Friday, December 30, 2005

Performancing for Firefox

I'm going to be testing out the new Performancing for Firefox extension. I've been searching for the right bloggin editor for quite a while. Blogjet is far and away my favorite, but for some reason it won't work right with my proxy server. I'm going to give Performancing a try.

Performancing for Firefox |

Performancing for Firefox

Performancing for Firefox is a full featured blog editor that sits right within Firefox. Just hit F8 or click the little pencil icon at the bottom right to bring up the blog editor and easily post to your Wordpress, MovableType or Blogger blogs.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Free Audio books

I don't have a lot of access to English language public libraries as a missionary. I do, however, love books, and love audio books. I regularly have to stand in lines for various things and usually find my time well spent listening to podcasts or audio books. If that's you too, check out LibriVox


LibriVox provides totally free audiobooks from the public domain. There are several options for listening. The first step is to get the mp3 or ogg files into your own computer:

Monday, December 26, 2005

Free copy of ActiveWords available

I've probably downloaded a hundred different utilities in the last year thinking they would score me significant productivity gains.  Most of them have been uninstalled and deleted but one remains my definite favorite, ActiveWords.  My favorite tablet guys interviewed ActiveWords CEO Buzz Bruggeman last week.  During the show Buzz offered a free copy of ActiveWords, but you’ll have to listen to the show to find out how to get it. 

I don’t think you’ll be disappointed if you give this awesome product a try!

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Geek Christmas, Kosovo Style

Merry Christmas everyone!  Happy Holidays too. 


It was great to read Eric Mack’s post this morning about the truth behind the Christmas holiday.  We celebrate Jesus Christ’s birth who freely offered himself to bring humanity back into right relationship with the creator God.  I’ve been a little non-plussed at what I’ve seen in the American media lately regarding the whole “Merry Christmas” and “Happy Holiday” deal.  For the last week my neighbors, who are all Muslims, have been giving me hearty, “Urimi Festin!” greetings, which means simply, Happy Holiday.  The funny thing is that they mean it with all their hearts.  They don’t understand Christmas really (a situation we’re earnestly trying to remedy) but non-the-less, they hope it’s good for us.  It seems to me that the words matter less than the hearts behind them.

Christmas as a missionary always presents certain challenges.  First, there’s the ministry calendar to “contend” with.  For example, this afternoon we’re having a Christmas “outreach” to which we’ve invited our whole city.  I’ll write about that on my other blog, The other challenge is what to buy for gifts and where to buy them.  Kosovo is not what one would call a shopper’s paradise…or any sort of paradise, really.  We usually end up traveling to Greece a few months before Christmas to buy gifts for our six- and four-year old girls.

But geek gifts…now that is another story.  Several months ago my wife started asking me what I wanted.  I finally settled on a Bluetooth headset.  I started researching them on the internet, since there aren’t any Best Buys around for hands-on shopping.  After much web-browsing, and noticing that no user-reviews ever matches the web-sites reviews, I settled on the Jabra BT250.  These are actually available in the next couple of countries over, but not at low, low, American prices.

So about a month ago I placed my order with an online retailer.  The next issue was how to get it here.  Kosovo is not technically a country, so mail service has all been routed through Albania or Switzerland, until very recently.  Switzerland, you ask?  Yup, Switzerland.  The “safest” way to get things here is to have someone carry them over.  So I had my headset shipped to a colleague who was on study leave in the US. He carried it back with him to Macedonia, where he lives.  It’s only one country away, so that’s pretty close.  Then last week another colleague, who had business in Macedonia, brought it back up for me.

It’s now sitting under the tree, wrapped up and waiting.  It’s really had to work to get here!



Great OneNote video

As some of you know, I love the OneNote product.  It is THE repository for all my stuff including my GTD system, journaling, meeting notes, etc.  Unfortunately, OneNote is a little hard to explain since it most closely resembles a big digital notebook…it’s just too obvious for some people to get.  This video gives a great explanation of both the current version of OneNote and some great demos of what is coming in OneNote 12, the version currently in beta.  Check out this 32 minute video interview with Owen Braun and another guy whose name I can’t remember because he doesn’t blog.


Hat tip to James Kendrick, where I initially saw the link.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Michael Gartenberg picks the X41 ThinkPad as Notebook of the Year

This is making it’s way around the tablet geek blogs very, very quickly.  Michael Gartenberg of Jupiter Research, has named the IBM/Lenovo X41 his Notebook of the Year.  He didn’t say Tablet of the year, but notebook.  How about that!  It’s not perfect, but I really, really enjoy mine.  People over focus on raw performance and under appreciate the build, features, quality, battery life, etc.  This is a great laptop!

He writes:

Lenovo X41 Tabelt PC
”...the X41 is the successor to my laptop choice last year, the fabulous x40. IBM added a few tweaks here and there but mostly addressed my single biggest issue, the lack of Tablet functionality. Now that’s been addressed and the x41 is a killer system. It’s the first Tablet PC I’ve used where there is no penalty at all for the Tablet OS feature. It just works as a great notebook and when you need it in Tablet mode (like in that middle seat in coach on the way to CES) it’s just there for you.”

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Office 12: Beta 1-derful: The 'Top 30' List

If you've been reading geeky magazines lately, you will have noticed that the next version of Microsoft Office is being released next year.  Code names "Office 12," it has been touted as the most significant upgrade or redevelopment of Office ever...or at least in a long time.  I'm inclined to agree!  I for the last several weeks I've been involved in the beta test of this new version and am loving it.  While I can't talk about all that is the new products, I can repost what Microsofties have been saying about it.
Jensen Harris is probably one of the most prolific MS (technical) bloggers writing today about Office 12.  A couple of weeks ago he put together a list of the most significant articles on the new version.  If you're interested in learning more about the new user interface, check these out:

Consider this list a "best-of" from my first two months of blogging.

Posts about the Ribbon and how it works:

Posts about Galleries, Formatting, and Results-Oriented Design:

Why did we make a new UI for Office 12?

The philosophies, ideas, and design tenets behind the new UI:

Usability techniques and validation of the new UI:

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The Death of Traditional Book Publishing

Books are big deals to missionaries.  Books are heavy, they are difficult to pack, difficult to ship and difficult to store, especially in humid climates where missionaries often work.  Missionaries need books, lots of them.  They need them for studying theology, prepaping sermons, studying language and culture and, most importantly, just for fun!  What to do with books is a question every missionary has to ask an answer.  When we moved to Kosovo, we shipping about 15 small boxes and books videos via "m-bags" through the post office.  It was a major pain.
Most of us have left traditional books for electronic forms of one type or another.  My complete "Word Biblical Commentary" set easily fits on one CD.  Most of the novels I read these days are downloaded from  I read occasionaly read magazines on Zinio reader.
Michael Hyatt, the President and CEO of Thomas-Nelson Publishing, the largest Christian publishing company and ninth largest publishing company in the world write a blog I follow closely.  In this post he casts a vision for the future of electronic distrubtion of books.  It's a good read if you're any type of book bug.  I would love a device like he envisions below.  Quoting Michael:  
.... we are only one device away from a digital revolution in book publishing, what might such a device might look like? Here’s what I envision:
  • It looks similar to a tablet PC slate. No keyboard, no monitor, and it folds in half.
  • It is the same size and thickness as a hardcover book, say 6" by 9" by 1/2". Unfolded, it is 12" x 9" by 1/4". It feels great in your lap. It can even be bent slightly like a book, so you can curl up on the sofa and read away.
  • It uses a tablet PC interface with a built-in stylus that feels like a high-end pen. You can use it to make menu selections, enter text (via handwriting recognition), or highlight passages in books.
  • It weighs less than a 256-page hardcover book (about one pound). It therefore dramatically changes the shape and heft of your computer bag.
  • It has a battery life of 12–18 hours.
  • It completely replaces your computer and runs all your favorite applications.
  • It has 256 gigabytes of flash drive storage. It has room for tens of thousands of songs, photos, movies—and books. Because it has no moving parts (unlike a hard drive), it is faster and more reliable.
  • It is wi-fi enabled (of course).
  • It includes a software application similar to iTunes for the purchase and download of books. Heck, maybe it's just a modification of iTunes.
  • It has a simple, elegant book reading application, similar to Microsoft’s Reader.
  • It has a docking station that allows you to use a keyboard, mouse, external monitor, etc.
  • It runs an Apple operating system. (Okay, I couldn't resist.)

Friday, December 09, 2005

An unexpected use for my Tablet PC

Last weekend we were in Macedonia for an annual team event.  I serve on the “Field Leadership Team,” an elected group of mission leaders and during the weekend the FLT sat to meet briefly on a number of pressing issues.  Since I’m the newest guy, I’m tasked with taking minutes for the meeting.  I’ve really enjoyed the freedom that a tablet gives me to engage in a group, sit in a circle of chairs, and generally make the technology low-key.  Because of that, I was taking all the minutes in ink using Word. 

Suddenly, I heard my 3-year-old daughter begin crying in the corridor outside.  She entered the meeting room, having fallen down and was unhurt, but upset.  As she climbed up on my lap, I didn’t miss a beat writing the minutes for the meeting.  I could easily hold her with my left hand and write with the other.  Try doing that with a traditional laptop! 

A tablet just makes doing everything you normally do with a laptop that much more easy and flexible.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Phishing IQ Test

Spammers are coming up with ever increasingly clever ways to part you from your money.  Phishing is when someone sends you an email that is intended to look authentic, but is really designed to trick you into revealing critical aspects of your identity or other confidential information.  These emails are “sent” from places like Ebay, Microsoft, Paypal, banks, credit cards, etc.  Can you spot the difference between the real thing and a fake?  Take the  MailFrontier ’s Phishing IQ Test and see.


I got a 9 out of 10.  How did you score?


Hat tip to Ed Bott


Tuesday, November 22, 2005

English Standard Version Bible for Tablet PC now available...and more to come!

Some of us enjoy reading our Bibles on our tablets.  While the field is still quite young, Rob Bushway has been doing a lot of work developing area.  Rob has just reached an agreement with Good News Publishers to make the ESV available.  If you read his blog and the comments you’ll see additional information about the NIV, developing a stand-alone app for Bible reaching and other good stuff.


I’ve had difficulty thus far getting on the Bible-on-Tablet bus.  First, I personally have deep and abiding loathing for the PlanPlus software (borne out of two separate and full-price purchases that never worked right for me).  I will never, ever buy Plan Plus for any platform ever again.  GoBinder, on the other hand, is a solid, well regarded package.  But, if you’re not a student, GoBinder isn’t something you’re going to run out and purchase just to read your Bible on.  All this explains Robs desire to create a stand-alone product for Bible reading that I’m really hopeful about.


We’ve talked (okay, maybe cross-commented) a little about Onenote’s usability in this regard, especially as both of us are beta-testing the new version.  Thanks Rob for all your hard work on this!


Through a licensing arrangement with Good New Publishers, I’m pleased to announce the availability of the English Standard Version (ESV) for the Tablet PC via . Like previous offerings, this Bible is free.

It has been specially formatted with wide margins and double spacing for notetaking. In addition, it includes the awesome footnotes and red letter formatting that you have come to expect from the ESV Bible. Either GoBinder 2005 or Plan Plus for Windows XP is required.

Download the new Bible here: . After downloading, import it into GoBinder / Plan Plus by going to File / Import and point to the location where you stored it on your local computer. Then specify where you want it imported to. I’d recommend creating a Bible tab and importing it there.

Non GoBinder / Plan Plus users: I am working on another version of the ESV either as a stand alone application or to work in OneNote. If it is a stand alone version, it will be more than a Bible markup tool. I’d like for it to be a general purpose book markup and notetaking tool. More on that later.

Donations are more than welcome to help offset current and future licensing costs, hosting, and future development. Visit to make a donation.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Sweet new backup media


Finally a way to store all the missionary pictures and slide shows without running out of HD space.  Of course, if you were ever subject to a 1.6 terabyte missionary slide show you may curse the day this new media was ever released!

Holographic recording technology utilizes intersecting signal and reference laser beams to store data in a number of 3D hologram images capable of saving hundreds of data pages in a single location. One 5 1/4 inch-diameter optical disc can store up to 150 million pages– more than 63 times the capacity of DVD, the companies claim.

Also, with holographic recording, a multiple of form factors, such as discs, cards, and laser wavelengths (red, green, and blue) can be used.

The companies plan to bring holographic media to market by Sept. 2006.

Hat tip to Ed Bott

Saturday, November 19, 2005

OneNote 12 Beta 1 released! (and I'm in)

Chris Pratley has posted that Onenote 12 beta has been released.  I’ve been included in the beta test of it, and I can’t tell you how happy I am about that!!  It’s got a lot of great, new features (which Chris mentions below).  I’m under a non-disclosure agreement, so I can’t talk about it, but so far I’m loving it.  If you’ve ever wondered whether Onenote is right for you, you’re going to love Onenote 12!


Beta 1 of "OneNote 12" (and "Office12") is now available for download for those people who are signed up (you know who you are). This is not a public beta so if you're not already on the beta you are not going to be able to see it. Sorry. If you want to play with pre-release OneNote you'll have another chance in the Spring when we release Beta 2, also called the "preview" release. That release will be much more suitable for people who are not inclined to risk data, crashes, etc. You can register to get the preview here (click "Register Now"). There's more general Office 12 info at that site too, including an RSS feed.

Now, to people who have Beta 1, hold on to your hats.

As has been mentioned in various blog posts, check out a bunch of new capabilities:
1. Multiple notebooks
2. Shared notebooks (multi-user, online/offline no holds barred rich "wiki-like" experience)
3. Sync notebooks between your multiple machines (same as #2 but with yourself only)
4. Hyperlinks between and into/out of notes
5. Instant search
6. Tables
7. Embedded documents
8. Drag and drop of sections, pages, folders, notebooks
9. All images made searchable and indexed using OCR (if they have text in them) 
10. Print documents to OneNote from any application - and these are indexed and searchable too.
11. New ink model (oops - forgot to blog about this one!). Lasso tool, drawing tools, etc.
12. Save as PDF (and "XPS")
13. Live sync of task status with Outlook12 (forgot this one too!)
14. Extensibility (more to come on this)

Thursday, November 10, 2005

FW: OneNote Daily Journal v1.0.1 update

Andy Gray posted an upgrade to his very, very cool OneNote Daily Journal PowerToy.  It’s got some minor bug fixes and is probably worth the download, especially for Thinkpad owner who lack the in/famous Win-key.  He also explains the difficulty with using stationary with the PowerToy.

Thanks for all the comments we’ve received on the OneNote Daily Journal powertoy through blog postings, email, and forums!  Based on your feedback, I made some minor changes to the utility tonight:

  • You can now single-click the icon in the notification area of the task bar, instead of double-clicking it.  This is more consistent with the OneNote Side Note icon, and is slightly more convenient when using a pen on a Tablet PC.
  • You can now select between Windows+J and Ctrl+Alt+J as a hot key to invoke the Daily Journal feature.  This is more convenient for ThinkPad users, who don’t have a Windows key on their keyboards.
  • The powertoy is now omitted from the Alt-Tab task list.
  • Bug fix: the spurious gray rectangle that sometimes appeared on the desktop has been removed.

Daily Journal v1.0.1 is now available on the TabletDev Download page.

Windows AntiSpyware gets a name change and then some

I saw this last week somewhere, but Ed Bott tells us a lot more about what’s going to happen with Windows AntiSpyware.  I’ve been using the beta of this for quite some time and it never comes up with anything.  For a while I also used it in conjunction with Spybot Search & Destroy, but it never came up with anything either (caveat: The internet service I use, though city wide, is behind a big, private network).  Anyway, Windows Defender (the new name for the product) will automatically download updates through Windows Update.  That will save some headaches in trying to keep all your stuff up to date.

In case you’ve been wondering why Windows AntiSpyware has been in beta for what seems like two years (it’s actually been only 10 months), Microsoft’s Steve Dodson spills the beans. Three pieces of news:

The new name is Windows Defender.

It will be integrated into Windows Vista. Steve explains:

You will be able to run another spyware product instead of Windows Defender if you would like. Although I may shed a small tear, you will be able to disable or turn off Windows Defender and install whichever 3rd party anti-spyware application you would like. The really cool thing is that the Windows Security Center in Vista will be redesigned to detect if an Anti-Spyware application such as Windows Defender is running and operating normally.

And it will soon receive signature updates via Automatic Updates rather than through a separate update engine.

More details in a somewhat breathless post at the Anti-Malware Engineering Team blog:

Windows Defender is about what Windows will do for customers, defending them from spyware and other unwanted software. Our solution has really been about more than just the standard definition of “spyware”. We’ve always said we will provide visibility and control, as well as protection, detection and removal from other potentially unwanted software, including rootkits, keystroke loggers and more.

Making the engineering change from “Windows AntiSpyware” to “Windows Defender” took a lot of careful coordination across our team to ensure that the strings in the UI got changed, the help files all got updated, registry keys, file names and properties, as well as a couple of images all got changed. All this work was completed and tested last Thursday, and is currently making its way through our build systems in Windows to make it into the main build environment, where official builds come from. We’re pretty excited by the name, and by the sleek new UI and other improvements we’ve been making in it to help make Windows Vista the best operating system around! But Windows Defender is about a lot more than just a name change. The engine is now moved to a system service, and signatures are delivered over Windows Update. The detection mechanisms have also been radically improved by applying to spyware threats all the great detection technology we use in our antivirus engine.

Also see this follow-up story.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

On Technology & Monks

I had an awesome experience over the weekend.  Our family and some friends took a little weekend vacation to Bulgaria.  To most Americans, Bulgaria is probably not high on the list of vacation spots, but it’s a beautiful place.  I’ll write more about the vacation on my other site, “…one missionary in Kosovo,” but I wanted to post about the spiritual implications of the trip.

            Having arrived at the hotel on Thursday, we headed out for the Rila Monastery on Friday.  This was actually our second visit to Rila, the first being last fall.  The monastery was built in the 10th century and continued to function for hundreds of years until it was declared a national historical monument in 1976. 

The paintings and artwork in and around the church are simply spectacular.  The whole place just breathes ancientness, history, permanence.  Visiting this place always reminds me of how long men and women have followed Christ and under what difficult circumstances they served.  The monks who lived here, for example, lived in obscurity far, far away from even the most rudimentary comforts of civilization.  They lived, prayed, worshipped and died way up high in the mountains.  And yet, they painted the types of phenomenal artwork pictured to the left.  Monks still walk the grounds, dressed very much the same way they’ve dressed for hundreds of years.

            On the way home on Sunday we happened by a different monastery.  We simply saw the sign on the road and decided to check it out.  After driving up the mountain for several hundred feet we arrived at a vey different monastery.  This one was brand new.  In fact, it was still under construction.  It consisted of a small building for lodging, some farm buildings and a brand new church.  The church had been provisioned and decorated and even included an assortment of relics.  Here too monks walked the ground, wearing dark beards and wearing simple black robes.  Around the grounds were a number of walking and hiking trails that look out over the valley and the beauty of God’s creation.  Along the paths are a number of simple, wooden benches looking out over particularly fantastic views of Bulgarian countryside.  One trail leads to a small cave, outfitted with a bench, icon and candle-holders.

Now, I’m an evangelical Christian. I’m an ordained minister by the Christian & Missionary Alliance.  I was raised by fairly conservative parents in fairly conservative churches.  But I continue to find a powerful presence in eastern Orthodox churches and monasteries.  I’m not saying I find some mystic, spiritual power…though there may be some of that.  Rather, I find in them places of profound commitment, artistry and commitment to God.  These men spend their lives in simplicity, worship and prayer.  Their lives are manifestations of “a long obedience in the same direction.”

What in the world does this have to do with technology?  I very much enjoy technology.  I’m completely taken by my Tablet PC.  I’ve used a Palm device for nearly ten years.  I’ve been using PC’s in some form for nearly for 25 years  I enjoy listening to podcasts and I subscribe to just about ninety RSS feeds.  In short, I’m about as geeked out as any vocational-ministry person you’ll meet.  And yet, I am again challenged by lives and the life-style I witnessed over the weekend.  It’s not my first visit up close to traditions other than my own,  but it’s been a powerful reminder about the life of faith and how exactly God works in our lives.

We have to create space in our lives for God to work.  Sometimes all my technological gadget…most of which really do help me get work done faster and cleaner…keep me from opening up space in my life for quietness, solitude and the other ancient disciplines.  These disciplines are the keys to living completely free in Christ.  They’re the training that enables me to live the life Christ has intended me to live.  A friend recently mentioned that while I’m highly productive, I just use the time I’ve won back by being productive to do more work.  That struck me and I was struck again by the simplicity of the monks lives this weekend that I need to continue to create the space necessary for the Lord to work in my life.


Monday, November 07, 2005

GetRightPro 6.0 Beta with podcast support!

I have a persistent irritation.  It doesn’t involve my difficulties with my adopted culture or language (thought they both have their share).  It doesn’t have to do with my ministry, though that happens from time to time.  It goes like this:  Two days ago I finished downloading a number of podcasts that I enjoy.  I’ve configured MediaPlayer to sync with my Sony CLIE TH55 so I synced my CLIE and went outside to haul firewood up to our apartment…it’s beginning to get cold here!  I’d downloaded the latest couple of History Podcasts on the Balkans.  Hey, that’s where I live!  At any rate, I loaded up my firewood carrier and began to haul firewood only to find out that my podcasts ended after 2-3 minutes.  Crud.

Back in the early days of podcasting (14 months ago) I tried a number of clients, none of which seemed to work right.  So I ended up simply downloading the podcasts I wanted directly out of my Newsgator add-in for Outlook.  For about a year I’ve been using GetRight to actually manage those downloads for me, and it’s worked well.  In fact, I’m fairly taken with it.    Why?

  1. I can schedule downloads.  With my internet connection I have to be able to schedule downloads during the nighttime hours.
  2. I can pause and resume most downloads (where those servers support it).
  3. It has good support for both Internet Explorer and Firefox.
  4. I know exactly how big the download is, and how much is left to download at any given point.

Now GetRight has released Beta 4 of their latest version 6.0 release.  One feature of the upgrade really caught my eye.  Version 6.0 is adding podcast support!  Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been working with both iPodder Lemon and Doppler  (again) and still haven’t gotten them to work properly.  In both cases the programs report that the podcasts have been downloaded when, in fact, they hadn’t.  I don’t know why, though I’ve explored the forums.  I’m sure that there is a rational reason, but with both those clients there is little transparency into the actual download process.  With the GetRight podcast support we have full transparency of the process and the ability to schedule the downloads.  I know as the download starts how large it is and when the WHOLE podcasts has downloaded.  So far I am only trial-ing one of my feeds, but I’m loving what I’m seeing.  Check it out.




New OneNote PowerToy for Journal/Journaling

I picked this up from TabletPCBuzz over the weekend.  Wow!  This is really a handy tool.  I’ve experimented with a number of different tools for journaling.  I’ve also experimented with various ways of journaling.  For years I kept a journal of my spiritual life.  It was, and is, a fantastic way to track your walk with God and to trace the threads of his voice speaking into your life.  During this period I used MS Word exclusively.  It is ubiquitous, password-able, and easy to back up.  I frequently look back at these entries and remember the things the Lord was teaching me over that period.  The most significant are probably my entries at the end of my dad’s long battle against prostrate cancer.  God taught me a lot during that experience.

            I have also used OneNote to journal a fair bit, but in my pre-tablet days.  It didn’t last long.  It was a little bit cumbersome and I didn’t have the notebook “metaphor” firmly enough in my mind to organize it well.  Next I have used Outlook Notes to journal.  I did this for quite a while during my early days of GTD implementation.  In this case I wasn’t doing spiritual journaling, but keeping track of tasks done, projects, etc.  That worked well because it synced nicely with my Sony CLIE TH55.  With AcroWiki on the Palm side I could easily search and hyperlink from various days to project notes, etc.  ,I could add journal entries from a café, etc and have them sync to my laptop back home.  In the end, though, this became a little cumbersome because Outlook Notes is arguably the least developed aspect of the Outlook product.  My most recent attempt was triggered by the Moleskine craze a while back.  I bought a Moleskine went back to paper and pen.  I still use my Moleskine a lot, but I don’t do much journaling in it.  I can just type so much faster than I can write.  But writing also triggers my creative side in a way that typing doesn’t.

            So now I’m back to OneNote and this new PowerToy.  I really enjoy journaling, but I’ve fallen off the wagon a little bit over the last couple of years.  With my tablet and OneNote, however, whole new possibilities emerge.  With it I gain the sheer text-input power of the keyboard and the creative, meditative aspects of the pen.  Installation of the PowerToy is a snap and it’s configurable in a number of ways.  You can format your dates anyway you like, for instance, and I’ve set mine up for the European convention (DD-MM-YY).  If you’re a OneNote user and enjoy jounaling, I’ll bet you’ll find this worth a look.

OneNote Daily Journal PowerToy

The OneNote Daily Journal PowerToy permits a user to quickly jump to date-organized pages in OneNote, creating them as needed.

Many people like to keep a daily work log, journal, or "Daily Record of Events" (in FranklinCovey parlance).  With its powerful note features, a hierarchical binder metaphor, search capabilities, note flags, and ink support on Tablet PCs, OneNote is ideal for this task in many ways.  However, navigation to a designated journal page can require several mouse clicks, particularly if you have previously navigated to other folders and sections within OneNote.  The Daily Journal PowerToy makes access to a journal page for the current day as effortless as the creation of a new Side Note.

The OneNote Daily Journal PowerToy facilitates creation and navigation of date-organized pages in OneNote.  When the feature is invoked, it creates (if necessary) and displays a page in OneNote corresponding to today's date.  The first time that the Daily Journal is run on a given date, a new page will be created and displayed; on subsequent invocations on that same date, the previously-created page will be displayed.


Thursday, November 03, 2005

Great experience in a board meeting & Lenovo's profits on the rise.

Lenovo, the maker of the Thinkpad X41 Tablet PC is seeing good returns this quarter.  In some ways I’m not surprised.  I’m becoming more and more pleased with my Tablet and the difference it makes in my word flow.  I’ve chaired a few meetings since I got it, but yesterday was the first one outside my own organization.  We were all crammed in a little room because of maintenance going on in the board room.  Because we were using someone’s office we ended up sitting on nice comfy couches and chairs.  Other board members were trying to balance their laptops on their knees.  I was easily able to take notes, look up reference material in Onenote, and annotate an annual budget in Excel.  It was a wonderful feeling.


Good news coming from Lenovo (via Edinburgh Evening News):

LENOVO, the Chinese company which earlier this year acquired computer giant IBM's PC-making business, has seen a better-than-expected 22 per cent rise in quarterly profits.

The Beijing-based firm, which now ranks as the third biggest PC-maker in the world, raked in profits of some £25.8 million for the three months to the end of September.

Shipments of innovative Lenovo PC products, introduced after the acquisition of IBM's loss-making PC unit in May, grew 13 per cent during the three-month period, industry reports said.

This growth rate was fuelled by the demand for such products as the ThinkPad X41 Tablet PC and the model refresh of the ThinkCentre desktop PC line.

Hat tip to Rob Bushway

Monday, October 31, 2005

So you want to get a Tablet PC

James Kendrik and Marc Orchant are two of my favorite bloggers and podcasters.  They helped me a lot in actually chosing my own Lenovo X41 Tablet.  While neither of them owns one, they’ve talked about a lot of characteristics that they look for in a tablet and the gestalt of that was, for me, the X41.  This week the guys rolled out their first podcast under their new brand and are reprinting a guide on how to choose the right tablet.  If you’re interested in what all the buzz is about (or for detractors, why there isn’t a buzz) you’ll want to look over the article.

Marc Orchant, Warner Crocker and I had a discussion on the current OnTheRun with Tablet PCs podcast that touched on how to choose the right type of Tablet PC for you. The expanding number and types of Tablet PCs available today makes the task of finding the right one even more daunting than ever. I published this article months ago and the discussion today has me thinking it would be a good idea to post it again for those new prospective Tablet PC customers to give it a read. It is republished here in its entirety.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Organize your open windows with Deskloops

I ran across this in either Endgadget or Download Squad yesterday.  I’ve bee looking for a better task switcher for my X41 Tablet PC when I’m in tablet mode.  I’ve been Alt-Tab’ing my through open apps for as long as I can remember, but for obvious reasons, you can’t do that when your keyboard is folded up under your screen.  I’ve experimented with another very simple app call TaskModule.  It works very well, has a very small footprint and doesn’t take any screen real-estate to speak of.  Deskloops does the same thing (helps switch between tasks, but does it with a lot of bling.



Deskloops does this by arranging windows along a virtual horizontal loop. At any one time, you'll see window open on screen as usual, but in fact any number of other windows, set on that loop, can be rotated in from left or right. A strip of thumbnails on top of the screen maps the loop's full content.


Deskloops is kind of hard to visualize, but check out the flash demo and see what you think.  I’ve got a few problems with the scroll bars on the right, however.  Sometimes when I want to scroll down a web-page, for example, I end up with my windows spinning around in circles.  I’m sure it’s a user problem though.  We’ll give it a try for seven days or so and decide to whether to keep it or not.  It’s visually pretty cool and it’s free (but still in beta).  Give it a try.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

FW: Google School: Currency Conversion

This is too sweet.  The folks at Google just keep rolling out the interesting stuff.  Here’s a currency converter you might find interesting.  It’s especially if you work in multiple currencies or need a quite reference.  Great stuff for the time-crunched missionary.

Disclaimer: Google cannot guarantee the accuracy of the exchange rates used by the calculator. You should confirm current rates before making any transactions that could be affected by changes in the exchange rates. Foreign currency rates provided by Citibank N.A. and displayed under license. Rates are for information purposes only and are subject to change without notice. Rates for actual transactions may vary, and Citibank is not offering to enter into any transaction at any rate displayed.


Google makes it easy to calculate money conversions from one form of currency to another. For example, you can google for $5 in yen to discover that five dollars is worth about 600 yen.

If you're not sure of the name of a currency, use nationality instead. You can google for 25 Australian money in Italian money. It sounds awkward but it does the job.

You can even convert units in this fashion. Googling for $2.85 per gallon in British money per liter (which turns out to be about 42 pence per liter) provides an international basis for discussing gas prices at the pump.

Download of The Day: Skype For Windows Fixes

Skype keeps rolling out these updates.  Here’s another incremental update.




The latest version of Skype for Windows, released Tuesday, contains some critical security fixes and is a suggested download for anyone using Skype.

It's free and for Windows users only.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

The bullet-proof Levis denim jacket

Courtesy of endgadget, the perfect accessory to your missionary wardrobe.  Now whether you’re four-wheeling in Western Kosova or trekking through the jungles of West African you’re set.


We don’t think this is really what Levis had in mind when they said their denim was bullet-proof, but for as little as $880 you to can get a stock-looking Patrick Swayze Road House jacket with a level IIIA-rated bullet-proof lining, which will apparently even stop a shot from a .44 magnum. Which is good, because wearing a jacket like this is liable to get you shot.

[Via TRFJ]

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Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Ed Bott: Tip of the day: Troubleshoot slow startups. Part 1

Ed Bott is a major guru of windows-dom.  We all face the gradual malaise that seems to overcome our Windows machines.  Here is part on of a two-part post on how to troubleshoot slowly booting Win machines.  In part 2 he goes over using msconfig to dig a little deeper into the innards.


What should you do if your system is taking longer than it should to start up? Don’t start randomly tweaking system settings. Instead, go through basic troubleshooting to see if you can narrow down the problem. This week, I’ll list five separate steps you can take to quickly narrow down the source of the problem.

One cause of slow startups is a program (or programs) trying unsuccessfully to load or make a network connection when you log on to your user account. To identify this sort of problem, create a new user account and log on using that account. If the new account starts up normally, you can start looking more closely at what’s happening in your user profile.

To create a new account, follow these steps:

  1. Open Control Panel and double-click the User Accounts icon.
  2. Click Create a new account.
  3. Type a name for the new account and click Next.
  4. In the Pick an account type dialog box, leave Computer administrator selected and click Create Account.

Log off (Start, Log Off, Log Off) and then log on using the new account. The first time you log on, you’ll experience a delay as Windows creates the files for your profile. After completing this step, shut down your computer and restart. When you reach the Welcome screen, choose the new account you created.

If you experience a slow logon, you can rule out any problem with your profile and focus on hardware-related issues or overall system settings.

Tracy's Reflection on the Past 36 Days

Even though I’m not a student anymore, and even though I only recently moved to a Tablet PC, I’ve been following Tracy & Trever over at The Student Tablet PC blog.  A few weeks ago (maybe more than a month now), Tracy’s Toshiba tablet fell out of her backpack…and it broke.  She’s been messing around with Toshiba customer service ever since.  For the time being she’s using a loner tablet, though not without problems.


At any rate, she’s just posted some really great comments on life as a tablet-using student without the benefit of her tablet.  She wrote a lot more, but here’s a taste.  Now that I’ve been using my own tablet for about a week, I can definitely see where she’s coming from.  Tracy scans most/all of her textbooks into her tablet where she can take notes, hyperlink, etc.


Because of the annoying jumping cursor, I've been using regular pen and paper more than usual...definitely more than I like.  A few things I've noticed:

  • I can't stand writing on loose-leaf paper anymore. The loose part of it drives me crazy.
  • I also can't stand the wire rings on binders I have to deal with as a lefty, leaving me with just notepads and the ones with the spiral on top.
  • The is no pen in existence--I've checked--that writes as smooth and as saturated as my tablet pen. Period.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

FW: Crashless Aspirations Debuts As Another Tablet PC Podcaster

I first “met” Vince Anido (Crashless Aspirations) in the forums.  He’s an x41 user (like myself) who’s written a great post on how he uses Onenote.  I’m a big fan of Onenote and plan on writing a post on my own setup at some point.  Onenote is a seriously under-marketed, under utilized program that works great on desktops, laptops and tablets.  Check out his post on Onenote called Ditching The Legal Pad .

Friday, October 07, 2005

Office 12's MinBar

Office 12 is undergoing a major face-lift in it’s next release.  Due out next year, Office 12 will look a lot different from the Office you’re used to.  Word, for example, has over 1200 user commands available.  But the limits of the “traditional” menubar/dropdown limits user commands to about 120.  Microsoft is trying to deliver more power with less effort, few key strokes and less mouse travel. In this post below, one of my favorite bloggers, Marc Orchant, points this out.

Office 12 MiniBarJensen Harris posts today about the Office 12 MiniBar - an in context formatting toolbar in the new version of Office. This looks like a terrific innovation in user interface and should svae miles of mouse travel to make a quick format change to a selection. Jensen writes:

“When you select text in Office 12, the MiniBar appears “ghosted” above the text you selected.  If you move closer to the MiniBar, it fades in and becomes a miniature toolbar you can use to apply Bold, Italic, Font Size, Color, etc.  As you move the pointer away from the edge of the MiniBar, it fades away to nothing.  So, if you don’t want to use the MiniBar on selection, just move your cursor a few pixels away and it dismisses.”

There’s a small (under 1 MB) movie linked from Jensen’s post that shows the MiniBar in action.