MacJournal 5

Today I downloaded the update to MacJournal, and I’m writing this blog entry with it. I’ve used MacJournal for a couple of years to write blog entries, organize information, and keep a personal journal. The new version was announced at last week’s MacWorld Expo, and I’ve been eager to give it a try.

My initial impressions are general positive, but nothing too exciting. The familiar MacJournal interface has not changed significantly, although it has a cleaner, more “Leopard-like” appearance. This version has improved MacJournal’s ability to work with many different kinds of content, including images and videos. The icon for the program has changed; I’m not sure I like the new blue icon as well as the old red one, which seemed to have more “character.”

One thing that I’ve always loved about MacJournal is the full screen feature. This allows you to clear your screen of all distractions, presenting a simple, clean area where you can focus on your writing. This feature hasn’t seemed to change much in the new version. In fact, most of the changes I’ve discovered so far in the new version are rather subtle. There are a few more preferences available, including the ability to automatically discover “wiki style links,” which I assume means words in CamelCase (where a middle letter is capitalized in a new word formed by joining two words). I’m not quite sure how I would use this feature yet. There is also a “smart journal” feature that is similar to the “smart mailbox” in Mac Mail and the “smart album” in iPhoto. Another nice feature is the ability to assign a “star rating” to entries.

I’ve just been using the program for a short time, and I’ve found a few small annoyances. The full screen editor didn’t work at first, but that could have been a problem with Leopard’s Spaces feature. In any case, it’s working fine now, so I’ll just chalk it up to something that is probably happening at the OS level. I’ve also found that sometimes the “smart quotes” feature isn’t very smart, occasionally positioning the quote marks in the wrong direction. I’ve also found that this feature doesn’t seem to be compatible with my blogging platfrom. Again, this could be something in the OS, rather than in the program itself.

All things considered, this upgrade wasn’t a huge leap for MacJournal, but considering it was only $19.95 to upgrade, I’m not complaining. The one feature that may be worth this price is the ability to work with more kinds of content, and in particular, PDF files. Still, it would have been nice to have seen a few more features in this upgrade. In particular, I would have appreciated more tools for adjust the formating of images in blog entries.

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