AWS WorkSpaces Now Live

27 Mar 2014
March 27, 2014

Just following up from last week’s article on the AWS WorkSpaces beta, I’m happy to see the product has gone live now.

(This is a link post — click the title of this article to get to the article it references).

OneNote News from March 2014

26 Mar 2014
March 26, 2014

OneNote logoOver the years, OneNote has slowly transitioned to an application that I cannot live without. I have it installed on my laptop, desktops, phones and tablet – and via any web browser since I store all my notebooks on OneDrive (formerly known as SkyDrive). It has become both my long and short term memory and, frankly, I can’t function well without it. I keep all sorts of task lists, project plans, notes, guides, clippings in there and tend to have it open in a monitor at all times.


Last week was a big week for OneNote news. I thought I’d share some of the more interesting ones here.

1) OneNote for Mac exists now. Yep, the hip OS X (10.9 or later) crowd can join in the fun. There were already versions for IOS phones and tablets so this rounds that out nicely.

2) OneNote is free everywhere/every platform. There are still premium features available to paid customers which includes things like SharePoint support, versioning and Outlook integration. Those are all very useful features, but you can live without them for a bit while getting up to speed.  More details in this OneNote blog post.

3) You can mail items to your default OneNote notebook. Just send or forward the mail to “” after you have done a bit of setup at the OneNote Email Settings page and you now have a great way to capture more data.

4) There is now a cloud API for OneNote to allow 3rd party apps and devices to connect to it. Of the current offerings, I’m most intrigued by the IFTTT and Feedly options… but there are some others that others will find cool as well. More details for developer types can be found at the OneNote Service API Dev Center.

Want to keep up with all this and more? Check out the OneNote blog for more.

A Brief Look at the Amazon WorkSpaces Beta

16 Mar 2014
March 16, 2014

imageAt the beginning of the year, we were invited to participate in the beta for Amazon’s upcoming WorkSpaces product. We just had to demonstrate a “reason” to be in the beta and then they’d hook us up.

Our beta plan was to use ourselves as the primary users and address on-call engineer needs. We rotate on-call coverage but sometimes you don’t want to carry a laptop everywhere you go during your on-call week. Or sometimes you’re caught with just a tablet or smart phone. These days you can get a lot done with a mobile device, but it rarely can compare to what can be done with a proper computer.

We built a Workspaces machine for each engineer and then configured  the WorkSpaces client  for all of our various devices. There is support for Android, IOS, Windows and Mac. The client is lightweight and snappy and the Android client has some nice extra shortcuts and menu’ing to help you get more done without a keyboard. (I have to confess I haven’t seen the IOS client – presumably it has similar niceties).

On my Android tablet (an HP Slatebook X2) with the snap-on keyboard and touch pad dock, the experience is just like I’m using an ultraportable laptop – with far more powerful than my Slatbook. If I detach the keyboard it still works quite well though, Just not as “native” feeling, of course. Read more →

New Old Workstation

07 Mar 2014
March 7, 2014

Just a quick note: I have a new workstation at home. Not very exciting news, I realize. But I find it interesting enough to share.

There’s really nothing all that great about this rig. It is a Vista era Core 2 Duo workstation (still has the Vista sticker on it). All I did was add an SSD, upgraded to 8 GB of RAM and installed Windows 8.1.

It runs like a champ.

Just another anecdote that shows that processors have been plenty fast for a while now. The trick is speeding up drives and making sure you’re not constrained by RAM. That SSD makes one heck of a difference here!