My Growing Sensation for OneNote 2013

I never thought having a note-taking program would ever be necessary for me. In all honesty, I preferred to keep my notes in a physical notebook and do research that way. But after experiencing OneNote 2013 and using it for my school work, it was just gold to me. The capabilities and organization I had in OneNote was unlike anything I’ve ever thought of before. It was just so useful in ways I’ve always doubted.

Upon first impression of the program, it was very clean. Unlike other Office programs, OneNote doesn’t take you to a grid of different templates that are available. Instead, it takes you straight to a fresh new notebook. (Then again I’ve been using this program for weeks and I probably don’t remember how OneNote really starts for new users.) But whatever it may be, once you’ve created a new notebook, you’re stuck with emptiness. You may not know what to use this program for or how to make it useful.

For me, the usefulness of this program started with school. I was assigned an essay to complete and research had to be done. I wondered in my head, “Where can I be efficient with my research and keep it all organized all at the same time?” Then… Light bulb! I have OneNote!

When starting out with my research, I realized that I can use a certain tool in my notebook to make my research very efficient. This feature being known as the “Snipping Tool.” The purpose of this feature is very simple and easy to comprehend from reading the title, it’s meant to snip some pictures on your computer screen that you can place in your notebook. This snipping feature has proved to be very useful for me. I can easily grab facts from the internet, and easily place it in whatever page, section, or notebook I desire. There is absolutely no hassle when I use this wondrous feature.

I should also note that you can install a Clip to OneNote plugin for your web browser. This allows you to save your pages to your notebook without the hassle to snip a certain area. It’ll be sent to your default personal notebook with the picture of the web pages and its link. Again, another wondrous feature that has proven well of its capability!

Another great accomplishment of OneNote that I really do enjoy is the way the program is formatted. It’s basically setup like how you would have your notes in your notebook. You’d have different notebooks for different purposes. Then within that, there are sections to sort out all the different pages that go within those sections. You can also make pages as sub-pages for other pages. If this doesn’t make sense to you, all you really need to know is that this program uses a hierarchal form of organization. Starting from Notebooks –> Sections –> Pages –> Sub-Pages –> Sub-Pages. This hierarchal form of organization makes the program really useful to keep a research project nice and organized rather than stacked and cluttered.

Without a doubt, OneNote 2013 has served me a purpose that I never thought I needed. One of which I’ve always ignored and found pointless. But after finally opening up my mind about OneNote and giving it a chance, I eventually fell in love with it. OneNote has now filled an unknown void in my list of necessities making it impossible to take notes on the internet without it. Or at least, inefficient…

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My Thoughts on the WordPress Plugin

How To Install the WordPress Plugin

During the past couple days, I chose to install a WordPress plugin so I may immediately view notifications from my blog. Here are links for the plugin for each browser.

Mozilla FireFox |Google Chrome | Opera

For Opera users like myself, please install the Opera add-on link above first. Afterwards, you’ll be capable to install any Google Chrome plugin such as the WordPress plugin linked above.

Once installed, click on the WordPress plugin icon and click sign in. Sign in with your WordPress account and navigate to the dashboard of the blog of your choice. Now you’re all setup. This plugin will basically show the notifications from the last blog(Your own of course) you’ve worked on or visited. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below.

My Thoughts

It’s pretty basic for a plugin. It showcases notifications from your blog’s dashboards. Such as new comments, followers, or likes. You also have the option to follow other WordPress blogs and can create new posts about the current website your on by clicking on the “Blog This” icon. A new window will pop up asking you for the format of the post. Again, all of these are great features.

The notifications panel.

Choosing the format of my post…

The only downfall I have about this plugin is the “Blog This” option. I like how you can create a new post about the website you’re currently on and you can edit all of this from the pop up window shown. However, I wish all of the features were shown in the pop up window. I really miss the ability where I can set categories for my posts so they don’t become “uncategorized.”

Missing: Categories, HTML, Polls, Forms, Other Media

But all in all, this is a really great plugin. Making it really useful for quick posts and updates. However, even so, I still feel like it doesn’t give me the same functionality of creating my post as if I were doing it right from the dashboard.

Windows 7 Taskbar Issue, Resolved!

An unfortunate, yet minor, issue I ran into with the Windows 7 taskbar.

An unfortunate, yet minor, issue I ran into with the Windows 7 taskbar.

Windows 7 is without a doubt probably my favorite operating system out there. One big reason for this “love” for Windows 7 is its taskbar. Also known as the “superbar.” The superbar is very useful when multitasking and switching between applications. But unfortunately, even this renowned operating system has some unusual flaw in one of its greatest features.

As you can see from the picture above, the Opera icon is currently highlighted. The issue? Wherever my mouse leaves the superbar, an icon remains highlighted as if my mouse was still over it. The solution? All I had to do was hold down Shift on my keyboard and right click on the icon. Then that unusually highlighted icon will go away.

As I browsed the wondrous internet, I was unfortunate to find a permanent solution or even a cause for this minor bug. Five years later, after the release of Windows 7, I find it rather odd that not even this minor issue has been resolved. 

Thoughts on the Opera Web Browser

Nowadays, when people look for a browser (typically better than Internet Explorer), the two dominant stars of this show are Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome. But unknown to most consumers, there is actually an underdog in this “friendly browser” competition. As you can tell by the title, I clearly refer to the Opera web browser.

Once you open Opera, the interface shouldn’t feel very unusual. The address and search bar are combined at the top much like Google Chrome. It also has a single menu tab in the top left corner of the browser much like Firefox. The Opera web browser also offers themes, and an extension store. Take note that because Opera isn’t a very well popularized web browser compared to Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox, therefore there won’t be much available in the themes and extension store.

One relatively unusual feature that I had trouble grasping to was the Speed Dial option. It appears as a button on the left side of your address bar and is also accessible when opening up a new tab. The Speed Dial is laid out much like the dial pad on your land line phone. But instead of numbers, it has tiles of websites that can also be put together in folders. At first I wonder, why would I need this when I can have a bookmarks bar? Turns out, there is a reasonable purpose behind this.

The purpose of the speed dial is to set a standard when web browsing. What I mean by this is that basically, the developers of Opera want this browser to be snappy and efficient by keeping the amount of pages you’d like to keep to a minimum. Or maybe that’s just how I feel.

As interesting as the feature and its purpose is, I don’t feel the need for it. It may sound ridiculous, but I don’t think there needs to be these medium-sized tiles waiting to be clicked on compared to my single, miniature, mouse pointer. I think the developers of Opera have an interesting concept behind this, but I feel like the design and use of the Speed Dial was improperly laid out. If anything, just bring back the bookmarks bar.

But then that brings me to another topic. I don’t understand why by default, Opera doesn’t launch with a bookmarks bar. It’s just the address bar and the Speed Dial button. I really don’t feel like I need to go through the trouble of finding out how to finally enable that feature by typing in “opera:flags” in my web browser and then scrolling down to enable that feature. I’m not sure if the bookmarks bar is going through beta right now, but I don’t see why there isn’t even one there by default. So Opera, I don’t know what you plan to do, but can you please enable the bookmarks bar by default? Please?

But regardless of these minor issues, the big reason why I really enjoy this browser is the lightness and efficiency it offers. I admit, I don’t have any specific data to prove this. But by user experience, I can tell you that this is the best experience I’ve ever had when surfing the web with a web browser. It is efficient, lightweight, and I’ve had little or no issues with it at all. It really makes me feel like I’m just flying and soaring through the internet so freely at times that I even forget how slow and clunky Firefox and Chrome can be.

Two other features I should mention are the Stash and Discover options. When you go to your Speed Dial or open up a new tab, you can also access the Stash and Discover page. The Stash page lists previews of pages that you “stashed” so you can view them later. Say you found an interesting article that you wanted to read later, just press the heart on the right side of the address bar and the web page will be sent to your Stash. Remember, the Stash page isn’t a bookmark alternative, it’s just another useful way to save your pages for later.

As for the Discover page, it’s basically like a magazine of the internet. What this page does is it takes news from the internet and just compiles it all together for you to view. You can select what categories of stories you would like to see as well as your country. Personally for me, this isn’t feature that I’ve chosen to use during my experience with Opera. However, it’s still a nice little gimmick worth keeping.

Though Opera isn’t a big mainstream browser out there, it doesn’t necessarily mean it can’t compete. Despite the minor falls of Opera from this near-useless Speed Dial to the mysterious disappearance of the bookmarks bar, it still gets the job done. Surfing through the internet is a breeze and without a doubt you’d run into little or no issues with this browser. For me personally, Opera would be a very nice switch if you’re looking for a fast, efficient, and minimal browser.