OhLife and Online Privacy

OhLife is a brilliant site that emails you nightly and lets you keep a journal through email. I’ve been using the site for many months now, and it’s been immensely useful in spurring me to keep a journal. Not that I’ve read over the entries yet, but when I have a free moment, it’d be interesting to reflect.

As awesome as this service is (and it really is), I slowly realized there’s no need for me to email all of my journal entries to a third party. With a physical journal, you’d probably keep it very private, and not leave it with anybody at any time – why not do the same for a digital journal? To keep the same functionality though, I still wanted an online, email-based solution.

Enter OhJournal. (Yes, the name is a blatant ripoff of OhLife. Shush, you.)

By putting a 20-odd line PHP script on a cronjob every day at 8pm and a simple Gmail filter, I can replicate the basic functionality of OhLife without using a third party.

Every day at 8pm, my server automatically sends me an email reminding me to write a journal entry. The reply-to field is automatically filled with my Gmail address, but with a tag on the end, so my response gets caught by Gmail’s filter and goes into the proper folder, properly labelled. It’s a very simple system, really.

As is my style lately, the source code is available on github. Feel free to download it and set it up yourself – but be careful to change the email addresses! I don’t want to be receiving anybody’s errant journal entries…