Day One review

Dayone2 logo

If you use a Mac and keep any sort of journal this is an app to look at. If you are a Windows user this is one more reason to make the switch.

I have been a user of Day One version 1 for several months, and it is an excellent tool for journaling. They pay attention to detail in both the design and the features. It has a clean and beautiful interface, and it’s super-easy to use. The MAC and IOS apps play nicely together, and sync is easy to setup and just works!

Day One recently released a new version with the somewhat confusing name of Day One 2.0. I have been using this version for about 2 weeks now. Here’s my review.

What’s new?Screen Shot 2016-04-15 at 11.51.19 AM

There are two big new features:

  • Firstly support for multiple journals. This is perfect for me because I can now store my personal and work entries in the same place, but in separate journals.
  • Secondly, in the previous version you could only have a single photo per entry. Now you can have multiple photos. At first I wasn’t really interest in this feature, but I find that I am using it more and more – especially for documenting my travels.

Should you upgrade?

Well that depends on your needs? To upgrade both the Mac and IOS versions will set you back $49.98 (at the moment you can grab the Mac app for $29.99 and the IOS app for $4.99). If you do a lot of journaling, want multiple photos per entry and support for multiple journals then yes it is an excellent application and worth the price.

But if you are happy with a single journal, then aside from a mildly slicker interface you are not going to gain too much additional value.

Of course if you are not yet a user and are looking for a journaling app, this is one to check out.

Wishlist

While the app is great, there are a few things that I think would make it amazing:

  • Basic customisation of the styling in the posts using my choice of fonts and colours
  • Ability to export entries for a date range, and for the PDF export to show the images full-width, and to be able to select the fonts and colours
  • Applescript support would be amazing

But it’s a great app. It is easy to use, and makes keeping an electronic journal really easy.

You can find out more and get App Store links from their website.

Disclaimer: I was given a complimentary review copy from Day One

A lesson for speakers from Stephen King

I am busy reading Stephen King’s “On Writing”. This book is part autobiography, and part lessons for aspiring writers. Aside from giving an interesting perspective into Stephen King's life, it contains many practical skills in the art of writing.

If you speak to David Brooks, he will tell you that one of the key components of good speech writing is good speech editing, and that is where this book helps. Because, like writers of novels, speech writers need to learn the art of editing.

Here are two examples from Stephen King's school days. When he was about 16, he was employed by John Gould, writing for the sport section of the local paper. He was told by John”

  • “When you write a story, you?re telling yourself the story, when you rewrite, your main job is taking out all the things that are not the story.”
  • “Gould said something else that was interesting on the day I turned in my first two pieces: write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open.”

Doesn't that sound like what we need to be doing with our speeches; take out what is not the speech, and leave the rest?

ps: you don't need to be a Stephen King fan to appreciate and learn from this book.

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Let’s get our ducks in a row

If you cut to the chase and get your ducks into a row, you will be able to focus on the bottom line. It is obvious that you need to put your nose to the grindstone, pull up your socks and focus on the critical success measures. Then when the dust settles, you will see the light at the end of the tunnel and start sailing with the wind beneath your wings…

…yawn

Do you use clich?'s in your speeches? How often? The above example is rather extreme, but how much value do those extra phrases add to your communications? I see this happening a lot in corporate and business presentations (hence the term boardroom bingo – a simply game in which you complete a space in a bingo card whenever the speaker uses a jargon word).

Sometimes it is a long phrase, such as "get your ducks into a row", and sometimes just one or two words, such as "you know", or "kind of…". These words and phrases detract from the effectiveness of a presentation, adding unnecessary fluff that adds little or no value to your message.

A way to practise is to listen to interviews on talk radio – take note of how often people being interviewed pad their speaking with filler words, wrapping their message in layers of unnecessary bubble-wrap.

This is another reason for recording your presentations, to become aware of the superfluous words that you add to our presentations. I keep finding myself guilty of doing so, you need to be constantly aware of your word usage when speaking.

So, when you speak, please cut to the chase, focus on the message,

and so on and so forth…

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39 Tips to Improve Your Writing

Here is quite a good list (grin) that I found on improving your written communication (source unknown).

  1. Avoid alliteration. Always.
  2. Never use a long word when a diminutive one will do.
  3. Employ the vernacular.
  4. Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.
  5. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are unnecessary.
  6. Remember to never split an infinitive.
  7. Contractions aren’t necessary.
  8. Foreign words and phrases are not apropos.
  9. One should never generalise.
  10. Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "I hate quotations. Tell me what you know."
  11. Comparisons are as bad as cliches.
  12. Don’t be redundant; don’t use more words than necessary; it’s highly superfluous.
  13. Be more or less specific.
  14. Understatement is always best.
  15. One-word sentences? Eliminate.
  16. Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.
  17. The passive voice is to be avoided.
  18. Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.
  19. Even if a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed.
  20. Who needs rhetorical questions?
  21. Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.
  22. Don’t never use a double negation.
  23. Capitalise every sentence and remember always end it with point.
  24. Do not put statements in the negative form.
  25. Verbs have to agree with their subjects.
  26. Proofread carefully to see if you words out.
  27. If you reread your work, you can find on rereading a great deal of repetition can be avoided by rereading and editing.
  28. A writer must not shift your point of view.
  29. And don’t start a sentence with a conjunction (Remember, too, a preposition is a terrible word to end a sentence with.)
  30. Don’t overuse exclamation marks!!
  31. Place pronouns as close as possible, especially in long sentences, as of 10 or more words, to the irantecedents.
  32. Writing carefully, dangling participles must be avoided.
  33. If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is.
  34. Take the bull by the hand and avoid mixing metaphors.
  35. Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky.
  36. Everyone should be careful to use a singular pronoun with singular nouns in their writing.
  37. Always pick on the correct idiom.
  38. The adverb always follows the verb.
  39. Last but not least, avoid cliches like the plague; They’re old hat; seek viable alternatives.

If I really examine the list, I don’t agree with everything (eg: nothing wrong with quotations), but there are some interesting ideas in here.

What do you think?