Important Note about Apps that are Upgrading.

If you have been a part of the Easy Journaling community for a while you have probably seen a post or two about the most popular online journal, Penzu. Not writing about it would be similar to a tech blog not writing about Apple — possible but not realistic.

This journaling service offers many features for free and even more for $19/year including syncing Penzu on Android and iPhone. A year ago, we posted a personal review on the subject titled Why I’m Switching to Penzu. In short, the author of the article was tired of Wonderful Days for the iPhone and wanted the best option available. Being the world’s digital journaling guru, we wanted experience with the best of the best! So we made the switch, and documented results.

It was clear from the beginning that it was the right decision. The author of the review basked in the magnificence of feature overload for months. You are able to customize to your heart’s desire (including notebook titles, colors, font type and size), write from a keyboard or touchscreen and sleep in the comfort of knowing that your journal was backed up, password protected and encrypted. Maybe overkill, but nice nonetheless!

This product review has been updated because Penzu has released an entirely new version that is far-and-above the one used to make this early review. You see, in the early days of Penzu, there were some glitches to be worked out when someone tried switching from iPhone to Android. We didn’t think it would be a big deal because Penzu has an Android app just like the iPhone app. It appeared that one could switch phones and the data contained within the journal wouldn’t care. Our app reviewer wrestled with the issue for some time, trying to get the sync to work. But fortunately, once we got the app developer involved, the bumpy ride came to an end.

We learned a two helpful lessons as a result of this exercise.

  1. Always have an exit strategy. Even the best-intentioned app developers cannot predict when there might be a problem, and exporting your journal (at minimum to a printable format, such as PDF) is the only way to guarantee you won’t lose your journal entries. (If you want to frustrate me, just find a way to lose my journal entries, arguably a piece of my soul!)
  2. Update the mobile apps when the developer requires it. Part of the problem our reviewer experienced came from continuing to use an outdated iPhone app. Penzu has made some amazing new enhancements which required the app be updated on the phone.

And speaking of mobile applications, Penzu has helped me enjoy journaling from my phone! The full-featured interface is easy to use, and allows you to select photos taken right from your phone to include in your journal. And today, the sync is seamless.

The only feature missing (and I’m assured by the co-founder that it is very-soon coming) is the ability to export entries. Keep an eye out for my full review of Penzu, now that the other issues have all been resolved.