July 6, 2009

Mind Mapping: the Free Mind Magic!

Tony Buzan claims to have invented Mind Mapping. However, Wikipedia traces the history of Mind Mapping back to Porphyry, who created visual representations of the concepts of Aristotle. Wikipedia gives you the history of mind mapping and names of people who used mind mapping prior to Buzan. Whoever invented mind mapping is not my concern. All that I know is Tony Buzan developed a software that makes it easy for people to do mind mapping using their Personal Computer. You can try the software for thirty days and then pay for it if you like it. I downloaded it and tried it. But I was not so impressed as the outcome looked childish to me, with a lot of colour and pictures. [May be I don't like too much colour.]

That's when I stumbled on Free Mind. Free Mind is a mind mapping software written in Java. This is what the makers claim about their software:
So you want to write a completely new metaphysics? Why don't you use FreeMind? You have a tool at hand that remarkably resembles the tray slips of Robert Pirsig, described in his sequel to Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance called Lila. Do you want to refactor your essays n a similar way you would refactor software? Or do you want to keep personal knowledge base, which is easy to manage? Why don't you try FreeMind? Do you want to prioritize, know where you are, where you've been and where you are heading, as Stephen Covey would advise you? Have you tried FreeMind to keep track of all the things that are needed for that?
 I thought I'll give it a try. I did! I downloaded the thing, installed it on my computer. I started using it. The outcome looks neat, professional. You can make your mind maps look gaudy or professionally less colourful. There are pictures you can use to catch the attention of your audience, meaningful little icons that I fell in love with from the first day.

Sometimes, you just don't have to worry about how the whole thing will look after you create the map. You can go on creating the map and then later ask the software to make it look good for you. The software will arrange and give colour to items as you have laid it out. Now, that is a cool feature as I don't have to break my head thinking about how I am going to make my mind map look decent. If i am not satisfied with the result, all that I have got to do is give a little touch up here and there.

A friend of mine tried it on his computer. His computer was not Java enabled. And the software did not work on his computer, till he downloaded and enabled Java. But once he enabled Java and started using Free Mind, he is in love with the thing as I am.

The greatest thing about Free Mind is that it is FREE as the name suggests. It makes your mind free. And for people who are good at coding [which I'm not!], it's good news again. Free Mind is an open source software.

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