Sunday, 28 May 2006
Chris Pratley (Microsoft's Group Program Manager for Office Authoring Services) mentions it's now possible to blog directly from OneNote via a connection with Word 2007, which has some late-addition features that let you use it to create blog posts directly. Gone is the messy Office markup/HTML gobbledy-gook, as the code if cleaned up and made quite basic. Finally! I've blogged from OneNote using the email integration capability in the (distant) past, but this makes it much more practical and "real."
Also - Rob Bushway at GottaBeMobile.com has a quick audio interview with Chris Pratley - lots of great information there. Chris discusses small software teams and the many benefits of staying small and focused. While a small team means high demand, it also means agility and a powerful sense of ownership and intimate knowledge of the codebase. Chris also discusses the use of Ink in OneNote and why they didn't use the basic Ink control in the OneNote 2003 release, as well as what they're doing with ink in the new version.
Friday, 26 May 2006
I've been testing the Office 2007 beta releases for awhile now (without blogging about it really), ever since the Beta 1 version came out. Just the other day Microsoft released Beta 2 and it's significantly improved. Outlook is snappier and lots and lots of bugs are fixed across all the apps. Plus the new OneNote is just sweet and the integration between OneNote 2007 and the awesome new version of Outlook is greatly expanded and improved.
Chris Pratley, program manager for OneNote, tells all on his blog entry, "OneNote 2007 and Outlook: Best Buddies."
"When we did 2007 planning, it was clear from our user surveys that anything we could do to integrate better with Outlook would be most welcome. So here it is, my long-awaited post on all the great things OneNote can do with Outlook (and some additional goodies at the end)."
Read all the details here.
Sunday, 02 October 2005
Brian Jones posted an item about the announcement this weekend of the fact that Office 12 applications will all support PDF as an output format natively. This might not seem like much to some, but in reality it's a big deal:
"The PDF support will be built into Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Publisher, OneNote, Visio, and InfoPath! I love how well this new functionality will work in combination with the new Open XML formats in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. We've really heard the feedback that sharing documents across multiple platforms and long term archiving are really important. People now have a couple options here, with the existing support for HTML and RTF, and now the new support for Open XML formats and PDF!"
Tuesday, 27 September 2005
Microsoft today released SP2 for Office 2003, which can be downloaded via Office Update, or you can grab it here and you can read about it here.
In addition, OneNote 2003 SP2 was also released today - read about it here, and download it here.
One of the notable features in my book is the Phishing protection update for Outlook:
Microsoft Office Outlook® 2003 Phishing Protection and Junk E-mail Filter
SP2 contains a new Phishing Protection feature to be used with the Outlook Junk Email Filter. Phishing is the luring of sensitive information through e-mail, such as passwords and other personal information, by an attacker masquerading as someone trustworthy. Phishing attacks can result in a user divulging sensitive information, including financial information, that can result in a loss of privacy or money. Phishing e-mail is hard to identify, because attackers make their e-mail appear genuine and often mimic recognizable e-mail sent out routinely by legitimate organizations such as banks and credit card companies.
To enable phishing protection, you need both Office 2003 SP2 and the latest Outlook 2003 Junk E-mail Filter Update. Once both are installed, Office 2003 SP2 has phishing protection turned on by default.
For best results, we recommend you regularly download the latest version of the Outlook 2003 Junk E-mail Filter Update. To determine whether you need this update, see the Microsoft Knowledge Base article (872976): How to obtain the latest Outlook 2003 Junk E-mail Filter.
Monday, 18 July 2005
Over on the Microsoft Office Assistance web site, there's a great video of Chris Bertelson - an long-time Microsoft employee with lots of experience demonstrating software - navigating his way around the features available in Office OneNote 2003.
- If you've never seen or used OneNote, this video will show you all kinds of cool things, and gives a great idea of what OneNote is all about.
- If you're already a OneNote user, don't skip this one! Be prepared to see all sorts of great things that you can add to your personal toolkit to make you a OneNote power user.
This 45-or-so-minute video (see links below) should be mandatory training for OneNote users. It's that good.
I use OneNote every day on my Tablet PC as well as my desktop machine. One thing many people don't realize is that OneNote is not just a Tablet PC application - In fact OneNote was initialy conceived and designed before the Tablet PC was born, and it's a great program for desktops and laptops, too.
Chris covers some serious ground in the video:
And if you want even more detail, check out the webcasts:
The Webcasts of this demo are available on demand. These are generally more in-depth than the demos because they include audience interaction and questions and answers. You can watch them on your own schedule.
Sunday, 29 May 2005
Yes, sometimes the "switch" model runs the other way. Not quite (yet) in this case, buy hey, let's see what happens. Eric Rice, podcaster extraordinaire and self-described Mac guy, says he's using OneNote with a little Wacom tablet digitizer and a Windows notebook for now, but you can tell he's thinking:
"And as a result of all this OneNote mayhem, I'm now paying attention to people like Chris_Pratley, as well as the Tablet PC sites.
"This is all very weird for me. Updates as time passes."
Well Eric, you're paying attention to the right person, and as a Tablet PC guy and OneNote addict for a couple of years now, I can tell you the tools are great - one just has to try them to find out.
Saturday, 21 May 2005
Engadget has a great little article about an Indy 500 racing team's use of OneNote on Tablet PCs in the race pits and planning stages. It's pretty cool what they're doing with technology in auto racing these days. Go check it out.
"... Robertson said they are now recording a driver’s spoken comments about how the car is handling as a Windows Media Audio file and can do a voice overlay within a OneNote document along with a track diagram to show where the car went fast or slow. Such OneNote documents can be instant messaged to engineers back at the garages and stored for future use ...
... He said OneNote is useful in creating reports and presentations that combine computer-aided design (CAD) drawings, data from the on-board data logging systems, and engineering notes with information gathered from various sources, such as photos of necessary parts from catalogues, on the Internet."
[Read the story at Engadget]
Thursday, 20 January 2005
|Yesterday I mentioned a commercial announcement by a company that had released an IFilter for CHM files. A reader, Sean, pointed out that there was another IFilter available for that file format - for free. It had been a month or more since I last Googled for the term, so I updated the post (thanks, Sean) and and started looking at the most recent information on the 'net in the IFilter area. If you know of more/other resources, please comment below and let me know.|
Full-text indexing of files on a computer system allows the user to search for information on a computer, and for that search to extend into the files themselves. Because many computer files that contain text are actually proprietary in format, it can be difficult to "read" the content of those files. File formats need to be optimized for applications, but we need a way to get the text content out, so we can search across multiple file types to find information without having to root through files one by one.
Enter the IFilter. On Windows, IFilters are special little programs that contain the information needed to pull the text content from these proprietary files. Once you get the data out, you can work with it in a number of ways.
Now, remember that I'm not a developer, I'm a business-process guy, so keep that in mind when reading this explanation of IFilters and how they are used.
Q: What's an IFilter?
IFilters are special DLLs used by Windows applications to index the content of specific types of files. From the Microsoft Platform SDK Indexing Service document:
"The IFilter interface scans documents for text and properties (also called attributes). It extracts chunks of text from these documents, filtering out embedded formatting and retaining information about the position of the text ... IFilter provides the foundation for building higher-level applications such as document indexers and application-independent viewers."
Q: Where and when are IFilters used?
There's been some new activity in this are, likely as the result of the release of the MSN Desktop Search tool (which uses IFilters to index files) and the fact that SQL 2005 will be coming soon. IFilters can be leveraged by any application that calls them, and they are typically used to generate an index of information that users can then search through to find information. That's how the Indexing Service on your Windows desktop machine works, for example, and these other Microsoft applications use IFilter to generate their search indexes:
- MSN Desktop Search
- SharePoint Portal Server
- Windows SharePoint Services
- SQL Server 2000 and 2005
- Indexing Services
Those are not the only apps that use IFilters - but they are good representative examples.
Applications typically call the IFilter DLLs and then use them to examine the content of files stored on a computer. The information that comes from the IFilter is used to build a searchable text index that correlates to the discovered content back to its source. From there an application can allow the user to query the index.
Q: What IFilters are available?
Nothing beats a good Google search for finding the latest and greatest, but the Channel 9 wiki has a useful page listing a variety of IFilters and how to find them.
Q: How can I tell what IFilters are installed on my system?
A newer (and free) application from Citeknet called IFilter Explorer will let you see what all is installed on your computer, with more information than the average person will likely need. Developers who need to work with IFilters will find the information very useful in its detail.
If you know of other IFilter resources or facts, please comment here or post them on the Channel 9 wiki to share with others.
Wednesday, 15 December 2004
Are you a Microsoft OneNote user? I am – big time. If you’re getting started with OneNote and are interested in learning some of the basics about how to use OneNote to be productive and organized, you might want to check out this webcast, scheduled for December 21st:
Microsoft Office System Webcast: OneNote Tips and Tricks (Level 100)
Tuesday, December 21, 2004
9:00–10:00 A.M. Pacific Time, United States and Canada (UTC-8)
Join this webcast and learn how to flag notes, manage pages and sections, and use stationery and outlines in e-mail and other Office applications.
Lots of Microsoft downloads recently it seems
If you have a Tablet PC and use Office 2003, Microsoft has released an update that you need to download and install. The update improves recognition of “inked” handwriting in Office 2003 applications, including:
- Microsoft Office 2003
- Microsoft Office Excel 2003
- Microsoft Office InfoPath 2003
- Microsoft Office OneNote 2003
- Microsoft Office Outlook 2003
- Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2003
- Microsoft Office Word 2003
Get the update patch here.
Thursday, 23 September 2004
I know he didn't mean to (so I won't act all flattered or smug or anything), but Robert Scoble just sort of summed up the better part of my topic/category list for this-here-blog of mine, over on his blog...
I thought it would be interesting to compare his list of cool upcoming topics for the future to what's categorized or searchable right now on my site. So, I did just that and have added the links, below. Not a bad start, and it points out to me where I am falling shorter than I had realized in my content. Hey Robert, thanks for the copy.
“For the next 18 months, where are the business opportunities going to lie? Tablet PC. Bigtime. Windows Media Center. Gonna be a big deal. SmartPhones. Wanna watch how fast the Motorola MPX220 sells when it's released in the next few months? Xbox Live. You only need to say one number and everyone knows exactly the Xbox thing I'm talking about: "2." Visual Studio 2005. Tons of stuff coming there. MSN has a whole raft of things up their sleeves. And we haven't even started talking about BizTalk, SharePoint, Exchange, SQL Server, 64-bit Windows, SBS, CRM, LiveMeeting, and OneNote, among other things.”
It also gives me a gut-check on my existing blog categories. Here they are, with the ones that apply to this posting checked:
Thursday, 16 September 2004
Darron Devlin has released updated versions of his OneNote power toys, OneNoteImageWriter and WebPageToOneNote. From his web site:
This PowerToy is a virtual printer that enables the import of document images into Microsoft Office OneNote® 2003 sections. Any program that is capable of printing can send a document to the OneNote Image Writer just as it would when printing to a physical device. The printed document is converted into a document image that can be used as a foreground or background image on a OneNote page. Details and Download
This PowerToys adds a WebPageToOneNote button to the Standard Buttons toolbar in Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 or later. Click this button to copy an image of the entire current web page (WYSIWYG) to a new page in OneNote. The new page is created in a WebImageCaptures section in your notebook. Details and Download
Saturday, 28 August 2004
This is not exactly breaking news, since it was officially announced a few weeks ago, but I neglected to point out at the time that Microsoft dropped the retail price of their OneNote 2003 software to $99 early in August, with similar reductions in other currencies worldwide.
See Chris Pratley's weblog announcement for more info. Chris is the Group Program Manager at Microsoft for Office Authoring Services, and as such is a member of the OneNote team. His blog is a terrific resource and insightful read, by the way.
Don't have OneNote yet? Want to buy a copy of OneNote for yourself, your new college student, or someone else? Hey, you just can't beat the price now. If you really want to make someone crazy who desperately deserves it (and have a little fun with a colleague of mine at the same time), call Scott Rommel at Softchoice, at 503-241-6554, and order a copy directly from him on the phone. Tell him Greg said to call and you're looking for the extra-special price, and he'll take care of you.
Oh and no, I won't get anything in return for software orders placed through Scott. All I get out of it is a good laugh at the calls he'll get from you. That's all I really need. DOPS attack! (Denial Of Phone Service, that is).
Friday, 27 August 2004
Darron Devlin recently published two useful new PowerToys for OneNote 2003 with SP1:
OneNote Image Writer
This PowerToy is a virtual printer that enables the import of document images into Microsoft Office OneNote® 2003 sections. Any program that is capable of printing can send a document to the OneNote Image Writer just as it would when printing to a physical device. The printed document is converted into a document image that can be used as a foreground or background image on a OneNote page.
This PowerToys adds a WebPageToOneNote button to the Standard Buttons toolbar in Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 or later. Click this button to copy an image of the entire current web page (WYSIWYG) to a new page in OneNote. The new page is created in a WebImageCaptures section in your notebook.
Grab the new powertoys to install and use at Darron's web site. As mentioned in the past, you can also download a couple of useful add-on powertoys for OneNote from Microsoft.
Wednesday, 28 July 2004
Tuesday, 27 July 2004
Microsoft has release Office 2003 SP1 (which includes InfoPath SP1) as well as OneNote SP1 (which is a separate download). Bug fixes, security improvements, and enhanced functionality abound. Be sure to read the release notes and linked web pages/articles before you download and install, especially if you have a pre-release version installed. Also note that you may be required to provide the original CD, depending on how you installed the software in the first place.
If your software is centrally managed and installed over a network, don't install these files yourself unless they specifically tell you to do so - Your IT department will need to update their network installation points and push the updates out (once they test and make sure all is well, of course).
Regular users of Office 2003 can also just browse to the Office Update site and use the “Check for Updates” link provided there. An ActiveX control will install and check to see what software is installed on your computer that requires updating, and then it will download and install the updates for you.
Note: The links below provided by Microsoft on their web pages to the related Knoledge Base articles and related web pages are not active as of the time of this writing, and they have not yet updated the Office Resource Kit Administration site. Those links shoudl become active shortly.
Office 2003 Service Pack 1 contains significant security enhancements, in addition to stability and performance improvements. Service Pack 1 (SP1) also includes many performance and feature enhancements to Microsoft Office InfoPath 2003. Some of the fixes included with SP1 have been previously released as separate updates. This service pack combines them into one update. You can get specific information about this update in the Microsoft Knowledge Base article (842532): Description of Office 2003 Service Pack 1. UPDATE: Those who control Office 2003 with Windows Group Policy will want to get the updated Administrative Template (ADM) files.
OneNote 2003 Service Pack 1 contains new features and significant security enhancements, in addition to stability and performance improvements. You can get specific information about this update in the Microsoft Knowledge Base article (842774): Description of OneNote 2003 Service Pack 1. I also posted a list of changes and enhancements back when the OneNote team released a preview version of OneNote SP1, but note that the final version may contain additions/changes. You might also be interested in reading Chris Pratley's blog - he writes a lot about the OneNote team and the evolution of their product. His blog was one source of ideas that were funneled into the product team for potential future enhancements.
Wednesday, 16 June 2004
Chris Pratley asks: How do you use OneNote?
From his weblog site:
"Although we have several different ways to collect information about how OneNote is used, I am always interested to hear how people use it. And this forum provides an opportunity for a dialog that our other data collection systems don’t really provide. So, let's hear it. How do you use OneNote? How is your notebook organized? What do you do with it? Would you prefer a different type of organization, or even a different concept for OneNote besides a tabbed notebook?"
He goes on to describe how he uses it, how he organizes his OneNote notebooks, and then lists some of the things he doesn't relaly like about his organizational method and its use.
Chris is asking for real-world feedback here. If you're a user of OneNote, take the time to describe for him and his readers - via a comment on his blog entry - how you use the program in your daily life. He wants to hear from others, so this is your chance!
Tuesday, 04 May 2004
And the list of nifty OneNote SP1 Pre-Release information (and the coolness factor) just keeps on growing…
Andrew May, of the OneNote dev team, today posts a pre-release article that will be published in its final form whenever the final version of OneNote SP1 is released. I’ve started playing with some one the command line switches described in the article.
Whether or not OneNote is running at the time, you can use the command line switches to start up some type of OneNote functionality. Whether it’s starting or joining a shared, network-based note-taking session, opening a OneNote page and automatically starting to record video or audio (or passing a command to stop a recording in progress), importing content, or any one of several other functions, the new ability to script and remote start OneNote in a variety of ways is something that many will find useful and powerful.
Already a few ideas are running around in my little head – Shared note-taking sessions that are always available, programmatically starting new sessions or creating new notebooks and pages based on variable input from any one of a number of sources… Custom name the notebook and session, start sharing it, import content from some source or the clipboard, and start collaborating... The sky’s the limit!
By the way: If you're a developer or technical implementer of OneNote, Andrew May's blog is a required read. Great stuff there. If you're an IT decision maker, don't miss Chris Pratley's blog. Read and learn.
Monday, 26 April 2004
The other day I was trying to get a OneNote blog post to work, and had some problematic results. True to OneNote team style, Peter Baer with Microsoft emailed me directly and asked me to send him the .one file that was causing problems. So, I did and he wrote back (quoted with permission):
“I can repro the bug as well, using your file. I’ll look into it – great bug, I don’t think we've seen this before.”
“Great bug.” Now, there's something you don't hear too often. But if you think about it, a bug is either a lump of coal or a nugget of gold, and it's all in the approach. I like the gold approach, myself.
I also inquired about whether there was an ability to control whether or not OneNote does text-to-graphic conversion - sort of a way to tell OneNote not to convert no matter what. I pointed out to Peter that I had seen different results publishing from OneNote to email vs. doing a copy-paste from OneNote. Peter's reply was interesting, and sheds some light on the way OneNote deals with HTML content:
“As to your question: no, you can’t control it directly, but we do produce different HTML when copying to the clipboard vs. publishing to an MHTML file or email. The in the 'publish' case, we attempt to preserve the original 2D layout as much as possible – hence the possible conversion of text to graphics, absolute positioning of divs, etc. In the 'clipboard' case, because our main target destination apps are traditional word processors, we produce serialized content – mostly out of simplicity, since we don’t know just how the user will want to repurpose the data (and if the user really wants WYSIWYG fidelity, she can insert it as a picture). So in that case, all text (including recognized ink) really will appear as text.”
That makes good sense, and the fact that Peter took the time to interact was really very cool. OneNote has quickly become a powerful and useful application that seems to care about its users just as much as its users care about it.
All this brings me to my real point: I have recently come to realize that the OneNote application itself is my second-favorite thing about OneNote.
The OneNote team at Microsoft is my first. I've learned more from meeting smart people at conferences, reading truly interesting blogs and using their application than from any other Microsoft program.
Sunday, 25 April 2004
One of the other new things in OneNote SP1 Preview is added funcionality that allows programmers to build connectors that will import content into OneNote from other applications. Andrew May has a couple of entries on his blog that provide an early look at using the new Type Library:
“The new OneNote 1.1 Type Library includes functionality which enables you to programmatically import images, ink, and HTML into OneNote.”
Andrew also posted the OneNote Simple Import XML Schema.
Chris Pratley outlines a few ideas about what kids of power-toys for OneNote might be interesting to see some day, and offers to collect real, practical ideas from users and developers about what we think the OneNote dev team should build into the product:
“We're also interested in hearing details of any kind of extensibility you would actually use if we were to add it. The details are important - we plan to add extensibility only to support real scenarios, not just allow anything to be extended.”
SideNote: It's great to see this kind of two-way communication in the blogosphere. Thanks to Chris and the OneNote team for watching the user community and soliciting input!
Saturday, 24 April 2004
First Glance at the OneNote SP1 Preview
Saturday, April 24, 2004
So, I figured I'd just jump in and take a first look at the new OneNote SP1 Preview and see what stands out. So far, a lot. Too much to play with this morning, and some of it I'll need to try at work with the team.
The above image was clipped directly into OneNote using the new "Capture Screen Clipping" tool, which lets you activate the function, and then use the pen or mouse to drag a rectangle around what you want captured. The clip is saved to the memory clipboard and/or to a SideNote (your choice).
Sharing with Others:
This is a big improvement area, and I think it will be a popular item in the future where I work. The previous OneNote email capabilities appear to be improved, as are the SharePoint capabilities, and newly added in this preview release are Shared Sessions - live note-taking sessions on the network between multiple participants. Password protect the sessions if necessary, and share the OneNote sections relevant to your need. Chris Pratley described it well in a web log entry he made describing the new preview release: See http://weblogs.asp.net/chris_pratley/archive/2004/04/20/117053.aspx
Audio and Video recording:
Support for webcams is added (uses WinMedia 8 and 9 codecs configured for typical PocketPC optimization, but you can tweak that, too). Found some weird behavior in the video player interface, but hey, it's complicated and this is a preview release. But at least people who care can see my cat (see below for the video file).
Video recording started: 11:49 AM Saturday, April 24, 2004
Integration with Other Devices/Apps:
Ability to create appointments, contacts and tasks are in the Tool menu, and PocketPC integration is there, as well - You can copy your notes manually or automatically from your PocketPC device.
Odd behavior and bugs don't get listed here (since I am reporting those anyhow elsewhere), but rather the few things I can think of that I don't see in the program just yet. In fact, for now I can only think of one glaring thing. Hyperlinks.
It appears there is still not an option to insert a hyperlink on one or more words of text (which you can do in other office apps, so was hoping to see that here in the service pack). This image is from Microsoft Word:
Screen clipping taken [from Microsoft Word]: 4/24/2004, 10:38 AM
You know - highlight a block of text, right click, choose "Hyperlink" from the menu and from their either add or edit the hyperlink associated with the text block. Link to a web page, or whatever. Maybe there is something about OneNote that makes this difficult to do, or maybe it's there and I just can't find it. But I have definitely tried!
Very cool. OneNote is already a great example of smart product building by a clearly talented team. It's a power-productivity tool, is able to be used by a wide variety of end users for an equally wide variety of purposes. The SP1 preview has addressed not only the top problems in the initial 1.0 release, it's added the low-hanging-fruit functionality that a) people are asking for and b) the product team could realistically deliver in the context of the service pack.
It's pretty nice. Will be interesting to see what the blog entry looks like.
Created with Microsoft Office OneNote 2003 (SP1 Preview)
One place for all your notes
Download: First Glance at the OneNote SP1 12.one
Download: Side Notes - First Glance at the OneNote SP1 Preview.WMV
EDIT/UPDATE: After originally posting this, I was able to work around and resolve the problem. By reducing the formatting being done both in OneNote and Word/Outlook during HTML conversion, I was able to get a relatively normal blog entry to work the way I expected. It is posted here.
Before I get too far into this, let me say that the OneNote Service Pack 1 Preview is, for al intents and purposes, awesome. Keep in mind I am trying to do something with OneNote (specifically blogging) that it was not really built to do. Plus, it’s a preview release, so no one can expect perfection.
Anyhow - OneNote SP1 Preview didn’t quite format my test blog entry in a way I was hoping, so I need to play with it and see what’s up. I’ve tried two posts, and the first one was definitely the worst of the two, but the second one was only somewhat better. Unfortunately, for some reason OneNote decides on its own to convert text into graphics. Not so good:
Second try resulted in a smaller mess, but still not workable At least most (but not all) of the typed text was formatted as text in the second try. In the first one, 95% of the text was converted to a graphical format:
So, time to figure out how to change the behavior!
It's been a busy couple of weeks, so I'm late in publishing this one, but Microsoft released the OneNote SP1 Preview earlier this week. LOTS of new fixes and enhancements, too much to go into in this post, but will say more shortly. Chris Pratley (OneNote Group Program Manager at Microsoft) made a post on the release date that explains a lot, though. Better Sharepoint integration, big improvements in shared notebooks, and fixes for all of the top 25 issues from the 1.0 release are just some of the things that have changed - and there's more. Go read about it!
Can't wait to try a blog post from the new version...
Friday, 26 March 2004
I have a real dilemma - the need for something now that doesn't quite exist. Nothing is more frustrating than being almost able to do what you need.
My company did an early adoption of OneNote and that vast majority of the Office System 2003 to include SharePoint, about which I have written here before. OneNote is a terrific, free-form note-taking program. Groundbreaking in terms of its combined application simplicity and ability to map to the complexity of an individual mind and organizational style. On top of that, it's designed in a way that lets people share their own individual notes and thoughts with others, and while everyone takes notes differently, it allows you to use the information others provide to you pretty easily and quickly.
Sidebar: I now take most all my notes electronically. I used to take 90% of my notes on paper, now its the other way around.
The headline mentions OneNote, SharePoint and Wikis. People who know all three pieces of software might be confused as to why I am thinking about them together. There's a reason for that. I have a request on my list (and have been looking into it for a few weeks now) to try to find a way to support what Wikis do so well on the SharePoint platform. I think we can get 90% of the way there, but that last 10% of missing functionality is a killer.
We run a software development company, and wikis are a great way to do free-form note-taking and documentation of necessary information: Where is the server farm on the network? Where is the build server? Who do I contact about the virtual machines? What are the latest notes from each of the ten developers on any given aspect of the current version? Wiki software solves this need, simply and gracefully. It allows you to collect information in a free-form mode like you might in OneNote, and to do so in a truly collaborative and shared way like you might do certain things on SharePoint. The only real “issue” (I hate that word) that I have with the Wiki is that its a separate tool, a completely separate system, and not integrated into the other technologies we're using at work today. That's not a completely bad thing, by the way, and use of our Wiki system is not something that we can or would even think about stopping, but when we have competing or overlapping technologies, I need to figure a way to try to make things work together, or to change what we have in order to provide and maintain all the necessary functionality.
I can't quite do what we need today, but here are the basic options:
- Use OneNote as the information collection and storage mechanism and require everyone to run OneNote in order to have access to the information. Share OneNote notebook (.one) files on a SharePoint server and turn the file-locking time down to one minute and hope that works for people who need to enter information at the same time. Not a viable option right now. I need something browser-based that can be accessed from any computer on the network, and which is truly multi-concurrent-user.
- Use SharePoint lists to try to replicate what the Wiki software does. I could probably make this happen, but the usability aspect of things would become a problem. I can't ask people to take a leap back in terms of the ease of sharing information in free-form, cross-linked, and all the other stuff the Wiki provides. Tried it, and in some cases it's acceptable, but in most cases it's (again) about 90% there.
- Change nothing, and have disparate information system with redundant information, which makes it hard for people to use them effectively. Most people will choose to use one or the other, but not both, for any given purpose. All users will not choose the same way, and sharing of information breaks down again becasue Group-A users Tool-Number-One and Group-B uses Tool-Number-Two to perform the same tasks and record the same types of information. Information becomes less cohesive, more fragmented, less usable.
Not really the options I am looking for there, but that's about what the situation looks like today. Now, nothing is really broken right now - we have systems and software that does what we want it to do. But integrating some of the functionality and making things a little more tightly built would not hurt anyone's feelings.
So, what do I want? Well, in a dream world:
- Change OneNote to output/read/use/consume/generate a standards-based file format so that it that can be used as a front end to any one of a number of systems. Let me do my thinking, writing and organizing in OneNote (which it's great at), and then let me publish it to anywhere I like, as a standards-based file set (it's not so good at this yet). In other words, don't break what you have now, but give me the additional abilities to “talk” in a standard XML format to web services, in clean HTML markup to some other system. Expose the API, and let me publish from OneNote directly to my Blog, to a SharePoint site/list/library, to the Wiki, etc.
- Build true Wiki functionality on top of/into SharePoint 2003 (Note: this version, not the next one). Yes, I know we could probably do this on our own if we put enough time and effort into it, and if it comes down to it, I may take a look at that possibility, but given my staffing situation I'd rather see someone else do it and then have them provide me the ability to adapt it the way I see fit. I certainly didn't write OneNote, SharePoint or our Wiki software (although our developer would have loved to change things at times), and I am not looking to build something from the ground up - I just want to be able to customize whatever solution comes up in order to meet our needs.
Anyhow, that's my wish list for at least a couple pieces of software that we already use today - Software that already meets needs, but which could be even better if the integration points were tighter. Office System 2003 did a great job of pulling a whole slew of different applications and servers together into one cohesive working unit, and I think my ideas are just an extension of that same model of design. I also believe they are in no way original ideas - Only our application of them would/might be original.
Friday, 06 February 2004
In an earlier post, I manually attached a linked OneNote audio recording to the OneNote HTML email, which was then sent to my mail server in order to auto-generate a blog entry. I had to manually attach the audio file, because (I assumed) OneNote would not do it. (I've been playing more and more with OneNote's sharing capabilities both on the SharePoint platform and by leveraging the emails it can create, for Blogging or otherwise...)
I was wrong in my assumption: While it's true that the out-of-the-box settings don't attach a linked audio file, you can turn that ability on in one of two places - either in OneNote's Options/E-mail section, or you can use Windows Group Policy to set it for an entire organization (along with literally hundreds of other common settings).
To do this via group policy, you just enable the policy, and then activate the setting. Once you do this, the policy is propagated to all clients on the domain to which that policy applies:
If you don't have group policy (or if you have it but just don't use it - in which case see below), you can go to the OneNote Options dialog, choose the E-mail section and just check the appropriate box.
SideNote (pun intended): Practically ALL of OneNote's options can be controlled though group policy, along with a huge number of settings for the rest of the Office 2003 System family of applications - not to mention Windows domain policies. If you are running Group Policy and Office 2003, you need to take advantage of this - it makes things consistent and fast, two things IT groups love and need. Remember - group policies are not just for operating system settings - they are also available for a number of other applications.
Tuesday, 03 February 2004
I added a link to Chris Pratley in my blogroll, because his is one blog I find myself re-reading recently. Chris is Group Program Manager for Office Authoring Services, and is one of the main forces (among several I am sure) behind OneNote. Microsoft employees have started public blogging like mad recently, and Chris is one of the new additions - thank goodness! It's great to see program managers and other non-programmers blogging now (not to discount the developers - that's great too!).
Side note: It was a discussion on Chris' blog and similar discussions elsewhere concerning OneNote and blogging that made me realize you can blog from OneNote, if you want to. So, I figured I would just try it and see - and it worked for the most part. And now it seems to be catching on a little bit - which is kinda cool. While it's far from a complete list due to Google lag, it will be interesting to see if the results of this search change much over time (assumes people will leave the OneNote footer in there of course). Already several bloggers have started using OneNote to post blog messages, and hopefully some of them will make the Google index eventually.
Now, for what it's worth, this is far from perfect, and may not even fit the semi-purists definition of “good.“ And I know DonXML and Phillip Rieck would call it a “kludge” (and would be absolutely correct in saying so), but still, it's a valid “coolio” option for some. My vote is to open up OneNote's publishing features to include true XML output capability, as well as a cleaner email format - and do it in a way that would enable the code purists as well as the multimedia people to do their respective things. Maybe even a plug-in sort of capability? And when I say publish, I mean publish text and images to the blog, put the .wma audio files on the Windows Media server with the matching .asx file on the web server, ship it to the Wiki, and on the SharePoint server, and on and on... I have a specific list of what I mean, feature-functionality-wise, and sometime soon I might just need to put that onto paper.
Er, I mean into Ink.
Monday, 02 February 2004
Monday, February 02, 2004
Audio recording started: 11:21 PM Monday, February 02, 2004
Created with Microsoft Office OneNote 2003
One place for all your notes
Download: Blogging One note and Audio.one
Download: Blogging One note and audio.WMA
Note: Seems to work - added the windows media file as a second email attachment, and dasBlog seems to handle posting that just fine - so now I know from actual experience that more than one attachment definitely works for the MailToWeblog functionality in dasBlog. :)
Oh - and I think I have just reached a new plane of geek existence - recording the same lame thing I type, and them posting it as an audio recording to the web - heheheh... /me is sooo lame.
Well, as mentioned earlier, was having some problems getting blogged .one files to work, and guessed it might be a MIME type issue. Turns out that was the case, so it was a simple fix, and now any blog entry made with OneNote will include the attached original .one file on the blog entry, so people can load the original file in OneNote if they like. COOL!
It just took Allen, my friendly neighborhood web hosting provider (I recommend them highly and the price, my friends, is right), to patiently point me in the right direction as far as setting up the new MIME type (turns out I was able to do it myself, and for the record it's “.one” mapped to “OneNote” in IIS).
Saturday, 31 January 2004
Very Interesting - more on OneNote blogging trials
Saturday, January 31, 2004
So, this is cool - it basically works. I do see that the .one file is not properly attached, and unfortunately I can't figure a way for OneNote to make a selection of text hyperlinked. Instead it just lets you paste the link in (which it then links correctly: http://www.greghughes.net/rant/default.aspx).
So I guess I should try to paste an image in, see what that looks like. After all, if you're gonna blog from OneNote, might as well take it to the next level, eh?
(I should probably leave here soon, since Tim's waiting for me in Seattle, hahahah… Nah, blogging is more important… :) )
Handwriting too eh? NIFTY!
So - for those of you wishing you could blog from OneNote - You can!
More to come later - need to try voice recordings/annotations, make the .one files actually work (probably a dasBlog or a server MIME type change, I would guess), and figure out how to hyperlink text somehow. Oh and see how things like highlighting text and stuff comes out.
Created with Microsoft Office OneNote 2003
One place for all your notes
Download: Very Interesting - more one OneN.one
Blog entry directly from OneNote
Saturday, January 31, 2004
So, I have seen a number of people wishing in various blog comments here and there that they could create blog entries directly from OneNote. So, I am trying that here, not knowing whether it will actually work or not. :)
In theory, it should: I am typing this in OneNote (will have to try handwriting next if this works), and I'll do just as I have in the past as far as posting directly from the TabletPC using inked content: I’ll use OneNote's Outlook 2003 integration to convert automatically to HTML and send a properly-formatted to the dasBlog software on my server.
Will be interesting to see what happens!
Edit: Some inspiration here. :)
Created with Microsoft Office OneNote 2003
One place for all your notes
Download: Blog entry directly from OneNote.one
© Copyright 2006 Greg Hughes
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License
This page was rendered at Saturday, 09 December 2006 15:25:09 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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