OneNote Part2


    This is the second article in a series about the usefulness of Microsoft’s excellent OneNote software. In this article, we discuss using OneNote as a companion tool in our main business of developing custom software and designing websites and web services.

    As software developers, we are using a variety of languages(VB.Net, C#, Java, Ruby, SQL, PHP, etc.), as appropriate with any given project. Yes, we have code libraries, but it is not always east to identify and extract the exact code in the language needed at the time. We also develop for clients lots of web services, and web sites that rely heavily on database interfaces. So we have lots of database designs and routines already developed and ready to be applied. We have found that OneNote offers the categorization, segmentation and retrieval capabilities we need to give all of our developers access to a common set of tested, well-developed and bulletproof code. In addition to the code, OneNote permits a ‘mixed’ media of code, comments, notes, and implementation narrative and suggestions and anomalies – all searchable through the various formats and categories of information types.

    If you’ve been around as long as we have (20+ years) you find that many of the tasks you do for clients have a common thread. Sometimes, you develop a routine, or process for one client, and then several years later another has a similar need. Sometimes, these procedures are complicated, and you don’t want to have to re-develop a product you’ve already sweated over. And, after the first 20 clients or so, you find that it’s difficult to remember where or for whom you already developed that process. That’s where the OneNote software library comes in.

    Using key works, phrases, and language searches, we find that we can easily identify legacy code that’s been debugged and proven successful – and apply it to the current project. Sometimes, we enhance or revise the code slightly to accommodate the new application. This is certainly a very efficient way to leverage our expertise and deliver excellent custom software products to our clients that are guaranteed to last for the life of the project.

    To save space, we won’t reproduce pages of code here. But the concept is simple enough to visualize: each code entity is prefixed with tags, and a description of its purpose, use, and interfaces. We discuss revisions, and the application and client for which it was employed. These factors make the code easily findable in the many pages in our code notebook. The code is tagged with its language, and comments for expansion and modification, and a revision history.

    Here’s another use for OneNote. We are not fanatics on the subject, but do keep a garden and a lawn. One of the things that made us unsuccessful as we could have been in the past is that we always seemed to miss the window of opportunity to do something in the planting/growing cycle. So I made this BIG Calendar, and slightly modify it each year. On Jan1, I make Outlook tasks for appropriate dates (takes 1/2 hour) for the year. You’ll notice that the list has grown somewhat from its original intent, but the functionality lends itself to be helpful for other seasonal things in addition to planting, weeding, etc.

    My gardening center has this quirky gimmick: when you buy something, you get a 10% coupon that can be only used two months in the future. That degree of organization of my personal life made me seethe. The I developed this calendar to exploit those coupons. I figure that this OneNote system saves me about $100 a year, because I am able to use those coupons. When I get the coupons, they go on the fridge with a magnet. The plan for these redemptions is baked into my system.


    Schedule Big Calendar things in Outlook

    Buy Scott I

    Buy Grass Seed


    March 1st week

    Seed Grass

    April 2nd week

    Put down Scott I

    Spring Feed

    April 3rd wee

    Dandelion weed-b-Gone

    Small leaf Weed-b-gone

    Buy Scott 2

    Snow blower to service

    May 1st week

    Plants outside

    Buy Tomato plants, Basil, etc.


    Put down Scott II

    Buy Scott III

    Summer Feed

    Transplant tomatoes, lay watering hose drips


    Chris Inspect car


    Put Down Scott III

    Buy Grass Seed


    Sept 4th week

    Change heat, A/C filters

    Plants inside

    Change batteries shore and home

    Turn off shower at shore

    Oct 1st week

    Put down grass seed

    Buy Scott IV

    Take up watering drip

    Prepare beds for winter

    Nov 1st week

    Sharpen cutlery

    Lawnmower to service

    Have pianos tuned

    Dec 1st week

    Put down Scott IV, lime

    Flush gutters

    Oh. One other thing. This entire article was written on the way to a client meeting in NY on the train. I emailed it from my Blackberry, sucked it into OneNote and corrected spelling, etc. Then I pasted it to WordPress, and imported the picture.


    Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

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2 Responses to “OneNote Part2”

  1. Hi there

    I am not sure if you saw that I linked to your first post on http://www.iheartonenote.com. Would you be willing to reblog this post on the site?



  2. Sure!

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