Summer OneNote 2007 news round-up

It's getting hard to keep blogging about OneNote in detail now that I am no longer on the team, but I thought I would do a little round-up of some interesting developments in the last couple of months.

Onenote usage is really taking off as I talked about last post. The numbers are good of course, but I also love the anecdotes. Recently I have had the opportunity to talk in front of several large audiences internal to Microsoft and asked them if they used it significantly. Holy Smokes! More than 3/4 of the room each time. You might think that's nothing special because they're Microsoft people, but they're too busy to use products that aren't valuable to them just like everyone else. A great rush each time. It's the shape of things to come.

David Tse released his Web Exporter PowerToy. This tool allows OneNote to publish an HTML+JScript view of a notebook to a web server (including SharePoint). There are several nice things about this tool:

  • it allows casual browsers to read the notebook contents - they don't have to have OneNote
  • it automatically republishes the notebook on a schedule so it stays up to date as you (and others) update the editable OneNote version
  • it helps out a lot of OneNote fans who were concerned about being the first few people in their organization who use OneNote
  • it is released via the Microsoft Shared source program on Codeplex so you can see how it was made and use the code yourself.
  • David made it in his spare time at work - it's cool to work at Microsoft!

There are several new MS bloggers about OneNote:

  • David Tse (Program Manager on the OneNote team, mentioned above)
  • John Guin (Tester on the OneNote team)
  • Michael Oldenberg (User Assistance and documentation specialist - big OneNote fan)

Dan Escapa (another PM on the OneNote team - you really should subscribe to his feed) continues to fire out a prodigious amount of material about OneNote including these gems:

Jeff Raikes, President of the Microsoft Business Division, huge OneNote user, and also my new manager got profiled here on how he uses OneNote. You might think this is some gimmick but it's not. I'm impressed with his usage since *on his own* he has adopted just about every scenario we envisaged for the product such as taking notes (in ink!), keeping track of tasks connected with Outlook, connecting meetings in his calendar with OneNote notes, annotating files like PowerPoint slides, even sharing notebooks with his assistant. Unfortunately they couldn't show his actual data for privacy reasons in the demo because his real usage is way more detailed and impressive than the demo. The demo captures the essence though which is the point. He's probably the best most complete, effective user of the product I know. All that and he happens to run the division. I can't say he got there because of OneNote but he is showing me a thing or two about how to be organized and on top of things!

A couple of Microsoft colleagues went to a local grade school awhile back to see how they are revitalizing the classroom with computers. This school has put a lot of thought into their program. They use OneNote for every student with a shared notebook for each class. The teacher puts assignments in the notebook and the kids work on them individually or in groups, with OneNote syncing the data and a keeping it organized. They use OneNote's features for capturing web pages, keeping documents together, and drawing. What they told me was really impressive - even more than the ideas we had for OneNote in education. It made me jealous for no longer being on the team!

A big shout-out to the guys at Rob Bushway, Warner Crocker and others are big OneNote fans and keep everyone up to date on the latest news about hardware, OneNote and anything mobile - especially Tablet PCs.

I follow the comments that are posted here and any mail sent to me through the blog. I love hearing from you all - it's my daily pick-up! If you have support questions however, I highly recommend posting to the user group since the experts there can usually help better and faster than I can.

Cheers, and have a great rest of summer!