Journler: Blog

Journler featured in the TUAW podcast

May 24th, 2007

David Chartier has just released the 24th podcast for The Unofficial Apple Weblog, or TUAW. The piece is a screencast of Journler in action and highlights features such as smart folders, the drop box and video/audio recording. From the post:

This week’s podcast is a screencast of an app that I finally ‘get’ and have subsequently gone nutty for: Philip Dow’s Journler. It’s an app very much like Yojimbo, Mori and SOHO Notes in that it’s a journal/digital junk drawer for your work and life. For roughly fifteen minutes I cover some of the coolest features in Journler that both grabbed my personal attention and caused me to chose Mr. Dow’s excellent app as my new blogging tool of choice for penning most of my TUAW and Download Squad posts.

David’s cast is put together very well and is a great introduction to Journler. Check it out or grab the cast from TUAW’s iTunes directory.

In San Francisco June 8 - 19 for WWDC

May 20th, 2007

In just nine days I’ll be moving back to the States after living in Europe for four years. Hardly ready but all manner of excited.

Part of that move is a trip to San Francisco for Apple’s WWDC. I attended the conference last year and had a blast. Not only did I fall in love with San Francisco, I was introduced to a number of Apple technologies and had the chance to speak one on one with Apple engineers and representatives. The experience definitely benefited me, and I’m expecting the same this time around.

Will you be at WWDC this year? Do you live in the Bay Area? Let’s get in touch. I’m keen to meet up with other developers and I love meeting Journler users. If you’re around definitely shoot me an email (contact info).

License change: minimum donation required for personal use license

May 9th, 2007

I have decided to institute a minimum donation policy for personal use licenses. I’ve received a number of very small donations and have in the past issued licenses for them. My reasoning has been, perhaps this really is all a person can afford.

I remember when I was a little kid in New Orleans with my parents. We were in the French Quarter at my dad’s favorite cafĂ© eating airy doughnuts covered in powdered sugar. A street musician was playing jazz trumpet on the corner. I played the trumpet as well and I loved his music.

There was a penny in my pocket, all the money I had. I wanted to give it to the trumpet player. My parents advised against it, for even with the best intentions it could be taken offensively, as though I thought his music were only worth a penny.

Today I received a donation for $0.01. A penny. Single dollar donations unsettled me, but I was willing to give the individual the benefit of the doubt. A penny starts to push it.

On the one hand maybe this is a kid like I was who can’t afford more than a penny, just as there are probably individuals who cannot afford more than a dollar or two. Maybe I’m wrong to get upset about this.

On the other hand, Journler works whether an individual makes a contribution or not. There are no limitations built into the software. A person making a donation of less than five dollars or one of a penny because that’s all their finances allow need not make a donation at all. You need those dollars more than I do.

A few numbers to put things into perspective. A non-personal use license is $24.95. I make no recommendation for a personal use donation. There are ~580 registered users. Of that number 60 have made a donation of $9.99 or less. That’s 10%. 52 users have made a donation of $5.00 or less, about 9%. The average donation is $17.00. Comparing Journler’s price to related software…

Journler: $24.95 or donation
Kit: $24.95
MacJournal: $34.95
Scrivener: $34.99
Yojimbo: $39.00

Average cost: $31.80.

Journler has one of the most generous license policies of any software in its class. I have instituted this policy intentionally, moving as honestly as I can from a freeware/donationware approach to a donationware/shareware one.

Quite frankly, though, it is not working well. Many users do purchase licenses or make donations, and I am extremely thankful for it. Nevertheless, only a small percentage of downloads actually leads to a financial contribution, and the average donation is significantly less than the non-personal use price.

I am a frugal individual. I need little and want less. I like living simply, and I would stand on a soap box and encourage everyone else to do the same. It’s good for the planet and it’s good for your soul. However, in less than two months my cost of living will double with a move to San Francisco. At the current rate I am only just barely able to meet my projected expenses.

Effective immediately I am instituting a minimum donation policy for the personal use license. A donation of $10.00 or more is required for licensed, personal use of Journler. I will simultaneously be recommending a donation of $20.00, where I once made no recommendation at all.

If you have already made a donation and it was less than $10.00 don’t worry. I don’t want you to feel guilty or bad in any way, and you don’t need to make another payment to cover the balance. A personal use license was and is yours. If you were wanting to make a donation but cannot afford the $10.00 minimum, also don’t worry. You need the money more than I do, and Journler will continue working whether you donate or not.

What You See is What You Touch: In Search of the Tablet Mac

May 1st, 2007

This is part one of a two part post on touch screen technology and the Tablet Mac.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about Leopard’s Delay and the iPhone. I expressed frustration at the direction Apple is taking with the iPhone and criticized the limited nature of the device. At the same time I hoped for an Apple product which the iPhone would herald, a tablet Mac just as powerful as your MacBook but with a touch screen like the iPhone.

The personal computer is on the verge of a paradigm shift, with a well used standard facing replacement. Along with the rest of the industry Apple is at that edge and closer to affecting the change than any other company. The iPod and even the original Apple computer are parallel examples. MP3 players were already around, computers as well, but they were difficult to use, bulky and certainly not elegant. In both cases Apple created a product that not only was generally available to the wider public but was appealing. Apple is about to do the same with touch screen technology.

I’m giving birth to an acronym. You heard it here first: What You See Is What You Touch technology, or WYSIWYT.* Normally you interact with your computer using a keyboard and mouse. This is the old paradigm, the old way of working the hardware side of a user interface. In the coming future the mouse and its associated “click here” standard will give way to a “touch here” interaction. The click will be replaced by the tap. It is a historical irony that the company which made the mouse popular may also do the most to see its demise.

From a user’s standpoint WYSISYT technology is a much more intuitive way of manipulating data on a computer. Instead of moving an attached device on a distinct two dimensional plane — your mouse on a mouse pad or desk for example — to interact with the visual representation of a thing on another two dimensional plane — your screen — you touch the visual object itself. In the simple act of reaching for that visual representation, of confining interaction to a single surface, you replace a complex process with a much simpler one. See. Touch. It is the future.

I believe that the passing of the mouse will see the demise of the keyboard as well. Surely the keyboard won’t become entirely obsolete, but the hardware version of it will. Rather than a physical thing, the keyboard will become a visual, on-screen way to enter text that appears and disappears as needed. Because the screen is touch everywhere, this WYSIWYT business, you’ll be able to type on the display like you type now on a keyboard. And imagine, just as you may use and perhaps define gestures — you’ve seen them on the iPhone — you’ll also be able to customize your virtual keypad.

What You See is What You Touch. It’s been around for a while. You use it when you get cash out of an ATM, when you cast your vote in the last election, and when you work with any of the new tablet PCs featuring WYSIWYT by way of a stylus. But the iPhone is WYSIWYT at its best, and Apple may once again be the company that brings this technology to the masses in a revolutionary way.

As exciting as this is, at the edge of a paradigm shift, the iPhone is too small for my tastes. It may be selfish, but I don’t want a cell phone, I don’t want a PDA, and I don’t want a cute or slick media device. I a want a computer that does WYSIWYT, and I want it to be a Mac. Well, I’ve found one that comes very close. I’ve already taken a look at the emerging widespread use of WYSIWYT technology. In part two of this post I’ll talk about the Axiotron ModBook. Turns out this guy was a Best of Show at MacWorld 2007, and it is the first step towards a WYSIWYT Macintosh tablet.

*The Origin of WYSIWYT
Well shoot, after some more research looks like WYSIWYT is already in limited use. Maybe you didn’t hear it here first, but let’s put it on the map! UK Haptics uses the phrase to describe a virtual reality training simulator for medical professionals. Not quite what I’m getting at. A page over at the Tachi laboratory in Japan employs the acronym at a site about interacting with three dimensional objects. Closer. Dead on the mark is Panasonic in what is as far as I can tell a marketing campaign for the CQVD7001N, an in-car CD/DVD player, although the phrase and acronym don’t seem to appear on any of their English language pages. WYSIWYT. Use it proudly and expect to see more of it. What you see is what you touch is the future.

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