A Bicycle for the Mind

1895 tall frame Kenwood Path Racer cycle

In this interview with Stripe CEO Patrick Collison, he notes that technology companies are more frequently utilities (how do I get this car to show up now?) or entertainment (how do I get this show now?), and less a bicycle for the mind as early tech-visionaries dreamed for the future of computers.

I’m starting a new project, which has required a lot of new learning. As a result, I’m reflecting on the tools I use to augment my learning.


OneNote

I don’t have a photographic memory. To compensate, I use OneNote a lot. I have OneNotes for projects, I have personal OneNotes, I even have a big OneNote where I document new D365 functionality I’m learning. The process of notetaking helps me concentrate on the subject matter – as an added benefit it builds searchable knowledgebase. I like to think of well structured OneNotes as an investment in my future self.


Teams

I wrote about Microsoft Teams in April (see here and here), but the product has continued to approve this year. Teams are a great place to collaborate in groups, share files, and keep stakeholders up to date. Not to mention its power as a scheduling/meeting/video-conferencing platform.

Add OneNote to a Team

Following up on my love on OneNote, the only thing better than making OneNotes for yourself is making OneNotes as part of a group. In Teams, a OneNote can be added to a tab for easy group access. The OneNote can be edited within Teams, as well as opened for editing in the OneNote desktop app.

Click the plus sign to add a tab

Search for the OneNote application, then select the specific OneNote to be added

The OneNote can now be accessed through Teams

Clicking Open in Browser, the OneNote can also be opened in the desktop app.

Hooray.

I like having access to the OneNote through the desktop application because the features are a bit more robust and I can always bring up the OneNote application using the Win+Shift+N hotkey.

Sync Teams Files to Computer

As mentioned above, Teams are a great way to share files. As in many social situations, Teams can sometimes fall victim to oversharing. (I’m sorry, but I don’t want to discuss your foot fungus problems during the company holiday party, now suddenly I’m the bad person?). I’ve seen many Teams develop a file folder structure so complicated they require their own Indiana Jones map for navigation. However, no matter how large the file structure, usually the contents of only one or two folders are relevant to me.

Instead of digging through the folder structures every time I want to review those files, syncing the relevant folders or files to my computer is an easier solution.

On the Files tab of the Team, click Open in SharePoint

From SharePoint, click Sync

Select the particular files or folders to sync

The synced files and folders can now be accessed through File Explorer

File explorer can be quickly accessed using WIN+E. Depending on OneDrive settings, synced files can be saved to the computer’s hard drive for offline access. Changes to synced files will save on the files accessible to the Team.


Other Bicycles for the Mind

Two other tech tools I’m interested in right now are Tiago Forte’s Building a Second Brain knowledge management system and the Roam Research notetaking tool. I’m pretty busy studying for my current project, but I’m looking forward to exploring both when I have some available time in the future.

Speaking of studying – shoutout to Quizlet. Learning new terms from a glossary: boring. Learning new terms from flashcards: fun. I’ve found Quizlet makes it easy to upload and review new terms/definitions, and the mobile app makes it convenient to practice on the go.

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