Keeping a diary may not be half as popular as it used to be, but the habit of maintaining a record of events across your life is certainly not gone. It’s a great way to reminisce, and look back at where you’ve come from.
CallitADay is a great app from Expersis which lets you keep a daily diary on your Mac. This review will cover CallitADay’s winning features and flaws, and see what else is out there in the way of diary apps.
When you open up CallitADay, a large window reveals itself. This consists of a calendar in the upper left, an index of all your diary entries below, and the editor on the right.
Adding an entry is performed by selecting the date you wish to write on, whether that be today or another date. This actually took me a short while to figure out. I kept searching for a plus button of some kind which wasn’t there, and I think that CallitADay would be more straightforward if there were other more obvious ways to add new entries. The editor will then present a blank canvas for you to type out your diary entry. Diary entries, or ‘notes’ are grouped into ‘Topics’ that you create.
CallitADay has a very clear-cut purpose, allowing you to have only one note per topic, making the app much more like a diary. However, I would like the freedom to be able to enter more than one note per topic, which would increase the use for the app. I suppose it’s about finding that balance between not offering enough, and defining exactly what the application is designed for.
CallitADay has a wonderful support for importing media into your notes. It has full drag and drop support allowing to drop pretty much any file. Images, audio, and movies work as expected, and you can even place files and folders which will open when clicked on. Images and movies within CallitADay can be resized instantly, causing any text to wrap around.
But a real strength of CallitADay is an in-built audio and video recording feature. This allows you record audio while at your computer, which means you can simply leave yourself audial notes. You can also record footage from the built in iSight camera or take photos.
CallitADay includes a few clever features which really boost productivity. One neat idea is the way in which you can drag and drop files in an ‘Exposé-like’ fashion. This is done by hovering over a topic while dragging a file, which will blink twice and then open up thumbnail previews of all notes within that topic. Hovering over a specific note for a few seconds will open up that note, ready for the file to be dropped in!
This feature is great when it works, however it has stopped functioning for me for a reason I can’t seem to track down. It’s a little buggy from time to time.
CallitADay uses the same yellow, eye catching search feature that came out with Safari 3 for searching content within notes. It also has a great search function when searching through all notes for content and embedded files, displaying them as thumbnail previews arranged by topic.
Another feature worth mentioning is that you can set CallitADay to autosave your work every five minutes or so.
Alternative Diary Apps
CallitADay is not alone in the field of diary apps for Mac. Here are a few competitors for you to have a look at:
MacJournal – A fully fledged diary entry application, MacJournal doesn’t have the same page formatting flexibility seen in CallitADay, but it does have a huge range of other features. You can go full screen for isolated concentration, password protect journals, and some advanced text formatting features are included. But what really sets MacJournal apart from the rest is its ability to upload directly to blogs such as WordPress. It’s priced at $39.95.
Mémoires – A very minimalistic app with a clean interface, Mémoires is great for those after a straightforward simple place to record your diaries. It’s not filled with loads of fancy features, but it does what it does superbly and is a pleasure to use. This one comes in at $29.95.
myDiary – A relatively simple diary app but with a few more tricks than Mémoires. myDiary keeps page formatting to a bare minimum but lets you import images and files, and record video diaries to add to your entries. It also has print and export functions, however these felt quite buggy when I tried to use them. myDiary is slightly cheaper at $19.
viJournal – Like CallitADay, viJournal gives you only one entry per day to replicate the old fashioned page-a-day diary. It does also include a notes feature separate from entries and a ‘scratch pad’ for jotting down bits of information. It costs $26.95.
Personally, I don’t write diaries or enter notes on a daily basis, however if you do, I would definitely be suggesting that you download CallitADay and try it out for yourself. It has the odd hiccup but overall it contains great features and is easy and efficient to use.
CallitADay is available for a very reasonable $14. Let us hear your thoughts on this app, or others such as the ones listed above. Do many of you keep a digital diary, or do others prefer the good old-fashioned paper book?