Super Simple offline (time-less) diary/calender?
March 21, 2009 12:58 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a super simple offline daily diary/agenda application. Something like iCal. I spend most of my time overseas, and just want to be able to look back, year(s) from now, and see what I did. Have suggestions?

I already journal on an infrequent (weekly?) basis. But it's usually more of philosophical rambling /slash/ emotional purging, than a chronological memoir of my day. I also use iCal to schedule out my regular appointments (tutoring, exercise, sleep, children to school, etc).

What I want, though, is a very simple Mac application where I can, in calender format, make very simple entries about what I did that day, without having to put times on them, or even have times there at all.

Example: Met my new friend Steph today, spent most of the day in Sultanahmet. Had beer for breakfast (!!), got lost on the way to Taksim, met a random American friend and had MORE beer, then came home late. Awesome day!.

The kind of thing where I'll be able to look back on 6 months, or 1-2 years from now, and remember exactly what I was doing; put myself back in that moment. Hindsight is always 20/20. I deeply regret not having done this in the past (for China, Peru, Mexico, Mali, Guinea..).

Yes, I realize that what I'm describing is the typical paper diary, but really I'm just looking for an offline (maybe?), Mac-compatible calender/agenda application that will allow me to do such a thing. I already keep multiple blogs, but they rarely contain my day-to-day happenings. Again, I'll emphasize: super simple, no flashy features. Just click on a calender date to enter/read what I did that day. That's all. Maybe bold/italic, but even that is optional. seriously, that simple.

Any tips? Thanks in advance, mefites! :)
posted by hasna to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I'd just keep it all in a plain text file, and type the date in manually for each new entry. You can easily search by date to find a particular entry, and you'll be able to read it and edit it on whatever computer you end up using in one, two, five or ten years' time.
posted by chrismear at 1:05 PM on March 21, 2009

could you set up an all-day event in iCal and use that each day you want to make an entry?
posted by kg at 1:13 PM on March 21, 2009

As you're using iCal already, Journlr may be what you want. It's offline, stand-alone app, but it may have more features than what you want. Then, again, you don't have to use them all. Here's a link to its calendar-oriented function that your question specifically mentions as a want.

If that's too much functionality for you, you might try using something like tiddlywiki. You'll see (right hand-side: click index, then timeline) it has a "timeline" tab. Clicking on that will give you a chronological listing of all entries. Entry dates are automatically generated whenever you start a new "tiddler." The "tiddler" concept and how you control their display takes a bit to get used to, but it quickly becomes second nature. All in one html file, plus very customizable in pretty much every way you could think of. Plus, you could also keep it on USB drive if you don't want to haul the laptop all through China, Peru, Mexico, Mali Guinea.....
posted by webhund at 1:24 PM on March 21, 2009

I use Circus Ponies' Notebook as a journal (and for other stuff). Right now I only have text entries, but in the future, I could potentially include photos, videos, sound files, and other documents to each day's entry. Another similar program is Aquaminds' Notetaker. Neither has the calendar format you're looking for, but the outline format keeps the information organized and easy to access. I think Notebook has iCal integration, but I've never used it.
posted by larkin123 at 1:30 PM on March 21, 2009

Sorry, hit post too soon.

Third option is along the lines of a what chrismear says: use a plain old text file, but use the editor's "insert date" function so you don't have to type it in. In Bean, my current fav, it's ctrl-func-3/4/5/6 to auto-insert the date/time in 4 different formats.
posted by webhund at 1:33 PM on March 21, 2009

I keep a diary in plain text format. When I started I generated a long list of dates in Excel, then used some very basic find/replace editing to make it into a nicely formatted list. It saves typing out the date every day. My list for 2009 is here.

I write in what is essentially a personalised form of Markdown. I should be able to turn my diary into a simple HTML document quite easily.
posted by mattn at 4:04 PM on March 21, 2009

I like Tiddlywiki. It'll do what you want & once you get to know it - will do tons more. One of the few truly portable/flexible productivity enhancing tools I've come across in a long time.
posted by torquemaniac at 4:09 PM on March 21, 2009

Seconding Journalr. I don't use it for taking notes at school, I'm on DevonThink, but lots of other people do.
posted by Brainy at 5:37 PM on March 21, 2009

hasna, when you get a chance, please correct the "calender" tag to "calendar". Just delete the old one and add the new one.
posted by intermod at 8:22 PM on March 21, 2009

iDailyDiary is simple and comes in both a free and paid version. You can also use it on a USB stick.
posted by IndigoRain at 10:12 PM on March 21, 2009

I keep notes exactly like you're describing as well, and I'm also on the Mac. I've tried most of the applications mentioned in this thread so far and what I've ended up settling on so far is just creating a new Textedit (rtf, like a text file but you can format things) file for each month, e.g. named "2009-03" for this month, and I just write my dated entries in there. For this application, every application I've found is overkill. I can search my files using spotlight and I can easily read them with no special applications. Furthermore, I know that even 20 years from now I'll be able to easily read an RTF format file, while I seriously doubt most of these programs will still be around then.
posted by david06 at 10:16 PM on March 21, 2009

I know that you know this already... but have you tried keeping a paper diary? I use the moleskin stuff for taking notes and for writing daily activities when I'm on the road, for just the purpose you describe.
posted by gwpcasey at 7:36 AM on March 22, 2009

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