Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, you too can have your very own Lorisbot Industrial or Ceissana Corporation brand portable difference engine, with the nearly mystical ability to communicate with anyone, anywhere, that has their own journal!
At least, that's what it's billed as. The journals in this game are similar to laptops in basic design, but unlike real computers are only set up for journal-style communication. This is achieved thanks to the combination of a specifically-made difference engine, the radio waves it transmits, and the special battery it contains. A speaker is built-in for making voice posts, and it contains a radio tuner for picking up local stations. It can be used to transmit images made in the very simple drawing program it comes with, though these drawings can only be in grayscale. No images or photographs can be transmitted through the journals. Userpictures are NOT viewable ICly at all; the only identification method is a person's username, which is likely different and more randomized than the usernames you as the player have chosen for them.
Due to the limitations of privacy on radio frequencies, private and f-locked posts are actually scrambled with a certain code beyond the original journal transfer method. It can be very easy to pick up the frequencies that journals operate on, but unscrambling even the basic information takes a specialist.
The journals have a number of limitations. First of all, one must be in range of a radio tower to be able to communicate with anyone at all. Malfunctioning towers can be enough to put an entire area into a blackout. Also, the batteries they contain run dry after roughly six months of casual use, faster if the owner uses their journal quite often. These batteries are only produced by the same companies that make the journals, though you may be able to find generic ones illegally...
For more information on how the journal system itself works, check out our hacking guidelines.