Journals or diaries are a great way to look back on things that you’ve done. You probably think that you don’t need to write down what you experience because you will remember it in the future, but if you try to look back now on anything you’ve done, I can guarantee you there’ll be some spots where your memory will fail you.
That’s why taking pictures when you’re traveling and just keeping a daily journal is a great idea if you care about having it there for posteriority. There are quite a few apps for the Mac that seek to simplify and improve that process, and today we’ll be reviewing one of them called “Chronories”. Let’s take a look!
Chronories is quite different from the competition because it does something pretty incredible: it automatically keeps track of everyday stuff like the music that you listen to (from iTunes), the weather on a certain day, the time you spent on certain apps, the emails you’ve received and even the RSS headlines for the day.
That is, of course, coupled with the information that you can put in. The main field for any day is the “Journal Entry,” but there are also fields that you can fill in like your mood (which you can select from a bunch of smileys), the places you visited, the interesting topics for the day, the photos you’ve taken, and a few more.
This info is neatly displayed as a handy personalized graphic under each separate field. That way, you can easily check on your average mood, the weather on the last month, a “cover flow” of your screenshots, the applications that you use the most, and tons more stuff.
Chronories does a good job at looking like a native Mac app, but it still looks a little bit too loaded with elements. You have the main panel, where your information for the day will be displayed and available for you to change it. There’s also the left sidebar, which is divided into two parts: one with a calendar so that you can jump between days; and another where the graphs or “diagrams” that I talked about before are kept, and your searches and bookmarks are displayed. On the top bar you’ll find some buttons to quickly switch between days, the search bar, and a “Quick Jump” drop-down menu where you can quickly look up any category of the journals.
The background of the app is customizable, the default one is a light wood background which I’m not a huge fan of. Everything else is pretty neatly organized, for example: the categories for each entry have little icons that can help you identify them more easily; but I can’t help but think that it still looks a bit too loaded.
Menu Bar Component
One very cool thing about the app, and probably my favorite feature, is the menu bar complement which always sits there and once brought up, it will let you do a number of tasks right from your menu bar. As soon as you open the menu bar component, your iSight will turn on and the camera will be displayed in a frame. There will also be some other frames where you can take screenshots of your computer, select your mood or write a journal entry.
The menu bar icon also doubles as an indicator, telling you how many of these four things you have yet to do for the day. When you open the app, the frames of the stuff that you haven’t completed yet will be displayed in red.
Having Chronories keep up with so many other apps can get pretty nasty and slow your computer down, so it gives you the option of disabling certain categories, like keeping track of your emails received, under the settings. There are also some security settings that can help you set passwords to keep your information safe.
The “Searches” feature works as sort of a bookmark for saving searches that you might use a lot, like searching for a certain place or person within your entries. And then there are the bookmarks, which are basically days that you can save and mark as important in your sidebar. You can also add new searches, bookmarks, and diagrams through a little “+” sign that sits on your left bottom corner.
Chronories is a great concept for an app. Personally, I like to keep track of everything I do so that I can look back, and this app provides just that. You can keep track of everything you do everyday, without even having to write anything. But there’s just something about the app that doesn’t convince me. I think I would find it hard to keep up with it after a while, I feel like it just would become a burden. I like the menu bar part and I think it’s great for quickly writing and capturing daily events, but I’m not so sure about everything else. Even though I appreciate the extra features, I think I would like this app more if it was a little bit simpler.
I can’t help but compare it with Day One, which is another journaling app that I got to review a while ago. Day One didn’t have any of these shiny nice features, but it just really inspired you to write something as it was very clean, simple and empty. It also had an iOS app, and it was a lot cheaper, which are both big pluses. But then, these are both very different beasts. Day One can’t really keep up with your pictures or any of the other data that this app does. I guess it’s a matter of preference, which one do you like better?