Day One

After using it for a year I thought I’d write about Day One App, as it’s some of best money I’ve ever spent on software.

12 minutes

Putting aside that I’m a major Automattic fanboy – I pay for… Jetpack, Tumblr, Pocket Casts, on the fence about paying for Texts and this blog is also powered by Automattic’s WordPress – This time last year I bought/paid for the journalling software App Day One.

I wrote briefly about Day One back in Weeknotes 287. Just over a year later, I thought I’d write about it a bit more, as Day One is some of best money I’ve ever spent on software.

Day One

For about 10 years I kept my online journal in Google docs. A new file for every month, 12 files in a folder every a year. Title of the file was month number, month name and year EG: 04 APR 24. During the 4 years previous 2013 I half heartedly used a now defunct journalling app called OhLife. It would send an email every day at 6pm and then you could reply to, and the entry would be stored in your online journal.

One of the things I really liked about OhLife is that after a while, at the bottom of the email every day it would start to include an old entry: “435 days ago you wrote this: blah blah blah“. That random resurfacing of memories is some what of a hit and miss feature across most of our personal / private services. Apple and Google photo apps both generate ‘memories’ for example. I’m often indifferent to this feature on google photos, but I really do like old diary entries being re-surfaced.

In January of last year to bite the bullet and get a proper journalling app and went with Day One. Mainly because its owned by Automattic, but it also is – as far as I can tell – also the best app on the market. After I got the app, I immediately fell in love with the UX and the fact it has a light weight markdown text editor for input, and decided to go all in. After that decision, It took me the best part of 3 months (doing a little bit every day) to find, copy, paste, and back date , locations and metadata of old journal entries etc And I finished the process on 26th March 2023

since the beginning of the year I’ve been copy pasting my diary from all its the various formats that I’ve used over the years (OhLife emails (I lost my json export) .txt files, markdown files, Google docs etc) into the Day One app from Automattic. 1220 entries beginning August 2009. Since the new year I read and reviewed a great deal of my adult life moving it from one place to another.

It’s been quite interesting and a bit of an emotional experience. Glad it’s over.

Having a complete record of ones life in a searchable online databases is WILD. And since March of last year I’ve written in Day One App every single day. Not just because I like routine, but the app is quite frankly a joy to use.

Day One’s organisational logic is broken down by ‘Journals’. Where you put your entries.

My own Day One Journal is currentyl broken down into several main Journals.

Life Journal is my daily brain dump
Band Names A monthly entry as a place to store the ‘good band names’ that come up in conversation. We started writing these down during in 2021.
Commonplace Book Random quotes or thoughts that are worth capturing
Photo-a-Day If you read this blog then … you’ll know that I’m into year 3 of taking a photo every day
Poems I’m an emo kid! I’ll write a poem every now and then alright?
Dreams A fairly new journal as inspired by the Lost xplorers podcast I decided I should finally start logging these.

And then I have a couple of transient journals for thoughts and notes about things currently ‘on going’ that will probably be lifted out of Day One and put into deep storage in notion and archived once the project ends.

I currently have have two major unbroken streaks 455 days in my Life Journal, and of course 822 photos in my Photo-a-Day journal.

Some people use a single journal like a scrap book with each entry having text and photos inside of it, or they might have a mixture of multiple text and image posts entered on the same day. I tend to do the former in my main Journal. This morning I wrote about going to the pub with some friends for lunch on easter sunday and pasted in some photos of us around the table etc.

You can also #hashtag things in Day One, which is nice for organisation and useful when combined with the universal search. Which is probably one of the killer apps. Being able to search over a decade’s worth of diary entries is really quite something.

The other thing I enjoy is ‘On this Day’ feature. You can set a notification on your phone, and the time of day it pings you if you want. Obviously you need lots of entries for this to be a ‘killer feature’, but having put over 15 years of my life into Day One, some mornings I’ll look though my On this Day and shock my self that X event was 12 years ago or whatever.

Also because it only shows you entries ‘on this day‘, as you roll though the year you can begin to pick out the seasonal patterns in your life: when Hayfeaver starts, Depression, Optimism about something Etc. As long as you write about it in yoru journal. Its also begun to change the way I take photos for my photo-a-day. Sometimes its deliberately a photo that will be useful when they show up the following year. In fact, several photos I’ve taken this year are before/after photos of things either 1/2/3 years apart – but the only one who’s ever going to know this is me – in context in Day One.

The other thing about On This Day feature is that the leap year date can be used a sort of message in a bottle. A hidden entry that you can send yourself messages that you will only receive every 4 years. This year I wrote myself about 30 questions to answer about how I’m getting on.

Now that a year has passed since the big ‘digital lift’ I’m considering going though my old notebooks / paper journals that go back to 2004 and I might take photos of them with Microsoft lens and OCR my terrible hand writing and put them all in to. but that would be a *real* can of emotional worms. lol.

Anyways. If you keep a journal, especially a digital one, its worth paying for Day One and diving in.

Side Note

Despite moving all my personal journals into Day One, my monthly Google Doc hasn’t gone away. Well, it did for a little while, but I found that I still needed somewhere that could be used as a scratch pad for writing, draft emails, and ideas without a home. So in late summer, a few months after abandoning them for Day I ended up firing up a Google Doc at the beginning of each month and as and when required putting the date in and putting in an entry.

For about 6 months or so I’ve been experimenting with recording myself whilst i’m out on my daily walk. “Take a memo” style. With the advances in AI, speech to text has reached the point where its *good enough*. And then if you run the good enough transcription though GPTChat you can get something *quite usable*. Many of my podcasts, and longer bits of writing have begun life using this workflow in the last few months.

Going out for a 20min walk and coming home with 2k+ words of notes in a format that only needs a light edit to be useable is a real game changer. I put all this sort of stuff in my monthly Google Doc scratch pads. AND OF COURSE I use my bullet journal for day to day written notes, and todoist for running my life.

Permanently Moved

You know how in the Persona games the main characters get sucked into the television? Internet Escape Velocity is the opposite. 

Full Show Notes:

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Permanently moved is a personal podcast 301 seconds in length, written and recorded by @thejaymo

Start Select Reset

In case you missed it, the newest issue of my Zine went out to paid members of my IRL mailing list. I have 2 issues of last year’s Q4 issue left, so the next two subs to the mailing list will receive both on sign up.

Issue #010 is going to be A5 and quite big/special.

I’m self publishing two long 8k word essays and will audio narration for them. Sign up for Β£5 a month today to get it for free (I’m eating all the cost) rather than buy it from me at full price + shipping – probably about 25 quid.

Photo 365


The Ministry Of My Own Labour

I posted about the journal I’ve started editing and publishing with some online friends.

Also this week I was…

  • Learning about the Philosophy of knowledge and modelling in economics from LSE text books 🫠
  • Had a call with the people from Imagination Spectrum
  • More invites sent for E.C season 2
  • Spring clean of the flat began
  • Writing Part 2 of Writing the Impossible Object
  • Started making some business cards – because it’s 2004 not 2024?

Terminal Access

Rhyd Wildermuth over at From The Forests of Arduinna wrote and great article about The Persistence of Paganism and what’s really behind recent fears of a β€œpagan resurgence?” πŸ”’

That’s why, when the Roman Empire tried to codify the varying beliefs of the people it conquered and contained, it relied on the distinction between the civitas and the paganus, the urban and the rural. Urban beliefs, customs, and material modes of living became the standard against which all non-urban peoples were judged. The cities had formal temples and state-sanctioned priesthoods, while the rural had rudimentary shrines (often centred on sacred sites in nature) and informal priesthoods following a more shamanic method of initiation.

Dipping the Stacks

Immersive Ways of Live Storytelling Through Challenging Transmedia Universes: Rodrigo Terra Interviewed by Renata Frade and Bruno Valente Pimentel β€” Pop Junctions

In my conversation with Terra and mobile apps developer and VFX editor Bruno Valente Pimentel, we discussed experiences developing transmedia and storytelling strategies as well as how those strategies can be applied to engaging audiences in entertainment, education, audiovisual media, and business.

The Ellipsis is Widening the Gap Between Millennials and Boomers. Here’s Why

β€œPeople who use the ellipsis like that are not even aware that social media writing is capable of conveying passive aggressiveness and they’re definitely not being passive aggressive,”

After Shutting Down, These Golf Courses Went Wild – The New York Times

β€œWe quickly recognized the high restoration value, the conservation value, and the public access recreational value,” said Guillermo Rodriguez, California state director with the nonprofit Trust for Public Land, which bought the San Geronimo course, in Marin County, for $8.9 million in 2018 and renamed it San Geronimo Commons.

What if meditation felt easy? with Naomi Annand

Apple’s CEO Tim Cook was recently quoted in Vanity Fair saying the Vision Pro is really good at helping with meditation. It’s part of how Apple is marketing the product. My immediate reaction to that is like β€œno, absolutely not, if you are using a $3,500 Apple device to meditate, you are not meditating.”

The transfluxor-powered Arma Micro Computer from 1962

What would you say is the first microcomputer?1 The Apple I from 1976? The Altair 8800 from 1974? Perhaps the lesser-known Micral N (1973) or Q1 (1972)? How about the Arma Micro Computer from way back in 1962


I finished Hardwired by Walter Jon Williams. Instantly taking a place in the top 5 Cyberpunk books of all time for me. I think I’m going to write a review of it – its that good. The book is free on audible if you a member.

I moved on from 1980’s cyberpunk to something completely different. I started listening to Letter from America: The Essential Letters 1936 – 2004 by Alistair Cooke. The version I have includes additional narration and context setting by BBC American correspondent Matt Frei. I don’t know much about Cooke at all – apart from his book America being on the shelf in my family home growing up. But 3 chapters in to his Essential Letters I already understand why he became a national institution.


Eve’s been listening to Nigerian pop music in the kitchen recently and certain songs have been on heavy rotation. Curious about the music coming out of the country thats slated to be the most populous country on earth by 2100, I jumped over to the Charts to check out whats going on. I found Asake.

His debut album Mr. Money with the Vibe released in 2022 and became the first debut album and first African album to have all its tracks occupy the top 10 spots on Apple Music at the same time. He has essentially become a megastar essentially over night. Follow up Work of Art was released last year and single Lonely At The Top.

Asake makes Afrobeat that seamlessly blends Amapiano – the Nigerian house genre that I think most people are familiar with. Work of Art is a great album and sounded super bouncy and very summery on a spring morning walk here in London. One of the things that I wonder about though, is does it sound optimistic and summery because its spring here?, or simply because its from Nigeria? A country that actually has a future.

My favourite song on the album is Sunshine. So good. Gonna be blasting this all summer for sure!

Remember Kids:

The poet produces the beautiful by fixing his attention on something real.

Simone Weil – Gravity and Grace

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4 responses to “Day One”

  1. Pete Ashton avatar

    Thanks for the Day One recco. I’ve been told I should start keeping a mental health journal but I’ve really started to resent typing on my stupid phone, so the Mac app was a draw. And then I discovered it works on the web and you don’t need a stupid app! Wow!

    So yeah, sold for a trial, while I see if I can actually do this journaling thing. (writing for myself as opposed to an audience is… unusual.)

  2. Jay avatar

    Journaling for me began first as a an aspiration, then it became a habit, then before I knew it, it became an integral part of my life/mental health.

    Issue #010 of Start Select Reset is actually going to include a long essay about journaling and include the phrase “Jungian Psychotechnology” lol.

    Good luck with the free trial! For me I was instantly sold on it – but I did have an existing practice to port over and consolidate into it.

    Best approach is to just make time for it every single day, in the mornings.

    Check out the two posts on writing a diary:

  3. Pete Ashton avatar

    Thanks for the tips. πŸ™‚

  4. […] blinds across the carpet. I lay on the bed as I read, copy and pasting each reply one by one into Day One, the journaling app where the rest of my life resides. I’ve done this before, over several months, Jan through […]

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