James Kendrick, who co-writes the great technology weblog jkOnTheRun, is moving to another house and has used his Verizon Wireless Treo 700w to take camera photos of the interior of his old house, transferred the photos to Microsoft OneNote on his HP TC 1100 Tablet PC and then wrote notations about the rooms and their belongings.
James headlines his post, "Home inventory made simple with a camera phone." He writes:
"The first thing I am doing is taking pictures of each room to show not only what was in the room at the old house but also where it was placed. Not that we want to duplicate every room but it is helpful to see how it was before when deciding on the new arrangement.
"I take these pictures using the Palm Treo from within OneNote Mobile, and they get synced into my Tablet OneNote 2007 notebook when I connect the Treo wirelessly.
"Once the photos are in OneNote I am using ink notes on the Tablet to note anything I think will be helpful, like outlet requirements for some equipment. I can note that a lamp has a particularly short power cord so we can consider that for the placement in the new house.
"This has been working great so far and it’s so simple to do, and much easier than creating an entire inventory by hand."
OneNote is a superb, full-featured note-taking program that's especially useful on Tablet PCs. I use OneNote on my IBM/Lenovo X41 Tablet PC and especially like the ability to record presentations that are synched to the notes I'm typing.
OneNote Mobile, that won't be commercially available until Office 12, installs on a Windows Mobile cellular phone. You can take notes, record audio and take photos that are integrated in the phone and then synched (if you want) to OneNote on your computer, says Chris Pratley, Microsoft's group program manager for Office "Authoring Services" (that includes OneNote).
(OneNote shines on a Tablet PC, but it's also useful on a non-Tablet.)
Search photo's text
"Now you can take pictures of business cards, printed PowerPoint handouts, whiteboards, receipts, name tags, product spec sheets, etc. and all these photos flow into OneNote on your PC, where any text content gets OCR'd so that you can search for these pictures by the text that appears in them.
"Imagine snapping a photo of every business card you get handed and then tossing the card. All the images flow into your OneNote notebook and you can pull them up just by searching for a person's name or town or business name!...
"Of course, image resolution plays a factor here. Those 640x480 (0.3MPx) cameras are not quite there.
"You need at least 1MPx and ideally 2MPx to get good OCR results. There is a lot to be careful about too -- good focus is quite important although we have technology to try to deal with fuzziness, and text size has to be large if you have a low-res camera."
I wonder if OneNote Mobile will be a major factor for some people when deciding whether to purchase a Windows Mobile phone.