Online Nomad-ity and Onenote
> Some thoughts about Microsoft's latest moves.
You know what, I see the big deal. But I don't think it’s Oneone itself - at least not the stage it is now. The potential is in the new thinking behind it: Microsoft is finally growing up. Like a little boy screaming “me too!” and turning into adult, Microsoft finally understands the world doesn’t work the way it wishes it would.
As a Chromebook-Android user, there’s very little (if at all) Onenote can do that I can’t get somewhere else. People compare Onenote to Evernote left and right, because Evernote is to note taking what Apple is to computers and what Facebook is to social media. There’s one issue though: Microsoft isn't trying to sell us Onenote, it’s trying to sell Office, with Onenote as an incentive. In other words, Onenote is meant to be the gateway to lead people into Microsoft Office. And you know what, with the new “play nice” mindset, they might succeed. With other people, anyway.
The program was obviously meant to be used as the full-version in Office, Mac or PC. I didn't try these yet, and the fact that I have to in order to appreciate Onenote completely already tells me I shouldn’t. For now, the Android version seems to be more capable (or at least more optimized) than the web version. The requirements to capture ideas quickly are there: one click on a widget and you can record audio, snap a picture, or type something. These feature exist in any respectable note-taking app today, and do not stand out in any way. As a matter of fact, I’m thinking Google Keep is probably better suited for a Google-synced person, such as myself.
While Onenote should be great for formatting notes (back in college, it was my favorite note taking app for this reason), none of these features exist on the Android or the web version. Again, I understand that the point is to download the program to a Windows PC or Mac and use it there, but I use my Windows computer as a backup computer, and I’m not going to change that anytime soon. It seems many people favor OneNote going the Android and web way due to nostalgia and hope, not so much current facts.
Time for a little metaphor.
Six years ago, I moved to the city and gave up my car. I never looked back. Even though I visit relatives and friends in the suburbs (and other states), I don't feel the need to own a car again. I remember how to drive, I can rent a car if I really have to, but the concept of owning one to get around is complicated and expensive. I understand what owning a car means for many people: their job, driving their kids to school, hanging out with friends. Owning a car is not a bad idea, but it’s a different lifestyle, one I left in the past, where I think it belongs.
I can't talk for people who depend on their Windows or Apple products, but that’s just it. I’m not a frequent visitor of the cloud, one that visits to check my Facebook feed and send a couple of emails. I’m a permanent resident. The idea of being tied down to a certain device or platform is restricting to me by principle. I use many Google products, but I do so just because they offer (in my opinion) the best cloud tools for my line of work, which is mostly writing. I use Evernote for what I believe they do best (organizing ideas), dropbox for what they do best (storing files), and Photoshop once a month for more complicated image manipulations. The concept of being tied down to one anything doesn’t make sense to me.
Back to Onenote. As a person on the go, one that captures ideas everywhere and all the time (which means no data connection at times, resorting to sticky notes, napkins, or the palm of my hand), it doesn't work for me. Anything that ties me back to my computers or phone specifically is fighting a very hard battle for my productivity.
I welcome Microsoft back into the real world. I think giving Onenote for free as a gateway to office is a great concept (capture ideas first, mold them into Office documents later). Further, their decision to finally reach out to Apple users and allow them to use Office products is not only a mature decision (Microsoft has been suffering from lack of maturity for a long time, if you ask me), it’s a vital business decision. I hope to see more innovation from them.