Twitter brings brilliant people into the conversation who would not normally come to the attention of one another or “experts” in some area.
Sadly, the arrogance of many “experts” means that they do not follow others on Twitter and miss the contributions of ideas that are at least as good as theirs.
Don’t make that mistake. Brilliant is brilliant, creative is creative. Expand who you listen to worldwide. If they don’t tweet in English and you do not understand their language of tweeting, at least try one of the auto-translation programs. Creativity and brilliance is not just the domain of the English-speaking. Nor is creativity and brilliance just the domain of those who amassed a number of advanced professional degrees or “took” more money from others (often for garbage products; Bill Gates comes to mind)) than they could possibly ever need or wrote a book or published in a peer-reviewed journal.
Evernote is my free form database. I store web clips, notes, pictures, tweets, selected email, receipts, and tasks I need to do there. Clip and save. Click and save. Email to Evernote with a click. Awesome.
Until you need to process the database.
Then, finding information is hard. You would like to add text to notes or tags to files or images to notes. Aaarrrggghhhh, the front end user controls of the information are a lot more difficult than they need to be.
Why can’t somebody make a front end for my 4,000 files in Evernote that looks like my email inbox and is just as easy to edit, delete entries, format, and add new information? It would be giant improvement over native Evernote.
Alternote for Mac! ALTERNOTE FOR MAC!!! ALTERNOTE FOR MAC!!!!!
Somebody developed the front end for Evernote that works just like an email client. And it works very very well.
On the Mac App Store. Five stars from me.
Frank likes it too.
Note after 3 more days … I just keep liking this app more and more. It tames Evernote better than any other way I have seen.
When you are in the midst of early- and middle-stage dementia, you can feel like you are in the middle of a movie you have seen dozen of times, want to beam somewhere else, scream out some four letter words, and marvel at new insights you have because (like it or not) you are now thinking differently than you did earlier in your life.
There are a lot of things you can do to keep all of the experiences and emotions you feel in check. Like Rocky Balboa you can get up from the punch of the moment and at least try to go the distance (and with seven profitable Rocky Balboa films Sylvester Stallone certainly did). You can use the Force to hold the Dark Side in check. Rolling with the punch and refusing to easily enter the dark side of anger and depression and helplessness requires a lot of work and control, but it also can be strongly facilitated by a good sense of humor that sees the absurdity in the new rules of mental functioning that you brain adopts during neurodegeneration.
Laugh. It’s the first step in acknowledging that many of the things you experience feel pretty weird compared to the way you were earlier and the way your family and friends are now. Think about the absurdity of my continuing “work” as I draw crayon-like pictures to try to express deep thoughts which to many appear funny or ridiculous while quoting Rocky Balboa and George Lucas as inspiring philosophers.
Laugh. Use the Force. Go the distance and make that worthwhile for you AND others you can help.
Become a Jedi Knight of the Dementia Order.
Archival first hand-written rough first draft for those who prefer to not use mind mapping and similar computer programs or find it difficult to do so.
Remember when you were about 4 years old … you’d sit with Mom or the Preschool Teacher or even Dad when he was not fixing the car or mowing the lawn or golfing. You would look at the book they were holding. Remember that? It was just a little more sophisticated than those you read when you were 2 … you know, the ones with the big bright pictures that may have been made of cloth so that you could turn the pages yourself and look at the pictures (there were no words) and drool on the pages. Now those were pretty hard to rip too.
But back to being 4. Those were BOOKS. Beautiful pictures of animals and families and trucks and dolls and food. And a few of those things made of a few letters that told you something about those beautiful PICTURES. Those pictures, arranged as they were in binding, told you a story just by looking at them one after the other. And of course, the story was even better when Mom made up a plausible narrative to go with the pictures.
When you hit 64 you may have declining cognitive acuity (remember those “senior moments?”) or even early stages of dementia. You may be undergoing treatment for cancer or a heart attack or a stroke and not be able to concentrate on a dense book. How about reading like you were 4 again? There are lots of great picture books (often on coffee tables), family members who will discuss them with you, and maybe even grandchildren who you can “read” them to (or who might read them to you).
Think about this … From the age of 4 until the time that your health severely declines you have been taught by society that books with few pictures and increasingly more and longer words in smaller fonts represent greater sophistication by the adult reader. Those who would still read stories in pictures are characterized as “uneducated,” “semi-literate,” “not smart enough to read more than a comic book” or as a “TV addict.” Back when you were 4 and understood how to read pictures, your parents went around beaming at their brilliant offspring all ready to go to college. And those writings of yours mading with brightly colored crayons and scribble markings hung in your parents’ office or bedroom until they disintegrated. Mom and Dad knew you were a budding novelist or future White House reporter for the New York Times.
I have found that relearning the “reading” and “writing” skills I had at the age of 4 has helped me greatly at the age of 64 when I no longer have the cognitive skills I had when 24 or 44 or even 54.
Writing and reading and THINKING in “Mind Map” is a great thing and a skill 4 year olds can develop and 64 year olds can perfect. After all, “organic” dialect of “mind map” is the native language of visual thinking.
Make up stories for your thoughts and scribble away.
Click on the diagram to expand it.
Oh, if you hum “When I’m 64” by the Beatles, you will understand and remember this mind map even better. Look up the lyrics or download a copy of the song from your favorite online music store and get out those headphones.
The style guidelines given in this post are specifically for Buzan-type organic mind mapping. Only the program by the ThinkBuzan organization — iMindMap — can adequately produce such mind maps with complete and flexible formatting at this time. These examples were drawn in iMindMap (for Mac, the PC version is comparable; the tablet and smartphone versions of this program do not allow full control over all of the style elements I use). The iMindMap program comes with several dozen included style sheets and the ability to create your own custom styles. When I first started using the current iterations of the program back in 2010 and through the present time, I have always tried many of my mind maps in many of the available style sheets. The included style sheets yield pleasing results with colors selected from standard pallets and the fonts the developer uses are found on 95% of all Macs and PCs. The color sets are combined with different font sets and variables that control the “curviness” of the lines and their thickness. All in all, the style sheets are well designed options appropriate for a variety of applications. Beginning and intermediate users will find these immediately useful and the predesigned styles are all most users will ever need. Up until mid 2014 I used the standard style sheets of iMindMap with various custom alterations I would enter ( a few different fonts usually of a larger size, small modifications to the color sets, and moving the lines around to custom locations manually often tweaking the curvatures at the same time). While I was writing my book (Mind Mapping, Cognitive Impairment, and Dementia), I started to reformat a lot of older mind maps while I was also updating their content. I found myself moving toward more of what I considered to be a “dementia friendly” format. For example, I started using colors in the yellow-orange-red range where elders retain more of their color vision which also correspond to the “earth color scheme” of the 1970s when most of those currently retiring were in their 20s or 30s establishing families and careers and early adult memories. The fonts were changed to “clunky” and unique ones and paired with fatter branches, and much larger font sizes for the size of the branches. I implemented changes to the formatting on most of the mind maps in my book but made a decision to not invest too much time in revising the 1000+ maps on my blog rather than creating new maps. I have been using my own revised set of style recommendations on new blog posts since late 2014. I have also gone back and changed some of the more important older ones. My style suggestions are based on both my fairly systematic study of matching possible styles with the content and complexity of mind maps as well as the fact that I have dementia. So far as I know, at this time the only “scientific” support for these style selections is based on my study of myself and my reactions to various styles. I am not arguing that I know these principles work. Rather I am arguing from the standpoint of someone with dementia that these principles seem to work best for ME. I do note that color I think is the best overall is the same one (safety orange and yellowish variations) that appears on virtually all caution signs and at the edges of roads in the USA. [I did not recognize the relationship between my preferred color and street markings until several months after making the selection.] Colors used every day to convey information to people visually are probably best for informing people with dementia. After all, in the 48 years since I started driving, I have been reliant on the color orange to tell me where the middle and sides of the road are as well as where accidents are likely to happen for AT LEAST an average of one hour per day when I am behind the wheel. The same colors tell a pilot where to land the plane and a child where to walk when crossing the street. Click the images to expand them.
The next mind map uses the same general style sheet as the preceding map.
The way I “discovered” the utility of orange and variants for mind mapping was in developing hand drawn maps. I usually hand draw maps with a fountain pen and I keep a number of pens filled with different inks in my bag to use while sitting at lunch or in the car or else where. Looking back on my hand drawn maps, I realized that I was most frequently select orange as the color to draft a map in. Then I looked at my fountain pen ink collection and realized the large number of orange, orange-yellow, orange-red, and orange-brown inks in it that I had purchased in search of the perfect orange (inks with such names as Apache Sunset, Noodler’s Habanero, Noodler’s Cayenne, Indien Orange, Ocher Yellow, Burned Sienna, Mahatma Gandhi Saffron, ambers of various kinds, several cocoa colored inks, Sunrise Yellow, Autumn Oak, and Operation Overload Orange (the color used to send letters to Eisenhower’s army during the Allied Invasion of Europe). A recent hand drawn first draft of a mind map is shown below. Since I drew this in about 10 minutes at lunch and immediately went back to my office and started enhancing it on the computer, I did not bother to make the branches different colors or add sketched images. But as with everything else I have done lately, I sense that orange is the correct color to use for “creative” thinking.
Soon I will be putting small thumbnails like the one below into my posts.
Click on the thumbnail image to open an interactive version of the image (here a #mindmap) in a new window. Run your mouse (or finger on a tablet/smartphone) over the icons on the map and text will be displayed.
Click the thumbnail image to see an interactive version of this image.