Sunday, 19 April 2009

Can anybody find me?

I find that I increasingly need to draw when I am explaining my thoughts, ideas and concepts. I have always been a visual learner and see images, pictures, and scenes in my mind. I can remember at college planning my approach to essays using bubbles and lines - I later stubbled across mind maps and thought 'hey that's what I was doing 10 years ago.....'.
So I've been drawn to mind maps as a way of supporting my thinking, finding that my mac (and all computers) tends towards the written word and vertical relationships. I need (and strangely it is a need!) to use more fluid ways of showing links when I am being creative or thinking through an issue.
I've explored (and paid for!) many different forms of mind map and they haven't been what I've been looking for - most of the time they are very 'flat' in feel and the images are too 'clean'. Mind maps are about mess - lots of different lines and bubbles to reflect different importances and different relationships. Packages like Novamind seem to structured, too straight, even too 'male'. Omnigraffle whilst not a mind map as such, came close in terms of wonderful graphics, although I found the structuring and how to use it a bit complicated. I also needed something that I could carry on my iPhone and then ping to my mac.
The best answer I've come across to date is ibluesky which is a very very simple mind mapping tool for the iPhone (find it on iTunes apps) and for the mac itself Freemind. These seem to work well together and since I got them (a couple of weeks back), I've found myself drawn to use them in a way that the previous packages didn't. Importantly, Freemind is free! So that's a bonus.

I will though keep looking since what I am really after is a mind map app that works on both iPhone and mac to which you can attach files, photos, videos etc if you want to - that has hyperlinks to those documents and that enables a more messy and more creative approach (couldn't we have templates with bubbles as clouds....more images please!). So virtual community out there....find me something....preferably free!

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