I promised I’d write a post with more details on key technology that I thought you could leverage within the MSIM program. Well, it took me a little bit longer than what I thought it would and this post isn’t as refined as I would like it to be… but here is (please forgive me if there are some grammatical errors here… I used Macspeech Dictate to write this post). Enjoy!
MICROSOFT OFFICE ONENOTE
Microsoft office OneNote is a fantastic application that is part of the office suite of applications. OneNote really is a note taking tool it was designed to be either used with your traditional keyboard and mouse input or used with the applet type application where you can draw and scribble notes like you would on a white board or piece of paper. OneNote has some key features that I love and use them everyday work. In no particular order here are my favorite features:
1. Audio Recording: Microsoft OneNote allows you to record audio through your laptops built in microphone. This in and of itself is not a real compelling feature, what makes it compelling is that as you’re recording audio and typing at the same time OneNote is indexing the audio synchronized to the notes that your typing at the time. So what that means is that if you were to go back later on after you’re done recording your audio and taking notes and you had a question about some note that you took the word very detailed with what you type you could hover your mouse over that particular word and it would pull up audio controls (meaning play, pause, stop etc.) and allow you to click play in the audio would start just a few seconds prior to when you type that word in your notes. It’s difficult to describe here in words so I’ve included a link to a YouTube video that describes what I’m saying.
o General Feature overview including search: http://bit.ly/doCnl9
o Audio Recording Linked to your Notes: http://bit.ly/bKQjWm
o Terrible Video but if you jump to 2:10 you can see the audio being played back the text note that was taken at that time in the recording: http://bit.ly/a9WuNS
2. Search: Microsoft office OneNote has a fantastic search feature that allows you to search text throughout all your notebooks tabs and pages. In addition to searching the text that you typed in OneNote the searches you perform will also search for text in any screenshots that he pasted in as well as, if you have the option turned on, words in any audio recording that you have recorded.
3. Collaboration: This is a great feature when you’re on the same network. OneNote allows you to share a notebook or a particular page of a notebook with colleagues on the same network. When you’re sharing you can see near real-time updates as both you and your colleagues are simultaneously entering text into one document (actually inserting anything including drawings and images). This is another feature that somewhat hard to describe in words but the link listed above as general feature overview describes this well with video.
Evernote is another great note taking tool. It’s not nearly as robust as Microsoft one note but it’s an Internet connected platform or the storage for your notes is actually in the cloud. What this means is that the notes that you take with Evernote will be accessible to you via your mobile device, your work computer, your home computer, and pretty much anywhere else you’ll need to get access to notes. It also has a fantastic search feature the searches are actually performed on the server on your local client laptop or desktop. The benefit of this is that Evernote has some serious software running in the background that can convert handwritten notes and pictures of things like business cards into searchable text. It also works really really well. Evernote has a free version that is very usable for your everyday note taking needs they also have a paid version that is more robust and give you more CPU cycles more quickly to perform the algorithms that convert those handwritten notes into searchable text than the free user. Evernote also has some pretty useful extensions for all the major Internet browsers that actually allows you to clip text and images from a webpage directly into Evernote and make all that searchable.
Skype is an application that allows you to share your desktop between two users, do videoconferencing, or make voice over IP phone calls over the Internet. My wife and I were the first ones to use this in the MSIM program, calling into the classroom through one of our classmate’s laptops to listen and lecture while we are out-of-state attending a wedding. At that time Skype didn’t have some of the features that it has today that would be very useful in the MSIM program. The first feature that I wish they had was desktop sharing using Skype today you can call another user over the Skype network and allow them to see your desktop or for you to see and control their desktop. The second feature I wish they had is one that I haven’t yet used with Skype but just came out as part of Skype Beta, and that feature is group video chat. This feature allows a number of users to do videoconferencing at once, so you’d be able to see your two other colleagues and they would be able to see you all at once (currently videoconferencing is only enabled in the stable version of Skype on a one-to-one basis).
Google wave is super hard to describe so other than saying that it’s a great tool for real-time collaboration amongst team members on a point at the following link:
Google Docs is another great application for individual document creation, document management, document storage, and team document collaboration. I think Google docs can be used for MSIM students to collaborate on really any document type that is supported by Google docs (text documents, presentations, spreadsheets etc.). We didn’t have Google docs when we look to the program instead we used some free wiki ca
pability to collaborate on our papers and joint assignments for the program. However, if I were going to the program today I think this would be my key application that I would use for collaborating with my teammates on documents.
MindMeister is a tool for mind mapping or interactive brainstorming. There’s a pretty decent free version that MindMeister offers on their website.
DimDim is another tool that allows you desktop sharing. They have a free version of the tool that works with up to 20 users or so simultaneously.
Dropbox is online file storage in the cloud. Dropbox would be useful for storing both personal documents that you use throughout the program as well as any file that you want to share with your teammates over the course of the program. This is because Dropbox allows you to create folders right on your desktop for any file type and store those files both locally and in the cloud. All of these files are backed up and revisions are kept so you can rollback to a previous version if you need to. Once your files are placed in the Dropbox folder you can then control access to who can read or edit those files. Dropbox currently offers 2 GB of storage for free. You also get an additional 250mb of storage for each person that you refer that joins dropbox… and just as full disclosure that’s what I’ve done with the link up above.