Microsoft’s OneNote is one of my favourite pieces of software, a great way for storing information, outlines and general ideas. The main drawbacks: it only worked on Windows, not Macs, though there are clients for Android, ioS and Windows Phone. And you needed Microsoft Office to get it.
Not any more. OneNote has just gone free for Windows and there’s a new Mac version out too — for free. You can get the Windows version here and the Mac one here. If you use it with an iPad or Android phone — or anything really — it’s best to set up your notebooks on Microsoft’s free Onedrive service so they’re accessible from lots of place. The Mac client doesn’t appear to work yet with OneNote notebooks stored on Office 365 seemingly — doubtless because Microsoft haven’t yet released proper document syncing for O365 on the Mac.
Have fun? Here are some pieces I’ve written about OneNote.
Last October I took a look at the new version of the Galaxy Note 10.1 Android tablet. I’d written about the first version of this thing a year before. Given that second article remains one of the best-read on the site there are clearly a lot of people looking for a digital revision solution.
The current Galaxy Note 10.1 ought to be it. The Note has a high resolution screen. It has a Wacom digitiser pen (which Samsung call the S Pen). It’s expensive and very plasticky, which I could forgive if it did the job. But it doesn’t and the reason baffles me.
Samsung have spent a fair bit of time developing pen-based software for this thing. But they — and no one else I can find — have yet to come up with some basic, business-quality pdf markup software. I spent a day with the new Note 10.1 trying the apps it came with, and the many Android pdf apps I’ve bought over the years. Then the thing went back to John Lewis for a refund. Nothing I could uncover anywhere worked properly with the Wacom stylus. The obvious routine — swipe down with a finger, scribble with a pen that understands undo and an eraser — wasn’t there.
There’s only one place you can find those features at the moment: Windows 8.1. So let’s start to take a look at the solutions. And to repeat my warning from yesterday… these will only work properly if you have a Windows laptop or tablet with an active stylus such as a Wacom. An ordinary stubby one won’t do.
As I’m sure has become clear around here over the years my working methods duck and weave with every new book. I’m currently trying the outlining-as-movie-script technique I wrote about recently.
I like it but it needs a bit refining. Having faffed around and thought a bit the process should, I feel, work in this order (for me, of course, none of this may work for you at all).
- Treatment — in other words a simple text description of what happens in each scene. Really this is a basic outline setting down place, time and an event or thread. It’s not as long as a movie treatment. It contains no detail, quite deliberately because the creative part of developing character, drama and narrative happens in…
- The script outline. Again — read here to understand what I mean by this.
- The novel draft, written out of the script outline.
- If I hope this is a working script draft, a revise of that set against the new, fuller details of the story contained in the novel draft.
Clear? Continue reading
A comment yesterday reminded me what a software junkie I used to be. Had I tried TextExpander instead of setting up auto-correct in Word? Of course. And Typinator. And probably lots else besides.
I started using computers in the Eighties, when most of them were as inadequate as they were expensive. True they could do things that nothing else was capable of. But there were always holes, glitches, things you needed that weren’t there out of the box.