Saturday, February 26, 2011

OneNote's web app needs ink



I realize that this is not easy to implement.  OneNote is an incredibly complex program, and the fact that it has been replicated in a web browser at all is pretty neat.  But, as neat as it is, it's only half useful to me, as most of what I write in OneNote, I handwrite in with a pen on one of my tablets.  I like my initial drafts to be handwritten.  Perhaps I’m old school, or perhaps I really am more creative that way.   

The thing is, I just draft that way.  When it comes to actually posting a review or blog post, it has to be typed.  OneNote's handwriting recognition is good enough that I could just convert it to text, but I like to edit as I retype from my handwritten notes.  I know that one of biggest components of OneNote that can't really be translated into the web app is the handwriting recognition, but I would be perfectly fine without it.  OneNote could just upload an image of the ink and not bother with recognition from the web. 

But it doesn't even give me that.  The web version of OneNote will just show [Unkown Object] wherever there is ink in a note.  Really?  Unknown?  You couldn't just upload an image file of it so I can still look at it?  I know what it is.  I can read it.  Grrrr. 

While I could solve that problem by having Windows and the full desktop version of OneNote on every computer I have, tablet or not, that's not something I'm going to do.  I'm typing this into the web version of OneNote from Jolicloud running on the Archos 9 (with a bluetooth keyboard), and it will posted directly into Blogspot from Jolicloud.  Why?  Because I can.  I have a Cr-48 and I'm supposed to be testing ChromeOS.  And while I can open my OneNote notebooks here on the SkyDrive in the web version of Office, the vast majority of my notes are just [unknown object]s.  Which is a real bummer, as I really like the Cr-48's keyboard and very much enjoy typing on it.  But I can't do everything from there, because I can't read the notes I already have. 

At least the web version of Evernote will let me view ink.  And I would just sketch out all my idea there as it's just as easy to sync Evernote from machine to machine, but it's missing a lot of the organization of OneNote.  In addition to the big drawback of not mixing ink and text.  You can upload a PDF, but you can't draw on it.  You want to write, create an ink note.  It will convert the ink to text that you can edit, but no mixing.

And I know that drawing into the web browser can work.  I have several sketch apps in chrome that take stylus input quite nicely.  So come on now Microsoft, if Google's Sketchpad can do it, how about you let me draw into OneNote on the web?  Or at least let me see what I've already drawn.  You don't have to convert it to text until I take it back into the desktop version, but to hide my ink behind [Unknown Object] is really frustrating.

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