The Journal Newsletter
Welcome to Spring 2008! Spring is traditionally a time of rebirth. Of flowers and trees. Of animals cute and otherwise. And allergies. (Pardon me while I rub my eyes and try not to sneeze…)
This month’s Tips & Tricks talks in depth about database maintenance for The Journal, and we have a new set of writing prompts.
Thank you for using DavidRM Software’s The Journal!
TIP: The Journal Database Maintenance
The Journal uses a database format that has proven to be highly stable. However, we don’t live in a perfect world, and either because Windows crashes or The Journal crashes or some other software or hardware decides to fail at an inopportune time, your entry database can become corrupt.
In most cases, you can simply run The Journal’s repair utility to fix any problems. (The repair utility also optimizes your database, which can improve performance and reduce the amount of disk space used by your Journal Volume. Click on the File menu, Maintenance sub-menu, and choose “Repair The Journal Databases…”)
Sometimes, though, you’re going to have to restore from a backup. And that means you *must* have a valid backup file to restore from.
By default, The Journal prompts you to backup your Journal Volume (your entry database) once a week. This is a good starting point, but if you use The Journal in a volatile configuration, such as on a USB drive or via a Windows emulator on your Mac, or if you put a *lot* of information into your journal on a daily basis (like me), you might want to increase the frequency of your backups.
Also, you may want to adjust where The Journal places your backup file. By default, the backup file “JournalBackup.jbk” is created in your “My Documents” folder. Which means that every time you do a backup, you overwrite the previous backup file. Again, this is sufficient for a lot of users, but depending on your needs and situation you might want to adjust the location, or otherwise prevent the previous backup from being overwritten.
To customize how The Journal performs a backup, click on the “Journal” menu, “Maintenance” sub-menu, and choose “Backup Settings…”
A nearly complete list of The Journal’s backup settings is here:
Since that newsletter tip was written, a new backup option has been added: “Add date/time to backup file name” This option gives each backup file a unique name, so you don’t overwrite your previous backup. Plus, you can see at a glance when the backup was created.
Why would you want more than a single backup? Because all too often we do another backup *before* we know that we needed the previous backup–which was just overwritten. You can use The Journal’s “backups per archive” setting to work around that issue, or you can use the date/time added to the backup file name option.
Either way, my recommendation is that you keep 3 backups. Your most recent backup, and the 2 backups prior to that. That will give you the most flexibility in dealing with possibly catastrophic database or hard drive errors.
Finally, I recommend that you copy your most recent backup file to a secure location *off* your local hard drive. You can copy the backup file to a CDROM or DVDROM, or to a network drive. The idea is to separate the fate of your backup file from the fate of your computer.
I would love to guarantee that The Journal will never have any database issues. But I’m not perfect, so The Journal’s not perfect–and neither is Windows, now I think about it–so it’s best to put good backup practices into place now. *Before* you need them.
Free Writing Prompt – Write for 20 minutes using the following as your starter: “What Dorothy found…”
Journaling Prompt – What is your obsession?
Memoir Prompt – Write about your more most memorable spring break and spring vacation.
If you would like to contribute to the “How I Use The Journal”, “Writing Exercises”, or “Tips & Tricks” sections, or would like to submit an article about journaling, writing, or another The Journal-related topic, we would love to hear from you.
Submissions for the newsletter should be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are submitting for a particular section, please indicate which one. Try to limit your submissions to 500-1000 words. Submissions may be edited for length and content.
If you prefer to remain anonymous, please state this in the email. Otherwise your name (but not your email) will be used in the article heading.
As always, if you have any suggestions for, or bug reports about, The Journal, please feel free to email them. Both are always welcome.