Friday, March 21, 2008

Life Is Worth Recording

I have been using Personal Historian for my personal journal and that has been working out great for me. I just found a new service that gives me thought to possibly change the way I do things. Personal Historian works great for developing your life story to put in book format. The new service I speak of is an online journaling service called "LDSJournal". The beauty of it is it's 100% online so I can access it from any internet-connected browser and record my thoughts at anytime. I'm thinking I could use LDSJournal to record my daily thoughts and then transfer it over to Personal Historian to then write my personal history.

Since LDSJournal is in Beta right now I thought I would share with you some of its current features.

The most important features to me is Privacy Protection, Safety, and Security. A journal is private and I don't want everyone reading it - like you do a public blog. I was pleased to see that LDSJournal uses high grade encryption to deliver a safe and secure journaling environment. This ensures that your journal entries are private and only accessible to you, plus they are stored on secure servers.

Price is important to me and I was happy to see that the service is free right now. They do plan on adding Gold Member services later. I heard the price was going to be about $19.95 a year. If that's true then it's cheaper than buying a nice bound journal. But for now you don't have to pay to add entries, photos, video or scripture references. The free service only gives you 100MB of storage space. If you approach your storage limit, the storage quota indicator will change from white to red.

If you exceed your limit, LDSJournal will interrupt your ability to create a new entry until you clear out some space. That works for me because then I will move the entries over to Personal Historian. It is possible to update your free account from 100MB to 2GB. The text-based entries created inside LDSJournal can be compressed and stored to maximize the space associated with each member account and deliver greater value with each free account.

If you haven't been good about recording in a journal then the 'All About Me' Questions will help you record your legacy! You can relive the moments in your life that you want to share with your posterity. The 'All About Me' questions help you get back on track with journaling. They have questions in the following categories: Personal, Growing Up, Family, Marriage, Spiritual, Education, The World Around Me, Challenges, Accomplishments, Parenthood. They are really thought provoking questions and really worth answering. A wonderful asset for anyone using this service. I want everyone in my family to use just this feature, if nothing else, so I can get a better glimpse on who they are. You kinda have their life story right in front of you.

Reminder Notifications help make journaling a habit! Every day is worth recording in your journal, but sometimes we get busy and forget to record the day's events. With LDSJournal you can set up customized Reminder Notifications to help you stay on task with your journal writing. Friendly notifications are sent to the email address designated by you and/or your mobile phone. Pretty cool, huh? If you don't log into your account for six months it can become dormant so you need to log in to keep your account active. If you do not log in to LDSJournal within three months of it being labeled dormant or nine consecutive months - LDSJournal reserves the right to delete the account. I sure hope you write in your journal more often then every 9 months.

When you create an entry you have all the features available in a word processing program, bold, italics, spell check, bullets, etc. There is a subject header so you can see at a glance your overall thought or theme for that days events. When creating an entry you can apply a mood to best represents how you are feeling that day. The moods can be accessed via a drop-down menu when creating or editing an entry - and boy are there plenty to pick from to.

Auto-Saved Entries - safe from interruptions! LDSJournal will periodically auto-save your journal entries as you write to protect you from constant interruptions, power outages, or computer failure.

LDSJournal has a search feature built in and also uses 'Tags' to help file your entries. Tags are words or names that you would like associated with a specific journal entry. You can 'Add Tags' at the bottom of any journal entry. This feature comes in handy when you want to search for the entries relating to a specific topic. For example, if you write entries about your children, you could include the name of the child you wrote about. When searching, the 'Tags' will increase the relevancy of the search results and help ensure the search results display the entries you want.

Footnotes - you can include photos, scripture links and audio/video to help illustrate and augment your daily journal entries. You can also add reference links that can be hyperlinks to any site on the web.

Afterthoughts - add comments about past entries while preserving your journal integrity! Looking back, life is always 20/20. Sometimes there are lessons to be learned just for living. With LDSJournal, you can go back in time and comment about past events or include additional insights that were previously not recorded, while maintaining the integrity of your journal entries. You can't change the past, but you can grow from it.

In the future, LDSJournal will allow members to print their journal to bound book or archive to DVD. It looks like they are adding a PDF feature too. Recording your journal online is fun and easy, but you will want something tangible to hold onto at the end of each year. All members will have the option to create a personal archive of their LDSJournal to use offline while still maintaining all entries online.

Mobile Entries - You can synchronize your LDSJournal account with your mobile phone and begin sending text and photos directly to LDSJournal. There is no excuse to not capture the moment when it happens in a flash.

These are cool features but the website is so well layed out and inviting that it's a pleasure to work in it. It is a very well-designed site. It is still in beta so you might find some glitches here and there. They have some really nice tutorials to help you understand the program and how it works. It's to bad the Getting Started video isn't available to see before you join because that would really sell you on the service.

Now I am assuming any genealogist would understand how important a journal would be to their posterity someday. Wouldn't we give our eye teeth to have an ancestors journal or their life history? Maybe someone you know doesn't understand how precious that would be. Here are a couple of quotes from the site, that I remember from LDS Conferences, that might motive you or someone else.
"Begin today and write in it your goings and your comings, your deeper thoughts, your achievements, any your failures, your associations and your triumphs, your impressions and your testimonies. We hope you will do this, our brothers and sisters, for this is what the Lord has commanded, and those who keep a personal journal are more likely to keep the Lord in remembrance in their daily lives." (Spencer W. Kimball, 12th President of the Church)
"I heard in my mind - not in my own voice - these words: "I'm not giving you these experiences for yourself. Write them down." I went inside. I didn't go to bed. Although I was tired, I took out some paper and began to write. And as I did, I understood the message I had heard in my mind. I was supposed to record for my children to read, someday in the future, how I had seen the hand of God blessing our family...I knew that was true. And so I wrote it down, so that my children could have the memory someday when they would need it. I wrote down a few lines every day for years. I never missed a day no matter how tired I was or how early I would have to start the next day." (Henry B. Eyring)
Now you don't really need to get fancy just to write a journal. You could use a notebook and have the paper copies for your descendants - it's worked for generations. The reason I tell you of these commercial products is for the ease of use. I can type way faster than I can write. I seem to think better when I am typing verses handwriting. I can imagine some of you have seen journals or letters that you wish the author would of typed instead of writing too. My Dad is a great example for that! I am just all for any technology that will increase my ability to accomplish the important things in my life and for my family. If you haven't started a journal yet then you have no more excuse because there are plenty of tools to help you accomplish that goal. Go forth and write.

See ya tomorrow, for tomorrow is always another genealogy day!

1 comment:

Bernard said...

They do have a nice tour before you sign up. Thanks for this wonderful find!!!! I'm signing up today and telling my family about it!