Microsoft’s OneNote is a program often mentioned as an alternative to Evernote, and much has been made about the fact that it is now available for free.  So, I’m thinking, why not give it a try?  I haven’t had a lot of time to work with it, but so far I’m finding it much easier and more intuitive to use than Evernote — and it actually syncs.

But . . .

I’m not a big fan of Microsoft.  I’m on Windows, but that’s because my attempts at using Linux were fun from a “messing around with the computer” standpoint, but an epic fail when it came to productivity.  This was many years ago, and I hope things have changed, but at the time most of the programs I wanted to use were Windows only and the Linux community wasn’t exactly helpful.  I gave up permanently when I couldn’t get my printer to work.  Apple offerings have always been out of my price range.  The cost of Microsoft software, too, prevents me from using most of it.

The Microsoft OneNote website is pretty barren — which kind of makes you wonder why it takes so long to load.  There’s really no information there, so, for instance, you don’t know that the 1MB+ file you initially download is only an installer.  Okay, this isn’t that unusual, though I wish “they” would quit doing that.  For large downloads, I try to download the file at work, where I have broadband available, and then take it home on a flash drive.  It usually takes a bit of digging to find this kind of alternative, but in this case there apparently isn’t one.  And there definitely should be.

The OneNote download is almost 1GB.  No, that is not a typo.  It’s not just for the installation of OneNote, it’s also for integration with a lot of programs I *won’t* be using.  And once it starts installing, you can’t shut it off — well, if you can, I couldn’t find out how because it tied up my dial-up connection for over two days.

At this point, I was pretty ticked, but I figured after waiting all that time — I got a lot of housework done — I might as well fire it up.

So far, the only surprise that’s reared it’s ugly head is the fact that you can’t create a new notebook locally in a specific directory.  “This edition of OneNote can create notebooks only on OneDrive.”  So you have to be online to create a new notebook.  After that, though, you can work with it on your computer.

However, having never been a user of the paid desktop version of OneNote, and also not a Mac user, there are apparently some other gotchas that I wouldn’t even notice.  But Steve Zeoli did, and wrote a bit about them.

Much of the software I use has free and paid versions — it’s not unusual to offer a free version and use an enhanced paid version to cover the bills.  What makes me leery and cautious is the fact that there’s nothing — not even a hint — on the OneNote website about the differences.  More “hide the ball.”  *sigh*

That said, I’m liking OneNote.  I’m just a little nervous about committing to it.

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