A Conference Experiment in Note Taking

Steve, Samantha and I have all been at VoiceCon.  Its been a good event, the final day being tomorrow.  During that time I’ve been experimenting with the best way of note taking and sharing information.

Option 1 : MindJet MindManager

image Failed for me.  With structured sessions its not the correct medium.  Perhaps for taking notes during unstructured discussions it would be better (I’ll try that tomorrow).

It just didn’t let me take notes against slides and this really was where I wanted to add some value to the presentation.  I also miss the audio recording features available in other products.

Luckily most of the sessions are available in PDF and where this is the case the best option has been…

Option 2 : Annotating PDF’s

image I chose to print the conference slides (PDF’s) into OneNote and then use the X60 in tablet mode to take notes unobtrusively without keyboard disturbance to fellow attendees.  Thats not to say that I didn’t use the keyboard!  But this is only good if slides are there before the session and time permits to print them through.  I am aware of pdf annotator but haven’t used that tool.


Option 3 : Onenote with Audio recording


OneNote with X60 in tablet mode.  The problem is the internal microphone on the X60 picks up all your pen strokes and makes listening annoying, so I’m now using my webcam as the microphone although an experiment in video recording during the sessions failed as it was just too difficult with a webcam to focus on the presenters.  The value of OneNote comes when reviewing my notes, I can hover my mouse anywhere in the notes and then play the audio at that point (see highlighted section in the image above) thus reminding me of the point in the presentation for the note.  It was also useful when using OneNote with slides pre-loaded to draw small lines between slides so as to have a record in OneNote of slide transitions.

Option 4 : Onenote with keyboard not tablet

The other option with OneNote was to do the same but use the keyboard.  I actually found this the most useful in terms of being able to re-use the data quickly afterwards, i.e. to copy to livewriter for my blog or copy to our corporate wiki for the wider team.  There are lots of opinion and strategy thoughts that I don’t place in this blog.  So in the end typing won the day.

Conclusions and Evernote

I also tried Evernote in both tablet and typing mode, Steve used this to great effect to publish his notes from sessions, but I wanted more granularity in what I published and preferred coming to OneNote and adding images etc.  However Steve’s approach was more efficient and certainly faster.

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1 Comment

  1. Thanks, Stu. This will be helpful for me in early November when I go to VoiceCon in San Francisco. I hope the slides are available beforehand, because this is indeed key.


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