Category Archives: Microsoft

Whiteboards of the future

I like paper, but I hate to use it. Probably that is more my fault because I tend to be a little bit messy and paper doesn’t support that type of people. For me it’s easier to keep order and structure in a digital way and I think many younger folks will understand what I mean.

In my other blog posts I already mentioned that I think that a pen based tablet is the best thing a student can buy. But students with Tablet-PCs is only one side of the medal. The other side which will change over time are things like room setup in schools, university and even in offices.

Whitebords for example will become digital. I love to use whiteboards but they have one big flaw: They can’t save or share natively. So after you did that awesome brainstorming you have to make sure to make a photo of the whiteboard so you can save it.

Whiteboard

In the long term I believe that Whiteboards will be replaced by big touchscreen (which have pen support) like we can see on the photo above. If I remember correctly that was a 80’’ PPI Display.

But in the meantime there is one nice feature which came with the last update of the OneNote (MX) Windows 8 App which helps you to save the work on the whiteboard in a very cool and modern way.

OneNote Whiteboard

As you may know you could always insert photos with the integrated cam of a tablet and instert them into your page in OneNote. The new thing is now you can choose a whiteboard mode. When selected you can take a picture like before from any angle but now OneNote automatically recognizes the whiteboard and makes a smooth and plain picture into OneNote and corrects the angle to a 90°.

That’s a very cool feature I hope many of us use till every room has one of that monster Tablet-TVs like in the first Picture.

Why the Surface 2 is perfect for school, college, university

Is the Surface 2 better suited than the iPad for school or college? Definitely and I can say this without even getting my fingers on the Surface 2, so how can I say that? Easy, I own the Surface 1 (RT) and that already was better for educational use than the iPad. So what factors matter the most:

Multi-Tasking

You do need multi-tasking all the time and I don’t mean checking for Twitter or Facebook in a notification center. You want to browse the web for information and want to be able to enter them in PowerPoint or Word or OneNote. And switching apps isn’t really the answer! Trust me. The great thing about Windows 8.1 which comes preinstalled on the Surface 2 you can chose the ratio between the two apps. I love to have it in the 50-50 mode because you really can work with that. But sometimes it also cool to have 2/3 of the screen for working and 1/3 for a calculator (ok to be honest for the Twitter App :) )

Surface Multi-Tasking

Office

Ok this is actually a no brainer: You get Office Home & Student 2013 for free with the Surface 2. So and this is the real deal, ok I know actually the version is slightly different but I’m 99% sure you won’t even notice. So I think Microsoft didn’t do the best job to explain the difference between RT and the normal Windows but don’t worry just keep in mind the Surface 2 is a mobile device which looks like a computer but isn’t a one. Just remember you can’t run Mac OS software on a iPad either. A yeah and there is one more thing: When you finish school/college/university and you enter the “real life” there is a 80-90% probaillty you’ll end up using a Windows PC with Microsoft Office on it for work. So a Surface 2 prepares you for that and I think that are skills which every kid should know.

Cloud

I love Cloud Computing! I really do and I even wrote my master thesis about that topic. So in short Cloud Computing is and will be a game change. All you need to know for your educational live is that you can safely store your data in SkyDrive (which comes with 7GB automatically together with your Microsoft Account) and share it with others. The share feature is neat but the real blast is the collaboration possibilities. I believe that teamwork should be a major learning objective for school/college/university and SkyDrive really makes it easy to collaborate with others. There is nothing better than a shared OneNote notebook. Nothing! And all of that comes for free with the Surface 2

 

So I could really go on but I don’t want to stress your patience and provoke a TL:DR. One last thing I want to share with you is the new Surface Youtube spot. I really think it gets some of the points right. BUT it misses the most important one in my opinion. The Surface 2 is cool and perfect for schools but the Surface 2 Pro that takes the cake as it has the Pen which rocks as I showed you earlier.

Why the Surface Pro pen rocks

So I always notice that many people don’t know what to do with the pen of the Surface Pro. So I decided to make a short video where I show why I love the pen so much.

I think I probably won’t ever buy a tablet without pen again. I’m really sad that Apple didn’t get how important the pen actually is.

Before you start: Yeah I know that there are pens for Tablets like the Surface but they don’t even come close to what a pen on a Windows Tablet means. This is because an iPad can’t distinguish between the tip of the pen and your hand. This means you can’t rest your palm on the screen while writing.

The Surface however can distinguish and you write on it like on normal paper but better. Because that pen has every color and size you want.

How to use an iPad for College

The answer is leave it at home. I have an iPad myself and I consider myself to be an Apple fan, there was even a time in my past where I was a hardcore fanboy. At some point you realize that other mothers also have beautiful daughters. This is especially true in college or in the university life.

iPad ist nur Papier 2.0

When I refer to a Tablet-PC I usually emphasize the pen and that’s a thing the iPad is missing. There are “pen” for the iPad but the problem is that those devices (and that’s also true for a lot of the Android tablets) can’t distinguish between your palm and the pen. The result of this is that you hold your hand in an awkward position while writing and drawing. That’s the reason I always say that an iPad is only Paper 2.0 not Pen & Paper 2.0. There is this nice Windows 8 ad that shows how a normal Windows 8 notebook outperforms iPads in the college.

You have to choose a device which is fit for the operation and a pen based tablet would be even better. My experience showed me that I can humiliate a iPad user with an 5 year old Tablet-PC like an ThinkPad x201 tablet inside a university.

What experiences did you make?

Real life screenshots

You know that situation. You are sitting in the university or more general in a talk and the speaker didn’t share his slides in advance, or doesn’t bother sharing at all? I really hate that but I have a got a pretty neat solution for that problem.

I use my Surface Pro most of the time and if I find myself in that situation I use the Win8 camera app and take a photo, crop it and insert it into OneNote.

OneNote Kamera

The reason why I do this because I have made the experience that you can best memorize content if you add information to it. Of cause you could do it like all the people how use regular paper but you will definitely have an advantage if your notes link to the slide of the speaker.

So if you use the OneNote [Windows Store] App (I really think they should find a better name for that) it’s even a lot quicker as you just have to press on the radial menu -> chose camera and you can take a photo from the OneNote app, which is a super-fast way to do it.

If you want to add an high quality picture because the speaker uses font size 8 on his slides a way often do is: I take a picture with my Lumia and upload it to SkyDrive (manually). The advantage is you’ll find the picture pretty fast in the “uploads from mobile devices” –folder and can insert it.

Printing on virtual paper

There’s one thing that frustrates many first time OneNote users. As you might now it is really easy to use the “Send to OneNote” virtual printer to get almost every content into your digital notebook.

OneNote Printouts 1

When you print something to OneNote you probably notice that you can chose where you want to store your printout. This is a very handy feature and you shouldn’t chose the “Don’t ask again” Checkbox.Because after using OneNote for a while you’ll  notice that you have several different notebooks, for example for work, university, hobbies and so on. A nice feature is that OneNote shows you what your recent picks where so most of the time you find the right place for you printout very quickly. If not, all you have to do is scroll down and pick the right place step by step.

And here is the point where first time OneNote users usually freak out because in the standard settings OneNote puts each printout paper on a single OneNote page and there are only very limited use cases where that makes sense. But there is a really simple solution where OneNote asks you every time if you want to insert your printout on multiple pages or a on a single page.

All you have to do is to click on File and then go to Options. In the options you have control to a lot of settings, you want to go to Advanced because there is the checkbox causing all the trouble.

OneNote Printouts 2

After you deselected the Insert long printouts on multiple pages OneNote will ask you every time how to insert a printout.

OneNote Printouts 3

Personally I print presentations I listen to on a single page. Because you can scroll along very easily and the presenter is very unlikely to jump. However if insert a scientific paper or parts of textbooks into OneNote I use the multiple pages insert because it is very easy to jump from page to page.

OneNote is digital paper

One blog post ago I said that Tablet-PCs are Pen&Paper2.0. So to explain this a little bit more I want you to take a look at this video I made a year ago. It’s a great start for all the people who don’t know what OneNote actually is, so probably 90% of all PC-users.

I think after you watched the video you have a first idea what OneNote actually is. So in this Blog I’ll often give you some real life examples, because I think that’s the best way for you to get some ideas of your own where you could start to use OneNote.

A one more thing please feel free to ask me questions or have requests, I’m more than happy to answer.