In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's there are few. 
- Zen Concept of Shoshin

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

personal brain

personal brain
Originally uploaded by gitsul
TheBrain is a dynamic mind mapping application that I found the other day. It moves and feels like the software used in the movie Minority Report by Steven Spielberg with Tom Cruise, except you use your mouse and keyboard to jump around instead of special gloves with magic fingers.

TheBrain tag lines on their web site are "TheBrain-Visual Information Management" and PersonalBrain-Work the way you think.

It is available for Windows, OS X, and Linux. I put it on my new MacBook with ease. Installing it on my Dell with XP took two extra steps. First it prompted me to temporarily disable my anti-virus software when installing. This normally would be a no-no, but I blew caution to the wind and did it anyway. Who knows what I installed on my Dell not knowing. I am pretty confident, nothing. When I ran the application for the first time I was also prompted to upgrade my version of Java and directed me to a page with a download link. Pretty easy stuff. Depending on your system, this may or may not be needed. It was not needed on the MacBook with 10.4.

I created this Simpson's cast of characters map (see photo insert) in about five minutes. I've also been using it to keep notes on a book I have to read for work. It has helped me synthesize, analyze, and compare(ize) a lot of the concepts and information pretty easily. I would normally have just made a list or very simple outline of what I was reading as it came up in the book. Using TheBrain, I am now able to do basically that in a web format that allows me to easily link concepts back and forth to ideas from different parts of the book rather than in the sequence they appear in the book. I wouldn't be able to do this using my normal list process. I would have had a lot of (see #3 on page 2) kinds of notes.

The dynamic features of TheBrain allow me to connect ideas to other ideas as children, parents, or jump connections to each other.

At school we use Inspiration and I have used Mindomo a bit, but the brain's dynamic flow allows for deeper connections to be made. It isn't the type of thing you would create and then print out, like you would with Inspiration or Mindomo. Inspiration and Mindomo are 2D mapping applications. TheBrain is 3D. In the future when I am giving a presentation I will use TheBrain because I can easily jump around and connections between information will be clear and easy for viewers to follow. I like the idea of using TheBrain for presentations. I cannot say it will replace a PowerPoint or Keynote, but it will definitely allow you to present information in a different dynamic.

I am currently using the PersonalBrain. I have the pro edition for free for 30 days, after which my application will revert to the personal free edition. Looking at the comparison between their three levels, free, core, and pro, I think the free edition will work just fine for me.

I recommend it, so far. They're web site has great tutorials and suggestions about how you or anyone can use TheBrain.

Check it out -

[I was not paid for this endorsement, but a free upgrade might be nice.]

Here is a video that demonstrates TheBrain in action. This is Matt's Brain.

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