MacJournal 4.1.1

A journal can be as personal or public as you want, but if you plan on keeping a journal on your Mac, it is easier when you have a dedicated application. MacJournal from Mariner Software aims to be that application - for both public or private journals - and it throws in some blogging tools, too.

MacJournal is a journaling application first, and a blogging tool second. Thatis an important distinction, because if you are looking at this app to manage your blog, there are some limitations. To be fair, some of those limitations are imposed by blogging services, but it is nice to know about them in advance.

Using MacJournal as a journaling tool is fantastic. It allows you to keep multiple journals, you can password protect them if you wish, and entries can be grouped and searched. Since entries are date and time stamped, this is a great way to keep track of whatis going on in your life or business in an orderly and chronological style. And about that encryption: It is AES 256-bit, so your entries should be safe from prying eyes... at least for now.

The app supports text formatting, spell checking, and recording audio entries. It even lets you import new entries from text files and other journal entries, giving you the flexibility to add content from multiple sources, and not just by typing at your keyboard.

MacJournalis entry window.

The one place it falls down, however, is with graphic support. The relatively intuitive interface didnit include an obvious way to add and manipulate images, and unfortunately the manual didnit offer any clues, either.

I tried dragging and dropping an image into an entry, which worked just fine. But when I went to resize the graphic to better fit my layout, I was stymied trying to figure out how to make that happen. Since I couldnit find anything in the manual, I eventually concluded that you canit perform any type of image manipulation from within MacJournal.

That may not be a big deal for some, but if you plan on adding lots of images to your journal entries, it matters.

Creating journal entries and then sharing them on the Web in blogs seems like a natural fit for MacJournal, and as long as you needs are simple, it fits the bill nicely. If you want something that lets you include images in your blog entries, however, you may run into some problems - like MacJournal canit upload them to your blog.

The inability to upload images to a blog isnit really a problem with MacJournal, itis an issue with the way blogging sites handle journal entries.

Setting up MacJournal to upload entries to your blog is actually pretty simple. The application is compatible with most of the popular blogging services including .Mac, and it auto-completes most of the settings necessary to send entries to your blog. All you have to do is provide your blog URL, user name, and password. The process is simple and painless.

Once you configure a blog server, MacJournal can upload single or multiple entries for you from a single menu option. If you use more than one blog, you can add additional servers and tell MacJournal which one to use when you upload your entries.

Once again, the manual is the problem with the whole process. After I uploaded a couple of entries to my test blog, I checked to see how they looked. Much to my dismay, the images werenit there - and the manual gave me no indication as to why.

MacJournal uploaded this blog text, but I had to add the image later.

A bit of online research led me to an entry on the MacJournal forums that explained the limitation, but only offered "upload the images to your FTP server" as a solution. For the average user, the answer might as well have been in Swahili (assuming the average user doesnit speak Swahili). This is important information to include in the user manual.

I chose to disregard the offered solution and used Blogspotis built-in image upload feature. That meant I had to upload each entry and then edit it in the Blogspot Web interface. Either way, I ended up with extra steps that were necessary because of the way the Blogspot server operates, which is fine. But the lack of any information in the MacJournal manual was frustrating.

Without images, however, MacJournal did a bang-up job of managing and uploading blog entries. Image-free uploading is so simple, in fact, that itis hard to find an excuse not to use MacJournalis blog upload feature.

Since MacJournal also supports audio recording, you can use the app for podcasting, too. If your podcasting needs are minimal, MacJournal will probably work fine, but it felt rough around the edges here. For anyone that needs more than the bare essentials, look for an application that is designed for podcasting instead.

The Bottom Line
As a journaling application and text-only blogging tool, MacJournal canit be beat. It is flexible, easy to use, and makes blog entry uploading a simple process. It also offers the tools you need without getting in your way, which is great for improving productivity.

But once you add images into the mix, MacJournal comes up short. Unfortunately, the application documentation on the topic is lacking, too.

Product: MacJournal 4.1.1

Company: Mariner Software

List Price: $39.95

Vendor Price: $37.95


Pros: Awesome journaling tools, makes uploading text-only blog entries super easy.
Cons: Almost no graphic support, limited documentation.