Want to organize your #brain, Try the Brain mind mapping software

What if you were able to put your entire brain into one computer program? Every thought, work-related or personal, with links to Web pages or files on your computer, and any additional notes you’d care to make. And what if you could then link those thoughts together, weaving them into free and complex associative patterns, much like an actual train of thought going through your head? That’s what TheBrain ($249, 30-day free trial) tries to let you do.

downloadAt its core, TheBrain 8.0 is a powerful and flexible mind-mapping program. If you’re looking to create a simple mind map for just one project, you could always go with a minimalistic free app like Blumind, or even with mind-mapper favorite Freemind. But if you’d like to create a vast mind map which covers a lot of ground, TheBrain might just be what you need (and its free version retains lots of functionality).

The first thing you see when creating a new brain is just a single “thought” against a background called “the Plex.” In TheBrain, a thought is just a name for a node in your mind map–much like an “idea” in online mind-mapper MindMeister. Each thought can have multiple siblings, multiple children (sub-thoughts), and even multiple parents. That last one is not an obvious feature, and allows for creating very complex layouts. For example, in a film-related mind map, you could have actor Keanu Reeves both under “male heroes” and under “Matrix cast.”

The Plex itself hasn’t changed much since I first used TheBrain (when it was still called PersonalBrain), about five years ago. It is still visually impressive and fun to use. As you click a thought you’d like to focus on, it smoothly floats over to the center of the Plex, and the other thoughts get rearranged (or shown or hide), all with slick, futuristic animations.

One major visual change for TheBrain 8 is that links between thoughts are now curved, rather than simple straight lines. That sounds minor, but when you’re working on a huge mind map, it does make a visual impact.

Speaking of links, TheBrain’s links pack quite a bit of functionality in themselves. Links can have directionality (e.g, “Films” leads to “Matrix”), and they can even have text. This is very useful for making links into specific verbs, so the link from Keanu Reeves to The Matrix could say “acted in,” whereas the link from Mr. Reeves to Henry’s Crime could say “acted and produced.” You can also style links with colors and line thicknesses, and create “link types” so you don’t have to define the same link properties over and over again.

TheBrain is Java-based, which, to me, is a bit of a drawback. Like other large Java applications (JDownloader and jEdit come to mind) it feels a bit heavy sometimes. For example, the center of the Plex rotates, but this particular animation stuttered throughout my use of the application, even when TheBrain was idle (other animations were smooth). TheBrain took up around 220MB of RAM on my system, or about one third of what Chrome takes with eleven open tabs on the same system. Not a tiny footprint, but reasonable for such a large application.

TheBrain also offers an online synchronization service called WebBrain, which lets you seamlessly sync a local Brain with its online version, and thus, synchronize Brains you’re using on more than one system (such as your desktop and a laptop).

It is definitely an application that takes some getting used to, but for visual thinkers, TheBrain can make a big difference in productivity and organization.

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Talking mind mapping tools

Mind mapping is the perfect concept for knowledge management because you can display large amounts of explicit information in a simple to follow diagram. This allows employees to conceptualize the policies, procedures and business units within an organization.

A mind map is basically a diagram that connects information around a central subject. I like to think of it like a tree, although it has more of a radial structure. In any case, at the center is your main idea, say, poetry, and the branches are subtopics or related ideas, such as types of poetry, famous poets, and poetry publications. Greater levels of detail branch out from there and branches can be linked together.

Mind maps can be used for pretty much any thinking or learning task, from studying a subject (such as a new language) to planning your career or even building better habits. As part of my daily routine, I use mind maps to help me visualize ideas and bring them to life. Here i have worked with many tools/software to come up with mind maps and also visualize ideas. In a series of articles i will be sharing with you some of my most used mind tools that i use in my daily routine.

DON’T MISS, Also share your thoughts, comments etc

7 Google Keep Tips for Your Phone

Google Keep is a FREE app that will help you organize your life.

In this article we will show you 7 tips that you can do on your phone to get more out of Google Keep. Google Keep connects across all your devices. Check out the list of tips that will be covered.

  • Collaborate and Share with Google Keep
  • Set reminders by time or place with Google Keep
  • Dictate Notes in Google Keep
  • Extract text from an image in Google Keep
  • Doodle in Google Keep
  • Use Google Keep as a bookmark tool
  • Export to Docs in Google Keep

Collaborate and share with Google Keep

Google Keep’s latest update now allows users to share their notes and collaborate on those. You can now, for example, share groceries lists with your family and meeting notes with your colleagues. And as with other Google Drive apps, you can collaborate within Google Keep in real-time, making sharing notes with others a much better experience.Collaborating within notes has also never been easier. Everyone with access to any given note can edit it, and others will see the changes in real-time.

Set reminders by time or place

Google Keep can now enable you create reminders based on time and location. It can even remind you of an important event (or something you need to do) when you arrive at a particular location. The only caveat to Keep’s reminders is that their creation isn’t exactly obvious. If you open Keep, you won’t find a reminder button to tap, nor can you speak that magical phrase “Okay Google Now.” However, Google Keep’s reminders can be easily created .Say, for example, the next time you’re shopping at that massive warehouse store, you need to pick up supplies for your home and your office. You could create a shopping list (for both even), and then attach a location-based reminder so you don’t forget to pick up the items.

Dictate Notes in Google Keep

Google Keep has a voice memo feature, which you can access in two ways:

  • The microphone icon in the notes list.
  • The microphone icon in the widget.

Once activated, you can just speak and Google will convert what you say into text. It’ll create a new note with the text content and an audio recording of what you said. Feel free to keep either or both.

Google Keep also integrates nicely with Google Now, allowing you to add items to list notes just by activating it using an OK Google command:

Extract text from an image in Google Keep

Wanna transcribe your short notice but your lazy to type, Well Google keep now has a feature that can scan handwritten text and convert it into digital text.

  • Use your device’s camera to capture an image of text.
  • Add the image to a note, then tap on the image.
  • Open the overflow menu and select Grab image text.
  • Give it a minute or so and the text will show up in the note.

The OCR engine needs an internet connection to do its magic, but it works quite well.

Doodle in Google Keep

You can now do quick doodles in the mobile version of Google Keep. These doodles can then be imported into Google Docs or edited (but only on the mobile version).

Use Google Keep as a bookmark tool

Even though you are using a mobile device rather than a website, you can still bookmark web pages or portions of a web page as long as you have the Google Keep app installed. From any Chrome mobile browser window on the mobile device tap on the Menu (three vertical dots in the top right of the screen).

Export to Docs in Google Keep

With the Google Keep Copy feature, you can move any note to Google Docs and start working on it there, instead of using the tiny note interface. All you have to do is open any note in Google Keep, either from the Web or the app. Then, click or the overflow menu (three dots) and choose Copy to Google Doc

 

Should I adopt Google Keep?

In my series on working with tools in development, i felt it important to share this awesome tool that i have been using for a while. The tool none other than  Google Keep is the perfect tool for #productivity and daily organisational management out there. I have been using for a while now and it has kept me organised in my daily project work. Simply, Google Keep is a syncing notepad that connects to Google Drive. It also supports photo notes, voice notes, and checklists.  It’s ideal for quick note-taking on the go, anyone who appreciates simple, fast note-taking tools or to-do apps, or for saving notes on the desktop that you know you’ll need on your Android phone, like shopping lists, addresses, phone numbers, checklists and to-do lists, or conference call codes. Keep even supports Google Apps accounts, so you can use it with your own domain or a business account.

2017-08-28

The interface is colorful and easy to use. Those colors are actually organization tools that make it easy to tell your personal notes apart from your work-related ones, or your family-related ones, and so on.

Lets take a look at what keep can do;

1. Transcribe Text from Images

Keep has the ability to transcribe text from photographs. (As you see above, depending on the image, results can vary.) Just upload an image and then click the three dots in the menu below. This will prompt a pop-up menu. Select “Grab image text” and it will do its best to transcribe the words it finds (or thinks it finds) into searchable, editable text.

This little trick comes into handy if you want to easily access information on a business card, come across a sign that interests you, or want to revisit just about any print you’ve come across in your travels. Unfortunately, Keep’s tech doesn’t play so nicely with handwriting (at least not mine). Which is annoying considering Google has added handwriting recognition to a number of its other apps.

2. Keep Is Your Own Personal Stenographer

Ever have an absolutely brilliant idea while you’re on the move, but not have time to fiddle diddle with some touch-screen keyboard? Then, when you finally have a moment, you find that the brilliant idea was gone? Poof! Well, with Keep, you can just record a note into your device and it will be transcribed (fairly accurately in my experience) into a searchable, editable note.

Please note that Keep records audio as 3GPP files, which will probably work just fine on your mobile phone, but may not play on your older computer or laptop.

3. Set Reminders 

You can create a pop-up reminder in Keep, and it will show up elsewhere in your Google ecosystem (in your browser where Keep is open, in Google Now, or on your phone). Just click the icon resembling a finger with a string on it at the bottom of any post. Once you click that, you will prompt a pop-up menu that will allow you to set a reminder that can go off at a certain date/time or when you reach a certain location. You will then get notification in your browser or on your phone.

4. Easily Copy to Google Docs

Keep Google Doc
Since it’s part of the greater Google ecosystem, it would make sense that you could easily transfer a note in Keep into Google Docs. Just click the three dots at the bottom of a note and choose “Copy to Google Doc.” Then boom, it’s magically transformed into a Google Doc, which you’ll find conveniently in Google Drive.

5. Share and Collaborate With Others

Google Keep Share

Click the icon with the little plus sign next to a person and then you will share your note with someone else’s Keep. Then any changes one person makes will be reflected among all the people it is shared with. The original owner will have the ability to delete other users at any time. Maybe if I can actually convince others to use Keep, I’ll actually be able to use this function one day.

6. Filter Search

Google Keep Search
You might spend so much time searching creating and maintaining your notes that you might get overwhelmed by all the notes you’ve accumulated. Up at the top of the screen, there’s a handy search that allows you to find all the instances of a certain word or phrase. You can even filter further for notes that have been labeled a certain color, ones that have reminders, ones that have audio in them, etc. No knowledge will ever fall out of your brain ever again.

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Evernote Vs OneNote

As part of my series on working with tools in development, i felt a need to share with you some of the tools i use to stay productive. For notes taking ,i mainly use Evernote and OneNote and thus the inspiration to do a comparison of the two.

Evernote and OneNote are two of the most popular note-taking apps available. Because they’re both available for a variety of platforms, many of us rely on them to sync our notes with multiple devices. Both apps offer a similar set of features — including the ability to clip articles from the web and integrate with third-party apps — but they approach them in very different ways. If you’re trying to decide which of these two apps to go for, read on, as we check out the main differences between them.

To be clear, we’re comparing the Windows desktop versions of each program. We do mention cross-platform availability near the end, but just so you know, in-depth reviews of the non-Windows versions are beyond the scope of this article.

User Interface

User interfaces are a tricky topic. They’re important, but they aren’t everything. A great interface isn’t enough to save a poor app, yet at the same time, a poor interface will easily turn me away from an otherwise feature-packed program.

And when it comes to digital note-taking, user interfaces are arguably more important than in other applications. If the interface doesn’t feel comfortable to you, you’re going to spend more time wrestling with the program than actually taking notes.

People have different ideas as to what constitutes a great interface — yes, it’s mostly subjective — so I’ll just highlight the core differences between these two and let you make your own judgments.

Evernote

Evernote uses a three-column design that makes it easy and fast to switch between many different notes and notebooks when necessary. If you shrink the window’s width to less than 840 pixels, the sidebar disappears and the interface becomes a two-column design with more breathing space.

comparison-interface-evernote

You can also go into the options and switch to a layout that splits the notebook and notes horizontally, but I don’t really see any benefits to this mode. Of course, you can always disable the note panel altogether and access notes by double-clicking in the notebook.

Overall, I like that Evernote’s layout is as flexible enough to accommodate nearly everyone’s tastes. The amount of whitespace is perfect, though the lack of colors can be hard on the eyes.

OneNote

OneNote feels really weird at first, and it can take a while to get comfortable with it, but I personally think it’s more intuitive and conducive to productivity. I also feel that OneNote is more responsive (read: less laggy) than Evernote on my several-years-old laptop, though your mileage may vary.

comparison-interface-onenote

In OneNote, you work within a single notebook at a time. Each notebook has tabs at the top to distinguish between sections, and each section has tabs in the sidebar to distinguish between pages. Want to switch notebooks? Just use the dropdown selector at the top left.

One quirky but useful thing in the interface is the Quick Access Bar at the very top. You can customize the Quick Access Bar in the options to add/remove nearly any action that you can perform in OneNote. This feature is extremely useful oft-used actions, like inserting things or changing formats.

Note-Taking Features

Both Evernote and OneNote can handle regular note-taking just fine, including all of the core word processing features that you’d expect in any serious document editor, as well as things like image, video, and optical character recognition (OCR).

But a handful of things are quite different between the two.

Paragraphs

First, OneNote can handle free-floating “paragraphs”, which are groupings of notes that you can move around on the page wherever you want. This is in stark contrast to most other note-taking apps that can only handle notes on a line-by-line basis.

comparison-features-paragraphs

A lot of people have come to love the way OneNote handles its paragraphs and other note contents, but some people adamantly hate it. We realize it’s a polarizing feature and that could make it a deal-breaker.

Just know that if you prefer the traditional line-by-line way of taking notes, it’s definitely possible in OneNote. All you have to do is ignore that the feature exists.

Handwriting & Drawing

Even though both apps can import handwritten notes as images, one thing that separates OneNote from Evernote is the ability to draw and write notes by hand right inside the application.

comparison-features-drawing

Tools offered by OneNote include pens and highlighters of varying colors and thicknesses, lines, arrows, shapes, graphs, and an eraser for when you make any errors. Drawing in Evernote is made exponentially better when using a drawing tablet rather than a mouse.

Note: Evernote indirectly supports drawing and handwritten notes if you take notes using one of Evernote’s mobile apps.

Web Clipper

Both applications have something called a Web Clipper that can clip entire webpages from the Internet (e.g. for research) and save them directly as notes, though Evernote is generally considered to be miles ahead of OneNote in this area.

Conclusion

Both these two applications have some uniqueness in terms of design and usage. However both a little over the other depending on the user and also what the intentions to the user. I therefore conclude that both tools are good depending what your preferences are but for all your needs you can choose either evernote or onenote.

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