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My Journal Digital Notebook

For years I have browsed the web for inspiration. It could be a composition that I hadn't considered before or a color scheme that just grabs my eye. I usually click File Print as PDF or grab a screenshot and then save it to a folder on my desktop. I never claimed to be organized and the proof is that these folders seem to disappear over time.

I finally decided to get organized and replace those folders with an "artist's sketchbook" of ideas. Of course, I'm talking about a digital sketchbook because I don't get "back to nature" much. So I don't need the traditional artist's sketchbook. Instead of saving just those screenshots, I wanted to just open this magical digital journal, copy/paste the screenshot and write a few lines next to the image to remind me what it was that grabbed my eye at the time.

It would also function as a place to store all my rough drafts for the BellaOnline articles. For example, I might want to write down a new PhotoshopR filter or FlashR ActionScript that I just created. Then, later I can write an article about the new technique. I can't just save those custom filters or AS code to Photoshop or Flash like most people, because my old computer crashes every few months and they are lost.

So I went searching the web for a not-to-complicated digital journal software. I found many on the web, some with very nice features, but the one I liked the best was My Journal 2.0 by Michael Snow. It doesn't have many features but just the ones I need.

Of course, My Journal 2.0 allows me to copy a jpg or screenshot from the web and paste directly into the document. There are several options for the way the text will wrap around the inline image. Also you can click and drag the image within the document page.

When I'm working on a project, I often like to save the HTML color codes from Photoshop and the ActionScript code from Flash for future reference. Not only can I paste both into My Journal but the formatting for the ActionScript code is maintained.

If I want to view a document outside of the software UI, I can print or save as a PDF. Also, until I get a new computer, I will need to frequently backup the documents to an external hard drive. My Journal has a built-in backup/restore feature.

Of course, I need to categorize my various documents. In My Journal, each group of related documents can be grouped into "Writing Projects".

My Journal has a few features that I didn't test but you might be interested in.

1. Search Allows you to search documents for keywords or phrases
2. History Track changes to a document
3. Attachment You can attach a photo album or any type of file for reference
4. Upload UI for uploading your doc to a website
5. Twitter and Blogspot Portals UI for these social network sites are integrated into the software
6. Compile Combine several docs into one document

Note: The Help file indicates that including too many or large images will slow down the program. It suggests using the attachment feature instead.


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