You undoubtedly have read a lot of posts on blogs.asp.net that contain code snippets, insight into Longhorn, et al but for my money there’s no more interesting reading than Chris Pratley’s account on the birth of OneNote.  Chris is the PM in charge of the glorious product I have now been capturing my notes in for over a year.  In one year I have amassed 326 notes from meetings, 1:1 phone calls, conference calls, and doing research.  In meetings, I almost exclusively use ink because it’s just not as intrusive and it has a more natural feel to it (accept when my processor pegs which throws the HDD into paging hell and then the fan tries to cool it all off by running at 1000 RPMs.  Only the people at Boeing could appreciate the noise <g>).  Anyway, everywhere else I type.  I have yet to use the voice recorder feature other than testing it, because I just think putting a microphone in front of people changes the dynamic.  Too big brother…on the record…deposition-like.

I’ve seen the most polarizing reviews for OneNote.  Infoworld gave it an “excellent” rating while the guys on TechTV just panned it.  Obviously they were using different testing methodologies.  Definitely give the product a whirl if you haven’t already.  You be the judge.  Oh, and it’s not just for Tablet PC users (but make sure you razz Chris by commenting “but since I don’t have a Tablet PC should I still buy it?” PMs hate when their products are put into an unfair niche J).

Today, OneNote has a horizontal set of “folders” (called sections) that can contain lots of notes (called pages) that are listed vertically.  I have folders for each of my four customers and then catch all folders.  I have one section with 80 notes—that seems like a lot of meetings (or is it?).  What will my OneNote look like in ten years when I have thousands of pages?   Think of how the horizontal and vertical metaphor will have to change.  3D?  I’m betting we’ll see a way cool use of WinFS in the Longhorn timeframe.  I can hardly wait.