Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Microsoft OneNote = AMAZING!

For starters, let me just say that on principle I'd never call any software that Microsoft comes out with "AMAZING"...up until now.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not a Mac guy or anything - I've been a die hard Windows users since 3.0. But I think all die hard Windows users will agree that Microsoft isn't the greatest software company in the world. It might be the biggest, richest, etc., but the software they produce is less than stellar.

Windows Vista is a prime example. A day doesn't go by where I don't kick myself for not getting XP installed on my new ThinkPad. It's buggy, unstable, lacks a lot of the usability features that make Macs great, etc. etc.

However, this new version of Microsoft Office is off the hook!

Not so much for what they did with the standard set of tools (utility bar, easy document integration, etc.), but for a simple program that has changed my work life in a profound way - Microsoft OneNote.

This little baby made me toss my stacks of yellow legal pads in the garbage. It's the equivalent of a yellow legal pad on steroids.

Now I can have several note books in front of me at the same time - work, personal, brain storming, etc. And within those notebooks I can have different sections - Personal: cook books, blog posts, etc. Then within each section I can have various page that are also segmented however I want.

It's super easy to add, rearrange, and reformat whole chunks of text - you can even drag them off the page and put them into another application.

It saves as you type so you never have to worry about it crashing and losing all of your data. And unlike most Microsoft products, it runs super fast - the memory footprint is only about 4,900 K.

I use this thing for every little task, whether it be for when I'm talking to vendors and I need to keep notes, or when I'm compiling a task list for my developers...it really is very useful, usable, well designed and so "non-Microsoft" that I'm surprised that it wasn't copied off of something Apple already put out.

In fact I wouldn't even be writing this post if it weren't for the fact that it came out of camp Microsoft - if it had been an Apple product I wouldn't just chalked it up as another reason I'm thinking of jumping ship.

So score 1 for Redmond...great job guys!

Here's some advice for Bomber (Balmer):

I'd go so far as to argue that they completely replace Notepad with this product. Notepad is the same as it has been since the first version of Windows that carried it...no innovation whatsoever. Let one of your two million developers redesign the Notepad app along the same lines as this and you'll keep a few extra users around.

Then apply the same principles you put into building this application into all the others you build from here on out...it aint rocket science guys: make useful, usable products that help people work smarter...then you'll win. :)

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