Actually Keep a Diary / Journal with Day One and Workflow

For years I’ve tried to keep a daily diary / journal and have struggled with two problems: Remembering to write, and finding something to write. Lately I’ve tackled the second, and the first is easily solved when you think about it…

In this exercise, I’m using 2 apps on iOS: Day One, an excellent diary app, and Workflow, an excellent automation app. I’ve created a little Workflow module that does the following:

  • Downloads a daily motivational quote (although you could replace this with any RSS feed item)
  • Looks up my calendar for the day
  • Asks me 2 questions (In my example: What do I plan on doing, and how will I do good that day)
  • Rolls it all together and creates a new entry in Day One.

So with 1 tap of the Workflow shortcut, I have my phone prompting me to create my diary entry (and I can customize the workflow whenever I like). You can get my Morning Journal Workflow here if you’ve already got Workflow installed.

So get Workflow, Get Day One, and get journaling. Having problems with the first issue (i.e. remembering?). Well, just ask Siri to remind you or set a reminder to recur daily. Problems solved!

Automation, Part 2

Automation still isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Case and point? The last post never made it to Twitter or anywhere else beyond this website. Perhaps this one will, but I’m not holding by breath.

Amazing what we can do these days eh?

Automation is pretty crazy. As I type this, I’m unsure what is actually going to happen when I hit Publish. You see, up until a week ago, I had a pretty jury rigged system where I posted something to a Joomla based CMS that was rather clunky, and then I twittered about it, and that twitter post went to my facebook status. Along the way a component for Joomla would download entries from my other blogs and Pocket PC Thoughts and dump them into the database. This seemed to work out pretty well, but I thought perhaps a more up-to-date system would be nice. Especially with all the changes coming up in the next few months, why not have a better site?
So I’m typing this in the backend of WordPress (Being on a Linux laptop I’m unable to use Windows Live Writer or Word right now), and I have a bunch of gizmos turned on to do various things. First of all, I’m tagging this with a Twitter tag, which I THINK is supposed to trigger some plugin I have to push this out to Twitter and a bunch of other websites (e.g. statuses on Facebook, Myspace, etc..). I’m not sure if it will work. At the same time, the same plugin should push this out as a note on Facebook, but who knows if it will (If you’re reading this there, then I guess it worked).

Now Twitter poses a bit of a problem for me because when this publishes out, I don’t want it sucked back in. Why would it do that? Well, my status updates need to be archived for glory on JonWestfall.Com, and if my status update advertises my blog item and then the status update actually upstages the blog item, it just creates a self-referential storm of junk on the homepage. So I hopefully found a solution using Yahoo! Pipes that should block from my twitter feed any items with [JonWestfall.Com] in them from EVER appearing back on the homepage. Ugh.

If this sounds confusing, that’s because it really is. All I want is everything I write to A) appear on JonWestfall.Com in some form and B) my friends to know I’ve posted something (in whatever medium they’re using or accessing). I guess those two are mutually exclusive to some extent. So what will happen when I press “Publish”? Who knows, but hopefully something good.

Getting More Sleep

I sleep with a wife to the left of me, a laptop to the right of me. And I have a bad habit – when Outlook “Dings” saying I have new mail at 1 AM, I like to look at my pocket PC (also to the right of me) and see what it is. It’s sick, I know, but it’s indicative of my overall connectedness.
Anyway, my solution to this for many years has been to simply mute the laptop, however I don’t always remember to do that (Come to think of it, I don’t always remember to do a lot of mundane things like that…). Today I set up a solution I used to have on my Compaq before I re-imaged it a few months back, a wonderful freeware command-line app named NirCmd ( With a simple scheduled task I now have my computer auto-mute itself around midnight. Automation is a wonderful thing.
NirCmd has a plethora of switches to it, so if you’re looking for a multipurpose freeware do-it-all command, check it out – it just might have what you need.

New Server!

Server is a very subjective term for me.  To me, a server is anything that runs services to be used by other computers.  Granted, this definition turns every computer I own into a server (since they run P2P apps (And I mean old-skool peer-to-peer windows smb networking kind – not that new fangled stuff)).  So I guess my definition should be something like:
A computer that primarily runs services to be accessed by other computers.
There, now under that definition, only my Genesis box qualifies for ‘server’ status.  It runs Win2k Server with MS Exchange on it.  Great test bed for a windows applications.  It used to be a suse box, but eventually (about 2 months ago) I realized I needed a MS box back for some house-running tasks (i.e. home automation, Linksys media server, etc..).  So I’ve been missing my linux box.  But today, a new day is at hand:
THE DAY OF 2 SERVERS.  Yes, I now have 2 “servers” in the house (sitting right next to each other actually).  The new server’s name is Bleedin
gHeart, taken from a picture of some pretty flowers on this month’s Avon catelog (Yes, Karey is your Avon Source.). BH will be running Red Hat 9, and I’m unsure what services it may offer to the outside world.  Its deffinetly not a file server (It only has a 3 gig hard drive), but as a small web server / test server, it should be fine.  I’m setting it up to do nifty geeky things (ask details if you really want to) from a network level.  I’m pretty psyched. Its rare I can still get excited over technology…
So if you’re interested, here is the current Jon Computer Tally:
1. Genesis Server (Pentium 2, 256 MB Memory, Around 54 Gig of storage, Win2K Server)
2. BleedingHeart Server (Pentium, very small memory, former IBM Aptiva owned by Ashley – Thanks for the donation!, Red Hat 9)
3. MRKrabs (Laptop) (Pentium 4, 1 GB Memory, 40 GB HD, Win XP Pro)
4. JWestfall (Tablet) (Pentium 4 / Centrino, 512 MB Memory, 60 GB HD, Win XP Pro / Tablet)
5. Acer Extensa Laptop (Pentium 2, 64 MB Ram, Windows 98, Spare laptop for visitors)
6. CTX Laptop (My original laptop, then my moms, now back in my possession.  Pentium, 16 MB Ram, not used much anymore)
7. Compaq LTE Elite (486, 4 MB Ram, Gift from Karey’s dad.  Very Small – So Small I used it when MRKrabs was in the Hospital last october for email che
cks / surfing!)
8. HP IPaq 6315 (Named, unorginally right now, Pocket_PC).
9. An old Packard Bell I got this weekend that may not work since I slid down 4 steps with it under my arm and smacked it down.  Its in my trunk.  It was donated to me by the same great people who donated BH to me.
10. A pentium 2 with a 4 GB HD and 64 MB of RAM that lives in Parma running Win XP Pro.  My dad uses it for his daily email deletion and map generation.
So what’s next? Well, I got my eyes on a motorola smartphone coming out that’s techincally a pocket PC, but I have to save up for that one.  Karey’s been squaking about her computer, so maybe in the next year she’ll acquire a new one and I’ll have another one to add to my collection.
Eternally a geek I suppose.