Online Web Apps for private journaling.

Juan Orozco
Juan Orozco

I've started up my personal journal again.  (Yes, I am writing a diary...)  Only this time, I thought I'd try a virtual journal in the hopes that I would continue writing in it longer than a few months.  I enjoy writing and chronicling my thoughts, but writing in a book never worked out for me.  I would jot down my thoughts and ideas more often if I could write from anywhere and anytime.  What better way to write on the go than with my iPhone?

The first thought I had was to search for some sort of iPhone app that was password protected.  I found a few, some free and some at a small premium.  Writing from the iPhone is convenient when there isn't a full size keyboard around, but I would rather use a computer when it is available.  So if I was going to buy an app, it would need to sync with some online service or at least sync with my PC.  I couldn't find any apps that had this functionality so I thought of just using a webapp instead.

Immediately, I found this cool service called Penzu.  It's a very well thought out service and really simple to use.  It's completely private and, unlike a public blog, the individual entries don't have a URL for robots to scan.  Let's say someone figured out your password, each entrycan be individually locked and would therefore require a second password to view.

It's also well designed.  When you visit the site you can start writing right away by clicking on the "try it out" link. After you're done writing, just log in and it will save the entry automatically.  As you're writing, the text appears on what looks like a sheet of lined paper.  Like I said, really cool site.

Unfortunately, writing on it in Safari on the iPhone is really cumbersome.  I was typing pretty fast and after a while, I had to stop so it would catch up with me.  The site is really good, and adding an iPhone app would make it the best private journaling application I could find.  I ended up not using it because of how the iPhone interacted with it.

This search turned out to be a little more drawn out then I thought it would be.  I thought of  using Evernote or the Notes app, but I thought I would look at Blogger and WordPress first to see if there was a "private" setting.  I created a blog at first and set it to private.  Using the WordPress iPhone app, I was able to log-in to the blog and start writing.  I checked to make sure I couldn't access the site if I wasn't logged in and that the RSS feed was not displaying either.  So far, this seems like a pretty good solution.

Evernote could work as well since I have the desktop application and the iPhone application.  It wouldn't be as  efficient since it's designed for quick note taking, plus I'm a huge WordPress fan so using the blogs is ideal for me.  Blogger allows for private settings too, but I couldn't find an iPhone app for it.

I honestly hope that Penzu releases an iPhone app to go with their web application - I'll switch over if they do. Penzu is designed to be private unlike WordPress which is designed to be public.  Either way, WordPress is a good solution for now and hopefully I'll keep up with this journal-keeping quest for once.