Our new baby’s first ultrasound…

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Avoid Zealotry

In the software development world, most of the people you run across fall into one of two camps:

1. Anti-Microsoft Zealots – if Microsoft makes it, it’s not worth using. These are the people you talk to who are constantly talking about how terrible Windows Vista is. But, when you get to talking to them you discover that they have never even touched the operating system for themselves.

2. Microsoft Fan-Boys – if Microsoft makes it, it’s the best product ever conceived. These are the people that bought the Zune the day it came out. You see a lot of these people hanging out around conferences. They would never consider looking at a product competing with one from Microsoft.

I started out my career in the first camp, and slowly made the transition to the second. But, dear programmer, I tell you there is a better way. Don’t either accept or reject a product on name alone. Read reviews from people whose word you trust, but TRY THE PRODUCT FOR YOURSELF! Keep an open mind. Try different things out. In the end, it will make you a better programmer by expanding your sphere of knowledge and giving you a wider variety of tools that you can then use to solve future problems.


One of the biggest downsides to me leaving my last company was the loss of my company-funded MSDN Universal subscription. This allowed me to download and install just about any Microsoft product at home and at work. One of these products that I came to rely on heavily was One Note. I used it for everything from keeping track of projects at work to planning the sell of my house.

Well, now that I am without an MSDN subscription, I have once again started digging around at free alternatives out there. And I have found a perfect replacement to One Note. In fact, so far I like this better than One Note.

It’s called EverNote. I uses the metaphor of a single continuous ribbon of notes. However, these notes can be placed in categories for easy access. These categories work like tags — where a single note can be in multiple categories. And categories have sub-categories. So this offers endless possibilities for keeping a large number of notes organized. It also has a very powerful search mechanism for finding notes.

It’s storage mechanism is a single datafile which can be encrypted (great if you are going to keep track of sensitive data like passwords). Team this up with a product like FolderShare, or store on a flash drive, and you can easily access your notes at home or at the office.

There is a free version that I am using now. The full feature purchase version allow synchronization with remote devices and handwriting recognition — but I really didn’t need this since I use FolderShare for synchronization and I don’t use a tablet PC.

So, give EverNote a shot. I think you’ll like it!