Surprising use for OneNote

I am spending some time planning out a video to pull together my advice on how to use OneNote for effective meetings based on the fundamentals explained in the Manager Tools podcast.

In the process I have re-listend to most of the meeting related podcast episodes to get a good handle on what the nuances of their advice are, and which pieces of advice came from which episode. I was thinking of just cribbing notes as I played the audio and then leave it at that, but the nitpicker in the back of my brain wanted a better solution.

I love OneNote.
I love how it supports audio recordings.
(And I love it on a Surface Pro even more)

I was thinking I might be able to use the “audio recording” feature to record the podcast as I played it so that my typed notes would be an index into the relevant portions of the audio. If you don’t know what I am talking about here, bear with me, it will all be clear by the end of this post.

Sadly, this approach didn’t end up recording the system sound, so I only had my typing noises from the mic synchronised with the notes. Not much use.

I was almost ready to give up, but then I conceived a different approach that worked out quite nicely.

If you ever had audio/visual study materials that you want to annotate and be able to selectively review, you’re going to love this. And remember, OneNote is freely downloadable so you have no excuses:

Start with a new notebook, and ideally do not store it in the cloud (pick a “Computer” storage location, not a “OneDrive” one). Two reasons: you do not want to use your bandwidth to sync large media files into the cloud, and it doesn’t allow for files larger than 100MB to be annotated in the cloud.

Step one: Insert a media file into the page
Insert a File from the "Insert" ribbon
OneNote has limited support for file formats, so make sure your media is in a plain format – mp3 and avi work great.

Step two: Pick the Attach option for the file
Attach - I have no idea what Printout would look like
Note that this will embed a copy of the file into your notebook; this is unavoidable, but well worth it for what you gain.

Step three: Select the media and play it
Select the Media and Play it back
By selecting a media file in the page you can access the playback options; start the audio.

Step four: Take notes as you listen as liberally as you need to
Take notes as you listen
As the file is playing OneNote will time-code your writing to the playback position. It is recommended to start new lines for notes when possible to get a finer granularity index.

Once you are done listening to the file and have made all the notes you care for, hover over the lines of your notes. You might notice a little playback icon in the gutter (see last screenshot).

Whenever you press this button, it will start playback of the annotated file at about 10 seconds before you started typing the line. If a note upon review does not make any sense to you anymore, this will give you a very quick jump-point back into the audio at the time you decided to write the note. You can get back to the context in which your note originally made sense to you as the click of a button.

And it even works when you place multiple audio files in the same page. Written notes are attached not only to a timecode, but to the specific file instance that was playing at the time, no matter where it is on the page.

And when you play back the file, it will highlight the lines of your notes at the correct times they were written, so you can see a full-media replay of your note-taking.

And… this also works for video files (avi); playback will pop up a separate video window, but other than that the notetaking and time-coding works exactly the same as for audio.

All you students out there of all ages… you are welcome.

Birthday and Future Plans

I have had an unusually quiet birthday weekend this year. A close gathering on the Wednesday before the weekend at my favourite restaurant with a ridiculous sense of portions was the main focus. And yesterday on the day itself most everyone was unavailable for a variety of reasons.

There’ll be a proper un-birthday party at some unspecified later time when the house is in better shape for hosting and the weather is more hospitable to such an event. I still have to properly celebrate making it through 365 days of blogging as well after all.

My Presents will universally be similarly late because I yet had to choose them.

My parents transferred money, which included a birthday gift as well as one Euro for every day I blogged. I feel like that money should go to support future creative endeavours. Which is where my first wish comes in.

A first wish… Adobe products.

I have spoken about Premiere Pro before I think when I was considering video production as a possibility for something else to do. As it turns out, Adobe have gone completely SAAS. That doesn’t literally mean “insane”, but close enough. To use Adobe products you now have to pay a monthly fee for their software-as-a-service offering tied to the cloud.

I had a look at the options, and $10 a month gets me just one of their products. I really want Lightroom for photography, and Premiere Pro for video as well as After Effects at least I think… and possibly Photoshop. This requirement pushes me straight into the top-tier of their service offerings at $50 a month. And I don’t get to own the software for that.

So, I’ve looked into Adobe CS6, which was the last version they sold outright. It might not have the very latest features, but I think that version would sufficiently future-proof me for all my imminent needs without recurring payments.

A second wish… coffee.

I have to do some research into coffee machines next, because our mocha pot is not… in good shape. And for all these creative endeavours that I am planning I am going to need coffee to keep going. Although possibly decaf? I’m not sure how that balances out.

I’m considering something with pods that are sold locally because although these are expensive, they are also the laziest option. I’m very lazy about my coffee.

A third wish… Kindle.

And this wish will have to wait longer than the others, because the Paperwhite 3 has not been released yet. Any month now apparently. Rumours range from thinner, through higher resolution up to actually waterproof.

I can imagine so many uses *coughWet’n’Wildcough* for a waterproof Kindle.

Or maybe I could spend the evening reading in the shower.
With the light off.
The possibilities are endless.

A fourth wish… more time.

Okay, traditionally the last wish is supposed to be a wish for more wishes, but mostly I want more time. I have so many ideas and so little time for their execution.

I have started some creative writing; no idea where that is going to land exactly.
I want to start designing the layout for the kitchen to have ready-made plans once the bathroom is done.
I want to get out for photography more as the weather gets better again.

I also have several work-related projects that need some attention.
Continuous Improvement is such a drain on my personal life…
It’s gotta start saving time soon, right?

I may need to plan a holiday longer than a long weekend. Two days here or there are just not giving me enough room to get ahead. I think October/November will be my next longer break.

Enough rambling.
Time to do some more.

Day 349 – Go PRO

17 – Digital Video Production Cookbook: 100 Professional Techniques for Independent and Amateur Filmmakers

Technically I have all the pieces of the puzzle.

I have a valid Camtasia license, I have a Canon 6D to work with, and in a pinch the Nexus 5 will do some decent video as well. Everything I need to put together a decent video on my own time.

But I suspect I need a few more pieces.
Continue reading Day 349 – Go PRO

Day 325 – My Fragmented Self

41 – 100 Tips Essential to Being a Smarter Better Twitterer

I am plenty smart, and as a result, I don’t want to be a “better twitterer“.
If that is even a proper word.

I just want improve my writing, photography, makery… I don’t want to have to worry about where it goes. I don’t want to know about Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Tumblr, Instagram, or even WordPress. It is just totally unimportant.
Continue reading Day 325 – My Fragmented Self

Day 315 – Who Needs a Kitchen Anyway?

51 – 100 Kitchen Designs

…speaking of kitchen renovations…

100 décor / design ideas and not a single one really jumps out and grabs me. Not that I’ll let that stop me from a renovation; it just means I’ll have to make it all up as I go along instead.
Continue reading Day 315 – Who Needs a Kitchen Anyway?

Day 141 – Drawing, Cutting, Building

Plain post today.
Migraine not doing me any favours this morning.

The construction video from last night finally finished rendering successfully.

If anyone has tips regarding actual baking/construction, specifically regarding what will keep and how long, that’d be much appreciated.

I’ll need at least a gingerbread recipe and an icing recipe for wall-glue.
Both to last about two weeks after construction.

See also: Day 138 – Planning a Build