I don’t watch TV that often. But when I do, it’s usually via a DVR where I skip through the commercials. So, I’m normally oblivious to whatever the trendy ads are that people are talking about at the water cooler. There’s one exception to my advertising avoidance: Football. The only ads I ever see on TV are during college & NFL football games on the weekends.
One ad I noticed was for Windows 7 that shows a man using his Windows Phone to track his shopping list. As he’s shopping, new items keep popping onto the list. He keeps adding them to his cart. Eventually, the man gets suspicious when the new items are all junk food and realizes that it’s his kids modifying the list remotely. The father then, humorously, extracts ‘revenge’ as we the audience realize this is made possible “due to Windows 7”.
It’s a clever ad that documents a pretty useful real-world scenario that I’m guessing most consumers have no idea was possible. See the ad below:
The reality is that this is made possible by using OneNote, SkyDrive, and Windows Phone in tandem. “Yea, cloud!”… to quote another ad from earlier this year (which is also cool, but highly un-realistic on crappy airport wi-fi ).
Some might scoff and say this shopping list ad is just silly marketing. But, I really liked it, because it features a collection of technologies that I have been using JUST LIKE THAT for quite some time now! Keeping files, particularly OneNote ‘notes’, in sync using SkyDrive + my phone is awesome.
How do I use these things together?
Anyone who knows me personally, probably knows that I routinely suffer from migraine headaches. I need to track these in a journal for when I see my doctors for checkups, etc. I keep these listed in an “MigraineTracker” Excel spreadsheet that I store on SkyDrive.
The spreadsheet is pinned to the top of my Excel “jumplist” in my Windows 7 taskbar. If I get a migraine while at my desk, I merely open it directly from the jumplist, add an entry, and then Excel saves it back out to SkyDrive.
When I’m on the road, or out and about, I do the same on my phone thanks to the Mango update. With Mango, Windows Phone can access and sync your SkyDrive files on the phone. As shown below, I even have the Migraine Tracker spreadsheet pinned right to my home screen, so I can jump right to it when I need to!
I find myself using OneNote in a similar fashion for… you guessed it: taking notes! When I’m at an event or class where I want to capture notes as an audience member, I rarely drag out my laptop. I just take notes on my Windows Phone. When I get back to my desk, they’re automagically sitting there in OneNote on my desktop where I can mark them up with more details later, or write something more coherent that I might share with others.
Note: This OneNote/SkyDrive syncing solution is also available on the iPhone: OneNote Mobile for iPhone
This is brilliant, and exactly why I was excited to see the ad above. Too many ‘non-tech’ people have no idea they can do this stuff… TODAY! The Windows Team recently put up a post on their blog detailing how this solution actually works, including a step-by-step video. Long Zheng and Rafael Rivera (who make some pretty cool apps and tools) validated that it works too. If you want to make your life easier, I encourage you to check it out.
Speaking of SkyDrive, Omar Shahine from the Skydrive team recently posted a “vision” post explaining where SkyDrive & its competitors are, and where SkyDrive would like to go. A few days later, SkyDrive received a bunch of updates. Omar detailed those on the Inside Windows Live blog too. Read for details here:
SkyDrive gets simple app-centric sharing for Office, powerful file management, HTML5 upload, other updates
Unfortunately, those updates released on November 29th, 2011 caused some issues with this great functionality I just described above on the phone. On the 30th, Omar put up another post on the Inside Windows Live blog explaining the problem and detailing a quick workaround.
If you haven’t tried syncing SkyDrive files to your Windows Phone previously, then this issue shouldn’t effect you. But if you’re like me, you’ll need to “reset” Office on your phone to get things working properly again.
Technology hasn’t figured out a way to cure my migraines yet, but it has made it easier to keep track of them and what may or may not cause them. Thanks Windows Live!