Microsoft Reader

I’m very frustrated with Microsoft Reader. I wanted to start reading The Subtle Knife, book two of Philip Pullman’s “His Dark Materials” trilogy, today. My little Pocket PC would not cooperate. First, MS Reader would just give me errors. Uninstalling, reinstalling, reactivating — nothing worked. Eventually, the device wound up getting stuck in such a way that I could not reset it, no way, no how. I’ve got it going again, after flipping the “last-ditch” switch that wipes the memory completely, restoring it to factory defaults. I’ve got it working again, but really I shouldn’t have to spend more than an hour just trying to get to the point where I can read a book. Back to paper, dang it.


I’m trying to figure out what the big deal is with Microsoft’s OneNote. When it was first previewed, about a year ago, Steve Gillmore went nuts over it, calling it “the new center of the Office universe”. Now, I’m willing to acknowledge that it is kinda cool, but really, it’s just a little application for note-taking. There have got to be a zillion similar applications out there. When I first saw it, I was reminded of Yeah Write, a low-end word processor released by some former WordPerfect employees a few years ago. The interface on OneNote is prettier, but actually quite similar to Yeah Write in some ways. I could see OneNote as a nice freebie program for Tablet PC users, or just as a nice little thing to toss into Office, but a stand-alone app priced at $200? Weird. I have a copy of it at the office, from my MSDN subscription, so I may try using it a bit and see if something amazing happens.

Office 2003

I was just browsing through Jerry Pournelle’s web site, and discovered that he, too, installed Office 2003 this weekend. His main problem thus far seems to be getting to newsgroups through Outlook. I’ve managed to avoid Outlook thus far, sticking with Eudora for the last eight years or so. I’m thinking about switching, but I really don’t have a good reason to do so, except that I just paid for Outlook 2003, so I figure I should do something with it. If I start using Outlook for e-mail, though, I’m going to end up wanting to use it as a PIM too, which means I’ll want to figure out how to sync it with my Palm, which will require spending money on a third-party program. Or I could ditch the Palm and just use my Toshiba Pocket PC. It’s all getting too complicated. Maybe I’ll just stick with my three-year-old version of Eudora and my trusty two-year-old Palm i705.

Magic Notes

Lots of computer trouble today, all of which boiled down to one bad application and its apparently corrupt data file. I had been using Magic Notes to keep some sticky notes on my desktop. It’s been working fine, but apparently the data file that holds the notes got messed up bad enough for the program to crash, taking the entire system with it. Since this was happening while the sytem was booting, I had to do a “process of elimination” thing to narrow it down to Magic Notes. I don’t think I’ll be relying on this program anymore, since I really don’t like the idea of a simple utility program that can take out the whole system so readily, nor do I like the idea that the data file is not in an easily-recoverable format.

Oh well. I went through the process of finding a decent sticky note program about a year ago, and now I need to do it again. Maybe this time I’ll find something a little more reliable.