By Daniel Rasmus on Tue, 04/03/2012
I like to Mindmap. I organize my life, my writing and my projects with mindmaps. And ThinkBuzan, the software arm of mindmap inventor Tony Buzan, has just released what may be the ultimate experience for mind mappers: iMindMap Freedom. Before Freedom, iMindMap was an OK app on iOS and a pretty substaintial authoring environment on the Mac and PC.
The new apps is pretty to work with and elegant in its UI design. Buzan sees the process of brainstorming as a visual, artistic one, and no other mindmapping tool captures his vision like his own product. Not only is the UI design elegant, but the fluidity of idea capture makes most notetaking applications appear downright awkward.
Buzan clearly recognized that the iOS platform isn't a PC, and adjusted the visuals to account for the small surface space, while maintaining a familiarity for those steeped in the full client versions of the apps (note the blue and red half-circles in the illustrations that denote moving the branch or creating a new branch).
All of those mindmapping experiences now connect through the Freedom service. For the introductory price of $13.99 a year, maps from all devices synchronize, and can be edited, from a central repository of mindmaps. And if you find yourself deviceless, a new browser-based editor will keep the idea capture flowing. A free service allows for up to five synchronnized maps and a handful of syncs a day. For heavy use, you will need to lay down the $13.99.
The Freedom, however, service concerns me a bit, because it is yet another cloud.
If you aren't aware, there isn't "a cloud" there are many clouds, and they don't talk to each other. Most of my day-to-day files have migrated to Dropbox, which runs on everything from a PC to an Android phone (and all Macs and iOS devices inbetween). And of course there is iCloud. But Apple's cloud is only made for Apple stuff. Apple's iOS apps, for instance, can't access images stored in Dropbox, only those in Photostream. And if you store content in Google, that isn't accessible either, except through Google apps. And in this case, iMindMapHD, on iOS, won't connect with Dropbox or Google or iCloud.
Some third-party apps, like iThoughtsHD, another mindmapping app for iOS, stores its files locally or in Dropbox, or a numner of other more open storage locations. iThoughtsHD app doesn't pin you down to its own service.
The extensive export capabilities and other business features of iThoughtsHD will keep me conflicted for awhile, but overall I like the new iMindMap HD and the direction of all of the Buzan-inspired clients. I'll have more on the service and a deeper review integrated with other mindmapping tools soon. In the meantime, free is free. If you like mindmapping, take a look at iMindMap HD and see if it fits your idea capture style.
$13.99 limited time offer for annual subscription to the Freedom web service