Bloom, Day One went through a remarkable evolution to get to the major updates published today. Last year, I took a look at the app and noted how it was helping me build an “archive of my thoughts” thanks to its simple and elegant interface:

There’s one thing I never really considered storing in a digital archiving app — memories. I’m talking about things like “what did I enjoy doing today” or “I decided to take a walk with my girlfriend” — specific moments that matter in life, that are important, but which our brains often blur and forget after some time to make room for new data to process and maintain.

And then again:

I try to enjoy every moment, but there’s so much the human brain can remember and it’s perfectly normal if something will get lost in the process of assimilating thoughts and processing them to turn them into memories and experiences.

If 2011 Day One was the TextEdit of memories, the new Day One is their Evernote. With support for photo attachments, location data, and improvements to sync and Mountain Lion, today’s Day One wants to overcome the limitations of text to become the window into your past life.

Day One is visual memories. Read more

Logging with Day One and Alfred

Yesterday, Brett Terpstra posted a fantastic little script to leverage Day One’s built-in CLI (command line interface, more information available here) to create new journal entries from the Terminal or an app launcher. Brett has posted instructions on how to use Launchbar with the script, or skip the app launcher part altogether and go with the Mac’s Terminal instead:

Day One already has a quick entry palette in the menubar. It also has a command line interface (/usr/local/bin/dayone)1 which provides some geeky options (try dayone in Terminal) and the flexibility needed to replace my current logging system. You can create entries quickly with either method, but I wanted just a little bit more out of it. I built a quick script which allows a basic syntax for starring entries and defining dates (using natural language) inline in the entry itself. It can be used from the command line, from LaunchBar (or similar) and can be incorporated into just about any scriptable workflow.

I wanted to make the script work with Alfred, my app launcher and navigation tool of choice, and it turns out the effort to modify Brett’s script is equal to zero. I simply replaced “on handle_string(message)” with “on alfred_script(q)” and “end handle_string” with “end alfred_script” to make it work in Alfred. Obviously, you’ll need to fill in the path to your script after you’ve followed Brett’s instructions.

The three Day One entries above were created (and starred) using Alfred.

Before you create a new Applescript extension in Alfred, don’t forget to download Brett’s script and make it executable in your desired location, and create a symlink for Day One’s CLI (Show Package Contents on Day One, then navigate to Contents/MacOS/dayone - that’s the CLI you have to symlink) in your usr/local/bin/ directory.

You can check out Brett’s post here, and catch up on our coverage for the latest version of the app, Day One 1.5 (Mac and iOS).

Day One for Mac 1.5: iCloud Sync, Markdown, Full-Screen

Following the 1.5 update that brought iCloud sync to iOS earlier this week, journaling application Day One (my review) has been updated on the Mac as well, adding sync with Apple’s iCloud just like its iPhone and iPad counterparts, but also bringing several additional functionalities, especially in the text editing and exporting areas.

Day One 1.5 can read and save files to iCloud automatically, in the background, all the time. As on iOS, existing entries from Dropbox will be merged with iCloud if you decide to use Apple’s service, but you can’t use iCloud and Dropbox simultaneously. Sync is blazing fast in Day One, with iCloud constantly pushing changes across devices as you type. This is true on the Mac as well, as journal items are pushed almost in-real to and from OS X.

The core features of Day One for Mac remain intact in this update. The menubar quick entry menu is still there, as is the Tweetie-like navigation in the main journal with access to days, calendar, favorite items, and reminders. You can set a passcode for the entire app while keeping the menubar’s quick entry panel (possibly with a keyboard shortcut) working and fully functional; you can also navigate between months and years easily through the journal’s main interface.

Among Day One’s new features the most notable one is undoubtedly Markdown and MultiMarkdown support. Folks accustomed to John Gruber’s popular plain text formatting tool will be up and running with Day One in no time; Markdown support has been enabled in Write and Read modes, meaning you’ll see visual live previews of Markdown formatting (*italic* will be displayed as *italic*) as you type. The layout of Read and Day modes has been improved, and there are other new cool additions such as font size controls and Sans/Serif /Monospaced fonts waiting for you to be activated in the Preferences, which are now accessible from a new cog icon in the bottom left corner of the app. Also new in 1.5 is hover preview in Days and Starred views, which will give you a nice-looking popover to get a quick peek  at single entries in your journal.

With Markdown formatting for easier writing, live previews, new font options, popovers and an overall refined UI (transitions and various refinements, including a full-screen mode for Lion), Day One 1.5 sure looks like a winner.

It’s not just sync and the good looks. Day One 1.5 comes with more options to get your data out of the application, too. Auto Backup has been enabled, allowing you to sync with iCloud, but back up the database to another location on your Mac (such as Dropbox). Furthermore, entries (or entire days) can now be exported to Markdown format (.md) besides plain text.

Other minor features from 1.5 include:

  • Auto Bold First Lines (Titles)
  • Live sync UI updates
  • Command S to Save
  • Printing
  • On Startup Preference
  • Journal Merging
  • Spelling and Grammar Preferences
  • Keyboard Navigation and Controls

With better export options and auto-backup to any folder, Day One 1.5 offers the same strong foundation of the iOS version, but delivers more in terms of quantity of functionalities and quality of writing environment. Day One still is the best app to archive your thoughts and keep a daily journal, period.

Day One 1.5 is available on the Mac App Store.

Day One 1.5 for iOS: Now With iCloud Sync

Earlier this year, I started using Day One. Not just another text editor with Mac and iOS versions and support for Markdown formatting, Day One is at the same time a flexible and focused solution to archive your thoughts, memories, experiences into a well-built interface that keeps everything in sync across Macs and iOS devices. A fresh take on the old paper journal, Day One takes advantage of modern technologies such as local reminders to tell you when it’s time to write your journal; on the iPhone and iPad, the app supports different font sizes and Markdown, so you’ll be able to write nicely formatted documents that you can easily export to HTML. On the Mac, Day One comes with a standalone menubar application that makes it incredibly fun and quick to jot down thoughts whenever you want.

Day One’s 1.5 update for iOS, released today on the App Store, brings a more powerful Dropbox sync for iPhones and iPads (Day One can store its database in Dropbox, and it allows you to export notes on the Mac via File>Export) and the long-awaited iCloud sync, which I’ve been able to test on my iPhone 4S and iPad 2 (Day One 1.5 for Mac isn’t live yet, but it’s been submitted to the Mac App Store).

I came from an old installation of Day One with a Dropbox database synced to my iPhone and iPad. As I upgraded to version 1.5 and launched the app on both devices, I was asked to disable Dropbox sync if I wanted to use iCloud. I disabled Dropbox, and waited a few minutes for the initial iCloud background sync to finish (it had to pull at least 50 entries to begin with).

Once iCloud is up and running in Day One, it is extremely reliable, fast, and invisible. Unlike Dropbox, it’s not manual sync you have to initiate or automatically perform upon launch and quit – it’s push technology that constantly sends changes back and forth between devices. As an example, I started writing a new entry on my iPhone and it showed up after a few seconds on my iPad, which was running Day One. The main list of notes on the left basically refreshes to accomodate a new note – no manual sync needed. For the same reason, notes are pushed with iCloud as you write them – typos included.

Day One 1.5 clearly fits in a much bigger picture with the Mac client constantly receiving changes from the cloud, but this doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy Day One 1.5 for iOS now. In fact, I often find myself writing my journal on iOS devices rather than the Mac, so iCloud support (with this kind of invisible push technology) is more than welcome.

Day One for iOS is $1.99 on the App Store.

iPhone 4S Lines Around The World

As the iPhone 4S begins its international rollout, lines have begun forming at Apple retail stores in preparation of tomorrow’s product launch. The iPhone 4S, announced at a media event last week, will go on sale tomorrow at 8 am in seven countries: US, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Japan and Australia. The device will be available in two colors (black, white) and three storage sizes (16 GB, 32 GB, 64 GB); in the United States, it will be available on carriers AT&T, Verizon and, for the first time, Sprint. Soon after the pre-orders for the device started online, Apple announced they had already topped 1 million; those who haven’t been able to pre-order an iPhone 4S, or have decided to avoid the online process altogether, are now camping out hoping to get one tomorrow morning.

As we did with our iPad 2 coverage earlier this year, we’re collecting some of the best photos and videos people waiting in line at Apple stores are posting online. We’ll be updating this post throughout the next 24 hours, so make sure to come back later for the latest updates and photos from around the globe.

If you want to send us photos or videos from your local Apple store line, send us an email at: tips at

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