social, health, political imagery through the lens of George J Huba PhD © 2012-2017

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I doubt that there are many people expert in mind mapping who would disagree with me that iMindMap is the most feature-laden of the more than 100 programs for mind mapping to be found all over the Internet.

Once a year — as promised when the program was first introduced — iMindMap has a new release that provides many new features and usability enhancements. And unlike others, they produce a great upgrade every year on time. And free from most bugs that live in Cupertino and Redmond.

How good is iMindMap 10?

Click on the mind map (actually mind model in my terminology) below to expand its size. For those of you with no patience or dramatic sense of the big build-up, you can skip directly to the “9” branch. iMindMap is the 8,000 pound gorilla.

As a note, my review was conducted about six weeks after receiving the program and using it exclusively rather than earlier editions. I use a Mac only, and my review was conducted on a 2013 Macbook Pro. I have worked with the program both on an internal 15″ retina macbook screen and a 27″ external monitor. [I actually like using the Macbook screen better.]


Chris Griffiths and his team at OpenGenius have taken the work of Tony Buzan and in the process of developing a program expanded and formalized that conception in a creative way that is brilliant in its overall utility and ease of use. iMindMap 10 is my favorite mind mapping program, but most importantly my favorite and most useful thinking tool. For those of you who do not follow my blog in general, I live with Frontotemporal Dementia and iMindMap has served as a “brain assistance tool” for me since 2010 in daily living and in continuing my professional interests in a creative way. I can accurately say that the various versions of this program “changed my life.”

This is a tool formulated by expensive consultants who want to help corporations make more money while at the same profiting from that help. But the tool has come to greatly exceed the original vision and is intuitive to use and most adults and all children can learn to use the program for free using Internet trainings. Don’t be scared off by all of the publicity about a $3500 training and a certificate signed by a consulting firm (not an accredited educational institution). You do not need a course to learn this program and it is not clear to me that expensive courses help you learn to apply this program in the real world. If you are willing to invest a few hours you can be doing adequate mind maps; if you invest 10-20 hours you can be doing accomplished mind maps.

Get over the hype and realize that you CAN learn this program quickly on your own and even more rapidly if you study examples available without cost at many blogs including this one (, a depository of many thousands of mind maps at, and many other sites including where many training sessions are presented.

While there are four “views” in this program, the primary mind mapping module is the reason for using this program. The other three views are largely alternate ways of looking at the same information and data. While they may be “quicker” ways to collect information together from a lecture or library research, at the end they feed their data into the mind mapping module where the actual thinking work, theory building, model development, and communication is done.

I have a few criticisms of the program, but these criticisms do NOT change my overall rating of the program as A+.

  1. The time map module is really just a Gantt chart of interest to but a few mid-level corporate managers and high level executives who have not yet adopted better ways of team management. As a Gantt chart the module is fine, albeit about the same as most existing software in that area. Unless you are like a friend of mine who manages 10-year projects to send landers to Mars with 10,00 team members, I cannot imagine why you would want to use a Gantt chart.
  2. In my view and that of many other potential users, a “time map” is actually a timeline that incorporates mind map features. While others have tackled this issue (most notably Philippe Packu and Hans Buskes), my formulation was the original. The resulting blog post (click here for a new window) has been the most read one about mind mapping methods on my blog site for FOUR years. I’d urge the iMindMap developers to look at my model of time maps which requires a lot of custom work that I am sure they could easily automate.
  3. For almost all mind map users, the future is using pre-made templates designed by content experts. Purchase a template package and then you can then create your own mind maps by adding your information to the pre-designed expert map for your area whether it be healthcare or project management or writing a term paper or designing a research project or selecting the right clothes for a 5 day business trip. At this time iMindMap does not yet have a way of protecting the intellectual property of template developers which provides little incentive for developing templates as a business and therefore stunts the growth of the mind mapping community.
  4. For this program and all of its competitors, the icon and image libraries are never big enough. On the other hand, you can purchase separate icon and image sets from third-party packagers on the Internet if you have special image needs. iMindMap allows you to use such external pictorial elements extremely easily. My favorite new feature is that you can add icons to their library and size the icons in a custom way. iMindMap’s included images should more fully capture the fact that users of mind maps and their audiences are much more diverse in terms of ethnicity, race, gender, gender-orientation, education, and age than the included image libraries. And hey OpenGenius folks, how about some icons for numbers in colors besides orange and lime so that the color schemes of my mind maps are not destroyed if I number ideas.
  5. More free online trainings would be desirable, and most importantly trainings that do not run at the speed of a bullet train. Two minute presentations that cover 20 minutes of material are somewhat counter-productive. The current videos run too fast for new users and at time for even the most experienced users.
  6. My experience — admittedly infrequent — is that Technical Support is fairly “rigid” in that there are lots of forms to fill out before you get a real chat session going and too many requests to send them esoteric files on your computer. All in all, as technical support goes, while everybody is trying quite hard to be helpful, they ask you to conform more to what is convenient for them than what a confused user can deal with. When I want help or to make a suggestion or make a request for a new feature or default, I want to just compose a short email so OpenGenius can get the right person there in contact with me. I most definitely do not want to complete an overly complicated form. Too much technocracy in that process.
  7. Besides the books of Buzan which are not all that useful for learning the program or how to do real visual thinking in real world applications other than rudimentary management, OpenGenius needs to develop some easier access, very practical books that act as “manuals” and present information in more comprehensive ways than is done now. Old fashioned manuals that are (or can be) printed have a lot of appeal to many.

In summary, this is an amazing program that is much more than a program for mind mapping. It is unsurpassed among mind mapping programs. Additionally it is what I call a “visual thinking environment” or VITHEN. My “criticisms” are minor and do not in anyway diminish my overall evaluation of the quality of the program.

My blog at on which you are reading this review was designed and “written” largely in “iMindMap.” Most of the mind maps I use to guide my own “complicated” life were developed in iMindMap.

Exemplary job folks at OpenGenius. Version 10 is an additional large step in the evolution of the program and mind modeling.

People who learn to take responsibility for their own actions could save me a lot of money.


  • have less kids born into families that cannot support them saving me money on social programs
  • are less likely to contract STDs especially HIV thus saving me money on STD prevention and treatment programs
  • graduate from high school (and college and grad school) thus qualifying them to be in higher tax brackets and save me from higher tax rates and subsidizing their living costs
  • live longer because they forgo tobacco and drinking alcohol to excess thus saving the entire health care system from huge wasted services
  • pick up their garbage and put it in trash receptacles thus saving me having to pay someone to pick up after them
  • recycle thus cutting the bill for environmental cleanup

The USA should incentivize self responsibility by granting payments to

  • every student who ever graduates from high school
  • every student who ever graduates from college
  • every student who ever earns a graduate degree
  • every 18 year old who has never had an STD
  • every 18 year old woman who has never been pregnant
  • every 18 year old man who has never fathered a child
  • every 21 year old who has never been convicted of a DUI offense
  • every 21 year old who has never used tobacco
  • every 21 year old who has a “normal” weight and is neither obese nor dangerously underweight
  • every 40 year old who has a “normal” weight and is neither obese nor dangerously underweight
  • every 50 year old who has never been convicted of a DUI offense
  • every 60 year old who has a “normal” weight and is neither obese nor dangerously underweight

Incentives would be in the form of one-time tax credits for the individual or the individual’s family. This means that incentives are only paid to workers and their families.

Oh, the government would supply free voluntary services to all residents on birth control methods including condoms freely available to all children old enough to conceive, unlimited voluntary counseling on avoiding self destructive behaviors, unlimited voluntary counseling on leading a healthy life, and unlimited voluntary counseling for reasons of family instability, mental health, child rearing, and birth control. None of these free services would include any components related to any religion. And legitimate and effective education at all levels from preschool through college would be free to any American resident of any age and with support services to ensure anyone can graduate.

If the USA were to provide fairly significant incentives for learning and exercising self responsible behaviors we could produce a citizenry that creates less problems and is less dependent upon social network and support programs for themselves and their children. This will leave a lot of money to spend on those who truly cannot deal with their own medical and psychological problems no matter what they personally do and probably leave some over for lower tax rates.

Wow. Incentives for studying, working hard, becoming a productive member of society, and paying for needed and fully effective programs for all of those who have mental or physical or developmental disease and cannot legitimately assume full responsibility for all aspects of their lives.

I’d love to see a similar set of ways to incentivize healthcare and education workers. Small increases in productivity and job satisfaction among these critical citizens saves a lot of money and produces a much more healthy society.

Oh, I know, I am a dreamer. After all, my proposal could never make it through Congress. Even though it will save lots of money, promote better lives through self responsibility, and leave sufficient resources for those who truly need medical and mental health services because of factors beyond their control, this is truly an anti-American proposal that expects self responsibility and does not let big religion bully small religions, agnostics, or atheists around.

Every once in a while we need a little revolution.


[Musings of a very liberal, very capitalist, individual who believes in self responsibility and taking care of anyone who cannot take care of themselves with first-rate, state-of-the-art programs.]

Click on image to expand. Estimated time to develop for a NOVICE (me) = 15 minutes. The sketchnote was drawn by a person with dementia (me).

[Note. I usually write/draw note panels like this from right to left in sections because I am left-handed and it minimizes the amount of smeared ink. There is no magic in this, so use any organization that works for you.]



This was originally posted on January 1, 2015. It was just as relevant on January 1, 2016. It is still as relevant on January 1, 2017.

Click to expand.


Getting rid of deserts is a lot more important than making pushing away desserts your priority. [Donate the money you would have spent at Starbuck’s on pastry to go with the 900 calorie latte to human rights groups.]

And think about how many hungry people you can feed for the cost of your nicotine addiction or $150 running shoes in this week’s colors.

Click on image to expand.

Drum roll please …

Mac Mind Map  App Ratings  June 2014  g j huba phd  ✮✮✮✮✮



  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. The programs continuously change (most copy each new version of iMindMap after its release) and my ratings change fairly often.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.

Mac Mind Map  App Ratings  June 2014  g j huba phd  ✮✮✮✮✮ 3d


Here is a technique I would try with someone with cognitive impairment. It might also work well with a child, an elder, or anyone else in-between who needs a little help with organization and planning. A caregiver can prepare a mind map or you can prepare one for yourself.

I find the size of standard business envelopes (#10 in the USA) to be just about perfect as a daily information catcher. You can write your schedule on the front and slide the envelope in a pocket, small bag, or the inner pockets of most men’s jackets either unfolded or folded. And since this is an envelope, throughout the day as you pick up receipts, reminder cards for your next appointment with the dentist, a flyer about a concert and all the other little tidbits of life that get lost in your pocket and end up in the clothes washer you can insert them into the envelope and have a good chance of not losing some important information.

Using a mind map instead of a list on the front of the envelope can engage the user, permit color coding, and makes it easier to remember the content.

Takes a couple of minutes.

Yup boss, I have the receipt from lunch.


  1. I printed the mind map on an actual business envelope and then scanned it. The green paper was just a background for the scan.
  2. You can use any style you like for the mind map. I chose a font designed for individuals with dyslexia just to illustrate tailoring the content and style of the map to the individual using it.
  3. This mind map was designed in iMindMap. If you wish you can add clipart or photos to the branches; typically I would not just because of the small size of the envelope. Bright colors can substitute for images to engage attention and color code sections.
  4. One can change the map simply by crossing out information that has changed and making notes on the map with a pen.

I think that this can be a very good technique for a paid or family caregiver of someone with cognitive impairment. Prepare the envelope in the morning or preceding evening and go over it with the patient when it will be used (mornings are preferable). I did not put the person’s name on the envelope since the front or inside may contain private information (names of doctors and similar information like medication reminders). I would not put medications in the envelope as they fall out too easily. It may be useful, however, to carry a small amount of paper money in the envelope. Also a standard card with the the caregiver’s first name and telephone-email may prove helpful should there be a health or other problem.

Click the image to expand it.

Scan2014  26


Governments and other public entities are increasing their use of web sites as the primary publication outlet for medical, human services, and research information.

The transition to electronic publication saves money as well as other resources and at the same time is much more environmentally-friendly. At least a few forests in the world owe their lives to the decision of some of the largest paper users in the world to move to electronic publishing.

Electronic publishing offers a special advantage not generally available in traditional publishing on paper. On the Internet it costs no more to include colors, simple and complex images, and images that expand to show greater detail. And it is much less expensive for publications to present, in addition to their traditional text, graphics maximized facilitate creative thinking, memory retention, “big picture thinking,” and explanations that may be easier for individuals using other languages and from other cultures to understand.

Not everyone in the world does their primary thinking using words. Many — including me — find visual information more valuable, easier to assimilate, and more supportive of creative insights.

How often do you see a #MindMap, #ConceptMap, #FlowDiagram, or other visual representation on a government web site? While there are plenty of pie diagrams and line charts, such representations of data are quite limited and do NOT incorporate informed interpretation of information. Also, while there are plenty of pictures on government web sites, these images do NOT incorporate informed interpretation of information and they may give a quite biased view of data.

I do not recall ever seeing a #MindMap, #ConceptMap, or #FlowDiagram on the (otherwise extremely useful and high quality) web sites of the US Social Security Agency, the abstracts in the PubMed medical and scientific information databases, and the US government’s explanations of research and social programs, diseases and social conditions, and social service eligibility forms.

World-wide thinking is increasingly visual. Official information should be presented using both the traditional text-based methods currently employed AND newer, very effective methods of visual thinking. The brain is not limited to a single form of thinking and in fact research shows clearly that some of us (including me) handle visual data far more effectively and perform some of our best work using visual thinking techniques. Research also suggests that as the brain changes through disease processes such as Alzheimer’s disease and other more rare neurodegenerative conditions, as verbal centers suffer damage, visual centers may assume increasing importance.

While I strongly prefer #MindMaps as the method of presenting visual information, I could accept #ConceptMaps, #FlowDiagrams, and other visual thinking representations as at least a first start.

Of the mind mapping methods, I strongly believe that the Buzan-style organic mind maps including color-coding, size-coding, radiant information structures, and methods designed to optimize memory retention, memory retrieval, creativity, and cross-cultural communication are the most effective. A recent addition to mind mapping has been Huba’s method of mind modeling that adds all of the components shown in the figure below.

Click image to expand.


Comedy and tragedy theatrical masks

In a prior post, I discussed issues about fonts and their use in mind maps for people with varying types of cognitive impairment. In a second prior post, I showed examples of  using free fonts thought to be useful for individuals with dyslexia.

I spent a lot of time today looking at recommendations about fonts. Generally there seems to be a general consensus that the following fonts may be useful for individuals with dyslexia.

  • OpenDyslexic (one of three variations)*
  • Lexia Readable*
  • Dyslexie**
  • Ventana***
  • Trebuchet***
  • Lucida Grande***
  • Georgia***
  • Comic Sans***
  • Arial***
  • Times Roman***

*free for individuals
***common and probably on your computer already

Another recommendation is to use a light (beige, pastel) background with a very dark text color (black, navy blue).

Finally, size is an issue with the general recommendation being that it is desirable that the font size be larger than usual.

Would you like to see how different combinations of fonts and color and size work. Click on the image link below and change the fonts, size, and colors and see what happens.


In a prior post, I discussed issues about fonts and their use in mind maps for people with varying types of cognitive impairment. This post contrasts an original mind map from another recent post to four variations which use different “dyslexia” fonts. Note that the four dyslexia fonts are all available without cost to individuals.

First, the original mind map with an “artistic” professionally drawn font. There is no claim that this font helps or hinders those with dyslexia from reading the map rapidly and accurately.

Click images to expand.


Here is the same mind map in three variations of the OpenDyslexia font (free).

mapvocacy opendyslexic mapvocacy opendyslexicalta mapvocacy opendyslexicmono

The final example uses the font Lexia Readable, another free font created for those with dyslexia.


Of the four “dyslexic” fonts, I prefer the final variant (Lexia Readable). But I do not have dyslexia and so cannot say anything about how well it will work for even one individual (me).

None of the fonts illustrated nor a quite expensive professional one (Dyslexie; not shown here but very similar to the free OpenDyslexia) has strong empirical evidence that it helps those with dyslexia read faster or with more accuracy. Some tiny and flawed studies do suggest efficacy for these fonts for dyslexia, but I do not take the evidence seriously and much more study is needed.

[Note that this post has NOT addressed the issue of whether curved branches should be used or avoided for maps that may be used by dyslexics.]

What do you think?

MAPVOCACY with straight lexia

My personal plan is to provide a second version of some of my mind maps that eliminates curved branches and uses the Lexi Readable font. I do not know if these changes will make the map more readable for those with cognitive impairments (primarily dyslexia), but it certainly does not hurt to put in a little extra effort.

I wish somebody had taken notice of the things I said in the past 45 years of my life about

  • peace
  • universal human rights
  • healthcare reform
  • free education
  • equal opportunity
  • equal access
  • fairness

Better late than never, here is a new tool that might help ensure that people listen …


I’ve been waiting months to be able to purchase the new book “A Practical Mind Map Tester” by Hans Buskes and Philippe Packu.


Dr Buskes and Mr Packu are, in my opinion, two of the “top 100” most creative and influential mind mappers currently working anywhere in the world. The new book does not disappoint as the authors address the difficult question of “what makes a mind map a good mind map?” with an unique approach and much new thinking on the topic.

I will be posting a very detailed review of the book later as I have a lot of interest in this topic. But don’t wait for my review; the books is currently available on the Apple iBooks Store and is a must-read for mind mappers and those who would like to use mind maps effectively.

As of last week, iMindMap 6.2 was the best mind mapping program available from any vendor. As of this week iMindMap 7.0 has blown 6.2 away, making a huge leap forward. The gap between iMindMap and the other mind mapping programs on the market has widened considerably.

iMindMap 7 is much more than a mind mapping program but rather a visual thinking/teaching tool and environment, within which mind maps are a large, but certainly not the only, component. In addition to the best mind maps available, the program can produce flow diagrams, path diagrams, concept maps, visual notes (like sketch notes), and combinations of all of the above.

iMindMap 7 is a visual thinking tool for a complete visual thinking environment. The app expands upon the mind mapping theory of Buzan and presents a much more elaborated environment for visual thinking and visual concept development than has been available before. And, just as importantly, to use apply this theory and use the tools of iMindMap 7 you need not be a “computer wizard,” “a professional mind mapper,” or a long time user of earlier programs and visual thinking theories.

I see the release of this program as the beginning of a period in which visual thinking and visual communication becomes even more important and used. Tony Buzan and Chris Griffiths have done a spectacular job in getting the theory and implementation so far along this path already. I hope they release a new book shortly.

Click the image below to expand and see my formal review. Note that I probably used less than 60 percent of the features of the program in the review map, and there is a lot more to explore in subsequent posts with differing types of information.

iMindMap 7  initial review final

Oh, did I mention that iMindMap has a “presentation mode” which makes PowerPoint obsolete. Here is a video of the review above running in an automatic kiosk mode. There are a number of options for the presentations that can be applied depending upon the type of audience and the map content. And it can be presented in 3D which I chose to do. [For this example, a tiny file size with low resolution optimized for the web was used because the intent is simply to illustrate the feature, not crash the server. Note also that the low resolution does de-emphasize the 3D effect; 3D looks extremely good at HD resolutions. I also included a HD version which may give some servers trouble. Both presentations have the same content.] Click below to start the video (about 3 minutes).

low resolution

high resolution

If you don’t like the timing of the slides or the type of transition or the order, you can easily change these settings and reload the video.

[Footnote: I started programming mathematical algorithms in FORTRAN in 1970, published my first of several computer programs in peer-reviewed journals in 1973, and published an early mathematical algorithm and FORTRAN program in 1984 that was a precursor of what are now called concept maps (under the rubric in statistics of “path diagram” or “structural equations model”). Between 1977 and 1984 I published a large series of “visual mathematical models” of drug abuse etiologies and consequences using the LISREL programming environment. In comparison to all of my former experience with computer usage in real-world applications, this is the finest software application I have used in the 40+ years of my career. I am delighted I have the opportunity to use this app to explain some of my ideas and create new ones.]

In the past I have blogged about my suggestion that Public Health students learn to use methods like mind maps and other visualizations to make health brochures and posters more informative and compelling to the public. Here I am going to show some examples.

The information in this post derives from very credible web sites. [As a note, much of the information about Alzheimer’s disease and “normal” or typical aging appears to be accurately derived from the public domain information put online by various departments of the US government.]

For each image, click to expand.

The American Medical Association has this very informative page on its web site.


I believe that the following mind map is better for explaining the information.

Typical Aging or Dementia

[I acknowledge the fact that various mind map “artists” can make this map more visually appealing and I see this as a first draft.]


The Alzheimer’s Association has posted this professionally valid information on its web site designed in a way as to be compelling through its high density of high quality warnings.


The “problem” with this brochure is that it is “too dense” for me (and probably anyone else without a professional background in medicine) to be able to understand and remember the information. How about including this graphic as a third page (ideally as the ENTIRE page 2) in the brochure. I would bet that the outcomes from the  extra understandability and memory retention for this critical information would prove to far offset any additional printing costs.

10  Warning  Signs of  Alzheimer's  Disease

[I acknowledge the fact that various mind map “artists” can make this map more visually appealing and I see this as a first draft.]

Sending out a graphic and colorful SIMPLE visual agenda by email really helps a conference call move along and keep the big picture in sight.

Keeping the map simple allows individual participants to take their notes by making additional (sub-)branches. Try it. Works!

[People spend less time on their end of the speaker phones reading email and cleaning their desks and more time actually thinking creatively.]

An example. Click image to expand.

Goals Meeting

Missed patients appointments represent a major wasted cost within the healthcare system.

Huge amounts of resources are wasted when patients miss appointments. Expensive healthcare providers in expensive medical office space with expensive equipment and expensive staff are not utilized to their fullest resulting in a loss to the overall system.

To deal with missed patient appointments, clinics often schedule a few more patients than they have time slots in order to compensate for the number of patients who may not arrive or may arrive later than scheduled.

If everybody actually shows up at appointments in the compensatory, over-booked environment, several things happen; doctors and staff get stressed because they have to squeeze patients into the schedule and patients get pissed off their doctor cannot be in their examination room on time or earlier.

So the system needs to get patients into healthcare clinics on the correct day at the correct time. A number of strategies are typically used.

Do you think that the average elderly or cognitively challenged individual (and caregiver) understands and remembers those reminder messages left on their voice mail or those short telephone communications from an obviously harried staff member?

Do you think that the small type, too many words, black-and-white business letter does the trick? Do you think the letters get opened? Do you think that aging folks can all read small fonts or understand a packed letter without white space?

Do you want to increase the rate of patients showing up for appointments? Look at this general framework and the example I provide below.

Use a mind map, improve patient care and help make the service system more efficient.

Click on images to expand.

Reminder  [optional use of name]

Reminder Jill Brown

chapel hill ambulatory

A clerical staff member should review the completed form with a patient or caregiver.

Personally I would send the mind map home (or in the mail) with a few brightly colored refrigerator magnets (with my phone number on them) suggesting that the patient or caregiver put the appointment mind map on the door. I would also send a second copy to be put wherever these things usually go, or to share with the caregiver. Refrigerator magnets are very inexpensive and if printed with your name and phone number will increase the number of times patients will call to reschedule rather than just skip the appointment because they cannot find your phone number (and guess what percentage of elderly or cognitively challenged or disabled or practicing physician adults might not be able to find the business card and did not enter your office phone number into their smartphones?).

Oh, and even if the form slips off the refrigerator and is whisked off to recycling by a rushed and harried house cleaner, the refrigerator magnets will still be there so the patient can call to get the scheduling information.

Try something like this. If it works you save a lot of wasted time and loss of income and frustration. Your patients get better healthcare because they remember to see you when it is medically desirable to do so. The caregivers will like it because it makes their jobs easier.

And if it doesn’t work better than the same-old, same-old, you have only lost a few hours of clerical time spent implementing a system of mind map appointment reminders.

Trout is a program I tried to “get” for two years. Billed sometimes as a mind mapping program, its own developer says it is not really a mind mapping program. Produces odd diagrams that look like spider maps (at best).

The most recent revision for iPad and Mac just came out with greatly improved usability. I finally “got” it (or have deluded myself into believing I have finally understood the intent and uses of the program).

Trout is a brilliant tool for building maps of content links between a number of snippets of information. Get it, spend an hour with it, and you will know how to manually or AUTOMATICALLY sort a large number of text snippets into a very usable visual form.


Each of the map links in this example came from automated link building using simple default rules. Colors and shapes are arbitrary in this example. Click on images to expand.


This second version shows all possible automatic links using the default definition. Not especially useful in this form.


The third version shows all of the links involving the large central (title) circle.


The fourth version shows all of the links associated with the top yellow square.


Fast data summary if you import text snippets from a CSV file and use the automatic link building method (which can also differentiate between types of content and color and shape code automatically using your rules). I find it very useful. But you will have to spend an hour experimenting with this program to “understand” it and see how useful it is.

Unrelated except for my play on the title …



Trout Fishing in America

A few months ago, I published my revised Laws of Mind Mapping in part because I do believe that the Buzan rules are great in-so-far as they go and should be followed except when they are in conflict with the content of the map or the communication expectations of the audience. Philippe Packu initially suggested in his blog a few months ago how to use ThingLink (a free Internet service) to add pop-up annotations to mind maps (on top of a jpg or png). Hans Buskes applied these methods in his usual creative way to additional content areas in several blog posts. Here is my first application. Hover over the dots for comments. I believe that the comments are useful for supplementing the map, presenting technical information or facts, listing citations, and “explaining” the “in” jokes I like to make. CLICK HERE for the annotated mind map. Then hover over or click on the black circles. A box will display my comments on each part of the map.
huba's laws of  mind mapping



I corrected a huge mistake in my thinking about mind maps during 2010.

I had started using the program Mindjet MindManager for mind maps at the time version 2 of the program was released. Over almost 20 years I used occasionally used MindManager, alternating periods of a few days of intensive use with months of ignoring mind mapping.

I hardly considered organic mind mapping in the early days because: a) I cannot draw clearly or even print clearly even though Tony #Buzan says everyone can; b) I am a “tech guy or nerd” and damn it, why would I hand draw something if a computer program was available to turn my brilliant thoughts and words into pictures.

Secondarily, how could I possible use wavy lines with labels in all kinds of orientations and colors best-reserved for a child’s coloring book or a circus? I worked with groups of federal/state health policy makers, physicians, psychologists, social workers, nurses, counselors, grant funders, politicians, and public advocacy groups. Colors that looked like they came from a crayon box and drawings that looked like they were drawn by a second grader would be seen as childish, silly, not useful, and (most importantly) disrespectful by a group of senior professionals in the health/social care areas.


I bought every upgrade of MindManager over 20 years. Those upgrades were pretty expensive for a small consulting firm charging public sector fees less than half of those of private-sector companies.

I had strong misgivings about the MindManager mind maps I presented in meetings about HIV/AIDS services, research designs, elder abuse, optimally training geriatric nursing leaders, statistical analyses, and the many related topics I worked on during my career. Nonetheless I kept presenting the maps and using them in written reports.

I came to the conclusion that the method of mind mapping was primarily a way of presenting outlines in a somewhat novel way that introduced a lot of “white space” into diagrams typically plagued with too many words on a boring and ignored PowerPoint slide. Business executives liked the MindManager approach since it was in their comfort zone (outline in a picture).

I was becoming a Bleeping Idiot for continuing to use MindManager style Outline Mapping.


I read about the iMindMap program in a variety of tweets from individuals I followed on Twitter and started trying the program and then reading much of the collected writings of Buzan; I watched some of the YouTube videos derived from his telecasts.

I thought organic mind mapping was kind of cool. It interested me at first because it would lead to presentations that were far more interesting than the ones with PowerPoint I suffered through 100 times a year (and gave myself to large audiences at least 50 times a year).

A couple of months later I decided that I would give an entire presentation (and the final report) using iMindMap 5 maps to a group at the US Health Resources and Services Administration, the major US government agency for financing public healthcare clinics and programs (and especially those targeted to HIV/AIDS services).

The project was to develop a framework for teaching program managers of US-funded, locally-administered African projects on increasing the number of nurses trained in and providing clinical services for treating HIV/AIDS. The topic was about program evaluation theory and implementation. Program evaluation can be a very technical area dominated by methodologists who speak “numbers” not concepts, acronyms, and is often perceived as excruciating by its participants.

The meeting was with two senior federal grant administrators and USA-funded program managers and service providers, half from the Columbia University (USA) and half from Africa who were part of a six African-nation collaborative team.

I developed a dozen pretty large mind maps on evaluation goals and results, ways to conduct the evaluation and why, how to improve services using the results, respecting clients, and other issues including ethics and reporting results to the funders. The general topics were ones I had discussed with hundreds of groups in the prior 20 years.

All of the mind maps were developed in iMindMap using circus colors, curves, cartoony clip art provided in the program, font coding, and a nonlinear organization. I wanted to animate the presentation by jumping around the map “automatically.” This was before mind mapping programs in general (and iMindMap specifically) included presentation animations. At the suggestion an expert on visual thinking, Roy Grubb (a Twitter buddy from Hong Kong — @roygrubb), I used the program Prezi to animate the jumps around the map into to what could be a presenter-guided talk or a self-running kiosk video.

To say that the presentation was well received by the audience of program managers, senior policy makers, and medical professionals from the USA and various African nations) would be a gross understatement. The presentation was praised, a couple of physicians said this was the first time they really understood what evaluation was, and perhaps more concretely, the participants insisted on having the one-hour presentation evolve into a two-hour greatly interactive and animated group problem solving session that pissed off the US State Department because the participants arrived to their meeting at State an hour late. The evaluation for the next five years of an extremely large funding program in Africa on HIV/AIDS treatment capacity was altered. A subsequent program evaluation project for the African project was funded to our company.

I was just presenting the same-old/same-old conclusions I had evolved over two decades. But the information after I reformatted it into a #Buzan style mind map using the iMindMap program forced me to re-think the overall system of evaluation I believed in so as to prepare a liberating and valuable experience for the audience. The new mind maps were nonlinear THEORETICAL MODELS accessible to individuals with training neither in program evaluation nor mind mapping.

By contrast, the old way i would have presented the same information in MindManager or as bullets in PowerPoint was as nothing more than a formatted outline (or what I now call an Outline Map) and my thinking and that of the participants would not have gone in such creative directions.

I was pleased to find out that one of the meeting participants had been trained in a workshop by Mr. Buzan and that she felt that the presentation mind maps were the most Buzan-like she had seen since the training.

The hundreds of mind maps I have made for this blog have reinforced the conclusion I reached from that HRSA meeting on HIV/AIDS that computer-assisted, Buzan-style organic mind maps and visual thinking methods are far superior to the “traditional” linear methods that are forced by some computer programs that do not encourage Buzan-style thinking and mapping.

Bright colors, contrasting fonts, curvy lines, cartoon graphics, one word per branch, nonlinear organization …

I joined the Circus.

Big Data Train Wreck DSM5 Tournament huba's laws of  mind mapping

I periodically make recommendations of apps on the Mac, iPad, and iPhone that I find exceptionally useful.

For the 2013 “back-to-school-edition” I picked a rather eclectic group of apps that I use all day as a knowledge worker. Are these the only programs I use a lot. No. But these are the third-party apps I use all day, usually immediately start every time I restart my MacBook Pro, and find very helpful in the generation of new content.

These will actually be a fairly controversial set of program choice. I suggest using a fancy text editor rather than a word processing program for all but the final draft (when it should be polished in Word or Pages). A mind mapping program is continuously open on the MacBook and used to develop ideas, remember thoughts, make lists and schedules. An electronic white board or pin board is indispensable to what I do on the computer all day.

The entire suite of programs I suggest in this #mindmap cost less than $200 in their PRO versions as I write this. In all cases, get the PRO versions and skip the freebie, lite versions.

This set of software selections will probably surprise you.

Click on the image to increase its size.


Key Mac Programs for Day-to-Day Use

The second version has identical content to the first one but uses formatting to make the map more “memorable” (or attention grabbing). In visual thinking, small changes in graphics may make large differences in understanding and remembering.

Key Mac Apps for  Day-to-Day Use

A few months ago I made a post about comparing three web sites in terms of the usefulness of each for collating links of related materials. This is a slight expansion of my prior concept and map. Branches can be used not only to show positions (rank, size, weight) but also the “reasons” for the position.

As before, in reference to the original title “Pinterest Pins and PearlTrees,” I am referring to “pin” in the context of wrestling.

Yup wrestling.

Pinterest,, and PearlTrees compete in the same space to be the best web-based way to refer readers of your blog, tweet stream, or web site to alternate sources of information.

Software  Rankings  Visual Links

I’d suggest the hashtag #camm3 for computer-assisted mind maps, generation 3.0. I think that it is important to recognize that mind mapping 3 is different from that which proceeded it in that high quality, valid, reliable, and important content is explicitly linked to computer-assisted mind mapping methods and the linkage of content and computer methods is different from non-documented mind maps derived from “who knows where.”

There are many posts on #camm3 and using computer-assisted mind mapping 3.0 throughout this blog. Virtually every blog post on was created through a process of  #camm3.

Click on image to zoom.


Big data this, big data that. Wow. At the end we will have better ways to sell underwear, automobiles, and “next day” pills (although in the latter case politics and religion might actually trump Amazon and Google). Blind empiricism. Every time you click a key on the Internet it goes into some big database.

“Little data” — lovingly crafted to test theories and collected and analyzed with great care by highly trained professionals — has built our theories of personality, social interactions, the cosmos, and the behavioral economics of  buying or saving.

Big data drives marketing. Little data drives the future through generalizable theory.

Click on the figure below to zoom.

in praise of little data

Note: November 2015

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.

George Huba

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.

Click on the figure to expand.

Mind Mapping 3.0

There are a number of things that can be done to cut the cost of healthcare while, at the same time, freeing doctors and others to do their jobs better. These improvements cost almost nothing to implement [if all of the constituencies and politicians do not compete to be King Kong].

Visiting legislator who stumbled across this web page? Here’s your chance to act like a grown-up and represent the people of the world, not drug companies nor major research universities nor individual “researcher” egos and retirement funds.

Click on images to expand.[almost free] strategies to improve healthcare

Cartoon Rabbit - Giving A Thumbs Up

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.

Click on the diagrams to expand.

advantages ok sketchnotes




sketch mind map

Introduction to Sketchnotes

Introduction to Sketchnotes

advantages ok sketchnotes