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ConceptMINDMAP - Free MindMapping Software from ConceptDraw 
Tuesday, November 4, 2008, 02:52 PM - Software, All Sorts: Open Source, Free, Must-Have, GTD, Mind Mapping

I have previously written about mindmapping and mindmapping software. ConceptDraw MINDMAP is a very popular program in this marketspace.
ConceptDraw MINDMAP enables you to present information as a visual map taking full advantage of pictures, symbols, text and the color, to make documents easy to comprehend and remember. ConceptDraw MINDMAP provides versatile integration with MS Office and project management software along with complete support of mind mapping and brainstorming techniques.

The company has just released a new version (v6) which sells for U$199, and - like many companies before it - has decided to give away the previous version at no-cost. It's terrific PR and a great way to grab new users.


(click on image for larger view)

Key Features:
  • The Outline and the Map views can be presented simultaneously
  • Multi-page maps
  • Multiple pages preview with possibility to navigate between pages and documents
  • Renewed Brainstorm mode
  • Customizable toolbars and floating windows
  • Branches auto placement, automatic sorting and arrangement of topics.
  • Text notes
  • Callouts and Floating topics
  • Topics support project task information: duration, resources and percent completed.
  • Integration with ConceptDraw Project 4 and Microsoft Project
  • Vector drawing tools
  • Export of mind map, outline and text notes to iPod
  • Converting mind maps into slideshows that are synchronized with iPod
  • Export to HTML
  • Export to PDF
  • Export to Microsoft PowerPoint
  • MindManager Import
  • Support for popular file formats
  • You can export the map outline to the MS Word rtf file.
  • MS Outlook task list export/import will help you to manage your schedule task and be better organized.

If you're wondering what mindmaps created with this program look like, check the gallery (categories: personal, business, science and education). You can also find the community forums here.

After you download v5 from here (WinOS - 27.3MB) or here (MacOS - 59.35MB), register it here to get your free licence. The registration code will be sent to you by email (so don't put in a fake address), and will convert the 30-day free trial to a full, unlimited version.

Suggested System Specifications - Windows
  • OS: Microsoft® Windows® XP /VISTA
  • CPU: Intel Pentium® 4, 1,8 GHz or higher
  • RAM: 1024 Mb
  • HDD: 540 Mb disk space (1,5 GB during the installation)

Suggested System Specifications - Macintosh
  • OS: Mac OS X 10.4.10 or later
  • CPU: G4 or higher
  • RAM: 1024 Mb
  • HDD: 650 Mb

Miscellaneous Screenshots:

Floating Dialog - Symbols


(click on image for larger view)

Floating Dialog Cliparts - Business


(click on image for larger view)

Floating Dialog Cliparts - Management


(click on image for larger view)

Brainstorm Mode


(click on image for larger view)

Adding Information to Task


(click on image for larger view)

Adding Links to Task


(click on image for larger view)

Adding Notes to Task


(click on image for larger view)

Print Preview


(click on image for larger view)


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Mind Mapping 
Thursday, January 18, 2007, 10:34 AM - GTD, Mind Mapping

I have been quite interested in infographics for some time. I just didn't know what it was called. Wikipedia defines it as
Information graphics or infographics are visual representations of information, data or knowledge. These graphics are used anywhere where information needs to be explained quickly or simply, such as in signs, maps, journalism, technical writing, and education. They are also used extensively as tools by computer scientists, mathematicians, and statisticians to ease the process of developing and communicating conceptual information. They are applied in all aspects of scientific visualization.

I'm also creative rather than artistic, so I was really wondering how I could actually make some of these images which combine information and graphics. Then I learned about mind mapping also known by some as idea mapping, and I was "Hm...". Wikipedia defines it as
A mind map is a diagram used to represent words, ideas, tasks or other items linked to and arranged radially around a central key word or idea. It is used to generate, visualize, structure and classify ideas, and as an aid in study, organization, problem solving, and decision making.

It is an image-centered diagram that represents semantic or other connections between portions of information. By presenting these connections in a radial, non-linear graphical manner, it encourages a brainstorming approach to any given organizational task, eliminating the hurdle of initially establishing an intrinsically appropriate or relevant conceptual framework to work within.

A mind map is similar to a semantic network or cognitive map but there are no formal restrictions on the kinds of links used.

MindMapping in its current form, is claimed to be the brainchild of Tony Buzan, and although there is some debate on that subject, he certainly popularized it. Some people use the terms 'idea mapping' and 'concept mapping' interchangeably, while others feel that those are separate but related. Mindmapping is a really useful tool, whether you consider yourself 'right-brain' or 'left brain' and it has really taken off in the last few years, including in the business world.

Respected Canadian blogger Dave Pollard (How to Save the World) has a great blog post called: "Mind Mapping: See What You're thinking". He's right about the hype on mind mapping, but even so, I'm not discouraged. I really like this observation he made:
"What intrigues me about this list of applications is that some of them are left-brain, deductive processes while others are right-brain, inductive, creative processes. I've often used pencil and paper to sketch out cause-and-effect (systems thinking) and process diagrams (which are more linear), but recently I've started playing with mind maps as a personal 'thinking out loud' tool, to organize my thoughts and think creatively all by myself. I've always learned best by writing, synthesizing and distilling books and other voluminous materials down to their essence: the message, the meaning, and the necessary actions. So perhaps this 'learning by writing down' style is the reason I find mind maps useful."


In terms of sales the leading software is probably Mind Manager (Win/Mac) from Mindjet. I have it and it is excellent, but it is one of the more expensive pieces of software in this field. The Mind Manager community is very vibrant and strong and there are many free templates and plug-ins available. Their customer service is outstanding. I have been corresponding with them and they were kind enough to send me a serial as I am writing a review. The story behind its development is very inspiring.

Although I haven't tried it yet, just from going over their website, and looking at all the features, I am also very impressed with OpenMind from Matchware also has a bit of a high price tag, although well within the reach of businesses. One reason it looks so amazing are the killer templates. For example: Timelines, Project Management, Legal, Business. They are sending me a shrink-wrapped Business Edition for review.

Tony Buzan has just come out with his own software, called iMindMap. So far, I'm not sure that I really care for its output, as it seems a bit cartoony to me, but I have yet to actually it to be sure, and even if it is, for some, that's a plus. Currently in beta, it will be reasonably priced, with 3 years of free upgrades offered for early adopters, which will be a very attractive incentive for some.

Freemind (Win/MacOS/Linux) is a free, open-source cross-platform application, and it is very good. Don't let the price tag fool you. It's robust, albeit a bit 'no-frills', but it is compatible with Mind Manager (import/export). I'm not sure about Open Mind, but I'll be finding that out soon and will report back. Here is a review

A very interesting Flash-powered online mindmapping application called Bubbl.us has just been launched and is getting a lot of attention. Currently, one can register for free. It's simple and easy to use, although it took me a few moments to figure out how to move the bubbles around. I whipped up the following diagram in about a minute. I'll definitely be playing around with it a lot more and then writing an indepth review.


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GTD podcast at 43Folders.com 
Wednesday, January 17, 2007, 09:54 AM - GTD, Mind Mapping

Those who are fans of David Allen, who wrote the business mega-best-seller "Getting Things Done - The Art of Stress Free Management" can head over to 43Folders.com and download the podcast for a wide-ranging 8-part discussion called "Productive_Talk" that he had with Merlin Mann who owns 43folders.com, a site dedicated to a number of interesting things, including advice on putting Allen's productivity principles into motion.

The series is available in mp3 format as single episode downloads which range from approximately 10 to 20 minutes each and between 14 and 20 megs, or as a single 40-meg file almost 90 minutes in length:

Productive Talk #01: Procrastination
Summary: David and Merlin talk about a very popular topic on 43 Folders — procrastination. They discuss where procrastination comes from and how GTD can help get you back to cranking widgets. (13:21)

Productive Talk 02: David Allen on patching GTD “leaks”
Summary: David and Merlin talked about ways to patch the leaks in your GTD system — including the role of ubiquitous capture and scrupulous review. (Running time: 10:33)

Productive Talk #03: Someday Maybe
Summary: David and Merlin talk about how people use their someday/maybe list, as well as look at some ways you can make best use of your project list and support materials. David also makes a case for capturing 100% of whatever has your attention. (Running time: 10:22)

Productive Talk #04: Teams
Summary: David and Merlin talk about how people use their someday/maybe list, as well as look at some ways you can make best use of your project list and support materials. David also makes a case for capturing 100% of whatever has your attention. (Running time: 10:22)

Productive Talk #05: Email
Summary: David and Merlin talk about email. We learn that David coaches people to deal with a high volume of messages by treating them like you would any other input. (Running time: 17:53)

Productive Talk #06: Interruptions
Summary: In this episode David and Merlin talk about interruptions. How you can minimize the bad interruptions and make the best of the good ones. (Running time: 10:17)

Productive Talk #07: Implementing GTD
Summary: David and Merlin look at best practices for implementing Getting Things Done. David shares some great advice on firewalling review time and warns us how to avoid the perils of “cruise control.” (Running time: 9:37)

Productive Talk #08: GTD 2.0?
Summary: Merlin asks David one of the most popular questions about GTD; if he could write the book all over again today, what would he do differently? David addresses how people’s understanding of GTD evolves on repeated exposures, as well hinting at future plans for making GTD easier for people to start and maintain. He makes some great points on learning to pay attention to your “higher altitudes,” and wraps up by underscoring the importance of not having to rethink every task throughout the day. (Running time: 13:11)

Productive Talk Compilation: 8-episode Running time: 1:26:40

And yes, 43 folders has a mobile edition.

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