MWLUG 2014: BP110: The Mobile Distruption - Why XPages Development is targeting Mobile First

August 28 2014

BP110: The Mobile Distruption - Why XPages Development is targeting Mobile First from John Head

PSC Group @ MWLUG 2014

August 19 2014

Image:PSC Group @ MWLUG 2014

MWLUG 2014 is less than two weeks away! Are you attending? PSC Group will be there two.

First, you can meet us in the vendor showcase. We will be talking about our services and solutions and will be all ready to talk about how we can help you.

We also have 4 sessions given by PSC Group team members.

Don't fall asleep using Relational Databases: Using Hibernate with XPages
Toby Samples
Friday, August 29th, 2014 at 11:30 AM - Gerald Ford room

Domino is THE all-purpose Application Server that fits all of your needs even if those needs involve relational databases. Hibernate is an object-relational mapping library for Java and can be used with XPages. The framework can help you easily combine the relational databases that you have with the secure, flexible environment you already know and love. In this session I will demonstrate that with a little setup Hibernate allows you to treat records in a relational database in a similar manner as Domino documents in a Domino Database. You will learn how to setup Hibernate on Domino, setup eclipse to use Hibernate tools, and build an XPages application that is bound directly to your Relational Database.

Java versus Javascript: There really is no competition
Andrew Barickman
Wendesday, August 27th, 2014 at 5 PM - Gerald Ford room

Should you use Java or JavaScript to write XPages applications? The answer is yes. XPages facilitates creating great applications written almost entirely in Java and written almost entirely in JavaScript. There are no right or wrong answers, only circumstances and ramifications. The determining factors as what is best for your development team are many and complex. In this presentation Andrew will seek to dispel the myth that there is even a competition. The answer should always be - it depends. Come and see the session and make your own mind up.

The Mobile Distruption - Why XPages Development is targeting Mobile First
John Head and Matt Engstrom, IBM
Thursday, August 28th, 2014 at 11 AM - Grand View room

Over the next five years, enterprise apps will increasingly be built for mobile as the target platform. This session will cover the business reasons why you need to focus on the mobile experience, from both the IBM and a business partner perspective. With mobile, social, cloud and big data being the top priorities of most CxOs worldwide, we will look at how XPages can play a key role in your application strategy. We will guide you on how XPages can fit into your MEAP (Mobile Enterprise Application Platform) strategy, what you can do today to position yourself for success and demonstrate real world examples of why XPages is a smart choice.

Write once, run anywhere - Angular.js in XPages
Mark Roden
Friday, August 29th 2014 at 3 PM - Imperial room

The business requirement to surface functionality from one application inside of another has long existed and is often difficult to implement. There has always been a gulf between displaying data and creating a functional application. Mark will demonstrate how the power of building a solution based on Angular.js allows an application to be "moved" from Domino to another platform easily and with the bare minimum of code re-write. Taking "Write once, use anywhere" in the literal sense, you will see how to make Domino applications running natively inside of other platforms. Client side frameworks such as Angular.js are the future of web development - come and see it in action.

Look forward to seeing everyone in Grand Rapids!

IBM Digital Experience 2014 Conference - General Session Thoughts

July 23 2014

Image:IBM Digital Experience 2014 Conference - General Session Thoughts

I am at the IBM Digital Experience conference for the first time. Of course, that leads me to doing the compare and contrast with the other major IBM event I have attended, IBM Connect/Lotusphere. About 700 people here, and 85% of the sessions are technical. And from what I have seen, there is a great community of partners and customers here. I have spent most of my time in the business / customer story sessions. All of them have been pretty good.

One item I wanted to really highlight was the Opening General Session. The contrast is so huge.

First, there is no teleprompter. No script being read. I am sure there was an overall script, and lots of practice. But I never once felt like I was being spoon fed. Gary Dolsen, the new Vice President for IBM Digital Experience, who just took over for the retiring Larry Bowden, set the tone perfectly. It was rehearsed but not memorized. Gary knocked it out of the park.

Next up was Doug Gieger to talk about the products specifically and a few announcements. The new Script Portlet and Mobile Preview functionality is great stuff. There were plenty of slides but it didn't feel too sales or marketing focused. Nicole Carrier and a counterpart did the typical IBM demo for a conference like this. What was typical is they pretended to be from a company, a business user and a technical user. What was different is it felt so relaxed. To the point. Showed off great functionality without the Connect rehearsed awkwardness. It might have been the best product demo I have seen since the Notes 4 Release The Power days.

The general session wrapped up with Stephen Powers from Forrester. His talk was titled 'Revamp Your Digital Experience Technology Strategy' - but it wasn't typical analyst stuff. Stephan's talk was awesome. Focused, on point, and a message that rang true.

A great start to the week. The best conference keynote I have seen in years. I hope that IBM reviews the feedback for the session and applies it to future ones. I know, the Connect OGS's have had to speak to the press and analysts that are there - and there is no press or analysts here. But what a stark difference. And in the best of ways.

PSC is proud to introduce our new partnership with Intuit QuickBase

July 17 2014

PSC and Intuit Quickbase are proud to introduce our new partnership. Come celebrate with us and enjoy the amazing views of Downtown Chicago from the penthouse floor of the Swissotel.  

Network with local QuickBase users and learn about our new partnership with PSC, a Chicago based services firm.  PSC is an expert in integrating dynamic reporting and collaboration.

Admission includes:

  • Networking with other QuickBase users 
  • Cocktails & Appetizers
  • Chance to win Blackhawks memorabilia

Image:PSC is proud to introduce our new partnership with Intuit QuickBase
Image:PSC is proud to introduce our new partnership with Intuit QuickBase

You can sign up here


July 11 2014

As you probably guessed, I turn 40 today. Not sure if I should look at this as an accomplishment or milestone or a warning - but it's a good day. No longer 'a kid' - but still 'the kid' to many.

With June being such a rough month for me, and this June being even harder, this July is special. That number '40' I was never sure I would make. But at 40, I find contentment with who I am. I have a great family, especially those closest. Wonderful friends. Awesome coworkers. I am part of many wonderful communities - IBM, Shacknews, YRs, Chicago. I find myself happy with the man I have become. Confident in my abilities. Proud of my accomplishments. Challenged by my work. A real future to strive for.

I accept that I am emotional. Layered. Complex. Passionate. Focused. Driven. It has taken many events in the past year for me to embrace all of those words. They are who I am. I no longer shrink from being called any of them. I stand proudly and own them. Life is about accepting who you are. Who matters in your life. Finding your inspiration. Surrounding yourself with those who have immeasurable impact on your life. I am happy to have found those that accept me, protect me, and make me happy. To all of you - thank you for your love and support. Every day I work to return it.

Thanks for reading and hopefully I can continue to share for another 10 years - a decade - and then some.


June 30 2014

In my world, June has been renamed Suckuary. With the anniversary of my father's death, Father's Day, his birthday - it's a hard  month. My Uncle (father's brother) had the same heart attack as my father this month. Luckily, he survived and is on the mend. Add in end of quarter/end of year for a lot of companies, licensing deals that barely closed, and a bunch of other personal stuff. Damn. I am glad June is done. July is a brighter month. Mom's birthday. My Birthday. Holiday. Vacation. and much more.

So next year, I propose we change the name of the month of June. And I might take the entire month off. I am glad today is the last day of the month. Bring on July.

Memorial Day - Remembering Jack Head

May 26 2014

Today is Memorial Day in the states, the day we remember and honor all of those that have fought and served this country in our military. I thought I would share a few stories of my grandfather.

John "Jack" William Head was a veteran of World War 2. A marine who fought in the battle for the Pacific. He was on Guam. He was part of the 3rd marine Division assault. Unfortunately the Marines were dropped on a beach at surrounded by a high ridge. Japanese soldiers opened fire immediately and the Marine casualties were high. Your grandfather was the Master Sergeant and every one of higher rank was killed on the landing. Dad's men were pinned down by rifle and machine gun fire from on top of the ridge, so Dad took two men with him and started up the ill to try and open a path for the men on the beach. The Japanese saw them coming and began to roll live grenades and mortar shells down the hill. The two men with Dad were killed. He was badly injured and rolled back down the hill. He was placed with other injured men on the beach. When it became obvious that the assault had failed, the Marines withdrew leaving the dead on the beach. Dad was one of those they thought was dead. When the Marines returned in the morning with greater numbers and better support from heavy Navy guns they found some of the men left behind were in fact still alive. Your Grandfather was one of them. He was sent to a hospital ship where he recuperated. He then was assigned to the invasion troops that would lead the assault on the Japanese islands which never happened. My grandfather was one of the most gentle and kind men I ever knew, but he was also someone you didn't cross. There was strength there. (thanks to my Uncle Tony for reminding me of the specifics - I have used his words)

Years later, my grandfather was looking through a book of photos from the war. He received the book as a proud veteran and member of the VFW. My grandfather made his living as commercial artist, during the same time period that Mad Men takes place in. So he had an eye for great work. As he was looking through this book, he found a photo that caught his eye. He saw the aces of three of his friends from the war. He pointed them out to my Grandmother and said 'I should be somewhere around here - I remember walking with them on Christmas Eve.'

Image:Memorial Day - Remembering Jack Head

Imagine his surprise as my grandmother Rosalie looked over his shoulder and said "Jack, that's you right in the middle!" and so it was. My father and uncle both got copies and now I am proud to have one in my office. Hanging right next to his medals, including the Purple Heart.

Today is a day we honor our veterans and active military. Today is the day I remember my Papa Jack.

My interview with SocialBiz User Group - Listen Now

May 13 2014

Last month, Celia Hamilton of SocialBiz User Group, interviewed me to talk about XPages and the work I am doing at PSC Group. Here is their blurb about it:

John Head was kind enough to share some of his time with me recently to have a conversation about XPages and mobile development. John's background in coding and current role in business development at PSC Group give him a unique outlook when talking about technology. From his perspective, he looks at what customers want when they need his company's services; his focus is finding out what technology is best suited to their needs.
Press the play button below to hear our conversation about these topics:
  • What John does with PSC Group
  • What customers are really looking for when building a web application
  • If you are still building client-only applications, you are the problem, not the solution
  • What developers can do to their web apps today to make them ready to go mobile tomorrow
You can also read a transcript of the interview if you prefer. Until then, enjoy the audio!

You can listen to it here:

Tim Tripcony

May 12 2014

Today the news tells us that one of the Lotus/XPages community has let us, much to early. Tim Tripcony was one of the good guys. No,Tim was one of the best guys. Besides being smart and talented, Tim was a gentle soul who loved to share knowledge. I remember many chats with Tim talking about XPages, something new he was working on, or music. I will always remember seeing Tim at the first MWLUG in Chicago - just after he cut his long hair. I didn't recognize him at first. We laughed at my confusion. Tim's response at the time was 'well, I might have cut off my hair, but my technical skills weren't because of my hair!' ... Tim, you might have left us, but your technical skills aren't all we will remember. Rest in peace my friend - I will miss you.

The IBM Mail Next Webinar - Thoughts and Questions

April 23 2014

IBM has the first public webinar around IBM Mail Next since unveiling it at IBM Connect this past January. I thought I would highlight a few thoughts and questions I have.

(before I go on, IBM did say this was a point in time and nothing was set in stone and everything was subject to change. So keep that in mind as you continue reading please)

The webinar was mostly high level about the process, but we did see two specific 'demos' (more on that later) around the calendar timeline and faceted search. First, I think the design concepts shown by Scott detailed that IBM is trying to do more than build a new web email client. There is real innovation being attempted. I see that innovation in the flat list of attachments and links from the search results. I loved that. I want that right now.

We also got an updated detailed architecture slide:

Image:The IBM Mail Next Webinar - Thoughts and Questions

This slides confirms that IBM Mail Next is being targeted at web / cloud deployments first. Yes, you can see Domino in there - prominently. But you also see SmartCloud Engage, Apache SolrCloud, and other components. So yes, it is based on Domino technology, but there are more components as well.

Here is the IBM timeline for IBM Mail Next for 2014:
Image:The IBM Mail Next Webinar - Thoughts and Questions

This is an aggressive timeline for anyone, but it also has zero mention of anything on-premises.

Last, we have a direction statement on how you will get IBM Mail Next:
Image:The IBM Mail Next Webinar - Thoughts and Questions

What this means for existing Notes & Domino customers is that to use IBM Mail Next in it's first version, you must be on IBM SmartCloud Notes.

So this is not a negative blog post about the cloud. PSC does quite a bit of work with cloud technologies around messaging and application development. My questions really boil down to when will Notes & Domino customers who do not want to move their mail to the cloud will have a roadmap and strategic plan that includes the IBM Mail Next functionality and interface. I think IBM missed a real opportunity to excite and assure the existing customer base that the road map includes them. As a proud IBM SmartCloud Notes Migration business partner, I still hear of customers who want to stay on premises. Those of them on the call today probably have more questions than answers.

IBM's vision of a highly integrated software suite was also reinforced today. It's IBM, so I don't see them forcing IBM Connections on Notes & Domino customers. They don't do that with IBM Notes & Domino 9, but to take full advantage of the Social Edition features, you need IBM Connections. I see the same thing happening here. What works where and what is required for each feature are important questions I hope are answered as soon as the on-premises vision and architecture is shared.

Last, the mobile mail experience is still an open question. Having a HTML based email client is great, but I read 90% of all my email on my phone (happens to be an iPhone). My initial read and action is done on the small screen, be it delete, forward, reply, or file. I don't interact with a rich client as much as the mobile experience. So is a native IBM Mail Next experience coming? There was mention at IBM Connect 2014 of a native iOS client coming to match the experience available on Android. Is that coming for IBM Mail Next as well? The new functionality in IBM Mail Next is great, but it's lost on me if it's only 'on the glass' in a web browser.

For those that did not attend, the slides and webinar recording should be posted within the next 48 hours.

What did you think of the webinar?  Would love to hear other's thoughts on what we saw today.

Why STEM education matters - The Lumity Story

April 22 2014

I have talked about Lumity before on my blog, but I wanted to share why I think it's mission matters. Here is a great video that we created for our Annual Dinner earlier this month:

I am proud to be involved with Lumity as a board member, and helping with the services arm, but the STEM initiative is something I really believe in. My career path was not a straight arrow, and my STEM schooling as a kid really had an impact. I am looking forward to hands-on involvement later this month with a school career fair visit. If you would like to get involved, please contact me. You can also donate here.

Selling XPages - what matters?

April 4 2014

The XPages community has had an active two weeks of discussions, kicked off by my coworker Mark Roden's post Why learning JavaScript is more critical to XPage developers than Java. This inspired many comments and other posts and videos. The best of those were:

Tim Tripcony - "Do I Need to Learn Java?": a brief conversation with a composite character
Mark Roden - When the community comes together we get the right answer
Steven Wissel - Learning a new language or platform
Jeff Byrd - Life without xPages # 3 – a little more JAVA please

I think David Leedy's Notesin9 was brilliant and hilarious. If you have not watched this, you should. NotesIn9 141: Java vs JavaScript Throwdown. Mark also responded appropriately (And the gloves are off…… and An open letter to Mr. NotesIn9).

I have been reading and watching on the sideline. I no longer write code, so the technical discussion going on here is something I don't feel like I should provide an opinion. Mark, Tim, David and many more are much more qualified. But as the discussion morphs from technical to interacting with customers, I feel I can contribute to the discussion.

Selling XPages isn't actually selling XPages for me. I rarely sell technology. I focus on selling a solution to a business problem, using technology. One of the advantages I have is that I have a broad range of solutions I can sell. Besides XPages and other IBM solutions, PSC has practices that work with SaaS solutions such as and, Microsoft Dynamics AX and CRM, Microsoft technologies including Microsoft SharePoint and .NET and Azure - even custom Microsoft Office development, and open source solutions around Java, Python, and LAMP. We specialize in integration of multiple of these systems, and do quite a bit in REST and libraries such as Node.JS, Backbone.JS, and Angular.JS. Because of our broad range of skills, I can focus on the solution before selecting a technology. Now, for sure, customers and prospects come to us and say 'we want you to build this and use XPages' or 'we are a Microsoft shop, pick a technology that works within that.' By selling solutions to business problems, most of my job is focused providing confidence that we can solve the problem. It is quite liberating as the selling process.

When it comes to XPages, the shift from 'we can build a XPages app for you' to 'Let's build a great application using this web platform called XPages' started 2 years ago. Our selling process focuses on customer success and user experience. For us, that means design and user experience is key. We have internal designers that focus on design patterns and look and feel. In many ways, the IBM Exceptional Design Experience process is something we have applied to XPages - and everything else. Technically, this means Twitter Bootstrap and a collection of resources such as jQuery, extJS, and other sources. We even use Java - especially with things like Apache Poi and much more. We don't limit ourselves. There is no 'you can only do it this way.'

In the past 5 years of selling, I have never once had a customer ask 'I want you to write this application in Java.' There is always an IT person asking about maintainability, future-proofing, and discussing their available resources. But rarely is it focused on 'please write this system in a specific language.' There is always talk on build vs. buy. Or open source vs. not. Selected Vendor and/or selected platform of course comes up. But never once has anyone said 'you can only write this in Language A.' Opposite that, we have had multiple customers tell us 'We don't have the resources to maintain an XPages application with lots of Java in it. Please design this to target our internal skills as much as possible.' Now, we can attribute that to the maturity of the XPages community outside of the top contributors, but it is reality. We take the stance that it is our job to educate our customers on their options, but not tell them they are wrong. Communication and direction matters, but putting blinders on to tell someone there is only one right way to develop a 'good application' makes no sense.

One thing I find interesting in this discussion is the difference between in-house and consultant and systems integrators vs. ISV's. This is a healthy discussion. I think that learning and sharing experiences on how we all see the technology helps everyone grow. What I likes most about this discussion was the 95% open-mindedness of the community. Comparing this to a discussion even just two years ago, it would have been far less.

To wrap this up, I do agree 100% with David Leedy that as a developer, you should always want to be learning. And always be practicing. I also agree that knowing Java is important, but it's one item in the XPages developer's toolbox. The best customer solutions that I have seen - those built by PSC and by others - use a mix of both and much more. The range of solutions coming from David and Jeff Byrd and Mark and Brad Balassaitis and so many more pushes the community forward. There was a time that XPages didn't even include projects like the ExtLib - look how far XPages has come in just five years!

TL;DR - don't get caught up in which language matters in a solution, focus on delivering the solution that solves the business problem. At the end of the day, the people who write the check really don't care about the language used.

OneNote vs. Evernote - no, make that OneNote AND Evernote

March 18 2014

Yesterday, Microsoft made quite a few announcements around OneNote. Here is a list of what is new:

  • OneNote for the Mac
  • OneNote is free!
  • OneNote API and a bunch of apps - including IFTTT!
  • OneNote email address
  • Web Clipper
  • OneNote Eye Lens for Windows phone - and I would love to see this on the iPhone

That is a long list of stuff! This excites me. I use both OneNote and Evernote. Yes, both. Why? Great question.

For work stuff, I mostly use OneNote. It connects to my ecosystem that I use daily like nothing else I have seen. Tied together with Outlook, Office, Sharepoint, and Lync. That connect is really powerful - but the real power is in the group sharing of notebooks. Using OneDrive or SharePoint, the power of group notebooks is amazing. PSC has teams using OneNote for our projects and the amount of data in there is out of control and head spinning. Yes, Evernote has the ability to share notebooks - but it requires everyone have a premium version. And I find the synching and team collaboration in OneNote has always been it's strength.

For a specific example, our Infrastructure group inside PSC has this team notebook

Image:OneNote vs. Evernote - no, make that OneNote AND Evernote

The Practice Leader owns the notebook, and the entire team has access. So does all of the sales team and the rest of the PSC folks who interact with this practice. Everything is in one place. That clients tab has LOTS of sections (each section is a client) and lots of pages under that. The multi-layered organization allows for a single notebook instead of multiple.

Now, don't get me wrong. I love Evernote. I use it for a lot of my personal stuff. Here is my Evernote Notebook structure

Image:OneNote vs. Evernote - no, make that OneNote AND Evernote

I have a few older work related stuff - and a few shared notebooks with the Collaboration and Enterprise teams. Because Evernote was one of the first to connect with IFTTT, I use it as a way to track what I do on social media. All my tweets and facebook posts are cataloged here - since both services have crappy archives and backup options. I also have a few apps that use Evernote as their backbone - much like many use Dropbox. That won't stop, so I will probably continue to use both. But with IFTTT integration with OneNote revealed yesterday, I might change that (well, once IFTTT gives us the power to select OneNote Notebooks).

Let me break down where I think the pros and cons of both OneNote and Evernote from my usage.

OneNote Positives:

1. The OneNote Editor - the core strength of OneNote is what you can do inside a Note. It's based on the Word editor, but has a lot of great additions.

Image:OneNote vs. Evernote - no, make that OneNote AND Evernote

This is the key strength of OneNote. I will get into specifics on the options here, but you can do so much in the editor. If you use OneNote or Evernote primarily for note taking, then it's hard to not give OneNote the win here.

2. The Insert Menu

Image:OneNote vs. Evernote - no, make that OneNote AND Evernote

Besides the basics with a table and file attachment, you can insert an actual spreadsheet (Excel) or diagram (Visio) into the note. This means flow charts and charting. I don't know how this works with the Mac yet, but this is a great feature. The audio and video recording directly is great, as is the screen clipping and scanned images directly in the app. Quick date & time insertion is great, as is the full equation and symbol engines from Word. Evernote has a fraction of these features. Again, the editor in OneNote is night and day above any other note taking software out there.

3. The Draw Menu

Image:OneNote vs. Evernote - no, make that OneNote AND Evernote

If you do note taking on a Microsoft Surface or another device like a Lenovo Helix, the options here compared to Skitch are very powerful. The key here - Ink to Text and Ink to Math. Both are far superior than anything with Evernote, unless you purchase a third-party product like the Jot pen.

4. The View Menu

Image:OneNote vs. Evernote - no, make that OneNote AND Evernote

Hard to see here - but OneNote allows you to change the page color and the rule lines of any page. You can really customize this - but I like the ability to have a note page look like a note page when I am doing handwriting.

5. Meeting Details

Image:OneNote vs. Evernote - no, make that OneNote AND Evernote
This is a great feature. If you are using Outlook, you can create a Meeting Details page in OneNote with two clicks. Everything imports AND links back to the calendar entry.

Image:OneNote vs. Evernote - no, make that OneNote AND Evernote

A single click in your calendar brings you back to this page. I use this multiple times a day.

6. Section Locking via Password

Image:OneNote vs. Evernote - no, make that OneNote AND Evernote

You can lock down entire pages, sections, and notebooks.

7. Todo Linking with Outlook

Image:OneNote vs. Evernote - no, make that OneNote AND Evernote

This feature allows you to highlight any text in a OneNote note and create a task out of it.

Image:OneNote vs. Evernote - no, make that OneNote AND Evernote

You can see the flag on the task there - that means it is an Outlook task item. You can then open that item in Outlook.

Image:OneNote vs. Evernote - no, make that OneNote AND Evernote

This creates a link between the two. You can assign this to others, just like any task.

8. OneNote Tags in Text

Image:OneNote vs. Evernote - no, make that OneNote AND Evernote

While Evernote has tags per Note, OneNote allows you to tag any text with one or more tags. You can see the long list of tags that come out of the box, and you can full customize these. Here is a use case:

Image:OneNote vs. Evernote - no, make that OneNote AND Evernote

You can see I tagged this with the address tag. What makes this powerful is the next item.

9. Tag Summary

Image:OneNote vs. Evernote - no, make that OneNote AND Evernote

Tag summary allows me to find all the tags in a given collection (current page, current section, current notebook, all notebooks) and you can do it by a time rage as well:

Image:OneNote vs. Evernote - no, make that OneNote AND Evernote

From this, it generates a Page with a listing of all of the tags I selected:

Image:OneNote vs. Evernote - no, make that OneNote AND Evernote

While not a true Table of Contents, its a great way to get a master list of things to do from your note taking.

10. Page Templates

Image:OneNote vs. Evernote - no, make that OneNote AND Evernote

For me, this is the real power. The ability to save pages AND Notebooks with sections and pages is very powerful. You can setup new project Notebooks that have everything in it - including new page layouts. Its a massively powerful feature that makes note taking both useful and streamlined.

OneNote Negatives:

1. Mobile Applications

This is a key area Microsoft needs to work on. The biggest issue - the iPad version of OneNote heavily limits what you can do in terms of the editor, OneNote's biggest strength. The web version on Office365 is very good, but the native mobile apps need work. I expect this is something we will see improve as the coming Office for iPad gets released.

2. Integration with anything other than Outlook

Are you a IBM Notes user? Yeah, all that integration above doesn't work. Same if you are a Google user. I would really like to see this work with both the local machine default settings and with web mail options. My guess is that neither of these happen, except through third-party options.

3. Integration with third-party apps

This was an issue until the announcement yesterday, but still a long way to go to match Evernote.

4. Only a Windows application

The release of the Mac client yesterday took this off the table.

5. Requires a Microsoft account for synching

Not an issue for me, but I have heard others say this is an issue. I have a Microsoft account for Windows 8 and XBox, so no brainer here. Evernote requires a Facebook or Google or Evernote login (well, if you use one of the first two it creates an Evernote account for you on the backend). Microsoft could give other login options. But typically not their way.

6. No 'All Notes' view

This is a great feature in Evernote and hope it gets added.

7. No Import functionality

Volker mentioned this. I hope they fix this. The Evernote .enex format is documented and open.

8. File Clipping

Image:OneNote vs. Evernote - no, make that OneNote AND Evernote

The 'Send to OneNote' functionality is good, but it's not as good as Evernote. This needs work - especially around PDFs.

9. No Web Clipper

While not an addin like Evernote has for a browser like Chrome, there is now a bookmarklet that works well.

Evernote Positives:

1. The multiple note selection options

Image:OneNote vs. Evernote - no, make that OneNote AND Evernote

Selecting multiple Notes gives you a great menu where you can email them, merge them, save them as attachments externally, and create a table of contents note. The ToC feature is a great one. I also like that you can move and tag them in mass.

2. The Share Menu

Image:OneNote vs. Evernote - no, make that OneNote AND Evernote

OneNote has no features that allow you to post a link to an Evernote page on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. I also like that I can stop sharing at the source.

3. Encrypt Selected Text

Image:OneNote vs. Evernote - no, make that OneNote AND Evernote

A great feature in Evernote is the ability to select text and encrypt it. The bad news is that if you lose the passphrase, it is lost forever. Ouch.

4. Evernote Tags

Evernote tags are at the note level. And they work just like tags on a blog. Type-ahead works. And the Tag view which shows all notes with an associated tag works great. Very tag-cloud like.

5. Atlas

The Atlas feature shows all tags created at a specific location. Very cool for mobile notes - especially if trying to find tags that you created at a client in Boston, for instance.

6. Evernote Market and Addon Apps

For me, this is a huge strength. The sheer number of apps that use Evernote as a backbone is pretty incredible. IFTTT is a great example. Evernote becomes a storage facility for anything you want to throw at it. This ties in to #7

7. Integration

The integration of other apps into Evernote is exceptional. It starts with their own apps, like Skitch, Penultimate, Food, Clearly and Web Clipper. Than you have third-party apps like EasilyDo, Expensify,, Lightly, and DocScanner. The ecosystem is awesome.

8. Evernote Moleskin

Extending the application market and integration, the products like the Jot Script Evernote Edition Pen and the ScanSnap Scanner are awesome. But the best integration by far is the Evernote Moleskin Notebook. With the camera-enabled paper, the smart stickers, and lots of sizes, colors, and even a sketchbook - this is the best paper-to-electronic option out there.

9. Flat Note List

A weakness of OneNote, having a single All Notes view is a great feature. I use this almost daily. Especially with all of the stuff that gets pushed to Evernote automatically.

10. Mobile Applications

The mobile applications for Evenote are great. One thing that makes them great is that the editor works the same across all of their apps - Windows, Mac, iPhone, iPad, etc.

11. Presentation Mode

Not something I use often (or ever), but you can present directly from Evernote.

12. Web Clipper

Image:OneNote vs. Evernote - no, make that OneNote AND Evernote

Hard to argue about this - the best out there. Great functionality and works like a charm.

13. Evernote File Annotation

Image:OneNote vs. Evernote - no, make that OneNote AND Evernote

A great feature available to any image or PDF - and doesn't disturb the file itself.

Evernote Negatives:

1. The Evernote Editor - it's the weakest part of Evernote actually.

Image:OneNote vs. Evernote - no, make that OneNote AND Evernote

It can do basic formatting and a few things like bullets, lists, a checkbox that links to nothing, really basic tables, a line spacer, basic file attachments and a voice recorder. Tags are for the note and there is also a basic reminder option. Reminders are only visible within the app or sent to your evernote account email. Really, this is the core weakness of Evernote - if it has one. What you can put inside the editor is far less than OneNote. Some people will say this is about simplicity - but it's the biggest limitation for me.

2. Encryption limited to text

Direct from the Evernote User Guide: "Note: While you can encrypt the text content of a note, you cannot encrypt an entire notebook or note."

3. Tags are limited to Note level

You can not tag specific text. I am so used to doing this in OneNote that I find it a huge limitation.

4.  Evernote Integration with productivity tools (Outlook, Notes, etc.)

Image:OneNote vs. Evernote - no, make that OneNote AND Evernote

The integration with Outlook is not just less than OneNote, but it's buggy and clunky. As an Outlook addin, it often crashes Outlook. But Evernote doesn't integrate on the platform it is running on well. This isn't just about Outlook. It doesn't integrate with Notes, Mac Mail/etc., Apple Mail and Calendar on iOS, etc. This is a big weakness. I am glad Evernote has a great backend API, but I need front-end integration in my day to day life.

5. Search Criteria Limited

Image:OneNote vs. Evernote - no, make that OneNote AND Evernote

You can only search in the current note or all notes. No other option. I think the ability to search and navigate as tags as seen as the reason not to expand this, but it pales in comparison to OneNote.


So that is a lot of opinion and information. Reality is I will still use both. I like that Evernote works as a giant collector of information across the various hats I wear, but I also love that OneNote is now a more viable alternative. I hope that OneNote being free, a Mac client, and an API that can build an ecosystem forces Evernote to ramp up its internal development. The Evernote editor needs a lot of work and there is quite a bit of missing functionality - for me at least. I am not sure I will ever just get to use one or the other - but competition is good for both products. Happy note taking.

Are you a not-for-profit in Chicago? Join for a technology seminar

February 19 2014

For all of my friends and followers in Chicago - if you work for or participate in a not-for-profit, this free technology seminar is for you:

Clearing up the Myth: The Cloud and Nonprofits - Free Nonprofit Technology Seminar - Please join us on February 26th at 10 AM and invite your nonprofit friends and colleagues.

At this seminar you will learn:Image:Are you a not-for-profit in Chicago? Join for a technology seminar

  • What exactly IS "The Cloud"?
  • Why do I need to know about cloud computing?
  • How will it help my organization?
  • What and who are cloud providers?
  • What about security and storage of data? 

You're invited to attend a FREE cloud computing seminar hosted by Lumity. You’ll learn everything you need to know about what the cloud is, how to transition to it and how to use it once you’re there. Mark Litwin, a Technology Solution Professional will guide you through the process so you leave with a full understanding and the confidence to make the change.

What is "the cloud"? It's a server that’s accessible to you anywhere there is internet, not just at your office.

Who needs the cloud? The cloud is great for organizations who don't have an IT expert on staff, whose employees and volunteers work off-site or who want to save money and still be up-to-date.

No IT person on staff? No problem! Cloud computing requires very little IT knowledge or work.

You can register for the event here. Hope to see you there - but note, this is only for not-for-profits. Thanks!

The #IBMConnect Slide that caused some interesting feedback #free1352

February 11 2014

So in my session with John Beck at IBM Connect 2014 - I put this slide up and just watched the reaction of the room.

Image:The #IBMConnect Slide that caused some interesting feedback #free1352

So I am just going to let this generate some discussion before I post more about it later this week ...