Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Access your computer remotely from your Windows RT Tablet

There are a few apps to access your computer remotely from your Windows RT Tablet (you can't do it in opposite way, that is, access your Windows RT Tablet remotely from other computer).

There are basically two kinds of apps to remotely access your computers, considering three different purposes.

  1. Access your computer (desktop, notebook) as a Remote Control - Imagine your computer is connected to your TV or Projector thru a HDMI Cable or even using a RGB cable. Now, instead of buying a wireless keyboard, you can use a application such as PC Remote Windows by PcRemote to control your computer using your Tablet as a big mouse pad or working as a remote control for some multipedia applications like Windows Media Center, VLC Player, Netflix and even Powerpoint with big buttons on your Tablet screen working as remote control buttons.
  2. Fully access your computer (over your local network or over a open wide area network) - This is when you want to fully control and access your remote computer using your Windows RT Tablet. In this category you have PC Remote Windows and TeamViewer
  3. Control and access the cameras of your computer - You can remotely access the cameras and microphone, see what's going on with image and sound, record the images in video, take screenshots - In this category you have iSpy

On all options, you must always install a software on both sides, that is, on the computer you want to control, usually your Desktop or Notebook computer, and your Windows RT Tablet, used to acess your remote computer(s).

PC Remote Windows Apps

With this Apps you can:

Control Remotely your Desktop/Notebook connected to the TV
    Fully access your remote computer desktop ONLY on a home network (the remote access over the internet from anywhere will be available soon, according to the PC Remote development team)
This the home page of your Windows RT Tablet apps
The CAU-PC on the center of the screen is my
remote computer, ready to be fully accessed
You have to install a Desktop version of the application on your remote computer available at http://www.pcremoteserver.com

This is the mouse pad you use to control your computer
connected on a TV, for example.

Your remote computer must be always ON (or sleeping in some cases) and connected to the internet

TeamViewer Apps 

This is a serious and professional tool to access remotely your computer
Here again, you have to install the Windows RT Apps and the Desktop side of the application.

TeamViewer requests a login account, so it will be the bridge between your Windows RT Tablet and your remote computers. Using the web account, Teamviewer gets the real IP from your remote computers for remote access.

For security purposes, you have to creates a "partnership" between your computers, so you can fully access them.

You can't access your Windows PC Tablet remotely, but access any computer from your tablet.

TeamViewer Home page listing your
remote computers on the right side

Accessing my remote notebook computer and
the menu charm on the botton
Once you select (click on) witch computer you want to access (in my case there's only one)

When accessing your remote computer, the small TeamViewer tab you see on right is the remote computer configuration tab, so you shouldn't care about it and changing it won't affect the way your tablet sees the remote computer.

The configuration and features on Teamviewer Apps is available through the menu charm on the botton, so, again, don't care about the small TeamViewer tab on the right side of your screen. Keep it minimized.

minimize the remote computer tab and don't care about it once
it's about settings on your REMOTE computer

minimized tab

 Teamviewer is precise, highly safe (it uses 256 bits cryptography) and stable.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Solving many problems on Surface RT


Windows 8.1 Preview came to solve some problems BUT, brought some other annoying ones. I've heard that the definitive Windows RT 8.1 version won't solve all of them just by upgrading.

Sync problems on Skydrive, Search Problems, problems synchronizing mail apps, lock screen that doesn't work well and a few other issues.

I had all of them and there are so many posts on official and non-official Microsoft forums and some work and other definitely don't.

After trying many suggested solutions I did something that solved many of my problems: Just deleting and re-creating your user account again (but read ALL the instructions below first before deciding to follow them and it's your responsibility to follow them. It's up to you my friend.

  • Make a BACKUP of your user data (/users/your_user_account)
  • Take note of usernames and passwords you use to login into specific apps (ex: Foursquare, TeamViewer, PhotoShop Express, Box, any other cloud apps, recipe apps (almost all of them need a login)
  • Add a new "Administrator" User (if you already don't have it) going on Control Panel > Settings Charm > PC Settings > Accounts > Other Accounts > Add a user
    • Ps: you can't ADD a user on Control Panel/User Accounts, but you need to go there to check if you already have another Administrator account (it's weird you can't add a user here, but only on PC Settings)
  • LOGOUT completely with your main account using "logout" at right/top account feature on Windows Start Screen and LOGIN with the new administrator account
  • Turn OFF/ON using the power button keeping it pressed
  • DELETE your MAIN ACCOUNT (usually related to your hotmail account or another email), BUT read below first
    • 1- When you are deleting an account Windows ask you if you want to KEEP or DELETE your user data: PLEASE, chose to KEEP all your user data.
    • 2- All the data related to your APPS will be kept if you chose to KEEP, BUT, the apps themselves will be all deleted and will need to be reinstalled but Windows will do it automatically when later on next steps listed here.
    • 3- Wait till all the process have finished. Don't restart it during the process. 
    • 4- Keep it connected to your power outlet all the time
  • Restart it after your account is completely deleted.
  • LOGIN with the new administrator account
  • CREATE your account again (the main account you have deleted) and PAY ATTENTION TO:
    • Use the same email you were using on the deleted user account
    • Windows will ask you if you want to use a old deleted account as the base to your new account. It's SO IMPORTANT that you chose YES and select the account you have deleted as the base for your new account and Windows will use all your OLD DATA and will reinstall automatically all your APPS related to your user account.
    • DON'T turn your Surface off or restart it during these process.
  • LOGOUT from your administrator account
  • LOGIN with your new re-created user account and wait...
    • The user setup process can take hours. Windows will install all apps again, create user info, etc, etc. DON'T turn your Surface off or restart it during these process.
  • Some apps will require new setups/reconfiguration again (as you were running them for the first time), including MAIL apps and Outlook. You will need to create email accounts on Outlook, configure options of MAIL apps and other apps, BUT if you did this right, you won't loose you data and will have them all back.
  • Check if all the apps were installed. Check if all your user files are back.
  • Go to Skydrive Apps and login on it.
  • Now you have to WAIT ! Wait for Skydrive files to be synchonized, wait hours for the re-indexing of all your files and data.
  • You will need to re-add your media files and documents to your libraries.

I really hope all your problems were solved at this point or at least the main ones.

Good Look !

My 35 TOP Apps for Surface RT / Windows RT .:. Must Have Apps

Please, keep in your mind that I'm a business person and use my Surface RT primarily as a work and personal productivity tool and I'm not a gamer, therefore I listed two games in my selection.

I'm NOT listing the obvious, that is, MS Office for Windows RT, Skype, Mail and Calendar.

The list is NOT in any relevant order.

1. OneNote

Better Notes Taking Apps for Windows RT and Windows 8, but not the best in navigability once it was not conceived with touch screen technology in mind. There's the OneNote Touch Apps. It's cool, but lack some important features of the desktop version.

2. Task Manager Professional

Perfect to keep your tasks in control

3. Calculator2

Once Windows RT doesn't has a touch calculator, this is the best pick. Windows 8.1 RT Preview brought an official touch calculator and it's good as this one.

4. LinkedIn
5. Bing News

getting better each day, I preffer this MS apps than the Bento News. The "Topics creator" is the best thing on it and the RSS news creator is better than the Bento News one (has bugs).

6. PDF Touch

For me, the best PDF reader where you can read, highlight text and scratch on. There's some crash complain on review, but mine works perfect

7. mZIP  - It's always good to have a ZIP file apps to compress/uncompress files

8. NovaMind MindMapping

Nice and cool apps to Mind Map your ideas, projets, concepts.

9. XE Currency - A nice apps to work with currency convertions. You can set your preferred to quick view them and make your convertions

10. Bento News

Good news apps. Bring some nice news sources like Harvard Business Review, Gismodo and many others, but I still prefer Bing News

11. Bing Translator (falar sobre Free Translate)

So cool apps. You can translate text as other, BUT it has a cool feature of pointing your camera to a sign, printed texts and show the translation over the text you have pointed to.  CLICK here to read my review on it.

12. Note Anytime

Very good notes taking apps. The best for handwriting and it has optional handwriting recognition. I've bought the Portuguese one and it works perfect. Take a look on my Notes Taking Apps REVIEW with OneNote, Evernote, Notes Anytime and others.

13. WordBook Dictionary  - Great english-english dictionaty based on Thesaurus and other dics

14. Wikipedia

Nice Wikipedia Apps.

15. ArcNote

Another really cool Notes Taking Apps for Audio, Photo, Text, Scratch and Video notes and the most stable apps on its category. Has one huge flaw: Don't have sync feature. Click HERE for a review on it and other notes taking apps.

16. Twitter

The official one. Perfect to manage your twits

17. FollowMe

Always use this free apps that sends you and email every time your device from your place. You define a "imaginary fence" and the apps sends you an email with it's position (based on IP). I've tested it a lot and it is quite precise (about 100 feet)

18. Voice Notes
19. AcrSoft ShowBiz
20. MegaTube (watch and download Youtube Videos)
21. Bing Travel
22. FlightAware
23. WorldMate
24. PC Remote
25. ListMaster
26. PhotoShop Express
27. YourVersion Bible
28. Google Apps
29. G Maps (Google)
30. EaseUS FileManager

Well, and because everybody deserves some fun, I choose 5 extra APPS for gaming and fun.

31. Pinball FX
32. Drif Mania 2 (car racing)
33. CookBook
34. Places of Interest
35. SkyMap
36. ShareToResize Apps

VOTE ! SURFACE RT WISH LIST - What would like to see on future updates ?

10 seconds to Vote ! Here is MY wish list for next Surface RT updates and new apps releases
VOTE Pleaseselect up to 3 of your preferred wish features.

Quizzes by Quibblo.com

Please, write down on comments, the features or fixes you would like to nee on future updates of Surface RT.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Reindexing your Surface RT content (documents, photos, videos, contacts, emails)

I've mentioned on my review about Windows RT 8.1 Preview about a problem many users (including me) have experimenting with the new Integrated Bing Search Tool.

When you use the Search Charm to search for something, the new Bing Search looks for local files, images, videos, applications and also on the internet showing a very cool information composition with the many results found, including local and web results.

For many users, instead of showing the results, the searching tool keeps searching...searching...and nothing happens. Sometimes it shows an error message saying it was not possible to search..and a Try again link.

A REINDEXING of all your indexes will probably solve the problem, like it did for me, so, check below hot to reindex your stuff.

  1. On Desktop UI/environment, slide the left charm and click on "Control Panel"
  2. Click on "Indexing Options
  3. A window like the one below will open with all the places your Windows are supposed to index. 
    Indexing Options - Control Panel
  4. Click on "Advanced" 
  5. Now, click on "Rebuild" button. It will take a few hours to reindex all your tablet content.
  6. Rebuilding your Indexes
  7. TIP: plug it to the electric power and configure to NOT sleep while connected to the power, otherwise it will take too much time to get the thing done.

PS: If you have a original Windows RT version (and not the RT 8.1 Preview), you can still reindex your tablet content if you have problems searching your stuff.

Bing TRAVEL - The 360o interactive pictures make it really cool

One of the apps I love most on Surface RT is the Bing Travel.

It's cool, fun with great travel reviews and deals finder.

FEATURES: Bing Travel brings together in a single Apps all the features below:

  • Destinations – Explore destinations all over the world.  View top attractions, 360 degree panoramas, pictures, maps, weather, currency 
  • Travel Articles – Editorial selected articles provide travel inspiration and tips from trusted sources.
  • Flights – Search flights and filter your results by price, number of stops, airline name, or departure time.
  • Flight Status – Check the status of any flight and find departure or arrival time, terminal and gate information.
  • Hotels – Search hotels and filter your results by  price, class, or amenities to find the best hotel for you.
  • Best of Web – Discover nearly 100 of the most useful travel websites, each hand-picked by editors.

Bing Travel shows information about attractions, hotels and restaurantes from all the best Travel Advisors on a single TAB layout. You can chose to see relavant information from Frommers, Fodors, TripAdvisor and LonelyPlanet on a very easy user interface. Check it below

information from the best travel advisors available today
click  on the image for larger view

When you chose a destination, the apps shows a summary information about the city, weather and currency, besides some contextualized event info. 

summary info about the choosen destination
click on the image for a larger view

I LOVE THIS: But the coolest thing on it is the 360 degree panoramic pictures. You pick a picture and in full screen, it shows the image as you move your tablet to left, right, top or botton. The tablet works as a windows to the scenario. It's really cool and  everybody I show this feature, gets very impressed.

click on the image for a larger view

MANAGING YOUR TAVEL: If you want to full manage your travel adding your fllights, hotel and car reservations, you should use WorldMate Apps. With this apps, you simple email the reservation confirmations from almost all airline companies and travel websites and it automatically creates to your Travel info and appointments. I will  review this apps soon.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Ipad vs Surface RT - My iPad lover friends loved my Surface RT

Have you already seat with a iPad lover / user and do some real review on Surface RT ?

Specially considering its use as a business/work, personal productivity and travel tool ?

Well, here are some interesting insights from two friends last week in a coffee house when I spent some time with some friends.

Luiz - about 44 years old - He is a iPad user and loves its tablet - When he saw my Surface RT with Office RT (including outlook), Bing News, Bing Travel with the cool panoramic pics, MindMapping apps, Project Manager apps, Bing Translator with real time sign/image translation, some Notes Taking cool apps, he was clear that his iPad was not that cool for work. He complain about he limitation of the iPad iWork and want to keep data synchronized with his PC. He was amazed with so many apps including Office (contacts, appointments, tasks, emails), tablet personal configuration and all data that can be synched between all my Windows  Notebooks, Tablet, Phone.

Dudu (DooDoo) - about 15 years old - When he saw my Surface RT he immediately said: I prefer the iPad ! But I've asked him: Why ?  He took some time to say...it's cool. I asked again, but in what way it is cooler than Surface RT ?  Well...he answered just based on the "fad" thing...every single teenager loves iPad and iPhone because it's cool...and they really are. But when he said to me was going to buy the new Xbox, then I start to tell him how integrated is the Surface RT with Xbox...he was amazed...then I start to show some cool stuff on my Surface RT and he said...well...I think I would love to have a Surface RT too.

Another review soon: My oldest brother lives in US and have just arrived for a few weeks in Brazil. He is a business person and is a Apple lover, has a iPad and a Mac notebook since as he uses for multimedia purposes. I will spend some time with him doing a real review. I will write about it soon.

PLEASE, Tell me WHY a Windows RT Tablet should run Windows Legacy Applications !!

I'm sick of reading articles on the main tech magazines that insist on reviewing Windows RT as a OS that should run Windows legacy applications to make it a success. (like one I've read now on PC World).

It's not rational, it's not logical, it's a massive movement that must have a "Judas" to point the finger to, it's about a culture (north American) that needs someone to be the blamed.

I just can't understand why the fact that Windows RT doesn't run Windows legacy applications is a problem.

Does iPad runs all Machintosh applications ???
Does Android Tablet runs desktop applications ?

It's a tablet !.. a T-A-B-L-E-T !

Do you want to run Photoshop, CorelDraw, Adobe Illustrator in a Tablet ?  Maybe  SQL Server, Power Director or other video professional editor, Adobe Acrobat Creator !!??
This is not what a Tablet was made for.

but think about this...... woooowwwwww... it's a Tablet, but can still run OFFICE !!, Word, Powerpoint, Excel, Outlook and OneNote. Not a limited iWork, but Office !!!

Even being a Tablet, it has a desktop UI for those who can't live without it.

What a f......awesome Tablet !

That's the way Windows RT tablet should be perceived and reviewed.

Click and check my use of Surface RT for work/business, personal productivity, travel and fun

ps: post your comments ! In this blog you can criticize, think different and even publicize your Blog/WEb Site (if it is related to my blog topics/subject).

Monday, November 11, 2013

METRO vs DESKTOP. Why it's so hard to adapt ?

A few minutes ago, I've posted a comment on The Verge online magazine (www.TheVerge.com) where readers were discussing about Desktop and the new Windows 8 Metro UI.

I've seen many people criticizing Microsoft because of the new User Interface. People saying they prefer Windows 7 or even Windows XP.

Below is my post I mentioned above:

METRO vs DESKTOP – it’s quite interesting how people react to the new and to innovation. The world press publish every day hundreds of articles giving kudos to Apple for its innovation. But it’s quite easy to innovate on something people don’t depend on, I mean, almost nobody depend on iPad, iPhone particularly…so there is no long past use of it, there are no thousands of legacy applications, there are no past heavy user experience. It’s much…much harder to innovate on something that have decades of serious and heavy business application, with thousands of legacy applications.  That's Windows OS.
For me, Microsoft is taking a huge risk on building a new and innovative user interface. It would be much more safe (in short term) to keep making things the same way. There won't be complaints, but also no innovation and probably Windows would slowly die. People in general are afraid of innovation and don’t want to learn about new way to do things they have done for years.

Metro UI changes way people do things on a PC and I wouldn't expect more good feedbacks than the bad ones. But the new generation will change user's perception...but it will take time.

 I confess I love Metro, I love real innovation that change things we do on a daily-basis.

 I give kudos to Microsoft for its courage on taking this huge risk.

 If I could, I would prefer all applications based on touch/Metro UI.

The fact that Windows 8 brought a huge innovation on UI doesn't means Windows 8 and next version will succeed, only the time will tell.

But the truth is, if Microsoft keeps it's old UI forever, it will be overcome soon by other new and innovative OS, so, in my opinion, it worth the risk.

ps: My native language isn't English, so, sorry for any mistyping and/or misunderstanding

Monday, November 4, 2013

Outlook 2013 RT - How to synchronize your Contacts, Appointments, Tasks and eMails

Windows 8.1 RT Preview brought Outlook 2013 RT to Surface RT and other Windows RT Tablets.

Many people was asking for Outlook and complaining about mail apps. I confess that afther the huge upgrade on mail apps, I was no missing Outlook that much. The only problem for me was about People apps having just some basic information and could not synchronize all contacts data from your live.com/outlook/exchange account.

Well, now that Outlook is available, learn hot to synch the data with other devices/Windows notebooks/Windows Phone.

1) On Outlook, go to "Account Settings"

Account Settings

2) Create a NEW account
create new account
 3) Choose to set the account manually

create account manually

 4) Choose Outlook / Exchange account

Outlook / Exchange account

5) Fill the account information with your live.com/Outlook.com/Exchange user name and password and write "m.hotmail.com"  on server name.

Warning: 1) Some users are complaining about contacts were not full synchronized, stoping after about 300 contacts, but for me it worked fine with 530 contacts
2) Check if the contact and appointment folders are set OK, if you have more than one, it will synchronize only the HOTMAIL account data (live.com)
3) Use Send/Receive to make Outlook sync after edit any contact, task or appointment information.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Best Password Manager APPS for Windows RT (paid)

If you are like me, you probably have hundreds of website subscriptions, email accounts, credit cards, bank accounts, ecommerce store registers, ATM passwords, email passwords and so many other online and offline services that needs passwords and other document information.

I don't have more than 6 to 10 different passwords, but to remember what password is related to what web site, store, etc, etc and docs #, PIN and other usual online/offline register is almost impossible

After testing some apps, I found eWallet from Ilium Software Inc is the best one. Below is some reasons I choose eWallet.

  • The UI interface is cool, very well designed and easy to use.
  • You can save your wallet on Skydrive and keep it synchronized using the same wallet on up to 5 devices/computers.
  • eWallet has a 256-Bit Data Encryption, what makes it impossible to have its password broken
  • You can set it to automatically get out of the data screen and go to password screen after "N" seconds without activity
  • For each record (card) you can change fields' name.
  • You can create your own card categories
  • eWallet uses a template depending of what "type of card" you chose.
  • You can manage several wallets
  • Ilium is a known by its serious and good quality apps


  • Use a at least 8 digit password when creating your wallet and don't forget to use letters, numbers and one symbol character.
  • Before creating your first card, plan and add your categories. (Ex: Finances, Forums, Personal Docs, Shopping, eMail accounts, Software Serial #, etc, etc) 

some added cards of my wallet and respective categories
some added cards of my wallet and respective categories

US$ 9.99

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Adding MUSIC from my SD card to the Music Library on Surface RT

The solution for this issue depends on which Windows RT version you are using, so, check the respective solution for both Windows RT and Windows 8.1 RT Preview versions


"Library" item on File Explorer is gone on Windows 8.1 RT Preview and there's no "manage" feature on File Explorer to add folders to your Music, Video and Photo Files, but now it is much easier to make it work.

On File Explorer, click with the right mouse button or touch and hold on each of your Music, Video, Photo and Documents folders on your SD Card and choose "Include on Library" to add to the respective library. After some time, the files will be available on all media apps.
Adding music, videos, photos and documents to libraries on Windows 8.1 RT Preview


Have you tried to play music from your SD card on your Surface RT ??? For some reason, Surface RT doesn't recognize the SD Card as a disk drive, but as a removable media and removable media can't be added on media library on Surface RT. ...bad...isn't it ?

You can add music from a Pen Drive on your USB, you can also add music from your network (drives from other computers), and you can also add music from external disk drives connected on your Surface USB...

...but as I already said, you can't add music from your SD Card. When you go to the file explorer, managing your library and you try to add the SD card, you get an error message saying it's not possible, but...

...there's a SOLUTION !!!

If you don't want to wait for the upcoming Windows 8.1, that will fix this problem, click on the link below and follow the steps. It's easy and I did it in less than 2 minutes.

Check this link >>  http://thedigitallifestyle.com/w/index.php/2012/11/02/how-to-use-an-sd-card-with-the-music-and-video-apps-in-windows-rt/

Windows RT/8 Live Tiles make de difference. Effective and cool !

What are Live Tiles ? Well, most of you probably know what it is, but I think "Live Tiles is the Windows 8 Start Screen showing data is dynamic" and not static as showed on iPad/iPhone and other mobile devices. I consider Live Tiles one of the most significant advantages of Windows RT/8/Phone when compared to Apple devices.

Click and see Live Tiles examples in Details
Click on the image above to see how Live Tiles work. Below is my Surface RT Start Screen plenty of Live Tiles examples. Some of these tiles I've turned them ON for dynamic data just to show your guys. Usually I choose to let only some significant data content tiles to show dynamic data.

They are not only cool, but really useful and effective to know what's going on with your dynamic data looking them at a glance.

Any application installed on Windows 8 / Windows RT is able to dynamically show strategic data on the its tile (icon) on the start screen (if the apps developer choose to). But what's important is that the user can easily chose to make one or more tiles (application icons) live or not, in other words, make them show or not, dymanic data.

Let me know if you have any question about Live Tiles.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Windows RT and Windows 8 effective synchonization and integration


One of the main concerns when I buy a mobile phone or tablet is about synchronization with my other computers. 
What kind of information we can share and synchronize, and how ?  I confess I was not aware of what I would get on this matters when I bought my Surface RT. Everything was a 'incognito" and there's still a problem for me, I had not moved to Windows 8 on my notebook. It was a new notebook, but because I had hundreds of applications on my Windows 7 old notebook, I was worried about this move.

Well, to make it short, I moved to Windows 8 because of my Windows RT. I was excited about to explore their integration.

Right after I've installed Windows 8 on my new notebook, It was a so great surprise to see how things got so synchronized. Below I will comment some of my experiences about the integration on my Surface RT versus my Windows 8 notebook.

OS Level Sync Configuration: Besides the sync of several apps, Windows 8 allows you to configure them to sync with other Windows 8/RT devices in many dimensions, including all the dimensions listed on the image below:

So, when you change desktop themes, images, colors, passwords on websites, networks and dozens of other configurations in the main device, everything is synchronized with other devices.

But this is just the beggining, many other metro apps have their configuration synchronized too. All your personal news configuration on Bing News, Bento News and other news apps, are all synchronized. For example: on Bing News or Bento News, you can create news sections from specific news sources, on Bing News you can also create "Topics Sections" where Bing get together all news from many sources with specified keywords you define. All these configuration data are automatically synchonized.

Mail, Calendar, People and many other apps are also synchonized. 

Besides that, Skydrive, the Microsoft cloud system with more than 200 millions of users, is used to store data from many apps, so, all the data is also kept updated with it.

Example: I use eWallet from IliumSoft, the best password manager for Windows RT. On eWallet Apps I  manage more than 200 sites passwords, credit cards, computer password and all kind of passwords I use on my day-by-day. All the data is always kept updated on all my devices.

You can choose to keep many other files (documents, music, photos, etc) synchonized using Skydrive. 

All these features make you feel as you are using the same computer when working with many of your apps on your Windows 8 or Windows RT device.

OneNote is another application that keeps all your data synchronized on all of your devices. And it's note and content sensitive, in other words, if you have OneNote opened simultaneously on your Windows RT Tablet and Windows 8 notebook, if you change a single word on a note on one device and another word on the other device, both contents are synchronized on both sides.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Notes Taking ! Do you need a PRO apps ? OneNote or Evernote ?

APPS REVIEW: 7 Notes Application review & comparison 

In times of fast growing of Evernote application available for Windows Desktop, iPhone, iPad, Android and Windows RT, the so many limitations and bugs on its version for Windows RT led people like me to look for other options.

OneNote, the Microsoft Application for serious notes taking, has two different versions running on the same Windows RT Tablet and we will look about their differences, pros and cons.

I will also give my impressions about other notes apps like ArcNote, CaptureLive, Note Anytime, eJournal and Collabor8r. As you will see, these apps have a different approach when comparing to OneNote and Evernote.

So frustrated with Evernote !

About two years ago, I decided to move from Office OneNote to Evernote. Despite OneNote has many features, its UI (User Interface) is more ease, more attractive and practical and better navigability.

I was doing OK despite a few Evernote bugs till I've bought my Surface RT Tablet. When I've noticed there was a version for Windows RT, I thought it was all I needed, but after installing I realized how limited and buggy it is. Many messages exchanged with support, I've subscribed to beta versions and it kept crashing and with serious synchonization problems. After almost three months of headaches and the perception that Evernote was not taking the Windows RT version serious, I gave up. I start to do some research about OneNote again and decided to move back to it.

OneNote and its two versions on Windows RT

The first thing I realized about OneNote is that there were two versions available on my tablet. One is a full desktop version with same UI that the one in my Windows 8 Notebook. The other one, a Windows RT Native apps with a very different UI (so cool), but, much less features comparing to the desktop version.

Well in fact I can use both at the same time once they always synch with Skydrive, so there's is no problem at all, but I really wish the OneNote native Windows RT apps could be full feature because it's so much fun to work with it.

I had a lot of work to export/import from Evernote to OneNote. There's not a tool to help you on this task on the OneNote side, despite Evernote has a easy tool if you want to move to the opposite direction (OneNote to Evernote).

Now, after a long time using OneNote again, I uninstall all my evernote and can easily work with OneNote, but I confess I wish it has a better interface for touch screen.

Both Evernote and OneNote are free on Windows RT.

Other Notes Taking Apps

There are several multimedia notes taking applications for Windows RT. Some apps focus on realtime event taking note and some other focusing on handwriting notes and drawing.

These apps are great for note taking on courses, seminaries, meetings and other presentations once they allow you to create notes with text, image (from camera or from your disk), sketch and audio.

I've installed a few of them, the most complex and full featured ones. So, below you will find some considerations.

ArcNote: As some other multimedia notes taking apps, ArcNote allows you to create text note, camera image notes, sketching and notes from a image on your disk.
But here, the cool thing is that all your notes can also have an "audio note" attached to them, so, while you write a text, you an be recording an audio at the same time. you can keep recording while you take a picture, add a image from a file or doing any other task. You will never miss anything.

But... there's a really important feature missing. It can't synchronize. It doesn't connect to Skydrive or any other cloud service.

ArcNote has some other flaws. The apps comes with a view folders (like categories) where the notes can be move to, but you can't change their name or even create a new one and they didn't make a good job with the names, so it's easy you create a note that doesn't fit to any of those "folders". UPDATE ON THIS ISSUE: now you can rename, delete and create new categories, but unfortunately it can't still sync or save on Skype.

important !
Doesn't support video notes so far.
No synchronization.
ArcNote is stable and rarely crashes and it's FREE !

Note Anytime: If you want a decent handwriting configuration, here is the one you need (it's an add-in you must pay for it).
This is a very complex application in terms of detailed features and configurations. A great piece of software.
Note Anytime has the best handwriting and drawing plot/trace. It corrects the "trembling" trace and let your drawings beautifully delineated.  You also can add cool drawings from a gallery. The pattern of traces of your writings and drawings can be changed to different colors, texture and thickness. Below is a drawing note I made myself.

The images to the left are part of a single note where I've added text, images and drawings. I could also have added a camera picture.

Note Anytime also alows to choose from several paper backgrounds with different textures, colors and formar.

Users can also add header and footer to page notes.

Another sofisticated feature allows you to work with handwritings and drawings with a selected magnified part of your note, so you can write and draw with thinner traces and small details.

You can open a PDF directly into Note Anytime using the file explorer and "open with" option clicking with the mouse right button.

The image to the right is an example of a drawing note where I chose a small area of the note including a small caterpillar that appears to be big with the magnification.

Note Anytime is a very well developed application with so many details, what make it a serious applications for notes taking. Notes can be managed in many customized folders. You can add tags to notes and search them. There are also many sharing options, including upload to Tumbr and print.

Note AnyTime can cost up to US$ 25 with a the add-ins.
It doesn't support video images nor audio.
It synchonizes with other devices using Skydrive.

Capture Live: This would be a great application if not some major flaws. Each note is like a note hub with text, drawings, pictures and videos on it. Every note is on time frame where the audio is recorded all the time. Imagine a school class session. Once you start the note (ex: MathAgo-23), the audio starts to be recorded and will stop only when you close the note. While the audio is recorded, you can add text, drawings, photos and videos.

Capture Live crashes sometimes and can be considered not stable. Another problem is that after you close a note, you can add more information to it (another text, image, etc). You can't even change the note name. If you mistype the note title, you can't correct it. The note content can't be edited also. I guess they didn't finish the apps and decided not to go on with it.

Capture Live is Free !

eJournal: This is an interesting notes taking apps but in my Surface it crashes frequently.
eJournal is event centered. You start creating a Journal document, and then, adding as much notes as you want to it.
You open the Journal you has just created and it shows a desktop area where you can create scratches, add text, images from you computer or from the camera, videos and audio. You can add many data to a single page and can also add a new page easily. Another very annoying issue is that every time you click on many of its icons, it asks for to buy a add-in. So, it's not really for free.

Collabor8r or Work Notes Pro:  Both applications available at Windows Store are exactly the same, from the same developer. This is a well-built apps and not event centered, but note centered. In other words, you don't create of define an event and then add notes to it, but you create independent notes. The only way to relate them is creating something that they call notebook, but it works more like a category on a list. You can then list the notes by these categories. The UI is a little bit confusing about note types and what kind of content they support. If you select a text note, you can add also attach a image from a file. The same occurs with drawing type note. On Video and Photo notes you can also add some text. Finally, there's a Map type note where it saves an image of a place you search on the map (it uses Bing Map). But.... Collabor8r has some problems synchronizing from the tablet to the notebook. The inverse sync works well. So the notes created on the Notebook goes to the Tablet, but the ones created on the tablet are not sync to the notebook. Apps has great potential and awesome design.  Check the image below.
Colabor8r is free.

Collabor8r or Work Notes PRO Apps