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

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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

 

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.

Should i save my data on cloud?

I recently read a story about how amazon had scrapped their unlimited clouds services package to all its users. This in a way got me thinking about the realities of cloud based services. I have almost tried all cloud based services that are popular but still struggling with reliability aspect among them. In 2015, Microsoft announced a similar move where they also scrapped the unlimited package for overdrive  making it less than what was previously offered. I was among those affected by this move. A similar incident happened when my Dropbox was resented and i lost all files saved. With these incidences am still wondering how sustainable these services are and whether in the long run this is the solution to conventional ways of storage.

It’s pretty simple to understand where a file goes when you save it on your PC. It lives on your hard drive, possibly housed in a set of folders you’ve created and organized yourself. That file is only stored on your computer, unless you decide to email it to yourself or save it on an external hard drive or USB.

Now what about the cloud?

At its most basic level, “the cloud” is just fancy-talk for a network of connected servers (a server is simply a computer that provides data or services to other computers). When you save files to the cloud, they can be accessed from a computer connected to that cloud’s network. Now take that idea and multiply it to understand how the cloud works for you. The cloud is not just a few servers, but a network of many servers typically stored in a spaceship-sized warehouse—or several hundred spaceship-sized warehouses. These warehouses are guarded and managed by companies such as Google (Google Docs), Apple (iCloud), or Dropbox.

So it’s not just some nebulous concept. It’s physical, tangible, real.

When you save files to the cloud, you can access them on any computer, provided it’s connected to the Internet and you’re signed into your cloud services platform. Take Google Drive. If you use Gmail, you can access Drive anywhere you can access your email. Sign in for one service and find your entire library of documents and photos on another.

Benefits of cloud storage

On the flip side, the data you save to the cloud is far more secure than it is on your own hard drive. Cloud servers are housed in warehouses offsite and away from most employees, and they are heavily guarded. In addition, the data in those servers is encrypted, which makes hacking it a laborious, if not formidable, task for criminals. Whereas a malware infection on your home computer could expose all of your personal data to cyber-crooks, and even leave your files vulnerable to ransomware threats. In fact, we recommend backing up your files to a cloud service as a hedge against ransomware.

Another benefit to storing data on the cloud is cost effectiveness and ease-of-access. You can store tons of data, often for free, using the cloud. Measure that against the number of external hard drives and USBs you’d have to purchase, and the difficulty accessing data once you’ve stored to multiple other devices, and you can see why cloud storage has become a popular option for businesses and consumers alike.

Risks of cloud storage

Cloud security is tight, but it’s not infallible. Cybercriminals can get into those files, whether by guessing security questions or bypassing passwords. That’s what happened in The Great iCloud Hack of 2014, where nude pictures of celebrities were accessed and published online.

But the bigger risk with cloud storage is privacy. Even if data isn’t stolen or published, it can still be viewed. Governments can legally request information stored in the cloud, and it’s up to the cloud services provider to deny access. Tens of thousands of requests for user data are sent to Google, Microsoft, and other businesses each year by government agencies. A large percentage of the time, these companies hand over at least some kind of data, even if it’s not the content in full.

The other risk is the fact that there is guarantee that your information/data will not be deleted incase of changes in package subscriptions like the case of amazon unlimited to 30Tb limit.

Final verdict

Yes, despite all the challenges, your data is relatively safe in the cloud—likely much more so than on your own hard drive. In addition, files are easy to access and maintain. However, cloud services ultimately put your data in the hands of other people. If you’re not particularly concerned about privacy, then no big whoop. But if you have sensitive data you’d like keep from prying eyes…probably best to store in a hard drive that remains disconnected from your home computer.

If you’re ready to store data on the cloud, we suggest you use a cloud service with multi-factor authentication and encryption. In addition, follow these best practices to help keep your data on the cloud secure:

  • Use hardcore passwords: Long and randomized passwords should be used for data stored on the cloud. Don’t use the same password twice.
  • Back up files in different cloud accounts: Don’t put all your important data in one place.
  • Practice smart browsing: If you’re accessing the cloud on a public computer, remember to logout and never save password info.

Fed up with Skype? Here Are 6 of the Best Free Alternatives

For a long time, Skype was the world leader when it came to VoIP apps. It was so popular, in fact, that “Skyping” became a verb. But with so many complaints of low quality calls, too many crashes, and a general distrust of Microsoft, for many, Skype lost its appeal, despite its recent overhauls.

Since Skype’s heyday, however, many other apps have launched that enable you to call others from your devices. If you’re fed up with Skype then, you might want to try these alternatives.

For something much simpler than Skype, a service like Appear.in might be for you. If you want something with even more features, try out Viber. And then there are all the options in between.

1. Google Hangouts (Web, Android, iOS)

A direct competitor to Skype, offering free user-to-user calls and (mostly) free calls within the U.S. and Canada.

Since its launch just a few short years ago, Google Hangouts has rapidly grown to rival Skype in terms of user numbers while, according to many, surpassing Skype’s call quality.

While you could use Hangouts as just another messaging app, that’s the last thing we need. It’s first-and-foremost a way for you to voice and video call up to 10 contacts (simultaneously) on iOS, and Android. The regular Google Hangouts Web app is pretty impressive, too. On your smartphone, this works over data (or Wi-Fi if you’re connected), so calls over Hangouts do not use any of your included minutes.

The contacts that Google Hangouts adds to your account can be both from your phone contacts, and your email contacts. If those contacts are Google Hangout users, you can call them entirely for free. You can call landlines and mobiles from Hangouts, too.

Almost all calls to Canada and the US are entirely free from any country where Hangouts is available. To make other calls though, you’ll have to add some credit to your account., and pay a relatively small per-minute call charge.

2. Appear.In (Web, iOS)

One of the easiest ways to start a voice or video call. No sign ups, no downloads.If you want an incredibly simple way to start a call, Appear.in is what you’re looking for. You don’t need to sign up to anything. You don’t even need to download anything! There is an iOS app, though, if you’re interested.

Simply create a “Room” link, and share that link with whoever you want to chat with (up to eight people). When a recipient clicks the link, the room will open in their browser (this works on mobile, too).

You can choose to either have a voice or video call, and you can also share your screen. And if you’re worried about privacy, you can “lock” your call to prevent anyone else from joining if they somehow found your unique link.

3. ooVoo (Web, Android, iOS, Windows, Mac)

Like WhatsApp, you can make domestic and international calls too.

Like a lovechild between WhatsApp and Skype, ooVoo is a free cross platform (Android, iOS, Windows, Web) app that allows free calls to other ooVoo users, and paid calls to landlines and mobiles. It’s group video calls are of particularly high quality, which is the main reason it’s included in this list.

If you start a Web-Based ooVoo chat, up to 12 people can join for free, without signing up or downloading anything. All you have to do is send them a unique link. All calls can be recorded, and screens can be shared.

It’s unlikely many of your contacts use the app, but if they do, it also doubles up as a messaging app, where you can record and send text messages and videos. It’s basically like WhatsApp, but also allows calls to landlines and web-based calls to non-users.

5. Talky (Web, iOS)

Like Appear.In, an extremely easy way to host a group video chat. No download required.

Just like Appear.in, Talky sells itself as “a truly simple video chat [with] screen sharing for groups”.

Again, simply pick a room name, get a unique URL, then share this URL with up to 15 people. The call is then accessible via each person’s browser (or via the iOS app).

Once a call is live, you can easily turn your webcam or microphone on and off, and chat via text. Once everyone’s online, you can also lock the call for extra privacy.

And again like Appear.In, you can’t use Talky to make international or domestic calls.

6. Voca (Android, iOS)

Free user-to-user calls, and some of the cheapest international calls on the market.

Working through your Wi-Fi or data connection, Voca gives you extremely easy access to very affordable international calls to over 230 countries. For instance, U.S.-to-U.S. calls to landlines and phones cost $0.001. You can find full rates on Voca’s site.

If your friends and family are also using the app, then text, voice, and video calls are completely free, though the app will use your data if you’re not connected to Wi-Fi. For the security conscious, all calls and messages are encrypted.

And, The App You Know About: WhatsApp

Free voice or video calls to any other WhatsApp users (on mobile). But no calls to anyone who’s not on WhatsApp.And then we have WhatsApp (and its security-obsessed alternatives). Although the app is available on Android, iOS, Windows, Desktop, and Web, WhatsApp calls are only available on Android, iOS and Windows.

It’s popularity in the U.S., Canada, Europe (and elsewhere) has seen the app attract over one billion users. At first, the app was mainly just for messaging your friends. Now it’s grown to also offer voice and video calling. These calls are made via your data plan, not over your network (so you may be charged for using data, but not your included minutes).

When using WhatsApp’s call features, you can only call other WhatsApp users (one person at a time, no group calls). If they don’t have WhatsApp, you can easily send them an invite.

Will You be Abandoning Skype?

Although Skype is usually the default option for calls over the internet, there are many great alternatives out there. These range from the super simple, to the feature-rich, with plenty in between.

Do you think any of these will be good enough for you to start moving away from Skype?

If so, what frustrated you so much about Skype to make you start searching for alternatives?

Originally written by Joel Lee on Sep 7, 2012.

Thanks a million times

To everyone who reads and follows this blog, i would like to personally say thanks a million for all your support. 2016 was quite slow especially on the frequency of updates for this blog but we continue to provide you with the best in the development world. We believe information is a necessity and everyone is entitled to good quality information; so from myself and team, we wish you happy holidays and  profitable new year.

cheers

ICT the game changer in development

Today I had a chance to attend the Vodafone Power Talks conference organized in Kampala. The conference had focus on ict innovations in the health and the impact they had in Africa. Noticing the many innovations shared I was pretty impressed as some could be taken on in other sectors. Among the most interesting things was how mhealth and mvaccine have reduced the time lag for patients to access information from doctors and viceverse. This indeed has enabled greater improvements in health in Uganda and Africa wide. Ict indeed is the future though faced with challenges especially issues of poor network/connectivity and moving to scale in the rural areas. Secondly ICT4Dev is still limited to mobile phones and limited use of other gadgets like computers and laptops. I feel ICT is the game changer even with the limitations, it’s still the way to go.