Survival of the Fittest Blog
20 June 2006 Filed in: Darwin News
Charles Darwin was a prodigious journal keeper. Had he been around now, it is almost certain that he would have posted a weblog of his travels on the Beagle and, perhaps, a blog about his developing ideas on evolution by natural selection. There the likes of “BisWilberforce” and “TomHux” could have left their opposing comments and traded insults about whether it was better to have an ape as an ancestor than a bishop or whatever.
What we can be less sure about is the software Darwin might have used to produce his blog. Up till now, I have used a programme called MacJournal to produce the entries for LookingforDarwin.com. MacJournal was written by a guy called Dan Schimpf and, until version 2.6.1 (which, incidentally, is still available here) it was free, stable, and simple. Since then, it has been taken over by a commercial company called Mariner Software, who have recently released version 4. It now has a lot more bells and whistles and, while the simplicity has gone west, the price has gone up: it is now $34.95 USD. It may well be worth it, I don’t know. I was about to give the latest version of MacJournal a whirl, when I discovered Journler.
Journler is a journal programme with some similarities to MacJournal as it exists now, with the most obvious exception being that it is donationware. Philip Dow, its author, provides the software free of charge and, if you like it and feel so inclined, you are invited to make a donation. Journler has an elegant interface and includes such niceties for Mac-based users as excellent iLife integration. I suspect that it may be better suited to keeping a personal journal rather than a blog, but we shall see: this is my first entry using Journler as I give it a test drive.
So there you have it: an established piece of software that has evolved complexity, but at a cost. Up against it is a newcomer that seems potentially well adapted to fill a similar niche. At this stage, I haven’t developed an opinion as to which one is better, and I certainly don’t know which one Darwin would have picked; but I do know he would have approved of the competition.