My own history with OneNote has been quite brief so far.
A new laptop purchased for me at work in April 2006 came with OneNote 2003 installed, and I did ever so briefly look in on the product when familiarizing myself with the new equipment, but was not immediately impressed, to say the least. Last month, when a hospital stint had my company pressuring me to slow down, I took a few minutes out of my short time off to look in on OneNote 2003 again, for no particular reason other than to try to relax with a diversion of any sort. I was again left unimpressed, but did promise myself to give it a more serious attempt during November 2006, then to clear it from my laptop completely if that attempt failed. Throughout this time I was completely unaware that OneNote 2007 was near availability. And it’s not just me: everyone I’ve talked to in my business about OneNote since then is even less aware of its existence than I’ve been. To put it rather mildly, I’m far less impressed with Microsoft’s marketing here than I was early on with the product itself. So I can hardly be faulted for making it to November 2006 as such a OneNote newbie. Most of the business world is the same; and even the sheer muscle of OneNote 2007 won’t change that without a drastic shift in the pitiful marketing and packaging of this gem.
But following through on my promise to self back in mid-October, at 8:33am on November 1 I have a one-liner in one of my OneNote 2003 notebooks reading to the effect that it was time to pull weight or else. And as if actively responding to my challenge, OneNote immediately began taking over my work. Now less than two weeks later, I wouldn’t want to go through a business day without OneNote on hand. And as observed in my opening post, I know full well that I’m only working with the mere dream of the real thing, that OneNote 2007 will be what I really want. So my partners want me to slow down? I’ve pushed through more productivity during these past two weeks than I might have hoped to do during a whole month before I started using OneNote, and that’s hardcore work productivity above and beyond the learning curve of merging OneNote into my work routine (a learning curve that has seen me digesting 3 OneNote books cover to cover, along with heavy portions of web material on both the existing and future product).
So yes, I know maybe better than even heaviest lifters among the beta testers how much I’m missing by having to put up with OneNote 2003 while awaiting the real thing. I know because I’ve already injected OneNote right into the heart of my work and seen the sharp increase, and want more more more more more. But in a way, I’m glad I was so clueless. Had I become aware of OneNote 2007′s coming advent from computer trade press (although I find that woefully scant so far), I might too easily have not bothered with OneNote 2003 at all. And what an immense amount of good hard work I would have missed by that mistake! Seriously, repeating a comment I made in my first post, I don’t care if you’re a business person whose computer people can guarantee putting OneNote 2007 in your hands on December 1. Although you most definitely ought upgrade the minute you can, don’t let that deter you from using OneNote 2003 in the interim, even if your first touch of the product comes as late as Thanksgiving. For even a few days of use until you make it to the real thing, the dream alone is worth the time.