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Posted by nathanb
Oct 19, 2020 at 07:05 PM

 

bartb wrote:
>IMHO Excel and OneNote were the
>best applications MS ever made. But OneNote never did seem to get much
>love from its parent. 
>

100% agree. OneNote was a revelation to me in 2008.  That was back in the golden years when desktop software could be expected to keep gaining powerful features instead of just ‘ease-of-use’ features.  So I watched in dismay for over a decade as OneNote just became ‘more accessible’ to the masses by becoming more slick but less powerful.

It does make me appreciate Excel even more as a platform that didn’t become watered down for greater market-share.  It’s pretty unique in that 95% of its users just use it for the gridlines yet power users can push it as hard as they want.  It’s hard to think of another application that can straddle that fence so well.

Now software tends to be designed for the most common use case only with no power-user options. I feel like that’s been the influence Apple has had on the tech world.  They mastered ‘slick and simple for the average user’ with amazing growth results and the other big players are copying that.  Those of us who want more out of our software can no longer look to the big players to fulfill that need.  That’s why I love this forum.

Microsoft hasn’t added any OneNote power features in the past 10 years besides forcing everyone to store their notebooks on their cloud and tweak their interface to make it look a little cleaner.  But the options you have to organize, tag, and link your notes remains the same if not worse.

I’m on this forum because of OneNote as it was the gateway drug to CRIMPing.  It was OneNote that showed me how wonderful it was to tag my own content, to link between it, and leverage inline tables and collapsible outlines to give a ton of depth and flexibility.  Fast-forward a decade and it’s not even trying to play in that sandbox.

I’m annoyed that OneNote and Evernote have abandoned power users…as I always thought we were the best evangelists.  I’ve gotten dozens of people to use OneNote over the years.  But marketing departments have apparently concluded that it isn’t worth the investment to cater to users like us. Forget the tagging system, better to put those resources into offering new pen pallets to appeal to college doodle-bugs. 

Excel is for everyone, from the most casual user to the geekiest.  In that way it’s a unicorn.
Notion is the Excel of the PKM world right now. It’s accessible to everyone with big depth for geeks.
OneNote in 2007 was for everyone…but now it’s only for casual users.
Roam, and most apps discussed in this forum, is for us.

 


Posted by bartb
Oct 19, 2020 at 09:16 PM

 

Thank for posting this item! I’m starting to think that the back-links is the one feature that is setting the world on fire in Roam World!

MadaboutDana wrote:
Meanwhile, back to Roam-ing software:
> >there’s some passionate enthusiasm for Obsidian over on Effective
>Remote Work (https://effectiveremotework.com), including a dedicated
>course and tips on creating an Obsidian equivalent on iOS.
> >It’s growing on me, I must say – some lovely
>programming in there.
> >Cheers,
>Bill

 


Posted by bartb
Oct 19, 2020 at 09:23 PM

 

After 30 + years in Information Technology I have gracefully surrendered to the thought that I will never fully grasp all the thinking that goes into software product development & marketing. I know there are always competing priorities within companies and that markets can be fickle. I’m just determined to stay agile and flexible and avoid the heartbreak of following in love with certain software. 

nathanb wrote:
bartb wrote:
>>IMHO Excel and OneNote were the
>>best applications MS ever made. But OneNote never did seem to get much
>>love from its parent. 
>>
> >100% agree. OneNote was a revelation to me in 2008.  That was back in
>the golden years when desktop software could be expected to keep gaining
>powerful features instead of just ‘ease-of-use’ features.  So I watched
>in dismay for over a decade as OneNote just became ‘more accessible’ to
>the masses by becoming more slick but less powerful.
> >It does make me appreciate Excel even more as a platform that didn’t
>become watered down for greater market-share.  It’s pretty unique in
>that 95% of its users just use it for the gridlines yet power users can
>push it as hard as they want.  It’s hard to think of another application
>that can straddle that fence so well.
> >Now software tends to be designed for the most common use case only with
>no power-user options. I feel like that’s been the influence Apple has
>had on the tech world.  They mastered ‘slick and simple for the average
>user’ with amazing growth results and the other big players are copying
>that.  Those of us who want more out of our software can no longer look
>to the big players to fulfill that need.  That’s why I love this forum.
> >Microsoft hasn’t added any OneNote power features in the past 10 years
>besides forcing everyone to store their notebooks on their cloud and
>tweak their interface to make it look a little cleaner.  But the options
>you have to organize, tag, and link your notes remains the same if not
>worse.
> >I’m on this forum because of OneNote as it was the gateway drug to
>CRIMPing.  It was OneNote that showed me how wonderful it was to tag my
>own content, to link between it, and leverage inline tables and
>collapsible outlines to give a ton of depth and flexibility.
>Fast-forward a decade and it’s not even trying to play in that sandbox.
> >I’m annoyed that OneNote and Evernote have abandoned power users…as I
>always thought we were the best evangelists.  I’ve gotten dozens of
>people to use OneNote over the years.  But marketing departments have
>apparently concluded that it isn’t worth the investment to cater to
>users like us. Forget the tagging system, better to put those resources
>into offering new pen pallets to appeal to college doodle-bugs. 
> >Excel is for everyone, from the most casual user to the geekiest.  In
>that way it’s a unicorn.
>Notion is the Excel of the PKM world right now. It’s accessible to
>everyone with big depth for geeks.
>OneNote in 2007 was for everyone…but now it’s only for casual users.
>Roam, and most apps discussed in this forum, is for us.
>

 


Posted by nathanb
Oct 20, 2020 at 02:36 PM

 

bartb wrote:
After 30 + years in Information Technology I have gracefully surrendered
>to the thought that I will never fully grasp all the thinking that goes
>into software product development & marketing. I know there are always
>competing priorities within companies and that markets can be fickle.
>I’m just determined to stay agile and flexible and avoid the heartbreak
>of following in love with certain software. 
>


Same. I don’t necessarily blame Microsoft and Evernote’s direction as they are kind of at the mercy of catering to their huge install base.  And if making their product do the basics more gracefully helps the ‘average user’ then their decisions probably have a more positive impact on the world than what I’d rather see them do.

I just grew up with software being used by nerds, not normies.  In that time every ‘update’ came with more functionality.  Now most updates are about user interface or performance improvements.  It used to be that if you liked a program but wish it could do just a little more, all you’d have to do is wait for feature updates.  This is still true for niche software, but I’ve now accepted that we can’t ever expect more capability out of popular software, only ‘usability’ improvements.  ‘Usability’ almost always means less options for me.

I still catch myself in that mindset, reactively scanning OneNote changelogs for improvements I’ve waited a decade for.  It’s just not going to happen and that’s ok.  I just need to use tools that fit me instead of settling for tools that are designed to be most accessible to the widest possible audience.

As far as updates go, that’s what makes niche software fun.  Roam is adding really cool power features like monthly now and that’s refreshing.  Since it’s such a wonky product, I can be fairly confident that it’ll never be so popular to be forced into shifting all development resources into catering to the typical office user.

 


Posted by David Garner
Nov 17, 2020 at 08:47 PM

 

I have not seen this mentioned here, but Dendron Notes https://www.dendron.so/ seems pretty interesting.

Like several other projects, this builds on VSCode.  That means that it’s cross platform.  I added the extension to my ARM Chromebook this morning.

The project, at first glance, seems to be fairly popular with introductory videos and a bunch of documentation.

I’ve not tried to use it for anything yet, so I can’t say how well it actually works, but it looks pretty interesting.

 


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