This week I decided to get back on the Microsoft bandwagon. Well, sort of.
I switched to Apple Macintosh products in 2007 and LOVE them. And I still LOVE them. My Mac, iPhone, iPad, iWatch, and Apple TV work so great together. And I am not giving those up. No way.
But what I AM doing is starting to use the Microsoft Office suite of products again. I was never a fan of Microsoft Word. Excel was always fantastic, but Word just seemed to have feature bloat. And then all the viruses started when Microsoft added Visual Basic to Word and Excel. No thank you. I left, found alternate products, and haven’t looked back.
About the only Microsoft product I have used in the last few years is Office 365 Exchange. Kay had it for her email years ago, we never changed, and after noticing how great it worked I switched my various email accounts to Exchange in early 2019. Neither of us
Microsoft Office 365
I have been working with my son Adam on a project to migrate my various web sites to Amazon Web Services. He is an IT professional at OG&E and work with products like Docker on a daily basis. For my largest and most valuable web site we decided to re-architect it to run in a containerized fashion on Amazon Web Services. We are splitting up the work – he is working on Docker, while I am working on Amazon EC2 instances, Amazon RDS databases and Amazon Elastic File System (EFS).
We needed a way to work together as a team without having to constantly text and voice conference back and forth. That way we can work independently when needed yet keep our documentation, notes, and tasks synched. He has to work on this project after-hours since he has a full-time job. My schedule is quite fluid. So we needed a way to work together without having to always work together.
After doing some research to find products that will work for us, I decided to just jump on the Microsoft bandwagon and see if I could make it work. He already had access to the full suite of Microsoft tools. I already had Exchange, so just upgraded my account to include the full suite of Microsoft products.
First up was OneNote. I have been an Evernote power user for years. I have hundreds if not thousands of Evernote pages. I have two dozen Evernote notebooks with a wealth of information in them. I can easily search Evernote to find technical documentation, medical information, client data, etc. After reading up on OneNote I figured it was a pretty close clone to Evernote. And rather than force my son to start using Evernote, I just got OneNote running on all my devices so we could share our work together.
How we are using OneNote
Because of my experience with Evernote, I had a pretty good idea of how to put OneNote to use for our web projects. I created a Notebook called Amazon Web Services that I shared with Adam. In that
I was really excited about using Microsoft Planner to manage our small projects. I have used Microsoft Project extensively in years past. It is great for large-complex projects but a bit of overkill for smaller teams. I am hoping that Planner will allow us to work together, take notes, schedule priorities, and track our progress easily on the web. Planner is sort of like Trello, which I have used in the past and really liked. I would have used Trello for this project but I just felt it would be more seamless and less expensive to use on suite of products from one vendor – Microsoft.
How we are using Microsoft Planner
So far I am fairly happy with Microsoft Office 365. It seems fairly well integrated, works fine with my Mac and iPhone, and even though it took me a while to figure out how to add Adam as a guest to access my files, we got it working. There are still a few “gotcha’s” and one bug we are working through. For example, right now we haven’t been able to figure out how to use Microsoft Team when we are both with different companies. The Microsoft documentation says I can invite a guest to my Team account, but I haven’t been able to figure out how to do that. They don’t make it easy by any means.
I am impressed that Microsoft has moved to a lot more open structure and isn’t nearly as proprietary as they once were. That is a good move. I doubt I will replace my Mac anytime soon but it is nice to have some good software to work with others on projects.