Getting reacquainted with mind-mapping…
When I drew up the mind map for my ideas about a Digital Moleskine, I thought it was an interesting way to organize my thoughts. Of course, I had learned about mind mapping as a tool for brainstorming in school, but I didn't really take to it outside of schoolwork. But after hearing a bunch of Tablet PC users evangelize the power of mind mapping and MindManager specifically (see On the Run with Tablet PCs, show #22 for a good discussion of using mind maps, as well as a lot of good talk about music), I decided to check out MindJet's site to see how much a license was. Wow, did I experience sticker shock! MindManager Basic is $229, and the pro version is $349! Yikes…
So I started searching for freeware versions of mind-mapping software. This led me to an open-source application called FreeMind. I have yet to actually install and use the software. I'm in the middle of reading a user review on a blog to see how this person liked it. FreeMind's site is in Wiki format, and there were lots of screenshots and some demo mind maps. Impressive, so far. I will try out the software soon (maybe this weekend) and report back with my initial impressions.
I imagine that this free application will not be "inkable" (I'll be super-impressed if it is), but seeing as how I am just getting reacquainted with the concept of mind-mapping and determining whether or not I want to incorporate it as a "permanent" tool in my arsenal, FreeMind will do just fine for now. Actually, I'll probably download the free trial version of MindManager just to try it out in parallel, but I'm afraid that if I like it so much, I'll be annoyed that I can't get a version of it that's more in keeping with my budget!
Well, we'll see. Have any of you MindManager fans tried out FreeMind, or other similar freeware applications? If so, what were the killer MindManager features that prevented you from ultimately using FreeMind or other alternatives? I'm guessing that besides being inkable, MindManager has pretty good integration with other Windows programs like Outlook and Word, which are key applications for many of the Tablet PC bloggers like the "On the Run with Tablet PCs" podcast guys.
I'll be interested to see any input from the MindManager enthusiasts. Unless I end up being a mind-mapping fiend, I'm guessing the FreeMind app will be fine for the few occasions I map out some ideas. Honestly, if I had an extra $230, I'd probably either put it towards something like a gadget purchase, or Apple's Aperture software (but then I'd need another Mac besides the Mac mini I am using as a DVR/media PC), or other less expensive applications I've been wanting to get licenses for.
But stay tuned for some initial impressions on FreeMind (and MindManager) from a mind-mapping neophyte.