These days I carry around a MacBook with a 15 inch retina screen and internal 768GB optical drive. Oh to think that I used to be sure I was in computing heaven a decade ago when I carried around a company state-of-the-art laptop (I always carried the top of the food chain machines as I owned the consulting firm and as the senior consultant was on the road a lot). The circa 2003 Lenovo probably had a 1600 by 1200 screen and probably about a 16GB internal drive.
So these days when I take the retina screen machine home with its enormous 768GB optical drive home, I immediately plug it into a Cinema Display and four external hard drives (2 3TB and a 4TB thunderbolt drives as well as a 2TB firewire 800 drive). 12 terabytes of external storage (the emails of a career and 100,000s of digital pics and many thousands of documents, gigabytes of statistical data and outputs, hundreds of older programs I no longer use, and of course a 100+ movies and 8000+ audio files). I often refer to the the external drives as my digital “brain” (although they do have the individual names of Groucho, Son of Groucho, Harpo, and Chico just like major brain structures have individual names). As I fire up the external drives, my “life” gets reattached to my digital “brain” and I can see many more things at once in multiple windows on the 27 inch screen than you can see on a 15 inch internal screen, even one with a retina (rating).
I note that after I plug in those mega-drives the room gets hotter and I sweat a little. And the noise level goes up many decibels. And I feel a little anxiety.
This week I forgot to plug in the 4 hard drives one evening and did not discover it until 5 hours later at midnight when I wanted to watch the most recent episode of Marvel Agents of Shield (*****, 2 thumbs and a big toe up) in iTunes which stores its files on an external drive. It had been silent in the room all evening (optical drives make no sound as compared to the diesel engines in external drives) and I wasn’t sweating and did not feel any anxiety at all. And since I and not used Aperture all evening to see the old photos of my successes and abject failures, I had not really missed the hard drives for anything that important.
Silence. Just data and information from the last year and the Internet. Silence (well almost since after a while I did stream music from the web a few hours into my sojurn). No big distractions. No multiple (distracting) windows open on the 15 inch monitor. A focus on today.
I think I heard, saw, thought, and felt better that evening without having to confront my whole life in 7 windows all the time.
Kidspiration Maps for iPad came out about a month ago. This is an adaptation of the Kidspiration and Inspiration 9 software available on PC/Mac and the iPad Inspiration app (for tweens to adults). Inspiration is a (concept but also mind) mapping program widely used in schools, and as my friend Hans Buskes (@hansbusked) has demonstrated, management consulting. So for the K-3 set and $350,000+ set, a new tool is available to combat Powerpoint and crayon fatigue.
I am not sure how I feel about using concept mapping at such a young age. I am inclined to want to see the huge research studies of efficacy school systems and educational psychologists are likely to prepare first. On the other hand, I would rather have my own children using this app than most of the so-called “educational” apps or just zapping Zombies.
I think I can say without reservation that the first time an audience sees a Kidspiration concept map presented with high level scientific results at a professional association convention, everybody will wake up laughing in the middle of their Powerpoint fueled naps.
The developers of Kidspiration Maps believe this is a Pre-K to Grade 5 product. I think it is probably best used in Grades K-3.
Some snaps from Kidspiration mapping from when I was playing around. All mapping was done by a retired 62 year old on an iPad 4. A 6 year old is more artistic and accomplished at using an iPad and probably would get better results.
Calca is a must have app if you ever have an occasion to combine numbers and text together. The app combines a terrific, very flexible, very comprehensive, and very easy-to-learn-and-use calculator with a very good markdown editor.
Here is my review clipped as a screen shot from Calca for the Mac. Note that versions are also available for the iPad and iPhone. The screen shot is followed by a review in the form of a mind map.
Click on images to expand.
a HubaMap™ by g j huba phd
Addition of July 25, 2013. I have had the opportunity to use Calca today on the iPad. The iPad version works identically to the program on the Mac, and is very fast on an iPad 4. Again, highly recommended. Note that the iPad version contains a special keyboard that greatly simplifies the use of the program on iDevices.
A key part of the television science fiction series Battlestar Galactica and Star Trek are the machine “races” Cylons (“toasters” or robots in BSG who develop “human” bodies to house the electronics) and Borg (androids who assimilate new species and technology into their race in Star Trek series starting with New Generation).
People who want to be part machines (like the guy at the next table in the restaurant who can’t put the iPhone down from his ear long enough to acknowledge that his kids exist) are pretty common these days. Does the iPhone want to be partly human? By iPhone 9 it undoubtedly will be.
I write this as I get ready to hook up a blood pressure cuff and fitbit to my iPhone 5.
Veal in machine oil sauce. A cuisine whose time is coming.
This is a review of Simple Diagrams 2 for the Mac. Incredible program, fairly priced. Mac only which is a problem since this program would be absolutely indispensable on an iPad or iPhone. I use this program a lot.
The following review was “written” in SimpleDiagrams2.
Technical note: this mind map was prepared with an iPad app (in iMindMap). I judge the quality of the map to be about as good as the Mac version used to create most of the other mind maps on this site. The iPad and iPhone iMindMap apps are highly recommended.
In the past, I thought it was quite ironic that the “pad” apps on the iPad were kind of junky. In the most recent updates that has changed. I now find that there are three great choices. Each is inexpensive. Here’s what I think.
Biggerplate.com (@Biggerplate) has started to post video recordings of the presentations at their recent mind mapping conference in London on their web site.
The first four presentations are now available online at this link.
All four presentations are excellent and are by experts willing to talk to their peers frankly and clearly thus resulting in a very large exchange of bottom-line information.
The 20 minute presentation by Chris Griffiths (@GriffithsThinks) is probably the best talk on modern mind mapping I have ever seen; watch this if you want a jump start into modern mind mapping. I agree with about 90% of what Mr Griffiths says, and he is extremely articulate about the big issues.
This appears to have been a great conference. Four more similar conferences are being scheduled around the world, with two coming up in the USA (San Francisco, Chicago).
Liam Hughes and his staff at Biggerplate facilitated an excellent conference and more importantly, started a valuable ongoing communication process.
Highly recommended. If you believe that visual thinking (and mind mapping) can be useful in your field, try to watch some of these short videos. Like them, I do.
Write the equation on the screen, the app uses handwriting recognition to translate it, and up pops the answer.
The following examples were all generated on an iPhone 5. The diagrams are the output from the calculation (easily stored as photographs or emailed). Landscape orientation is much easier to use than portrait orientation.
The following figures show is a sequence of calculations. The equation is altered by adding extra calculations to the equation.
Cool. Fast. And big attention getter in a meeting. You too can be the coolest nerd.
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.
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.
Carry that iPhone everywhere? Then you are carrying a camera everywhere. I use a professional DSLR for my family and hobby photography, but I never hesitate to pull out the iPhone and snaps photos; the current 4S and 5 take extremely good pictures. Lots of pictures by pros on the web and in newspapers were taken with them.
Here are three exceptional apps for photos. The “joke” is a delightful one. As is typical with iPhone photo apps you can either process photos take previously or take new ones directly within the app. Try both options and see which fits your image capturing style better.
It is perfectly clear that Perfectly Clear should be on all iPhones that are used to take pictures.
I love to read end of year lists each December. I love to make them too.
I worked on a PC exclusively for 25 years. Two years ago in retirement I tossed the PCs and bought a Macbook Pro. The consequence of having this cool new machine with an operating system that actually worked was that I had to rethink how to use current creative software to replace all of the (Microsoft) bloat on a PC.
This is my list of my favorite apps. Note that I use my Macbook for “professional” activities like writing and surfing the web and blogging and social media and my digital photographs. I do not do games nor software that looks like it was designed for five-year-olds.
You can zoom by clicking on the image.
I use the paid or pro versions because the extra features are useful to me. You might be able to get by just fine with a free or minimal features version.