Wednesday, September 27, 2006


Coffee Shop Denizen - Almost Gets It!

The story goes something like this...

While sitting at the local coffee shop this morning - working on some OneNote 2007 code a fellow coffee denizen at the next table asked about my computer backpack. Seems she was unable to find one that fit her tiny little white laptop which apparently will run Windows and someother cat-based os. I think it was tiger, panther, kitty cat, I'm not sure. I had not seen this tiny white laptop before so we starting into a conversation about laptops and gadgets.

To make a long story short our conversation progressed to our Pocket Pc phones and how much we used them. She explained how she really used her phone for emails and calendaring. Of course I came back with OneNote Mobile and how nice it is to be able to capture your ideas easily without requiring the laptop all the time. When I asked if she had ever used OneNote Mobile or even OneNote she promptly replied that she "did not have a tablet pc and therefore could not use it." Coffee Shop Denizen does not get it

Being the OneNote Guy that I am, I explained that there is no requirement for a tablet or handwriting to use OneNote.To be honest I only personally know about two or three individuals with tablet pcs and one of them does not use OneNote. Everyone else I know that uses OneNote does so with a laptop and a good old fashion keyboard. Surprised and amazed she took a few minutes to look over OneNote2007 on the good old laptop and after showing her pages, notebooks and sections she blurted out that OneNote 2007 appeared looked like a cool "organization" application. Coffee Shop Denizen now starts to get it!

I always wonder how it came to be that there are these misconceptions out in the wild. Maybe with a name that contains "Note" makes the application automatically register in people's mind that OneNote is a note-taking application (ok, so it is a note taking application but that is a fairly simplistic view of OneNote). Maybe it was the Tablet PC's marketing hype of handwriting recognition and OneNote that has gotten the masses convinced it is a Tablet PC application. (I wonder if those same people will think that they can not use Vista with a monitor now that Vista can do some really good text to speech!) Somehow the wrong impression seems to be the first impression. I find it is interesting that it is not just the general public that has these perceptions but educators and computer professionals alike.

It seems to me that the community and Microsoft needs to somehow change the general perception of OneNote and increase the general public awareness of OneNote. Maybe we need a 12-step program. Maybe we should have the world write on a blackboard (do those even exist anymore?) one-hundred times "OneNote works with a keyboard. OneNote is more than just a note-taking applicatoin." Maybe that is too harsh. How about a marketing campaign? That is the ticket - instead of doing a Power Toy competitiontion how about a marketing competition?

Here's my submissions:

  1. OneNote- Its not just for Tablets Anymore - And to be Honest it was Never Just for Tablets!
  2. OneNote: Where the Keyboard is as mighty as the Sword, ah... Pen
  3. OneNote: We Don't Need No Stinkin' Pen!

Let me know if you need my address to ship the prize!

Ok, maybe it is just my perception that is messed up and not the general public but it seems that you either "get" OneNote and can be considered a OneNote convert or you don't "get" OneNote and are not a OneNote convert. I don't think I have seen too many people that falls in the middle road of "getting" OneNote and not using OneNote.

Just my thoughts after a morning coffee shop conversation. I would be interested in your thoughts - do you agree there is still general misconception in the wild with OneNote? Drop a comment or send an email to

I use OneNote all the time... and I have never owned a tablet.

Actually, I think pen-input is rather unimportant to this program.
I completely understand your points, and agree with you that ON is not just a "tablet" program. However, as a med student where we get ppt handouts for every lecture, the tablet function is ESSENTIAL.

Program rocks, no doubt. I agree with you--there are converts (and most become evangelists) and then there are those that just don't understand it.
Thanks for the comments. You are correct - pen input can be important - real hard to do a freehand drawing with the mouse! I dont use a tablet but I do have a digitizer that allows me to draw. My key take away is that OneNote != Tablet PC. I think thats excellent that you are using a Tablet PC and PowerPoints for Med School. Love to hear more how you utilize OneNote.
The pen is indeed mightier than the mouse ;) so for making comments, circling the important bits in screen clippings, highlighting; having ink is great, but all it does is add more cool functionality to the paradigm change that OneNote brings to software. I guess as with most things, you have to experience it to understand and OneNote must be experienced to be appreciated.
I use onenote all the time at work. Its great for quickly finding info that you wrote lord-knows-how-long-ago. However - I have one of those small white laptops with the cat-based OS. What's a convert to do when M$ has forsaken me?
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