Mind Mapping

Both my father and father-in-law have spent time extolling the virtues of Mind Mapping–basically brainstorming on paper. I have come to realize the benefits of doing it, but for me, doing something on actual paper is just too reminicent of high school or filling out a form at the DMV or something horrible like that. I prefer to do things the digital way.

The other day, I discovered Nova Mind for Mac OS X which is a way of doing it digitally. I was pretty impressed with the functionality, but due to the fact that I don’t have a Mac at home (yet) it’s not much use. Plus it costs $59 dollars, which I suppose isn’t bad, but it’s more than I’m willing to pay. I also found Concept Draw but their MindMapping software is $149 and not quite as elegant as Nova Mind, though probably more functional.

Tonight I discovered a couple Windows products–both freeware/open source that look like they will do the trick. The first is appropriately titled Freemind. It’s very functional, decent looking and you can do pretty much whatever you need to do with it right from the keyboard so there’s no interrupting your train of thought by reaching over and missing the mouse. In addition to it being great on the desktop, there’s a feature that lets you publish fully functional mindMaps to the web in without even having to export them. Here’s an example.

The next one I found was called KeyNote (not to be confused with Keynote. It’s more of a tool for outlining and creating hierarichal documents (like this blog for example). So far, I’ve been impressed with it. It’s seems about as fully featured as any Office XP application, including Macro capabilites. Hmm. maybe I should write a macro to enable publishing to this Blog. Then it would be some serious competion to MacJournal.

I’m happy. If you’re interested, I’d say check them both out. You can’t go wrong with free 🙂