Archive | March, 2014

OneNote Goes Free on the Windows Desktop

18 Mar

The jewel of the Microsoft Office suite in my opinion is OneNote. Microsoft have just released their first version of OneNote for the Macintosh as a free download. I wonder why this version took so long considering that OneNote has been available on Android, iOS, Windows RT and of course Windows Phone and Windows desktop versions for quite a while now. I guess devices with a sub 10% market share are not worth developing for as a priority…

The one thing all versions aside from the Windows Desktop SKU have in common is that they are all free. To rectify this Microsoft has now also released a free version of OneNote for the Windows desktop, but it’s not all good news.

My recent ramblings around Office 365 all really hinge on the fact that OneNote 2013 is better under touch than earlier desktop versions.

Not only is OneNote by far the application I use most often in the office suite, but it’s also the application I use most with touch, preferring traditional input methods (i.e. mouse and keyboard) most of the time for everything else. Essentially the thing pushing me towards Office 365 was the new version of OneNote, but now that’s free I’ll be backing away from the upgrade even more… right?

Well, yes and no.

The problem is the free version of OneNote has a few missing “premium” features. I’ve not been able to find a list of what these are, but have encountered one through my usage – audio note taking. Unfortunately I use this extensively in meetings, so not having this is a huge problem for me and I have found myself reverting back to the Office 2010 version I already own for meetings.

Otherwise, so far, the free version seems to do everything I need, so for non-meeting notes I’ve been using this. But it’s not a very elegant solution (running two versions) so I’m not sure how long this setup will last.

At the end of the day I think I may end up transferring everything back to OneNote 2010 and sticking with that for the near future, but I fully understand what Microsoft has done here, OneNote is a tremendous piece of software and it’s understandable they want to be paid for it.

But for most people I’d be surprised if the free version doesn’t more than meet their requirements.


I do love a good scam email…

14 Mar

I’ve just found the following email in my junk folder:

Good evening!

You have the penalties for dues.
The prove is in the attached ZIP-file.
You must revise it before May 30th 2014. Your ID: EHX/18866.
Else you’ll receive court action.

Very sincerely yours, executive of Police bureau #163.

I’m wondering if I should open the attachment to find out what I owe…

It’s pitiful, these guys aren’t even trying anymore.

Office 365 Personal

13 Mar

So Office 365 personal has just been announced for $69/year as opposed to $99/year for the current Home Premium version.

I’ve been considering subscribing since it was released, but since I have a license for Office 2010 I’ve held off, even though the touch functionality is a little better.

So is this new sku more appealing to me?

Well I reckon it will be about £20 cheaper per year at about £49 instead of the current £79, but it only allows installation to one device rather than 5.

I think I could manage with 1 install, but 2 would definitely make my life easier.

So I’m not sure.

Looks like I’m sticking to Office 2010 a little longer while I think about it.

Touchy touchy

10 Mar

Several times recently (actually, since it was released) I’ve had people ask me my opinion on Windows 8. It’s always been a case of “I like it a lot, but it’s not without its issues. Overall I prefer it to Windows 7”

It used to be the case that I would almost be told that my opinion was wrong and that Windows 8 was in actual fact a bag of balls, usually by people who had read about it but not used it for more than a few minutes in PC World (if at all).

I have started to see the negative attitudes soften recently, but the response since I’ve had my Surface has been “Well you’re using it with a touchscreen”

True, sometimes. On the train, taking notes in stand-ups, etc. but mostly I use the surface as a regular set-up with mouse, keyboard and either one or two monitors connected. This is just a natural set-up for me, especially when doing productivity work or coding.

My Work Setup

I guess I use the surface in a conventional configuration about 75% of the time (if not more) as I’m mostly using it for, or at work.

So how well does this set-up work for me?

Fine. In fact I’m impressed with some of the multi-monitor control in Windows 8.1, although less impressed with some of the scaling issues on older desktop software, but it’s an irritant rather than a deal breaker. Other than that I’m happy to have the choice between modern and desktop apps. For me modern apps work well with a mouse, and if intelligently written the layout on a large monitor is used well.

Again, I’ll say it’s not perfect, but it is as good as Windows 7 in many ways, and in others it’s better. But that’s just me, I went in not so sure but with an open mind as I like new shiny things.

Oh, and all those additional cables and extra mice in the photo – there are multiple desktop only machines under my work desk. I’m not currently using them, why would I?