[Note-taking] Circus Ponies

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circus

Okay, anyone who follows me on twitter will know how ADDICTED I am to Circus ponies. Unfortunately, I lack a Mac – so I steal  my bf’s when I get a chance, unfortunately this is not often given that he’s a bit of a geek.

Another unfortunate thing is that the free trial, like most free trials, only lasts for 30 days. And as I don’t own a Mac (and as a lowly unemployed student) I don’t want to splash out on buying the software. If I did own a Mac and it was mine to use however, I wouldn’t hesitate: there is nothing better.

Circus ponies allows you to create multiple notebooks – they actually look like notebooks. Which is great. The closest I’ve found for windows is OneNote.

I’ve had limited time with this piece of software, and I’ve still a lot to learn (only 5 days left) so I can’t teach you much.

What I can say is functionality wise, it is easy and straight-forward to use. This sticky tabs / notes are the best invention ever, it is a shame they don’t export. And the clipping and link things work a dream. The Multidex, an an excellent add on for those who like to be organised, essentially creating an index in more ways than one. Beautiful.

I could rave till the cows come home, but what I will say is that Windows has a long way to go… they have nothing that comes even close.

OneNote 2007

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I purchased Microsoft Office 2007 last year as part of Microsoft’s Ultimate steal and ever since I was addicted to OneNote. Luckily my university had upgraded to 2007 as well to make integration a lot easier.

If you are familiar with Office, the whole OneNote setup will be straightforward for you. Everything can be organised into subject (a notebook for each subject) and then each subject has as many tabs as you wish (I used this for each topic) and then each tab can have as many pages and sub pages as you like.

The pages allow you to type anywhere on the page and clip (cut) anything from the web to each page giving you amazing flexibility. You can highlight, search, have to do lists etc anywhere to suit your needs.

Here are some examples:

For each subject I had a notebook (this one is internet law). I then put together a number of tabs. The one on show is my reading list, and you can simply paste in a link when you want and tag it with a little check box which you tick when the task is complete. Easy.
For anything you don’t have a particular place for (as of yet), there is a section for unfiled notes and misplaced sections – which is handy. You can also add things quickly to One Note by using the icon on the taskbar, which then saves the page as a unfiled note for you to organise later.

The second picture shows an example of how the pages fit together: At the top is a search function which allows you to search for a particular keyword over all the notebooks which is very handy and results will highlight both the work and the page it is on making it easy to find if you have many notes. Great for doing coursework. The pages on the pictured list are to do with media literacy, the main pages are longer  (Which I used for discussion about a topic) and then the sub-pages are shorter (I mainly used these for relevant cases and some articles).

Overall, OneNote, keeps your notes in a very organised fashion, but with the ability to be amazingly flexible. No boring rigid structure or limits on what you can do – overall great. Of course it is kept on your computer rather than being an online only notebook like I usually use and the downside that you have to purchase it – but frequently people have Office, but have never bothered to open OneNote, well seriously, if you are one of these people, you are missing out.