Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: Where do I go to read my journal?
Q: How much does this cost?
A: This service will remain free, forever. Once the project completes beta testing and when more features are added (including visual timelines and exporting journals as pretty-printable PDFs) there will be opportunities to make donations to show your support for this project. However there are no plans to sell off or commercialize this project either with fees or advertising. Canton has reliable ways to earn money so that he can continue to run this site for free.
Q: How do I know My Future Self will still be around 5 or 10 years from now?
A: Canton has extensive experience setting up sustainable non-commercial sites. Some of his online projects have been around for more than 15 years (practically the Dawn of the Web.) For example, there's SampleSwap.org, a project Canton began in 1999 and which is still free today — even though it has grown to accommodate the needs of over 15,000 people per month.
On Privacy & Security:
Q: How PRIVATE are the journal entries I send to My Future Self?
A: This service has no option at all for social sharing, web publishing, Tweeting, Facebook liking, etc. What this means is that you cannot accidentally share a journal entry you meant to keep private. In fact, the only purpose of this site is to let you keep a un-social and un-sharable private journal for yourself or your kid(s).
Important note to beta testers: While My Future Self is in the early stages of beta testing, Canton may review some of your journal entries so that he can improve the automatic mechanisms that work behind the scenes to organize your journal entries into tag clouds and such. It's like that recorded message you hear on the phone, "Your conversation may be recorded to improve the quality of service." Even so, this exception to your privacy extends to Canton alone. Nobody else will have access to what you've written.
Q: How SECURE are the journal entries I send to My Future Self?
Answer 1: Technologically speaking, the short answer is "very secure". This website connection as well as your individual journal entries and attachments are encrypted, so even if a hacker were to get into the website, s/he would need to have an exceptionially good understanding of cryptography to read anything.
Answer 2: Practically speaking, My Future Self is only as secure as your email. If any of your family members, lovers, kids, etc. have access to your email account, they can probably figure out how to get access to your My Future Self journal.
Unlike shadowy hackers and evil Internet robots, the people closest to you not only have physical access to your computer, but they are also much more likely to be interested in learning your innermost thoughts. If this particularly concerns you, consider:
- Using a password and password hint for My Future Self that your closest relations cannot guess
- Setting up a separate email account just for this purpose (e.g. 'email@example.com')
Q: I'm a nerd. Tell me what kind of encryption you're using.
A: My Future Self stores your entries using very strong two-way Rijndael (AES) encryption. There are some weaknesses: for example, some keys are stored server-side (instead of being bound to your own individual password) since the server needs to be able to decode your messages on-the-fly to search for patterns, organize your stories into timelines, etc. All email traffic is unencrypted. All web traffic is SSL encrypted, so viewing your journal is safe even when using an untrusted ineternet connection (e.g. public wifi hostspot).