Mind-mapping.org ‘OS’ category tidying

I recently noticed that the categories for browser based applications were inconsistent in Mind-Mapping.Org – sometimes I’d used “browser based” and sometimes “web based”.

I’ve just tidied that up.  Most are now changed to “browser based”.

A few, like MindManager, Cmap and Xmind now include “network enabled” as one of their categories.  These do not run in a browser.  They are desktop applications (you download and install them on your PC), but they include the capability of hooking up with a server on the Internet for sharing maps.

If I’ve got any of these entries wrong, let me know, please.  (See ‘Send us an email’ in the right-hand column.)

The “browser based” or “network enabled” categories appear under “OS” (Operating System).  A bit loose, but it works best that way, I think.

Vic

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A couple of significant updates for 2010

Happy New Year!  Gradually catching up – more to go though.

Topicscape Pro

The beta version of Topicscape I wrote about last month has now passed out of beta and been formally released as a live version.  2D and 3D views below.  I’m using this and liking it a lot.  Give it a try.

Freeplane

The alpha version I wrote about last June is now into a more stable release – it’s in beta.  I tried it and had one problem, but that turned out to be an out-of-date graphics driver, so it’s fixed.  Try this one as well and report any bugs to the Freeplane team.  The appearance of the map owes a lot to FreeMind, naturally, and it has a pleasant uncluttered interface.

Regards
Vic Gee  (@VicGee on Twitter)
http://www.mind-mapping.org/
The master list of mind mapping &
information management software

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Topicscape wants more users for new Beta

Here’s a turnup for the book – 3D Topicscape goes 2D! (in beta so far)

2D-Topicscape

I’m a bit late mentioning this.  I’ve written before that I’ve been using Topicscape since its first beta.  I use it every day for organising files for most of my projects and reference notes. 

Now, Topicscape have a Beta out that gives a new option for viewing all the information stored in a Topicscape – you can opt to see it in 2D.  And you can flip from 2D to 3D and back again.   I’ve tried it and it’s very cool.

Topicscape is not hard to use, but I’ve seen occasional comments from people who don’t tune in to the 3D style.  The 3D scene is different from any other application, but I found it pretty instinctive from the beginning.  For those who didn’t see how the 2D field of cones and zooming interface allow a much improved view on their carefully organised information database, the new 2D option provides something that makes Topicscape worth looking at again.

The 2D view makes use of 3D video cards by giving a ‘swinging’ map that lets you see more in an angled view as you slide along it.  Altogether better than scrolling.

It’s hard to avoid comparing this 2D view with PersonalBrain, because it really serves the same market although the appearance is different.  Introducing 2D is surely aimed at encouraging the comparison, and it stands up pretty well.

To try the new 2D view now, you have to apply for a ‘Beta User’ account.  The Topicscape wiki has more information.

Regards

Vic Gee  (@VicGee on Twitter)
http://www.mind-mapping.org/
The master list of mind mapping &
information management software

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Diagramic – text to diagram

Up till now, I’ve known of three text-to-diagram applications: Mappio, Text2mindmap and Diagrammr.  Now I’ve come across another: Diagramic.  I just added it to mind-mapping.org.

It’s a little web-based application, and as it stands it is fun but only useful for very simple cases.   Here’s an image with data I took from a paper by Scavarda, Bouzdine-Chameeva and others, about causal maps:

CausalMaps

I made this with simple text like this:
“Cognitive maps” -> “Undirected graphs”
“Cognitive maps” -> “Directed graphs”
“Undirected graphs” -> “Knowledge maps”
“Undirected graphs” -> “Concept maps”
“Undirected graphs” -> “Mind maps”   …. …. and so on.

When Diagramic makes graphs from plain text like that above, it will use one color and one shape.  The automatic layout is fine with simple, regular graphs, but it needs manual adjustment for even the modest one above.   As you can drag nodes wherever you want them and adjust the zoom to make best use of the fixed-sized box, it is easy to achieve a presentable result.

The biggest weakness is that to preserve the result, you must use the PrintScreen key on your keyboard and Word or some graphic-editing software to preserve and perhaps crop the image.  There is no other obvious way to make a chart and embed it on your own site.

Diagramic can also accept data from spreadsheets, so as a component in a mash-up, it has more promise.  Forbes.com have made a web component that feeds data to it, selected from its own database, to allow users to generate relationship diagrams dynamically.  Here’s an example image taken from the Diagramic web site:

Forbes

The web gadget is at the Forbes site.  Tip: Start by selecting a network from the little combo box at the top centre.

Diagrams generated from Google spreadsheets will have 2 colours and 2 shapes – the first column in table is considered to contain the prime data.  There’s no detail on the site about how the many colours in the Forbes diagram were achieved.

See you on Twitter or back here soon.

Vic Gee  (@VicGee on Twitter)
http://www.mind-mapping.org/
The master list of mind mapping &
information management software

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Tweet, tweet, tweet

Feedburner tells me I have well over 3,000 subscribers to my feed. 

I was surprised when I saw that.  And humbled.  My posts are sporadic, and yet still people follow this blog.  Thank you folks!

Now, please come and follow me on Twitter, and you’ll be more up to date, with between-post happenings. 

Twitterpage

You won’t find out what I had for breakfast, when I got out of bed, or if it’s been a bad day for Vic.  Just tweets about mind mapping software news and related topics.

If you’re not using Twitter yet, you may be staying away because you think it’s all about personal, trivial, and frankly uninteresting stuff.  For me, using TweetDeck (it’s free) got me past that stage, because I can have columns of searches on subjects I’m interested in.  No reports telling me Bill ‘had kippers and cornflakes for breakfast’!   There’s plenty of useful information to be found.

If you’re already twittering, just follow @VicGee, and I’ll see you there.   Come and say “Hi!”

If you’re not, you can go to http://twitter.com to sign up (it’s easy – they don’t require blood samples).  Then visit http://twitter.com/VicGee and click on the Follow button on the left.  I hope I’ll see you there as well, and that you get more out of Twitter than you expected.

Vic    (@VicGee in Twitter)
http://www.mind-mapping.org/
The master list of mind mapping &
information management software

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MindMapPaper – free hybrid software [Now defunct]

[Updated thanks to Tony Linde (@tonylinde on Twitter) 17 April 2011 – Now defunct]

 New on the scene and in mind-mapping.org is MindMapPaper, a free, Windows-only offering from Lex River.  It is desktop software and needs .Net to run.

MindMapPaper600

MindMapPaper is an original approach to mind mapping with advantages and disadvantages.

In its favour are these benefits:

  1. Simplicity.  It takes just a few minutes to learn all you need to use the software.
  2. The appearance is clear and simple.
  3. It gives you complete control over layout.  Drag any node anywhere and it stays there.  If you are tired of your mind mapping software organizing your maps’ layout for you, or resisting a layout change you would like to make, you might want to play with MindMapPaper for that reason alone.
  4. A rigid tree-structure hierarchy is not enforced.  Really, MindMapPaper is a network drawer rather than a mind mapper, because any node can be connected to any other.  If only it supported relationship descriptions across the linking lines, it would be a true concept mapper.  [Update: Now it does] If you want a dominant central topic, you can organize the map and format the node that way as Lex has done in the sample above, but MindMapPaper is not built around this as a starting point.
  5. Node to node connections have an arrow indicating in which direction they were drawn, so you can indicate hierarchy if you want to, but by dragging connections both ways, double arrows can be shown to indicate a relationship that is not parent to child.
  6. Images, files and hyperlinks can be attached to nodes, and there is a simple comments box as well.
  7. The mind map file is an XML file and is not proprietary, so can be exchanged (import and export) with other software, but the software would have to know the format, or you would need a suitable XSLT file.

I have not used the software for long, but the disadvantages I noticed are:

  1. While the appearance is clear and simple, it is rather plain, and requires node-by-node work by the user to make it more interesting or eye-catching.  The fact that you can, one-by-one, select multiple nodes, and then apply a format change to all at once, makes this easier.  There are a copy-style and paste-style keyboard shortcuts to support style changes as well.
  2. There are no themes or inherited-style capabilities.  [Update: This is improved, with [Ctrl]+[RightMouseDrag] – to create child node with the same style as parent node.]
  3. If you like your mind maps to have curved and tapering connecting lines, you won’t like MindMapPaper’s straight, thin, unchangeable lines.  The appearance is much closer to a spider diagram than a mind map, even if you have made the formatting changes to show a strong central topic.  For business maps, this will be fine, IMO.
  4. Attachments are separate files in the mind map file’s directory, not embedded in a compressed file with the XML file, the technique used by many other mind mapping software packages.  This could easily result in broken maps.
  5. There is no real zoom, just two viewing sizes ‘Schematic view’ which is very small and ‘Normal view’.  So if the map grows beyond the screen, dragging around is the only possibility.
  6. No node folding.  This must be software’s the greatest weakness as a mind mapper at present.  As you can draw networks with it, it’s not immediately obvious how you would fold nodes in all cases.  Fold if everything under the node is a tree, and decline to fold if not, I suppose.

[Update 15/10/2009]
Lex has released a new version with many improvements, including those mentioned above.  MindMapPaper can make true concept maps now.

You can download it from here: http://mindmappaper.com/

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

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iFreeMind – yet another iPhone app, and this one is serious!

A serious challenger to existing iPhone mind mapping apps swam into my view today: iFreeMind.

The site says “iFreeMind is a native software on iPhone for reading, showing and modifing the files created by FreeMind, and also for creating, writing the FreeMind compatible format files.”

This appears to hold an impressive hand of FreeMind capabilities and sets the bar for other iPhone apps to beat: Icons; detailed colour control; built in help (press a button an keep it pressed to see what it does); import from and export to PCs and Macs; and portrait and landscape modes.

ifreemind

The sample map suggests that nodes can contain followable links, but I think they imported a FreeMind mind map that makes the claim for FreeMind itself (it does have this capability) but as far as I can see, iFreeMind does not have it yet.

There’s a blog (probably the software developer’s) that gives a potted help file.

Update: There is a free, read-only iPhone app from the same author call FreeMindLite.  You will need to create your maps on a PC or Mac, and can then import them.

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

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ThinkingMap – another iPhone app

thinkingmap

A new mind mapping application for the iPhone (OS 3.0 required) has just appeared.

It’s a FreeMind look-alike and boasts compatibility with FreeMind files. To an extent that’s true: I can make a mind map and export it via email to a PC and open it in FreeMind.

$2.99 won’t buy a lot of software, of course, but this one is very limited.  Central node, branches out, all one colour, and that’s about it.  No import capability, no association lines, no colour or styles.

It’s likely they will update with greater capabilities soon.

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

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Mindmaps unleashed!

Arjen ter Hoeve has just started a new site called Mind Maps Unleashed.

He believes that many mappers make maps and don’t use them, and now offers a training course to remedy this.  So far he has covered topics like:

  1. Looking & Seeing, Knowing & Understanding
  2. 3 Questions Regarding Children, Age And Mind Mapping
  3. The Next Bad Thing – The Standalone Mindmap
  4. Mind Mapping And Focus – We’ve Only Just Begun!
  5. Trends in Mind Mapping Since 2004

Why not surf on over to Arjen’s site and see what you think?

Vic

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

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