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Please check out our side project, OhLife (from MeetingMix, YC S08) (ohlife.com)
111 points by sgupta on July 26, 2010 | hide | past | web | favorite | 61 comments

Quick first glance feedback on the page, take it or leave it:

a) "the easiest way to" lowercase start and then "Write your life story" uppercase start. Seems weird to me. The other way around or both uppercase.

b) Top bar seems empty, maybe an actual logo (that adds some other color/shade) would chance that.

c) "See an example" needs no-Javascript fallback. I assumed a video behind it. Pleasant surprise to see something that finally showed me what it is all about. I strongly suggest not hiding that. It is below the break for me and adds a lot.

d) Ned Flanders takes away the credibility and earnesty the page build up so far. Bad!

e) "private, secure, & friendlier", the comma after secure seems out of place to me. I am not an english native but from what I know it would be more normal without it. "friendlier" is not a word, is it? Also, how is it secure if you do not tell me how you actually secure it (both for normalos and hackers please)...?

f) entry is a bad empty word. I guess you already tried to find a better one. Can't think of one myself. :-(

g) "a personal journal that you'll love to use" = you love the journal

"why you'll love us" = you love the company

h) "Oh snap, remember this?" same as Ned, does not fit the otherwise very noble theme at all.

i) The open book has a weird shape. Does not feel right to me. Maybe if it was taller?

x) No privacy policy (as a techie "only you can see your entries" screams for encryption against YOU (and/or hackers, this is important)), no contact, no nothing to make it human.

y) Privacy tainted by Google Analytics.

Re: e) (This is purely my personal opinion, but …) Anyone who uses the serial comma [1] must be seriously insane. How can you? Doesn’t your brain explode? (Calm down, calm down … [2] … there, better.)

Friendlier is indeed a word, the comparative of friendly.

Amazing idea, by the way, beautifully executed and immediately captured my imagination.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serial_comma

[2] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_i1xk07o4g

Wow, I didn't notice any of this. My only problem is that I can't understand how I can see my past entries on the web and if there is a web interface for posting to the journal.

Also wanted to write: a, b, c, d, x

Hey HN - we made this in our spare time, just because it was something we wanted to use. When we told some friends about the idea though they wanted to use it too, so we decided to release it. Many thanks for checking it out.

Very cool. I will definitely use this as soon as you have encryption and a privacy policy.

I love the idea. Love it. Like, really excited. However, I'm not prepared to use a service like this in a hosted environment. Too many risks: you go out of business, security, privacy, etc. Plus the information just feels to personal to be sitting on someone else's server. I would love to see a quick daily prompt like this added to Macjournal or similar software.

That said, I'm sure there is a target market out there who will be more than willing to use the product in its current format. I'm looking forward to seeing where this idea goes.

I'm not sure what kind of top-secret lives some of these HN-ers are living, but I enjoyed sharing that my grandma has learned to IM me on Gmail, etc., and I don't think you care enough to read it. :-P

I think I might be likely to pay a yearly fee for this service. Beautiful design, too. Great job all around.

Love it! I've used penzu.com intermittently throughout the yr and every so often get lost in reading past entries!

One thing I've always "wondered" about more than concerned is privacy. Being a journal, I write out some of the deepest and most personal things in it. I'd find it assuring if you guys laid out your thoughts on privacy. I know there is only so much you can do but merely knowing your longterm vision will help.

Last thing I want is to do a journal on a site whose longterm vision is to open up the journal for public viewing ala facebook. If that was the longterm vision(to open it up), I may still use it but for a different purpose.

I notice that a huge part of my daily life is recorded in email conversations with other people -- it would be cool if I could forward a conversation to post@ohlife.com and it would automatically make it a part of my journal and make it aesthetically pleasing at the same time.

Great job on the execution of this app. I have talked to others who have had this same idea, but their execution was ugly/unexcting/etc. This is clean and simple.

Taking your thought a step further, let's also save the comments you make on others' blogs and bring them into your journal/blog as well.

At the end of the day, I don't need another blog or a slight variation on blogging technology. I need something that basically blogs for me. If I can add value to my site by adding comments like this one to other people's sites (then pressing this "magic" button (maybe a bookmarket?) to automatically save it as part of my blog), that'd be pure awesomeness.

Beyond saving boatloads of time for everyone who used it, it would create a more connected blogosphere by allowing people to link their commenter accounts (like HN, Reddit, etc) to their primary blog...effectively giving people more ownership over the things they write on others blogs, increasing author recognition, etc.

I need something that basically blogs for me.

Tumblr is pretty close to doing this, but the problem is its just context-free noise. It's echoes from a very, very noisy set of interactions that you perform. I had a Tumblr blog that harvested photos, blog posts, Twitter, last.fm etc etc. and it all meant absolutely nothing.

This isn't really blogging, it's journaling. Writing a diary is supposed to be therapeutic because you're writing down the things you dare not talk about with others (maybe not even your SO). It's not about what you do, it's about how you feel.

That's why I would like to see encryption mentioned somewhere, and pushed hard. I wrote one entry to see how it works, but I'm going to disable the notifications until I know that my personal outpourings are not actually being read by others.

Let's say you and I have a conversation that you find interesting, and you decide to post that to your journal. Would you bother getting my consent?

Accept PGP-encrypted mail seamlessly and you won't need a privacy policy except for those who like throwing their lifelog at random strangers. Be sure to use PGP/MIME to include the old message in your mailing.

Of course, setting up PGP, let alone remembering the passphrase (gasp) is a lot to ask of the typical user who needs to use his mail client as a text editor.

Otherwise, it's a cute idea, really. Please excuse cynicism.

The design is beautiful, but why would I use this over WriteRoom? For years now, I've been writing at least 500 words in WriteRoom every single weekday, and I'm closing in on a year of doing it (and a bunch of other habits) without missing a single day. It's not that hard, I know I'll probably never lose my entries (time machine + dropbox backups), and my privacy is more assured. I'm just not sure I see the advantage here...

Writeroom + timemachine + dropbox. I don't think you're the target market :)

Touché. Can't believe I didn't stop to think about this :)

No privacy policy is a no go for me.

I have never read a privacy policy, EVER. Am I missing something good?

If they violate their own privacy policy do I have legal recourse?

And is it even possible to write a privacy policy without loopholes?

First of all, fantastic design!

Is there any way to export posts - for example, if I wanted to share them with a significant other or another family member?

Also, and this is mainly curiosity, how do you handle sending posts from the past for the first few days where there really isn't much history?

Thank you!

We don't have export yet, but we've definitely wanted to share some of our entries with close friends and family too. We'll be brainstorming around this!

Regarding past history: For your first week, we just send you your entry from the previous day. After you've been using it for a week though, and some history has built up, we'll show you entries from a week ago (and then a month ago, etc.).

Thanks for checking it out - really appreciate it!

Yes I love the texture, like it's being done on the back of a torn up, sewn back together tablecloth.

It'd be nice to have some export feature. After few months, if I will use this, you are going to have quite a lot of entries from me, and all of them are important to me, I don't want to lose them, so I'd like to be able to easily make backups to my own computer.

Pardon my French but; fucking beautiful.

I like it, and I signed up. I don't want to get emailed at 8pm -- that's after my internet cutoff, so I faked a timezone. But, it would be nice to just choose a time.

Also, who did your webdesign? I like it!

We'll be adding the ability to change when the email is sent, and it should be out by next week. Clever workaround though!

And thanks for the design compliment! We did it all in-house, so we really appreciate the kind words.

This is really cool. I'm curious if you can read the entries?

Thanks for the kind words! We're currently working on encrypting the entries - this is an MVP and we initially wanted to see if people like the idea.

It does say on the home page that "Only you can see your entries." If they are not currently encrypted, that would seem to be untrue.

Even if they do encrypt it, they will have to be able to decrypt them server side to send you your month old posts. That means the owners are technically capable of also reading all of your posts.

That's not entirely true. If this were purely a web-accessible blog, there's no reason you couldn't encrypt/decrypt this in the client (sending and storing encrypted text). You'd have to throw out email posting in that case though.

I think you're on to something. I look forward to the day when we are shocked by unencrypted private data accessible on the server as we do un-hashed passwords.

There are a number of online password stores where all the information is only decrypted on the client. Nothing new, just not widespread. Can't remember the name.

That's a very difficult feature to implement, since the encryption has to be 2 way. It's much easier to achieve this with passwords, because all the system needs to do is validate supplied passwords (as opposed to reproducing the passwords themselves).

You could use a passphrase in the head of your email.

"Open sesame" or something equally corny.

However, you'd need an inversion of what is proposed here. Instead of emailing you an entry from the past then asking for your entry for today, it would need to ask for today's entry (plus passphrase), then reply back with an entry from the past instead.

I don't think the latter version is as compelling as the former, but encryption is sort of a must have.

Unless they're encrypting it, they must be able to.

OhLife is one of the few apps that I use every day. If you've ever tried to keep a journal or any kind of organized daily log, I highly recommend it.

There is a typo in the url at the end of the How did your day go? email. Should be ohlife.com/today, not ohlife.come/today

Thanks for the heads up!

I'm going to try to call this one now: my gut instinct says this will be a huge success. Hopefully I remember to check back a few months down the line to see how my prediction faired.

Great work guys!

Edit: I just noticed lists I email don't get formatted correctly. It's slightly annoying for such an otherwise beautifully designed layout.

How exactly is this service better than, say, a simple text file on my own machine with a daily reminder set up through some other means?

Why would I want to use some third-party website for something so simple that I might as well do it myself? I can see some pretty annoying downsides (need to have a crypto layer because I don't want you to be able to read my journal, need to export regularly the data to my own computer because I don't want you to be able to lose my journal), but no real advantages (it's not even more convenient!).

In any case, I believe that the two following statements, at least, are plain wrong:

- "The easiest way to write your life story": no, the easiest way is to fire up a text editor and start writing.

- "Only you can see your entries": should read "Only you and us can see your entries".

I'm not really sure I would use this. However, I really love the website design.. It's so clean. The colors are nice. The forms are simple. Maybe a little video would be nice on the frontpage.

You wanna drop that ned flander out, not everyone know him

I like it. Many times I've wanted to start a journal, just to record memories, but I detest writing. This makes it feel easy. We'll see how it goes.

Really like the simplicity of the idea and clean look of the site. Already replied to the welcome message - waiting for it to post to the site.

I like the daily emails as I don't visit too many sites daily, apart from HN and Gmail. This will be an easy way to log all that I'm up to. I'm not sure how regularly I'll do this, but time will tell.

In reaction to the fact that I adore the idea despite the fundamental privacy problem (see earlier comment), here is my spin on the theme in the form of two really simple Unix shell scripts. :)


Thank you for the inspiration!

great now I have des'ray in my head.

interesting idea... I'll give it a go for a while until someone realises I email myself everyday. Does it get angry if I don't reply?

mini feedback on home page: The 'see example' link needs to scroll the page down for me, I didn't spot the page grow and was waiting for it to load.

I think the vertical spacing between the various components is too much. If you could move things up a bit it would work real well. The colors, fonts, and graphics are very soothing and welcoming. I just didn't expect to scroll down so much.

I know your homepage says that all your posts are private, however, adding a privacy policy page which outlines that in legal speak would probably be good idea.

Otherwise, this looks great, and I'm looking forward to using it!

Yes, please! Tell me in no uncertain terms you will not give away, sell, or crawl my data.

I will then use it as a personal journal for work purposes. Perfect for filling out during the morning with a cup of coffee.

Pleasing, private posterous?

That is what I was also thinking. You could do that on Posterous with privacy on, you can also attach files to the email.

Love the design. I just signed up. Can't wait to see how well it'll help me keep a journal.

One thing I noticed: on the login page can you make pressing tab in the login box go directly to the password input box?

Ok, nice enough, but why would I mail my private thoughts to the cloud? Writing a small script that mails a random email by me to myself should be easy enough.

"Once you have a few entries here, we recommend printing them out, sitting by a fireplace, and reading them in Morgan Freeman’s voice: "

Like a twinkie, like a twinkie.

Well done, great concept and already I see a practical use for it in my life (tracking a new fitness program)

Thanks guys

Love the idea. Good work fellas

Very cool. Does that mean YC has a vested interest in your side project?

May I ask how this is different from, say, private wordpress.com blogs?

I think they clearly articulate this on the home page

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