Review: Life Journal


Anyone keeping a diary knows that unless you can commit to it 100% there's not much point in doing it. If you are going to capture things, capture them all. Unfortunately, that's not really possible with Life Journal.


The basis of every entry is a text note, which you can then attach elements to. These can be pictures, audio, locations or media files already on your phone (such as a really nice picture). I like that you can attach multiple items to these notes. However, it would be better if you could go back to edit them after having saved them to your timeline.

There aren't a huge number of settings to change here, beyond a password for private entries and your Facebook credentials. There's nothing to change the behaviour of the application, where to look for media, the narrowing of the search function, etc. Worst of all, there's nothing to turn off the amazing nausea-inducing flipping transition between screens, as if it was spinning on a vertical axis.

As a notepad application, the lack of editing means it's like writing in ink on paper. Which is an interesting choice, but not one that really works on a portable computer. Neither is it a logging application, you need to make a conscious decision to make an entry and to link any media.

Once you've explored Life Journal, there's a moment of realisation - this is a very, very specific blogging application. It's a personal blog that is only on your device, with some ability to "share your experiences" by uploading some or all of the entries to Facebook. All of your data will be siloed into your phone. I couldn't find an export data option, so what happens when I switch phone next month? In a year? In three years?


Once upon a time, the Nokia Lifeblog app did all this for you by capturing everything on your phone (Don't forget Rseven either - Ed). It automatically archived texts, mails, pictures and videos. You could then upload to your favourite social network or blog of the time. (Flickr and Blogger were big in those days). But even with (some) money and (some) will from Nokia, Lifeblog withered. The PC application stopped getting updated, software updates meant the phone client just wasn't available on later handsets. And I have reluctantly had to stop using Lifeblog as it was intended.

Life Journal, if you trust it, is an application that should last you years. But there is no guarantee that it's going to be usable in six months time on Belle devices, or when Facebook tweaks the API or forces all applications to use OAuth to login, as opposed to a simple password check (which Life Journal uses at the moment). Oh, and you need to keep all the media on your phone, which will cause issues a few months down the line if you are a heavy user.

Recording your life on a smartphone is still a nice idea, but it needs buckets of confidence from the user, and a history and forward prospect of ongoing support. The user also needs the safety net of being able to export their data in a standard universal format. Life Journal doesn't convince me that it can offer that, so I'll have to pass on the main goal of the application. As a Facebook publishing client, it does do the job, but so do a number of applications that are more secure (such as using OAuth) and allow two way interaction with Facebook.

Life Journal simply isn't doing it for me.

-- Ewan Spence, September 2011.


2005- All Rights Reserved 京ICP备05069564号-1 京公网安备1101054484号