Journal: The undervalued notes program

Thursday, November 30th, 2006
Following up to my post on why business applications should be ink-enabled, I'd like to share this excellent post on why Microsoft Journal is the undervalued note-taking program.

Tracy Hooten, of the Student Tablet PC, recently wrote this detailed post about the power in the simplicity Journal as a tool for note-taking with digital ink.  (I had the privilege to work with Tracy last year during our 8-week paperless challenge. Details here.)

Tracy blogs about how she's returned to Microsoft Journal and she offers four reasons why:
1. Stability
2. Flexibility
3. Familiarity
4. Simplicity
Tracy's article describes both the beauty of the Tablet PC platform and the power we can find in simplifying our tool set.

Software vendors, especially vendors that understand digital ink and the power of the Tablet PC Platform, would do well to read Tracy's comments and consider them. The rest of us would do well to keep Tracy's four points in mind as we select our preferred tools.

You can read Tracy's post, here.

As a follow-up to Richard Schwartz's comments on embedding Ink application files in Lotus Notes,the Microsoft Journal .JNT files can be attached to a Lotus Notes document and replicated elsewhere. I've found that you can attach a Journal .JNT file to a document or email in Lotus Notes. If you are using R 6.5x or R7, you can then use the Edit-In-Place feature of Lotus Notes to annotate an existing Journal file. Unfortunately, the create object function does not see the Journal .JNT file type so you'll have to first create the .jnt file outside of Lotus Notes and then attach it. I'll have to experiment further  to determine if the recognized text in Journal files will be searchable in a Notes database. [Richard, any ideas here?]

Of course, all of this violates Tracy's fourth principle: Simplicity. Still, it's a useful step in the right direction.

Now, if I could only get IBM to add the simplicity of Journal to the Lotus Notes interface - even  if it was simply to embed a Journal object - that would be sweet!  Perhaps the success of the Lenovo X40 and the new  X60 Tablet PC will wake them up to the opportunity to increase the productive Potential of Lotus Notes with digital ink..

Discussion/Comments (4):

Journal: The undervalued notes program

Great info, Eric. I did a bit of searching, and from this page ({ Link } ) on Microsoft's site, it appears that ink technology is based on OLE down at the low level; but I have yet to find an application that exposes an embeddable ink-enabled scratch-pad object.

Posted at 11/30/2006 17:41:17 by Richard Schwartz

All we need is a brilliant Notes developer

Great, Richard. Now all we need is to find a really SMART, CREATIVE, INNOVATIVE, FORWARD THINKING Notes developer to make this work seamlessly. :-)

Posted at 11/30/2006 21:42:13 by Eric Mack

Journal: The undervalued notes program

Thanks, Eric. I'm also going to do a follow up post on experimentally simplifying down the organizational structure most of us have from 20 different programs. I've been using this very simple Journal approach to my studies lately and it's really letting me focus on the task instead of everything else BUT the task.

Posted at 12/01/2006 0:37:30 by Tracy Hooten

re: Journal: The undervalued notes program

Hi Tracy, not sure you're old enough to rememer WFW, but how about ink-enabled WFW 3.11 with Journal.

It would be simple, boot quickly on anything faster than a 286, long battery life.


Posted at 12/01/2006 13:26:31 by Eric Mack

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