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[Editor's note: This blog post was written by Hunt "Hobie" Henning, Jr. — an engineering student from Mobile, Alabama, who recently shared with us how he first discovered and now relies on Microsoft OneNote. Hobie received software, training and a loaner laptop computer from Microsoft as part of his participation in the Real Life Stories program.]
My name is Hobie Henning and I am a dual-degree engineering major at Spring Hill College. Because one degree is simply not enough, I opted to attend Spring Hill so that I could enjoy the benefits of both a Jesuit education (lots of philosophy, English, theology, etc.) as well as get a more technical degree. At my core, I am a geek and if something has a blinking LED light, then it has my immediate attention. I love to tinker with computers, run my own website, and I work part-time for Spring Hill College’s IT Help Desk. I enjoy books, comics and manga, video games, and hanging out with my friends.
For the last two years, I have been primarily a Mac guy, but I've also used both Windows 7 and Ubuntu on a very regular basis. As part of the Microsoft Office Real Life Stories program, I finally got a chance to live with Windows 7 continuously and have since fallen back in love with Windows, Microsoft Office, and Zune. The Mac is a fantastic platform, but I've missed having a really good version of Microsoft Office on my computer. iWork is nice, but its incompatibilities are really annoying if you rely on library printing as much as I do. Office for Mac is also a nice effort, but with the 2008 edition, it feels very out of place and Excel was particularly painful on anything less than a 15" screen. Most of all, I really missed having OneNote — a program that I discovered a few months after buying my Mac.
I discovered OneNote while I was repairing a student's computer at my old part-time job, a small computer repair shop in Saraland. I played around with it for a bit and right away appreciated the nice outlining features, voice recording abilities, and organization methods. I found out only later that among all of the awesome multimedia, creativity, organization, and productivity software that the Mac platform provides that there really isn't anything as good as OneNote for a student. Until now, I've spent the last three years essentially typing notes on my Mac in Pages or Word and then saving them to a folder on my computer, which I consider a very 1998 method of taking notes for class.
Ever since I have gotten my hands on OneNote 2010, I have really fallen in love with the program. I really like that the application acts as a good, centralized place for taking notes, collecting research material, and organizing for class. I love the ability to record audio as I type and then later have the outline I type highlighted as the audio progresses, giving me the ability to see what I was typing while a professor spoke. Also, I really like how OneNote allows you to be as laid back or organized as you want to be with your notebooks. Like my dorm room, my personal notebook with web articles that I am reading, personal to-dos, and blog drafts is fairly unorganized. One tab away, my notebook is broken down by classes, days, and everything is tagged like a book about to be shelved at your public library.
I personally know a lot of people who live in Outlook as a means of organizations and communication, but to me OneNote has become that shelf that I can throw everything on. I also really like the OneNote Web App portion of the program and how I don’t have to think about uploading or backing up my notes to my SkyDrive for easy access with a web browser and my Internet connection. I particularly like this feature, because I know that my most important class notes and research will be safe, even if the worst were to happen to my laptop — whether it be dropping it on the way to class or somebody spilling a drink on it in the cafeteria.
For me, going back to the Mac has become harder and harder. OneNote 2010 is now an essential part of my student life.
-- Hobie Henning
Hobie, I'm curious about OneNote on the ipad. Have you or your friends checked this out yet?
As a student I would think the ipad would with OneNote or Note Taker HD would be an ideal alternative to lugging around a laptop just for the purpose of taking class notes. Yes or No?