My New Life with Microsoft OneNote

I know I am a late comer to Microsoft OneNote, and I can not say what has taken me so long.  Regardless, I do use it everyday now and wish I could also use on my Macbook Pro, iPhone & iPad.  But alas, no.


So I focus on my work life, since it is Windows based.  I keep all of my "Notebooks" on a network drive so that no matter which Windows computer I use, I have access to all my Notebooks.  And since it keeps a local copy, even if I have no network, I can still use.  And to be a little meta, I am writing this blog post in OneNote.   Integrate Windows Live Writer and it would be just that much better.

For work and business purposes, note taking during meetings is taken to a new level.  The ability to Tag enhances my workflow so much, I wonder how I lived without it.



It is very well integrated with Microsoft Office, especially Outlook.  It allows inserting and attaching supporting documents, pictures, audio, video, screen captures, etc… with each note.  You can also share the notebooks via SharePoint for collaboration purposes. 


My current "Notebooks" are Meetings, Personal, Projects, Conventions, Acquisitions, and HRIS.  I can drag and drop stuff from one Notebook to another.  Link items between them and add shortcuts.


As stated earlier, there is no real multi-platform analog that I have found.  Evernote is what comes to mind for most people, and is similar in many ways and is very workable. 



I use it, and I know people who rely on it as much as I rely on OneNote.  My perspective of Evernote is more a repository of miscellaneous stuff, pdfs, scans, receipts, etc… more a way to organize a junk pile than a productivity powerhouse.  I can only pray somehow Evernote will become OneNote compatible.  Not sure if Microsoft will allow such a thing, but the ability to use Evernote on my iPhone and have the info show up in OneNote could be a great solution.  Evernote does allow for a OneNote2007 import, but I am using 2010 and would miss to many of the OneNote features to use Evernote exclusively.  Maybe I will give it a try just to see…


Stay tuned for possible follow-up.

Fun With Installing Windows 7

received my two boxes of Windows 7 Professional Upgrade on Thursday October 22, 2009 as Amazon promised they would.

My first install would be on my MacBook Pro.  I first tried upgrading from Win7RC 64-but to Win7 64-bit Uon my Macbook Pro in Bootcamp.  It would not work for me, as I kept getting an error stating it “could not create the installation folder”.  I had an additional 27GB in the partition, so this could not be due to a space issue.  I even tried another Win7 Upgrade disk in case there was an error on the DVD.  Same result.

So I went into OSX (Snow Leopard) and used the Bootcamp Utility to delete the Windows partition and re-create a new one and go through the clean install process. I was not sure I could use the upgrade DVD on a clean install, but went for it anyway.

I used the “Custom Option” process and formatted the partition and installed. After most of the install process, a couple of reboots, I finally got to the “Type your Windows product key” screen and it kept telling me the product key was invalid.  I tried it a dozen times, even changing a B to an 8 to see if that was the issue.  No luck.

Had to call Microsoft.  First Rep could not give me a case# so I had to call back and get another Rep. who validated that my Key is good, gave me a case number and transfered me to an install technician in India with a strong accent.  Could barely understand her.  Gave her my case number and we went through the same thing as the first rep (what is the case number for if not to tell the technician what the issue is and what has been done by the first rep?).  She activated the key on her end(?), told me to delete the key and move on with the installation without adding a key.  The install process continued & completed.  Inserted my OSX Snow Leopard CD and installed Bootcamp Drivers.  Rebooted, activated and all is well.

So in my case, you could install an upgrade version of Windows 7 on a clean partition without installing Vista first.

Why I am Leaving Symantec for Good

My story with Symantec’s Norton began a few months ago when I upgraded a number of my computers to Windows 7.  Symantec released a beta version for Windows 7, but they would only give you a trial version that lasted 1 – 2 weeks.  Did not understand a trial version of a beta that would only last a short time.  So I went elsewhere and ended up using the new Microsoft free security product on Windows 7.
This left me with only 1 computer needing Norton 360 which is a VM of Windows XP on my Macbook Pro.  I have recently updated from a Macbook to a Macbook Pro, but just copied the XP virtual machine over.
So here I am with a product that I can use on 3 computers but am using on only one, and which I have 60 days of subscription left.
So last night I boot up the XP VM and Norton tells me it needs to update, so I update, then it wants to reboot, so I reboot, and guess what?  The Norton is de-activated and shuts off my internet security.  I try to re-activate and it tells me I can not, that I have exceeded my usage of the Product Key.
So now I must deal with Norton support to get my internet security back working.  I did this via online chat and even when I told the rep what the issue was, he wanted to remote in to my computer to fix.  Why they need to remote into my computer when the Product Key is not working is beyond my understanding.
From what I can tell, they ultimately just reset the Key to work.  But to just let me get screwed a little, they only activated it for another 50 days.
When the 50 days are up, goodbye for good Norton, hello Microsoft.

How I work in a Multi-OS World

In my computing life, I am OS agnostic with a lean towards OS X. But I work on XP computers (desktop & laptop) at work, I have a Macbook running OS X 10.5, Windows Vista via Bootcamp, Windows XP, Windows 7 & Ubuntu via VMFusion. At home I have a Vista box, a iMac running Os X 10.4, MacMini runing OS X 10.5, and EEEBox running Ubuntu. And finally, I have an iPhone. 

So how does one keep organized in such an environment? I want to simplify my computing as much as possible, so I have been working on this for years. Luckily, I am not the only one with this problem, as solutions have become available to fill this need. Here is a list of what I use and how I use it. 

Passwords: Password syncing can be difficult. I have three different solutions I run at the same time for different purposes. The first solution is my main Password managment system and I use the Open Source software KeePass. KeePass is available for Windows, OS X, and Linux. And to keep all of the systems in sync, the encrypted database is stored via encrypted Dropbox folder so any change at one computer, will be changed for all since they all look at the Dropbox folder for the data. The second solution is syncing passwords in Firefox via Foxmarks (now Xmarks). The third solution is with 1Password for my Macs as I store the keychain in Dropbox similar to Keepass. Yes, I know I am being reduntant here as Keepass is really all that is needed for the computers, but I use 1Password to sync to my iPhone. Still waiting for iKeePass App to show in the iTunes store. 

Favorites/Bookmarks: I use Foxmarks (Xmarks). It is available for all Firefox (as Xmarks), IE and Safari, thus works in all 3 Operating Systems. This also stores them via a website, so if I am at my parents computer or anyone elses, I still have access. Working Documents & Shared folders: I have mentioned Dropbox already regarding password database centralization. This is an ideal solution for the day to day files and anything else that may need to be moved or shared between all platforms including access via iPhone


Music and other Media: I use SugarSync for the backing up my digital media from all the platforms (including iPhone) except for Ubuntu. The ability to stream my music from SugarSync on the iPhone or purchase music from any computer and immediately have it available on all my computers is excellent. I did try JungleDisk and S3, but the syncing was slow and not reliable in OS X. It was my first solution for many of these issues, but could not keep up. Granted it was cheaper than SugarSync (only solution listed above that cost$ based upon how I am using it), but SugarSync and Dropbox are both blazing fast and reliable. I also tried MobileMe, but cancelled that mess. One word for MobileMe - CRAP. Related Posts by Me:
Cross Platform Syncing and

To Do Lists