CLTT Episode #10- How To Make Family Video Slideshows

Posted on Oct 20, 2015 | 0 comments


Photo Credit – Sam Lytle

Making video slideshows of pictures may not be as popular as it was 5-10 years ago but it is still a powerful way to capture stories and history in a creative and fun way. With the smartphones, tablets and cameras we all carry around now it is even easier to get a good group of pictures with which to make a great video from. Additionally, the apps available on these devices as well as computers and laptops make it possible for almost anyone with any level of expertise to make video slideshows.

For 6 years I made video slideshows for my extended family each year before Christmas. It was a ton of fun to do and especially to enjoy together when it was all done. And now that the videos have had time to age they are even more precious to all of us.

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Lessons Learned During the Penzu Upgrade

Posted on Oct 1, 2015 | 0 comments

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!

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CLTT Episode #8- The Top 5 Android Journals

Posted on Jun 10, 2015 | 0 comments

About 8 months ago I switched from team iPhone to team Android. While both operating systems are fantastic in their own right, I feel that Android has passed Apple in many aspects that are important to me and that is why I use a Galaxy S3 in my daily life.

This episode of the Capturing Life Through Technology covers the 5 best journal applications for Android. If you have been reading Easy Journaling for a while you won’t be surprised by number one, which is the journal I have been using for about 5 months (it is fantastic). Listen to the end to see what app it is!

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CLTT Episode #5: The Top 5 iPhone Journals and Diaries

Posted on May 20, 2015 | 0 comments

Photo Credit - Rob Boudon

Photo Credit – Rob Boudon

This one is for you, Apple fans. (Sorry all of you Android owners, you are coming up next!) In episode #5 of the Capturing Life Through Technology podcast I discuss the top 5 journals and diaries for the iPhone with a few honorable mentions thrown in at the end.

I am actually an Android user now but I was an iPhone guy for over 4 years and many in my family still have an iPhone. To be  honest, the iPhone journal and diary selection seems much better on iOS than it is on Android. They just look nicer and work better!

In this episode you will also hear a special guest appearance where Sam’s son was gracious enough to stop watching a pirate cartoon and put down his sippy cup long enough to say hi.


 To listen to this podcast on your iPhone or other Apple device, click here.

The Top 5 iPhone Journals and Diaries

Original post:

Everyday Timeline

Day One

My Daily Journal


Wonderful Days

(Honorable Mention)



Roller Journal



Windbell Diary

(Also Mentioned)

Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History

And… Jason!

2013-02-24 09.28.08

Photo Credit – Sam Lytle

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CLTT Episode #4- Using Facebook the Right Way

Posted on May 14, 2015 | 0 comments

Photo Credit

Photo Credit

Perhaps the number way that the world is capturing their life today is through a little thing called Facebook. Over a billion humans are now posting status updates, sharing (usually annoying) cat pictures, pictures and much more. Are you one of them? More importantly, are you using Facebook the right way?

In episode #4 of the Capturing Life Through Technology podcast I show you step by step how to take control of your Facebook account by creating lists and checking the settings on a regular basis. 

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CLTT Episode #2- 10 Ways I Am Capturing My Life Using Technology

Posted on Feb 26, 2015 | 0 comments

Photo Credit -

Photo Credit –

There are a plethora of ways to capture your life using technology. Some people purposely use as many as possible, and others avoid it! But I’m sure you are using many of them, whether you know it or not. In episode #2 of the CLTT podcast Sam shares 10 ways that he is currently capturing (and sharing) his life using technology.

Did I miss something or do you have some suggestions or ideas of your own? Please add them in the comments below!

Also, this podcast is now available on iTunes! Please subscribe by clicking on the link below:

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The #1 Criteria You Should Consider When Choosing a Journal

Posted on Jan 11, 2014 | 0 comments

Photo Credit - Owen W Brown

Photo Credit – Owen W Brown

I have discussed many features and criteria by which you should be judging a journal app when you are in the market for a new one. These have included export to PDF, security and backup features and cross-platform compatibility.

But when it is all said and done, after all of the numbers are crunched and you have limited your selection down to only a handful (which, by the way, does for free) there is one criteria that you should use to rank and chose your app.

What is it you ask?

Well, just ask yourself a simple question- “How much do I like to use this app?”

If the answer is not very much, you should move on, even if it matches up with everything else you rank as important. If you don’t like it you simply won’t use it.

And if you don’t use it, what’s the point?

The hard part about this ranking system is that it is intangible. It is a qualitative method of measurement in a quantitative process. The way that you overcome this is simply by using the top three apps that you have ranked. After using all three- all else being equal- you will know which one you like to use best.

This is a lesson I learned recently. While I loved Everyday Timeline on paper, Diaro just speaks to me. I just enjoy the process so much better. And while I am ultimately using both of them for my daily journaling (Everyday Timeline automatically creates entries out of social media posts) I stick to Diaro because of the interface and overall feel. It is something that I can’t measure, something I can’t explain.

So, when all else is said and done, like your app for heaven’s sake!

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Private Diary for Android – A Complete Journaling Package

Posted on Aug 19, 2013 | 0 comments

pd2The handheld version of Private Diary along with its online version make quite a complete journaling package that will suit most anyone’s journaling needs. Let’s take a look at both and see how they may fit into your daily journaling life.

The handheld version has most of the necessary features you would expect to find in most top of the line journaling apps. These include a timeline view, calendar view, photo capability from within the app, auto location insertion, tags and categories as well as a host of other features. In addition, the timeline view can be customized as to fonts and color background. It has an attractive user interface as it stands however two components I wish I could change are the orange color used throughout and also the capability to remove the dotted lines that the developer has used to separate the title, entry, date and tags. The free version that I originally tried didn’t have the dotted lines. As a result, I personally think the free version’s timeline UI is much cleaner looking.

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Is Narrato for iPhone the ‘Easiest Way To Journal’? Maybe Someday!

Posted on Aug 18, 2013 | 0 comments

photo 2Narrato’s user-interface is simple, uncluttered black text on white background. Don’t look for too much color from here on though. Set up your account with an email and a password for security. I know, its pretty light-weight, but it is security. On the first entry page, pressing the down arrow in the left corner opens the main menu consisting of user-customizable icons. Day-by-Day (calendar) opens to your on-going journal entries with the most recent up top (thank you!). It also shows where you are (town), the temp plus the weather, and a few navigational tips. If you had added an avatar in the account set-up your little clip art or picture would be viewable here, too. Clicking the down arrow again brings back the menu which also includes Journals (notebook), Settings (gears), the Store (ribbon) and About (question mark inside a circle). I usually hit up the Settings immediately to see just how much customization can be done, and it was adequate. Setting the temp to Fahrenheit, as opposed to Celsius or Kelvin (really?) led me on a Wikipedia chase to hunt down Kelvin and make sure it wasn’t an R&B music artist from the 70’s. But that’s just me.

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6 Places To Mine Material For Future Journal Entries (Journal Prompts)

Posted on Aug 17, 2013 | 0 comments

Journaling causes you to push your edges. It has you exploring the confines of your comfort zone. It makes you question things and draw conclusions. It gives insight about the past, identifies areas of improvement, and helps your dreams take flight.

With that being said, if you journal on a regular basis, you’ll find times where you need inspiration for your posts. The creative well may have run dry and you look for things outside yourself to fill it once again. If that is the case, and it certainly will be from time to time, there are a number of different sources that can help you write freely once again.

Here are six places where you can mine material for future journal entries:

  1. The news. What’s going on in the world around you and how does it shape your perception of yourself? What concerns or excites you the most? How do you predict today’s events will shape the future?
    Photo Credit

    Photo Credit

  2. Other people’s blogs. Do you read other people’s blogs regularly? What type of ideas do they bring to the table? Do you agree with what they have to say or do you have a different viewpoint on a matter? Take a complex matter and argue for it and against it. It doesn’t make a difference what your opinion is. Doing an exercise like this helps you see both sides to every story written.
  3. Photographs. Flip through a magazine or glance through a photo gallery online. Select a picture and tell a story about it. What was happening behind the camera when the photo was shot? Who was standing in the background but away from the lens? What did the moment feel like for the subject? Where did it take place? Chances are you’ll get very few of the details correct, but you’ll have a great time picturing the events unfolding right before your eyes as if you were the one taking the photographs.
  4. Past events/old journals. What did you learn from your experiences? How can you prevent making the same mistakes in the future? What moments defined you as a person? Which things do you seek understanding of now? The past offers answers for the future.
    Photo Credit - Wikipedia

    Photo Credit – Wikipedia

  5. Your Facebook feed. What types of posts do you consider thought-provoking? Are there certain types of status updates or photos you respond to most? Did a Facebook friend bring up a valid point in one of his or her posts? How would you respond to what they’ve said? Record it in your journal.
  6. Your children, parents, and grandparents. Our family holds the key to our past, present, and future. Tap into their wealth of knowledge and insight to help create topics for future posts. Although situations may remain fresh in our memory banks today, there will be a time when details blur and conversations are forgotten. Don’t let all the wisdom go away before you document it.

You can draw journaling inspiration from your daily life. Remember that in order to keep subject matter fresh and interesting, you need to think outside the box from time to time and mine material wherever you can find it. This will keep you from becoming bored with journaling and provide you with an influx of subject matter you may have never written about before.

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Thoughtree for iPhone Review

Posted on Aug 11, 2013 | 0 comments

photo 1 Our introduction to “Thoughtree” was a beta version of a “personal thought network”, described by its award winning developer, Jude Abeler, as “drop dead simple”. That is an understatement. In its concept, Thoughtree is decidedly uncomplicated, and yet visually appealing. Its black and white design is the very essence of “simple”.

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Memoires: The Diary – A Very Capable and Attractive Journaling App for Android

Posted on Jul 24, 2013 | 0 comments

2After using Memoires: the Diary for the past week, a very feature-laden android journaling app, I find that there is a lot to like about this program.  First of all, the price is right, as it is available for free on the Google Play store – what’s not to like about that?

The journal entry process is very easy and straight forward.  You can enter text, photos, audio and emoticons.  In addition, the program will automatically add the weather and a map of your location if you desire.  The user interface is very attractive in the timeline view and in the editing view.  Photos taken in portrait mode however, are handled oddly, and that is that they show up in the entry rotated 90 degrees from how you had taken them.  If you go into editing and tap on the photo there is a menu option to rotate the photo 90 degrees while viewing it in full screen, however when you return to the entry the photo reverts back to the sideways view.  One other disappointment with using photos is that they don’t show up as thumbnails in the timeline view, rather there is an icon indicating that your entry has a photo in it.

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Should I Worry About Spelling And Grammar In My Journal?

Posted on Jun 17, 2013 | 0 comments

Spelling bees are cute, aren’t they? Children gathering to demonstrate a talent that hasn’t been relevant since before they were born. This is comparable to me taking part in a typewriter competition when I was in grade school 20 years ago. Typewriters were largely irrelevant at that time just like spelling on the fly is largely irrelevant now. Spell check has killed the spelling B, even if society hasn’t come to grasp with that fact now.

I’ve thought considerably about what role proper spelling and grammar play in my personal journal. When I was handwriting my journals they played only a small role. I’ve never been a great speller and I wasn’t about to pull down the ol’ Websters to correctly spell a word that few- if any- other human beings would ever read. Journals and diaries of ages past have always been filled with poor English (and other languages, I’m sure), which is okay. The words aren’t about correctness, they are about capturing history in a very unique and powerful way.

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What I (Will) Miss Most About Penzu

Posted on Jun 14, 2013 | 0 comments

Photo Credit - Rahul Rodriguez

Photo Credit – Rahul Rodriguez

Get 101 Reasons to Write a Journal and Modern Journaling (plus more) bundled for a low price today!

My relationship with Penzu has been well documented. It started as a nice online journal that I hoped to use someday to something that I used daily for more than a year. It went from something that I was infatuated with to something that I was ultimately frustrated with. To read more about Penzu, click here.

It has been nearly six months since I started using Diaro 3 for Android (and PC) as my daily journal and I still love it. The mobile application is one of the best I have seen and the online version is similarly consistent, attractive and functional. I hope to use it for a while longer before I move onto something else. Remember, when you are in control of your data, journal applications are only interchangeable tools.

But while I love Diaro, there is something I miss terribly from Penzu. More accurately, there is something I am going to miss terribly from Penzu.

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Are You A Level 5 Journaler? Find Out Now!

Posted on Jun 9, 2013 | 0 comments

In an effort to better measure and track the progress of myself and other digital journalers, I recently developed a method called ‘The 5 Levels of Digital Journaling‘ (you can see a summary here or get the full version here). This was my attempt to quantify all of the things that make great journalers great and reveal the signs and symptoms of those who have a long ways to go.

Along with the 5 levels I developed, I also created a quiz that you could take so that you instantly knew where you landed on the spectrum. As nice as this analog quiz is, it is asking a lot of you to print it out and manually answer each question.

In an effort to continually make Easy Journaling as useful to you as possible, I am excited to announce that the 5 levels quiz is now fully interactive! By clicking on the link below you can simply click on each answer and have your score immediately presented to you when you are finished.

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