OneNote To Be Microsoft's First Foray On To iPad!

I HEART ONENOTE! I have said it before here on the Studio and it is time to crow about it again. Why? Because OneNote will be the first of Microsoft’s Office products to hit the iPad and I think that is just perfect.

If you aren’t familiar with this fantastic note taking / note book application often found bundled in the Office suite, then check out my quick post about OneNote here. About a year ago, I was jumping for joy when OneNote first made it onto the iPhone, making OneNote all the more convenient and accessible. Now, just in time for Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, OneNote becomes the newest note taking and organizing tool on the ubiquitous iPad.

Like the iPhone version, OneNote for iPad is not as full featured as the desktop. You can sync and view your desktop notes on your iPad while on the go. You can also create and mail notes while out and about. You will need to activate a Windows Live account to get the syncing feature – well worth the effort as it offers a few other cool goodies, like SkyDrive. 

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Wowza! Microsoft OneNote for iPhone! Christmas already?

I didn’t see THAT one coming! Just glanced over at my reader and caught this awesome bit of news for lovers of iPhones and MS OneNote, a Venn diagram that until recently showed very little area of intersection. I haven’t written about my deep and abiding admiration for OneNote in a while, but I have in fact crowed about it in the Studio before (link). OneNote, originally a powerful desktop note taking and organizational tool with amazing editing, search and collaboration features, made its way to the cloud via Microsoft’s Skydrive about six months ago (link). Now, through God-knows-what-sort-of-unholy-alliance, you can get OneNote on your iPhone free (for a limited time), with automatic sync and backup via the cloud-based SkyDrive. It bears noting that there is no native Mac application for OneNote, making this news all the more surreal.

For those unfamiliar with OneNote, I took the liberty of copying the description provided by Microsoft in the App Store for its shiny new app:

Microsoft OneNote Mobile is the easy-to-use, powerful note-taking application for all of your ideas, brought to you by Microsoft Office. OneNote Mobile lets you create and view notes and lists whenever you need them. Sync your notes with free Windows Live online storage and access them from virtually anywhere using your phone, PC, or almost any web browser.

With OneNote Mobile, you can:
▪ Create flexible notes that can include text, pictures, bullets, and checkboxes ▪ Check To Do items off on the go▪ Save time with quick access to your most recent notes▪ Work with confidence—OneNote Mobile automatically syncs your notes with Windows Live in the background▪ Organize your notes into sections or create new notebooks using OneNote 2010 or OneNote Web App and access them from your iPhone

Although Microsoft has other iPhone apps already, this is the first app I know of that directly relates to a paid Microsoft software product within its venerable Office suite.

From the chatter on the Web, it appears that the auto sync update via SkyDrive may not yet be working and is being addressed by Microsoft. I didn’t let that little glitch bother me – I have my app downloaded and can’t wait to dig in. Any edge Evernote may have had on OneNote based on its portability may now be gone!

I ❤ OneNote + iPhone!

UPDATE : the SkyDrive sync is working – simply log in via the app to your Windows Live account.

Microsoft Office Web Apps – Now Live & Free

Have you been waiting for Microsoft to finally put its Office applications into the cloud? Have you been waiting for Microsoft to put a “free” tag on those apps? Well, your time has come. Office Web Apps, MS’ free online version of its Office suite, is now live on SkyDrive and available for U.S., U.K., Ireland and Canada-based users.

With the simple creation of a Windows Live account, you can start playing with the new tools. You will find browser-based versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and even OneNote that mimic much of the look and function of their desktop sibilings. Silverlight improves some of the experience (such as uploading multiple docs at the same time), but is unnecessary. All modern browsers will work with the tools. It’s not the desktop experience, for sure. But it meets Google Docs head on. You can upload (drag and drop!), collaborate with others, create within the web environment, print right from the browser and read docs on your smart phone. And, if you have Office 2010 installed locally (releasing next week), the web counterparts really sparkle with a seamless desktop / web experience. With 25GB of free storage on SkyDrive, this combination of features is nothing to sneeze at.

The Windows team is also promising lots of Office features will be integrated into Hotmail, so stay tuned to that.

Check out The Window Blog (link here) for more information and screenshots. All Hail the Cloud!

Do-It-Yourself Wiki

DISCLAIMER: this is NOT a Wikipedia-bashing post. There, now, having gotten the formalities out of the way, it is time in the Studio to examine the benefits of creating your own Wiki and one way to go about doing it. If you are on-line, reading this post, odds are you have visited Wikipedia once or twice. But do you really know what a Wiki is?

I couldn’t help it – I pulled this definition of Wiki off Wikipedia:

A wiki ( /ˈwɪki/ WIK-ee) is a website that allows the easy[1] creation and editing of any number of interlinked web pages via a web browser using a simplified markup language or a WYSIWYG text editor.[2][3] Wikis are typically powered by wiki software and are often used to create collaborative websites, to power community websites, for personal note taking, in corporate intranets, and in knowledge management systems.

Did you know that the word “wiki” is the Hawaiian word for fast? I didn’t until this morning. The key points to a Wiki are that it is user created and that its pages are heavily interlinked, allowing for a “tree” like structure to the information layers.

I am not going to plumb the benefits or drawbacks to contributing to a public Wiki, such as Wikipedia here. Instead, let’s consider the benefits of building your own personal Wiki. Do you use a “to do” list? Do you maintain a contacts list? Do you bookmark relevant Web information? Do you take notes or grap snips for later consumption? Do you have all of this data in one place, with links between the information?

If not, consider using your own Wiki. One such tool to help you along the way is offered by Zim Wiki (link here), a free, open-source, desktop Wiki application that works in Linux and Windows. I discovered this tool on MakeUseOf (link here). According to MakeUseOf, there are means for getting the tool up and running in OSX, but they are a bit complicated and not for the faint of heart.

What is Zim Wiki? Taken from their website:

Zim aims to bring the concept of a wiki to your desktop. Every page is saved as a text file with wiki markup. Pages can contain links to other pages, and are saved automatically. Creating a new page is as easy as linking to a non-existing page. This tool is intended to keep track of TODO lists or to serve as a personal scratch book. But it will also serve you when writing longer and more complicated documents.

A “desktop wiki” means that we try to capture the idea of a wiki, not as a webpage but as a collection of files on your local file system that can be edited with a GUI application. The main focus is a kind of personal wiki that serves for all kind of notes: todo-lists, addresses, brainstorm ideas etc.

But we want to go further then just a wiki filled with random content. It should also be possible to use you random notes as the basis for more structured data: articles, presentations etc. Zim will not include tools to layout a presentation or something like that, you should use your office suite of choice for that, but it should be a tool that can deliver all the content for a presentation in a form that only needs a template and some layout before usage. Therefore certain features normally not found in wikis will be added.

The first step after installation is setting up your information repository, stored locally. You create a home page and direct Zim where to store documents. Text editing tools are basic – just enough to get the data entry job done. Then, start entering.

The strength in this tool is the layering that you can implement. For a given project, put the different major tasks on one layer, and then link off to subtasks residing on their own, separate pages. If you want access to your Zim Wiki on different computers, consider using Dropbox (MakeUseOf’s suggestion – link here) – you can access your Wiki on the go.

As with any tool, the user will find their own unique uses. I see lots of potential in Zim Wiki, primarily due to its fairly stripped down simplicity. Tools like Microsoft’s OneNote and Evernote are similar in their organizational capabilities but can be confounding to a user looking for the simple answer. Zim seems to fit this latter need fairly nicely and, unlike OneNote, for free.