Most other web sites that rank mind map apps carry advertising from at least several different producers of these programs while I do not. This may or may not explain my greater willingness to differentiate sharply between the apps.
Your idea of what a great mind map app should be may differ from mine resulting in different ratings. Mine are particularly relevant for scientific, health, education, and personal use rather than corporate outline formatting. In fact corporate outline formatting in “mind map” programs does not really produce true mind maps, but most corporate customers do not know the difference. Learn why Buzan-style mind maps will perform far better than the “formatted outline” maps produced by many of the best selling programs before committing to one model or the other.
The programs continuously change (most copy each new version of iMindMap after its release) and my ratings change fairly often.
I communicate with some of the app developers (as well as other independent reviewers) via email. I try not to let these interactions with nice people and arrogant people and people with crummy business models (and crummy customer support) and development geniuses color my ratings.
These ratings apply only to Mac software. I do not use any of these programs on a PC. After 25 years of 40-80 hours of PC use per week, I switched to a real computer and use Macs exclusively.
I will release separate ratings for iPad apps, but in general those programs that are especially good on the Mac tend to be especially good on the iPad. Note that while I do not believe that the Mac version of Inspiration is a particularly good app, I think that the iPad implementation is among the very best.
The apps I review are full commercial versions. I have yet to find a free mind map app that is even close to the best paid apps in quality and usability.
Virtually all of the paid apps have free evaluation periods. Most periods are 30 days which is plenty of time to form your own judgment. Make use of the opportunities provided by the developers and vendors.
And yes, the three programs that I intend to use 90% of the time or more are iMindMap, iMindQ, and iThoughtsX. My use is about 85% iMindMap and 2.5% each of the others. I spread the other 10% of my usage around, often experimenting with other programs just to see if they better fit specific uses or types of users.
This mind map that follows is the same as that above reformatted for “3D” presentation.
The only way I see to develop effective medical treatments and care models for many of the thousands of rare diseases is to pool the RESEARCH resources that individual countries are spending and the data countries are collecting about individual rare diseases and put those research resources under international control for prioritizing research agenda and ensuring public access to ALL results and research data.
Yes, I know the USA (probably the largest resource contributor) Congress will go in front of the television cameras and say that the failure of the United Nations and the disproportionate contributions to a pooled resource fund will ensure failure. They will point to the failure of the world to effectively coordinate collaborative research on HIV/AIDS and point to politics, homophobia, disrespect, and the hatred of American politics by certain national and fundamentalist groups and say we would be wasting our money by letting Africans and Arabs and the Russians and Chinese and Indians and Asians and South Americans collaborate with the USA on research and ensuring that research leads to effective treatments for at least some rare diseases.
Enough already. Let’s rise to the occasion of solving resource limitations in studying rare diseases and get an effective mechanism in place for expanding the impact of admittedly small research efforts by individual countries through international cooperation. I trust the governments of the world to collaborate, contribute as they can, and help us start to get some of these diseases treatable. Disease knows no boundaries.
In the last century we collectively developed very advanced medical research techniques. In this century we need to use these methods to solve all of the medical problems possible by putting aside the nonsense politics and nationalism and individual egos and predatory profits and focus on solving many medical issues and ensuring access to effective treatment world wide.
Here’s a way to start. Any yes, this is a test of our humanity and commitment to universal human rights of which medical treatment is but one. But let’s start somewhere that should be relatively easy to agree on (and let a few hundred angry politicians in the USA know that the world considers them bratty children and cannot tolerate their obstructionist and oppositional behavior).
Click on the image to expand. And let’s start the process of collaboration.
A few thoughts about the importance of knowing the theories and prior studies in the content area of the modeling and data collection and data analysis and generation of conclusions.
You can’t model data without knowing what the data mean.
Click on mind map to expand.
We have had many data science fields in the past 50 years. Among others, the fields include applied statistics, biostatistics, psychometrics, quantitative psychology, econometrics, sociometrics, epidemiology, and many others. The new emphasis on data science ignores content knowledge about the data and their limitations and the permissible conclusions.
We do not need to replace a round wheel with a square one.
When I start to work with technical research information, I find that size of the maps quickly grows.
There are limits to the brain’s processing of complex information and the computer’s ability to display image details at a size you can see.
Here are a few different models for presenting the same mind map. Which model do you think is best?
Click images [once or twice] to expand.
Model 1: “I hope you have a big display and sharp eyes”
Model 2: “Big Bang — Universe of Information”
Model 3: “Stand in Line for One at a Time”
[ADD REMAINING SINGLE BRANCH VARIANTS … AND THEN TOTAL SHOWN BELOW]
My conclusion is that Models 2 and 3 are best for large maps, but that the selection between of these models needs to be made considering the overall size of the full map, the audience, and the topic. Model 3 is the more traditional, but Model 2 may be the best for either web or live presentation applications.
This morning my friend Hans Buskes (@hansbuskes) who gets up six hours earlier than I do (he is six time zones away in the Netherlands) was tweeting about an ancient mind map is a language as yet undeciphered. He mentioned that some computer programs had been run on the ancient manuscript that confirmed that the symbols on it met the criteria for a formal language although the meaning had not yet been deciphered.
This sentence set off a flash in my recently coffee-enhanced brain.
Both I and Hans have been thinking about how to develop syntax and semantics for “writing” in the “language” of mind maps.
As an initial step, why not assemble 500-1000 mind maps that experts agree are exemplary ones from the Bigger Plate archival library and study how their semantic and syntax elements are similar? Scientists have been studying the syntax and semantics of languages for decades (if not centuries) using methods that could be adapted to studying excellent mind maps and developing some guidelines for “what communicates well.”
Coffee is a great thing. I prefer mine American style, in a huge mug, and without sugar or cream. Just turn on the creative juices. (American coffee works a lot better for opening the gates of creativity than that excellent tasting expresso I was drinking in Italy, Spain, and France last week.)
I guess it’s just me … I search Google for sites with “psychology mind maps” and I get lotsa pages returned. Of course very FEW of these pages let you know where the ideas, recommendations, and organization comes from. That makes me pretty pissed off.
I have a simple rule for evaluating psycho-pop, psycho-babble, psycho-art, and psycho-schmaltz: if the author (artist, developer) cannot prove to me that the information came from a credible source and is being communicated by a credible source, I assume it is psycho-fantasy and just walk (actually run) away.
Here’s a few things to ask about before you go ahead and change your job, spouse, running shoes, or haircut because somebody gives you some magic MBTI letters, a number on a test published in a self-magazine, or advice that must be right because it appears in a pretty mind map.
I love great psychology content conveyed in an easy to understand manner. I hope I produce some. Most do not produce anything except profits. Know what you are buying (and staking your life on) when you get information from a book, TV, the Internet, text, or a graphic.
Irv Oii is known to many international news organizations and researchers as a star data journalist. Being a home worker (although home may be the UK, Ohio, the Middle East, Central Africa, Hong Kong, or Antartica) and a fairly reclusive person, nobody seems to have met Irv. Some speculate that he might be a Jewish Asian-American. Others believe Irv is short for Irvelina, a Russian immigrant physician who went to Ohio (or was it Ojai, California) when the Soviet science programs collapsed and turned into the lower funded Russian collaborative efforts with the EU and USA. The collapse of the Soviet Union resulted in the closing of her laboratory in Minsk. Some even think Irv Oii is an acronym.
Irv is thus an enigma and no pictures of her/him seem to exist. An artist’s conception (mine) based on the writings and consultations of Irv Oii on healthcare breakthroughs is shown below. My belief is that a portrait of Irv should hang over the desk of every data journalist and researcher.
I started writing about the importance of the content in the mind map — facts and important information well researched — back in November 2012. For the next few weeks I am intending to repost some of these posts with my updated thoughts about Mind Mapping 3.0 and what I would now call Mind Mapping 4.0. I will introduce Mind Mapping 4.0 after reviewing some of my views about Mind Mapping 3.0.]
It’s fine to put your own notes or feelings or ideas into a mind map that will be for your use or one which will be clearly labelled as you opinion. But, if you want to put ideas into general circulation as “facts,” you need to have done your homework and tie the information in the maps to established research, clinical findings, and expert opinion (and document whose expert opinion it is, whether that of someone else or yourself). Mind Mapping 3.0 was the introduction of high-quality data into this useful method of thinking.
I would categorize the pioneering efforts of Tony Buzan and others to introduce and popularize the method of mind mapping as Mind Mapping 1.0 and the parameterizations and resulting computer programs by ThinkBuzan, Topicscape, Mindjet, and others as Mind Mapping 2.0.
[As I saw it in 2012 and continue to view it in 2015] Mind Mapping 3.0 is the integration of computer-assisted mind mapping methods, artistic sensibility to enhance visualization, AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, substantive, creative, well-documented valid and reliable content of great importance.
The fictional detectives would have been great program evaluators. All looked at all types of data. Miss Marple was a model of pleasantry who could work her way into an organization or group and see it as it was without changing anything by observing. Holmes and Watson — whether in the original books and movies, the Ironman version of the movies, their current BBC incarnation in 21st Century London, or their CBS incarnation in 21st Century Manhattan with Dr John Watson now Dr Joan Watson (for the better) — use Holmes’ razor sharp mind and Watson’s intuitiveness and questioning. Sam Spade, wise cracks, an iron fist, and underlying sensitivity.
Program evaluation is not about conducting research, randomly assigning participants to conditions, or using quasi-experimental designs. Program evaluation is about understanding why programs produce certain outcomes, intended or not, positive or not, unique or not. To truly understand a program quantitative and qualitative data needs to be collected with great attention to the sensibilities, needs, risks, and potential confidentiality breaches of data of program participants, program staff, program administration, funders, and other stakeholders.
I love program evaluation. Every program is unique and at the same time representative of certain classes of human service organizations.
Be a detective. Look carefully and understand the beauty of a well-running program and how to help staff improve a program that is not working as well as it could.
Look around at the restaurant or on the subway or on airplanes or at bicycle riders (yup, see it a lot around here) or at store workers or person in the car next to you at the red light or in television shows and at businesspeople, teens, tweens, older adults, hospital patients, hospital doctors, athletes, the disabled, those wearing the most trendy clothes and those dressed in all black with black hats/scarves. Data is streaming into all of their lives: email, texts, videos, music, e-magazines and e-newspapers, web sites world wide, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and the local restaurant’s menu. Netflix, iTunes, Amazon Prime, your bank, your doctor, your pharmacy, your local fast food purveyor, extra news and feeds from the sporting event you are attending, the latest Kardashian kamikazi komedy.
The video game is the work of the Devil.
With the exception of an increasingly small percentage of individuals with unlimited data because they were early adopters and have not changed their cellular plans, most of us are paying by the gigabyte. Those with free plans are throttled so that they really cannot use an unlimited amount of data for a fixed price so the fixed prices will go away soon.
Drop data prices, streaming will expand exponentially, the phone companies will make even more money, you will never see your friends in the flesh anymore, family dinners as we knew them in 1960 or even 1980 will be dead and replaced by family members sitting at the same table eating junk food and each watching their own data stream, and no one will want to go to the movie theater or red box anymore. Even the Columbian cocaine lords may go out of business.
Data overload will lead to data addiction and probably result in humanity evolving into the Borg Collective.
We need to make some changes before Skynet and the Terminators become inevitable.
I think the human race has no more than 30 years to evolve before the bytes take over. It will make the “War on Drugs” seem like the good old days and war with the Cylons inevitable. If you thought Big Pharma was going to control your life by promising the end to pain and disease, think again. Big Wireless will be even more insidious and the way Big Pharma has increased healthcare costs significantly will turn out to have been smaller than wireless when the historians look back in 100 years. Wireless data streaming is already starting to become the crack of the next decades.
Turn the Devil’s toys off when you: go home, go to dinner, watch TV, are in a meeting, are in a class, are in a place of religious observances, go on vacation, go to bed, take a shower, go into the bathroom (yup, your screaming boss may be in a toilet stall at DFW or ORD), or go to a friend’s home. Get out of the habit of pulling your cell phone out to take a picture of your family and then checking your email or Twitter account while you are at it. And stop modeling the “cellular data comes before everything else” lifestyle to your kids.
Even Spock turned the data stream off sometimes. Do so and “Live Long and Prosper.”
Content is Queen. The ultimate point of any mind map is to use and present information clearly in a way that communicates conclusions that are valid, reliable, and important.
Some examples. Are all of those mind maps floating around showing psychological variables and purporting to illustrate major findings and theories actually using valid information? (Guessing what all people feel like or how they learn and thinking it must be valid since, after all, you are a human, is probably not an indication that you are using highly valid data.) What is the expertise of the individuals who generated the information portrayed in the mind map? Was the information based on empirical studies, well-established theory, the musings of a pop psychology writer, what your Mom taught you, what your best friend thinks, what you saw in a movie? Did you (as a student or casual reader) just read a popular psychology book and accept what that person wrote on how you can be more rich, famous, happy, socially connected, sexy,and thin?
Much attention in mind mapping goes into the “artistic presentation” aspects of the maps, the colors, the rules, the images. And yes, prettier, neater, more original, and more creative maps are probably better received than those that use none of the great tools of visual thinking. But the reality is that the clothing does not make the person nor does the artistry of the map make the content more valid or reliable or important.
The first mind map below shows some of my thoughts and suggestions about how mind maps should be reviewed by experts in the content areas being addressed if the map will be used for purposes other than personal learning or process documentation or as art. That is, if the point of the map is to present facts, then the purported facts really need to be checked by someone who is an expert in the content area. In most cases, I have no problem with authors being responsible for their own work so long as they clearly state their own expertise levels and where the data for the mind maps originated. I have a big problem with someone who is not a trained mental health professional telling the world how to diagnose depression or ADHD. If the author of the map is not an acknowledged expert presenting her or his own work, then the source and limits of the information in the mind map need to be stated, and in some cases, independently evaluated.
The second mind map is actually just the first one produced in iMindMap exported into the alternative computer program MindNode Pro. Is the first map prettier than the second? Sure seems so to me. Is the first map more valid? No. It contains identical information. Does the first map communicate better than the second? Sure seems so to me.
Keep in mind that the goal of most mind mapping is to present valid, reliable, and important information in way that is easily understood, easily remembered, and easily communicated. Using this criterion the first map is probably significantly better.
The third mind map is identical in content to the two maps just considered but was generated using default options in the program XMIND. The style of the mind map is similar to that of another program (Mindjet AKA MindManager), and is that many argue is the best for presenting information to those in business.
Hopefully by the time you read this, you will have looked carefully at the actual content of the mind map in one or more of the variations. Content is Queen; it is all about the ideas. In the process of mapping, we need to incorporate references to the source of the information displayed. Pretty is good and memorable, but is not more important than the information presented. Content is Queen, although she does look better in a nice dress or business suit.
This figure shows my current core set of apps. I use these about 90% of the time when I am on the iPhone (in addition to the built-in apps). This set of apps permits you to do some pretty advanced calculations, manage tasks, write longish memos, clean up your pictures, use social media, show movies, take notes, and store web pages for later reading.
Who woulda thought in 1967 that tricorders would exist during the lifetimes of my high school friends and I; cell phones did not become available for another 20 years, and the original scientific calculator was released about 1974.
Now half of the adults around me in a college town look like Spock staring into his beloved tricorder (about 8 times the size of an iPhone). A lot of them seem to have about the same degree of social intelligence as Spock as they stare at the machines in restaurants with their friends.
Without further ado, a look at what is on my iPhone.
BIG Data is coming (or has already come) to healthcare. [It is supposed to usher in new eras of research, economic responsibility, quality and access to healthcare, and better patient outcomes, but that is a subject for another post because it is putting the carriage before the horse to discuss it here.]
What is a data scientist? A new form of bug, a content expert who also knows data issues, an active researcher, someone trained in data analysis and statistics, someone who is acutely aware of relevant laws and ethical concerns in mining health data, a blind empiricist?
This is a tough one because it also touches on how many $$$$$ (€€€€€. ¥¥¥¥¥ , £££££, ﷼﷼﷼﷼﷼, ₩₩₩₩₩, ₱₱₱₱₱) individuals and corporations can make off the carcass of a dying healthcare system.
Never one to back away from a big issue and in search of those who value good healthcare for all over the almighty $ € ¥ £ ₨ ﷼ ₩ ₱, here are some of my thoughts on this issue.
Click image to zoom.
Content knowledge by a well-trained, ethical individual who respects privacy concerns is Queen. Now and forever.
MindMapp is a brilliant new iPad app for mind mapping posted on the app store in mid-December. You can see my review of the app there. Break-through: this is an amazing app that changes the game, at least on the iPad (and hopefully iPhone).
To say that I highly recommend MindMapp is an understatement. Students and everyone who takes notes should have this app.
A map created in MindMapp about MindMapp. This was my first “real” map, and I know that I will get faster and better at this fairly rapidly. It took about 30 minutes to work through the instructions in the included self instruction module, practice, and then to draw the map.
In November 2011, I first distributed a framework for getting rid of HIV/AIDS once and for all. Yes, it will be expensive. Yes, it will take international cooperation. Yes countries, agencies, and individuals have to stop behaving like spoiled children. Yes, it can be done. My ideas are shown below in a slight update made in July 2012.
iMindMap is in the very highest tier of the mind map programs. There are no mind map programs that surpass it; some argue that a couple of others are in the same tier. Of the high tier programs this is my favorite and the one that best matches the mind maps I like to use for writing, expressing ideas, brainstorming, and now for making presentations.
iMindMap version 6.1 was released as a free upgrade from v6.0 on November 1, 2012. The update is great and any iMindMap user should be installing it now. Everything works a little better and a little faster and the user experience is improved as it always is with one of their upgrades. I like the fact that the developer of this program (ThinkBuzan) keeps releasing free updates every few months between the major versions (4.0, 5.0, 6.0, etc.).. I have found that each of the upgrades over the past two years has been one which introduces new features.
The “killer” feature in v6.1 is the fact that the iMindMap program now makes incredible presentations that can be prepared in the usual two dimensions or three dimensions just by clicking a button. It’s that easy. It works. Presentations look super-duper and the 3-D graphics can be very easily navigated through an on-screen “joy stick” mechanism. But wait, there’s more. The program now permits you to prepare self running kiosk presentations (video files) or to prepare and upload YouTube videos. The kiosk files can also be uploaded to your own web site although it should be noted that the files, even for small maps at lower resolutions, tend to be in excess of one gigabyte. Because of their size, in many cases it will be necessary to store the presentations on YouTube (as private or public files).
iMindMap v6.1 is a giant step forward. Here is one of my maps as a presentation from v6.1. The map is also a statement of how I think this technique needs to be used: content is the Queen.
I think the 3-D options in the new iMindMap are super-duper, although I do recommend you play with the program for an hour because there are little tricks you can find to make the 3-D mind maps (and their presentations) more artistic and more easily understood. The 3-D maps do benefit from a slightly different approach to map design than one would take for a 2-D map. Here are just a few 3-D pictures of the same mind map (with various branches condensed.
Ok, why not 4-D maps incorporating the passage of time?. Of course you can do this although it is not mentioned in the iMindMap materials. The fourth dimension can be added by using the 3-D or kiosk presentation modes AND adding color coding to show how branches get added, deleted, or re-organized over time. It does require the presentation mode to represent time. I leave it to someone more gifted in geometry than I to figure out the 5-D mind map.
You heard it here first (just kidding): PowerPoint is dead. The linear structure of PowerPoint neither approximates reality very well nor keeps the audience awake. iMindMap presentations better represent the nonlinear structure of most things, events, and people, and can keep the audience on the edge of their seats by having them guess what is coming next. The addition of 4-D in this program is natural and fairly easy.
PowerPoint is dead. There IS a just god. Abe Lincoln was a great orator (see below).
To receive ongoing information about iMindMap, on Twitter follow @GriffithsThinks for theoretical and design issues and @iMindMap for practical issues and retweets of other mind mapping information.
In case you think I was a little late in proclaiming PowerPoint’s demise, you are correct. Abe Lincoln (with a little help from the acclaimed computer scientist Peter Norvig) said it (apologies to Honest Abe).
Those who follow this blog and my twitter account @DrHubaEvaluator know that I discuss mind maps a lot as I see these information displays as having the potential to improve learning and memory as well as to facilitate the quick and accurate transmission of information and communication among people with different types of professional training.
I have often written about the usefulness of taking notes in mind mapping programs and that the worth of mind maps is primarily a function of the validity-reliability-quality of the information-data-judgments they summarize as well as the ability of the note-taker to listen carefully and take summative notes in a few important words.
Yesterday I read the e-Book Chasing, Capturing and Spreading Ideas: Live Mind Mapping and TED by Hans Buskes, @hansbuskes on Twitter, blog http://www.mastermindmaps.wordpress.com/, available on Amazon. The book is a series of beautiful, easily understood mind maps of highly credible material (a series of talks at a local TEDx event including speakers from many disciplines). Hans did “live” mind mapping of the conference as it was happening and the book is a compendium of these maps.
Yes, you can take exceptionally useful and informative notes during a professional conference (and college lecture, boring office meeting, PTA session, political campaign speech, or the SuperBowl). Buskes discusses and shows how this can be done in a very clear way. He discusses careful listening, summarizing, and mapping techniques. You can judge the results from the use of his methods for yourself; I rapidly learned a lot from his mind maps which I believe convey important information I will remember.
Highly recommended. The small amount of time it takes you to read this book will have a return on investment of hundreds of hours saved in the future and probably an increased understanding of what you are hearing.
My own style differs about 10% from Mr. Buskes’ in that at the end I would go back and add a few images (perhaps cartoon-like art or snaps I made with an iPhone), but those are tiny differences in style. I think this is a must-read book for college students. Just Read It. Just Learn the Techniques. Just Do It. And ride the Little Engine that Could in the summer in Colorado for inspiration.
Colorado narrow gauge railroad engine. Narrow gauge trains were used in the Rocky Mountains and throughout the US to haul ore. Many small gauge trains ran in the 1870s through the 1930s. This is the Toltec Railroad, now a tourist attraction in southern Colorado.