Samuel Pepys was a smart and perceptive man who was lucky enough to have a prime vantage point during very interesting times. He kept a private diary for ten years, which happened to coincide with the restoration of the British monarchy, the Fire of London, the Great Plague of London, a war against the Dutch, and the rebirth of public theatre - not to mention his own rising fortunes from lowly clerk to senior naval administrator, speaking in Parliament, and being personally known to the King and other powerful aristocrats.

Pepys' diary was turned into a very popular daily blog, which turns out to have been an ideal way to read it. In fact, it was this blog that inspired me to start keeping my own daily diary (although my life is a whole lot less interesting than Pepys'). Keeping my own diary of course inspired me to make Remembary, so Pepys could be considered the grandfather of the app. 

I built Remembary as a way to help me remember what I did because I haven't been very good at writing in my diary every day. I always had the impression that Pepys found time at the end of every day to write in his diary, and that my inability to do so was a sign that I was less organized than him, or a statement on our perhaps busier times. However, in one of the last entries in the diary, he writes:

So home, and by night home, and so to my office, and there set down my journal, with the help of my left eye through my tube, for fourteen days' past; which is so much, as, I hope, I shall not run in arrear again, but the badness of my eyes do force me to it.

A few months earlier, several days of diary entries just consist of short jot notes and some itemized spending.

So iIt looks like Pepys frequently took short notes while he was out and about during the day, and then fleshed them out into full diary entries when he had the time later on - sometimes a week or two later. This, it turns out, is exactly how Remembary works. Your tweets and status updates and pictures are all like Pepys' notes, which you can then use later on when you have the time to write up full diary entries.

So everything has come full circle: the app I built to help my own shortcomings in diary-writing turns out to reflect how Samuel Pepys actually wrote his diary. I'm sure Pepys would have loved to have an iPad - and with his active lifestyle you can be sure that he would have really enjoyed having an iPhone and a Twitter account. 

AuthorAndrew Burke