Tag Archives: journal

jrnl: Focus, grasshopper

Now that I think about it, I haven’t seen many journals or diaries during this little adventure. It may be that they fall into the note-taking bracket and are relegated to text editors, or it may be that you see your old calendar entries as a journal of sort.

Seeing jrnl might change your mind.


jrnl is going to win some points from me for a lot of different reasons. For one thing, adding an entry is basically how it would happen with pen and paper: jrnl yesterday: I sold the farm. It’s very simple.

More complex entries are possible, and for that, jrnl jumps to your $EDITOR. Don’t ask me why, but I always find it appealing when a program allows you to stick with the editor (or pager) you know, and is already part of your system. That makes it easier for everyone involved.

And even if you aren’t a fan of your own $EDITOR (in which case you really should set it to another O_o ), you can just redirect a text file back into jrnl, a la jrnl < boastful-event.txt.

Showing your previous entries is a breeze, with the -from and -to flags for date matching, plus the ability to add tags preceded with an @ sign. From there, you can filter by topic. Very clever.

You can also star entries, for particularly exciting moments in your past. And you can encrypt a journal to keep it from prying eyes. And you can export it to markdown (and thence to HTML, meaning you can plop your journal into a rancid little blog or site :\ ) or json, and dump the journal into a folder with individual files for each entry.

jrnl has all the hallmarks of an application that was well thought out and designed to meet include specific abilities. Sometimes programs are organic collections of scattered features, obviously added as time went on or as the public suggested them, and without any focus.

I don’t get that feeling from jrnl. This has the distinct impression of having a specific end in mind, and the features it offers work very well together. I like it for that. 🙂

jn: Almost a victim of seven years of empty-headed blogging

It seems like a long time ago I finally put fingers to keys and started up an awful waste of digital space, the erstwhile former blog.

Fate must be laughing to see me still tapping away at the keyboard, with a dozen things more important all waiting in a line, just so I can rehash jn for you.


jn is a simple and smooth journal tool that Ben put together almost four years ago, and I mentioned once on the old site.

Quite foolishly, I uploaded the source code (with Ben’s permission, of course) to omploader.org, which has since vanished in a puff of smoke.

Yet another victim of progress. How many image hosts and file hosts have I outlived now? Three? Four? 😕

No matter. Despite being rather empty-headed at times, I have done well by keeping old e-mail messages, and I found the source package there. So here again, on a different host this time, is the source code for Ben’s jn program.

It will take a little effort to get jn working; note that the placement of the tmp file needs to be open to editing.

Also, the “installer” tacks the jn command on to .bashrc, which might not do anything for a strict console-only environment, or if your login only goes through .bash_profile.

I don’t think Ben ever finished this tool, and so it might seem crude or rough around the edges. But hey, you’re the high wizard of code, you can do something about it. 😉