One of the earliest apps I got on my iPad (my first Apple device) was Day One. Day One is a journaling app that lets you record your day. It’s a lot overtime adding new features and changing from a simple markdown text based app to a cloud based services with photo book printing and more in version two. That’s made me reflect on how I use Day One and what I make of their new subscription service.
Classic Day One
I got into Day One with the classic version based on a simple system of fairly simple text documents and syncing via Dropbox or similar services. I love the idea that this data would be accessible indefinitely as .txt is basically the simplest and most universal system you can get.
There were some features that were “missing” but I loved the idea of paying once and owning forever.
I started using Michael Hyatt’s journaling template to assist me in writing a more regular and consistent journal and reflect on what was important in my day. I was fairly consistent but not completely so.
Later I started to journal using the storyline productivity schedule from Don Miller, which I later updated to make it even simpler to use. I was fairly consistent but not completely so. That carried on for a long time till Day One 2 came out.
Day One 2.0
To some degree, when Day One 2 came out, I was happy to pay for the app again. I used it all the time and wanted the developer to keep making it.
It added in some great features like multiple journals, adding multiple photos to each entry and extra meta data (weather, location, listening to music) not to mention rewriting the core code of the app. These were good features which benefited the app a lot and took it a step forward for the extremely simple app it was before.
However, it wasn’t a completely happy story. The biggest issue was Day One walked away from letting people use their own syncing services and instead had to rely on using Day One’s own server. This means more lock in and a harder time moving away to a different option and storage space. It also looked like it could well be a reason for a subscription pricing plan, after all, using someone’s server is an easy to explain reason to most people. That worried me a bit.
During this time I carried on using Day One in a similar way as before but I also added in using IFTTT to automatically log certain information such as when I weighed in to withings health mate. The multiple journals really helped me to organize data a bit more and keep reflections on work, a log of my photography, general writings and memories and these storyline logs. In general, there were a few benefits from the previous version and it still carried out the same functions just as well.
Day One premium
Sure enough, Day One has moved to a subscription plan whereby you can pay for a subscription. This isn’t obligatory, as you can still get the fractures from Day One 2 without paying for a subscription, but a subscription is necessary for future updates. In addition, Day One has added the option to print out some journal entries in a book with a 25% discount if you have a premium account. Currently, you can use Day One for free unless you want the Mac app and the discounts on printing. However, Future features will require the premium option.
Having looked at the coming features, I’m not certain about too many of them. The key features seem to be audio and video entries. These are nice features and I’m sure some people will really like them, but I’m happy enough using text entries. That leaves me with the big question…is it really worth me paying for.
Is it worth paying for?
I have very awkward feelings about the new pricing plan from Day One. I was really happy to pay for an upgrade to keep Day One running, but at the same time I wasn’t a huge fan of the move to their own sync server. I got why they did (they state support issues) and you can still export a backup as a JSON, PDF or text file. However I would rather have kept paying upgrades every now and again than a subscription. After the move to Day One 2, it took a long time to get back all the features that were present in Day One classic, however they did eventual return. The final feeling I’m left with is that I want this app to continue.
I know that writing this journal has helped me stay healthy and deal with strange thoughts and depression. I use it to help me be more grateful and remember events. All those ideas seem valuable to me…and yet I’m sure I could use Evernote in a similar way (although Evernote).
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Also published on Medium.