Visual note taking

From Japan, but working in English, iroha Note takes a textual approach to visualization – or a visual approach to text notes (take your pick).

Its free version feels rather like clustering with Post-it notes, but adds the capability to freely associate notes using visible but subtle linking lines.  In an optional box on the left, an outline appears to show the macro-level structure.

The paid-for version, iroha Note+, adds in the ability to paste images into the notes (called leaves), export images and print.

This is desktop software, running in Adobe Air, that can be used on Windows, Mac and Linux.

I found a few operational glitches when using it, but nothing I couldn’t work around.  It is under active development, so we can expect these to be fixed.

Vic

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A visual eye on education

EducationEye presents a highly original tool for exploring curated feeds.  Its focus is on innovation in education and it organizes items visually, using colour to classify, a clever ‘paging’ arc and a form of clustering.

 

It is read-only, though you can submit suggestions.  There’s a search box, of course, and it offers an interesting but sometime patchy browsing experience.

Give it a try!

Vic

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Organisation charts with backing – OrgPlus

OrgPlus is desktop software for enterprises.  It is a visual front-end to an employee database back-end, with query functions to support Human Resources planning and, of course, organisation charts.

OrgPlus provides a useful blend of serious data manager and attractive visual presentation.

Vic

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KeepNote

KeepNote is a free note-organiser based on an outline format that has just gone into Mind-mapping.Org.  It is open source software and runs on Windows, Mac and Linux.

There are extensions/plugins supporting importing a folder tree, importing from other types of software, running Python inside KeepNote, and others.  It may be plain looking but its cross platform nature, and extensibility – both with plugins and because of the availability of source code – will attract users.

Vic

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Emberlight

Emberlight is an on-line app that works with either Tinderbox or Twig (both for Apple Mac, from Eastgate).   Twig has been described as ‘Tinderbox Lite’.  Emberlight allows users to place visual notes on line for other subscribers to work with.

This web service has subscription rates for individuals and teams.  Subscribers do not have to have Timberlight or Twig (or even a Mac) to see Emberlight material that others have placed on line.  But note that at the time of writing, Emberlight does not work in Internet Explorer.

Emberlight has version control – invaluable for team work on documents.

Vic

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TreeLine outlining personal information manager

TreeLine is a semi-visual information organiser – it makes outlines,  not mind maps.  And it has just made it into Mind-mapping.Org, thanks to a tip-off from Francisco Pantera.

What distinguishes it from many PIMs/outliners is that it allows node types structured with fields.  If you are prepared to dig into the technology a little, that could make this a useful and flexible notes manager.

Vic

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Eric Blue’s collection

I recently dipped a small toe in the Twitter water (@vicgee) and am starting to find some interesting sources.  It’s a stream of very mixed information – some twitterers telling us they’ve just got up (oh, really? . . . yawn), some quoting aphorisms or saying what their own thinking is just then, others pointing to interesting finds on the web, and some making their own articles known to a larger audience.

“Just got up”  No comment. 

Aphorisms and thoughts  The second can often be variously stimulating, amusing, provocative, challenging and mind-opening.  Some twitterers reveal deep thoughts.

Pointer to interesting finds  The third help me find things I might never have seen.

Announcement of articles  And an example of the fourth type is one I want to let you know about: Eric Blue’s recommendations from his analysis of 15 tools for visual knowledge management.

Well worth a look.

Vic Gee

http://www.mind-mapping.org/
The master list of mind mapping &
information management software

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Welcome Topicscape Pro 2.0 – tags, swinging panels, Oh My!

There is a new version of Topicscape Pro out now – version 2.0 and it’s a major upgrade. 

Long-time followers of this blog will know that I was one of the early beta testers when Topicscape first went public.  I’ve used it ever since as an information organiser and even occasionally for mind mapping.

mmo.org planning

I tried out their new offering and was delighted to find that it has tags.  I’ve long wanted to gather stuff in my Topicscapes in ways that relate to what I’m doing at the time, not only based on how the items are related to one another.  Now, I can have the material I’m collecting for mind-mapping.org organised according to the type of map they make, and tag them in ways like “Next update”, “Waiting for screenshots”, or “Revised entry”.  Great.  Makes it much easier.

There are panels at the side that swing out now, when the cursor passes over them.  A much more direct way of getting at the controls than menus.  And there’s a slightly weird “Halo” menu.  I don’t think I shall be using that – though new users will probably like it.

The price has gone up though – $110.  And all previous updates, from 1.0 to 1.6 have been free, but this one has to be paid for – $30 – unless you bought it since October last year, which I didn’t   🙁

Regards

Vic
http://www.mind-mapping.org/
The master list of mind mapping &
information management software

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TreeSheets – fast, visual organisation for notes

Did you notice that my last post about new items in mind-mapping.org mentioned eight items but there were actually more in the database?  . . . . oh never mind.

That’s because I was playing with a new entry that fitted a need I had, and chatting back and forth with its very capable developer, Wouter van Oortmerssen, as he tweaked it and even kindly met a few of my requests.

This is an outliner . .  umm . . no, it’s a treemap . . . or maybe a spreadsheet.  Well, none of them and a little bit of all of them.  It’s TreeSheets, and I can only describe it as a new paradigm in capturing and organizing notes.  More visual and flexible than outlines, less diagrammatic than mind maps and much more interesting than spreadsheets.  And fast.  Did I mention fast?

Some background on why I like this little application.

I use MindManager for mind mapping, Topicscape for organizing very large globs of information and Notepad++ for capturing those thought, ideas and tasks that pop into the mind from time to time, ready to be dropped somewhere else later.

For those who haven’t used it, Notepad++ is a fast, free application that’s quick and simple, like Windows’ own Notepad, but more capable and useful.  I have a text file on the shared desktop of my main PC and a Quick Launch link to it on all the PCs in my office that I use.  So that tool beloved of practitioners of GTD – the single collection bucket – is quickly to hand wherever I am.  Well, almost single, there are the notes in my iPhone too.

But being a mind mapper, the last thing I really want from an ideas and notes dump is a long, linear list.  And that’s where TreeSheets comes in.  It has structure, it can express hierarchy and it has, to some extent, visual layout.  It can even store images.  Try that with Notepad++.

It is a kind of outliner in the sense that items are indented according to their level.  It’s a species of treemap in the sense that it displays a hierarchy as nested rectangles, making each level smaller to occupy a fixed space: It has notes inside notes down to… well I have no idea. I took it to 20 levels, it showed no sign of flagging but I got bored.  It has a touch of the spreadsheet because it starts as a plain, empty grid of cells, but then gets interesting.

TreeSheets overcomes the problem of deep nesting by continually reducing font size as the nested cells go deeper, all the way to 1 pixel (or less, for all I know).  Ridiculous, you think?  So did I, till I discovered that a simple swoosh of the mousewheel lets you zoom in and focus on a grid that, moments before, was all but invisible.

So now I have TreeSheets on all the PCs I use, and a link to my master sheet has replaced the link to the text file in the Quick Launch toolbars.

You’re probably wondering about the price.  Is Vic in on the affiliate selling schemes now then, with all this praise?  Is this going to link to one of those endless pages with yellow highlighting where you have to give your email address and pay $100 to get this exciting new product?

Well no actually, it’s free.  And Wouter doesn’t even ask for your email.  http://treesheets.com/

It’s still in development and there’s a new version every few days – just today I had an email from Wouter to say it can now print a sheet “with page setup, preview.. the works. Even does decent PDFs..”

I hope you like it as much as I do.

Vic

http://www.mind-mapping.org/
The master list of mind mapping &
information management software

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Knowledge mapping for communities

I really liked a slideshow that comes from a group at the Open University, UK, so I did a write-up to alert like-minded thinkers.  It’s about different forms of visualizing information, knowledge, argument, debate and evidence.  I’ve done a quick write up in my Seminal papers in information mapping section of mind mapping articles.

Favourite moment? This provocative (but I maybe not-too-serious) idea for the search engines:

search-results-in-a-map.jpg

 It’s called Knowledge Mapping for Open Sensemaking Communities

Vic

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