Inspiration

20 03 2014

Mind maps and concept maps are a perfect way to visualize creative processes like brainstorming or summarizing hierarchically or non-hierarchically organized content like feature descriptions of a software product or processes.

In contrast to a mind map a concept map visualizes the whole system with it’s interdependencies and it’s not limited to a strict hierarchy as some points are bound to more than one parent topic.

There is an app named Inspiration (Inspiration Software Inc., USA) for Apple’s iPad which is suitable for creating concept maps whereas the app iThoughts (Craig Scott, UK) is recommended for creating mind maps.

Concept Maps …

Concept Maps visualise and communicate knowledge.

Joseph Donald Novak (born 1932) is an American educator, and Professor Emeritus at the Cornell University, New York, and Senior Research Scientist at the Florida Institute for Human + Machine Cognition. He is known for his development of concept mapping in the 1970s.

From the outset, Concept Maps were designed to communicate. A student’s Concept Map can be systematically evaluated by their teacher, to assess their grasp of a subject. The scope of their maps and their level of understanding of the relationships between ideas are a reliable indicator of their “knowledge” – what they have learned and integrated, not just learned by rote. It is one thing to know facts, but relating them to each other and understanding their influence on each other takes us from information towards knowledge. Facts alone do not help us to predict behaviour, whereas knowledge represented by models does.
(Nick Duffill)

Summary …

Bringing Nick Duffill’s analysis of the differences between mind maps and concept maps to a very shortened summary:

Mind Maps are captured visualizations of fairly independent objects gearing for extensions and loosing much of their relevance for people who weren’t involved in the creation process.
The tree limb is just connected to the bole.

Concept Maps visualize knowledge of whole systems with interacting elements and logic operations. In contrast to a tree limb objects are connected with basically all other objects like the orbs in the solar system where the gravity and the magnetic and electric fields define the interactions.

If you are interested in a comprehensive description of the differences please read Nick Duffill’s excellent article about mind maps and concept maps (see the link below). He hit that nail square on the head.

The app Inspiration …

The app Inspiration (Inspiration Software Inc., USA) for the iPad (an iPhone version is not available) is intended to create concept maps as well as mind maps for:

  • Brainstorm new ideas and capture insights
  • Analyze information
  • Understanding cause and effect
  • Organize projects
  • Organize thoughts and topics for writing
  • Take notes

20131211-083308.jpg

Features ..

  • Simple usage because of a perfect UI
  • Diagrams are easy to build and saved instantly
  • Diagrams transform to outlines by just a single tap
  • Personalization with images, colour, shape, arrow style, and backgrounds
  • Using images from the web or the camera roll
  • Notes can be attached to any item
  • Hyperlinks can be added as floating shapes
  • Templates are available after installation

Filesharing …

Inspiration files can be shared as PDFs or in their native file format

  • with other apps by using the ‘Open in’ command
  • with other iPads via Dropbox or iTunes
    (iCloud is not supported)
  • E-Mail or export diagrams or outlines in vector PDF format

Impressions of the UI …

Work screen …

20131211-083501.jpg

Formatting of objects …

Tap on ‘i’ to access the formatting options.
Symbols automatically resize to fit the text that you put in them. You can also manually resize any symbol using the natural pinch interface of the iPad. To resize, touch and hold the symbol with two fingers then drag your fingers outward to make the symbol larger or pinch your fingers together to make the image smaller. The image will grow or shrink proportionally.

20131211-084321.jpg

Sometimes you may want to fine-tune the layout of your diagram. Inspiration Maps includes functions to align, evenly space, or nudge the symbols in your diagram. You must have at least two symbols selected to use the align function and at least three symbols selected to use the evenly space function. In order to select more than one symbol at a time, you’ll need to turn on Multiple Selection using the on the top toolbar.

Layout enhancements …

  • To align selected symbols
    Make sure you have at least two symbols selected.
    Then tap ‘i’. Tap the Style tab. Tap Layout Enhancements.
    Choose how you want the selected symbols aligned by tapping the top, center, bottom, left, middle, or right icon.
  • To evenly space selected symbols
    Make sure you have at least three symbols selected.
    Then tap ‘i’. Tap the Style tab. Tap Layout Enhancements.
    Choose to evenly space the symbols vertically or horizontally.
  • To nudge selected symbols
    Sometimes you may find that it’s difficult to be precise with your finger when you’re moving a symbol to a specific spot. Nudge comes in handy because you can have more control over the movement of a symbol or multiple symbols.
    Tap to select the symbol(s) you’d like to nudge. Tap the Style tab. Tap Layout Enhancements. Choose to nudge the symbol(s) left, right, up or down.

Outline interface …

Maps can be edited via the graphical user interface or, in case of hierarchical structures, via the outline interface.

20131211-084522.jpg

Shapes …

The update of Inspiration now contains 1000+ different shapes organized in categories.

20131211-084113.jpg

The pros and cons …

Pros …

  • Simple UI (user interface), perfect UX (user experience)
  • Maps can be organized in folders
  • Transfer of a map to a self-created folder is done by drag and drop
  • One and just one task bar at the top of the screen
  • Hyperlinks can be added as floating objects
  • Maps can be generated from an outline

Added new features in the update of December 9, 2013:

  • The app got tons of more or less useful shapes which can be accessed via a new control positioned top left and divided into several categories.
    Shapes also include well-known flow chart symbols.
  • Audio files can be added to every object.
  • Multiple selection of objects now can be turned on or off.
  • To refine the layout align, nudge and spacing controls were added.
  • Written or audio instructions can be added to any document.
  • Free templates can be downloaded for mostly scientific purposes in US English, UK English, French and Spanish.

Cons …

  • WebDAV is not supported
    The user is bound to Dropbox except he uses the ‘Open In’ command to transfer the map to a file management app. From their it can be transferred to other cloud storages.
  • Text color of hyperlinks cannot be changed
  • Text color doesn’t automatically change if the object color is changed
    Changing the background color from black to white should automatically change the text color from white to black.
  • Opening of hyperlinks only via dialog
    A nice-to-have feature would be the tap-and-hold gesture.
  • Connection symbols between notes and topics have a standard length
    Notes cannot be assigned to other topics.
  • Saving to Dropbox does not allow to select a folder
    The app uses /apps/inspiration maps as the default folder.
    So it’s recommended to install the free Dropbox client app to manage the files.
  • Multiple saving of the same map always creates new numbered file names
    So on one hand a version history of a useful map is created on the other hand it cannot be managed by the app (e.g. deletion of old versions). If you already shared a link it’s broken when saving an updated version.
  • Opening a map always changes the file date even if the map is not edited

Improvements …

This is an E-Mail I sent to the developer’s support in May 2013 and got this statement:

20130726-075543.jpg

The updated version of Inspiration still doesn’t fix the problems with Dropbox but solved the other problems mentioned in my mail.

Summary …

What I see is an app which is slightly improved but still has many cons.
It’s useful for easy tasks but a bit light weight for business purposes.

Notes …

Nick Duffill, Harport Consulting, Scotland

Mind Maps + Concept Maps

Nick is an expert in mapping technology as well writing sophisticated articles about mind mapping and concept mapping.

Inspiration Software Inc., USA

Inspiration for the iPad

developer of the reviewed app Inspiration and intensively taking care of my questions.

Related links …

Basics …

Mind Maps and Concept Maps

Mind Mapping (1)

Mind Mapping (2)

Mind Mapping (3)

Perfect mind mapping tools …

iThoughts for the iPad

Mindly for the iPhone

Other mind mapping tools …

Popples made by Popplet

BigMind

Three In One

Platform for shared maps …

The group ‘Apple’ on Biggerplate
created by myself in January 2013 on the world’s largest platform for shared mind maps with lots of mind maps regarding Apple and Apple products

Thanks for visiting http://iNotes4You.com.





Two running systems

16 02 2014

There are some similarities between an iOS device and a human being. Here is a simplified explanation of a computer-like device by using some well-known facts about human beings. Which of them is more complicated cannot be assessed. But it’s obvious that humans learn during their whole life whereas the basic skills of a device are fixed when the production process ends. Adding further skills means installing apps but even features of apps are already clearly defined by the developers.

There is a one way connection between the owner and his device because the owner has access to uncountable information saved on internet servers, can improve his skills and personality, and can be creative when using his brain and e.g. a mind mapping tool or an iWork app.

The comparison …

Basics of the two systems are summarized in this mind map.

20131120-144435.jpg

Feel free to download this map from my Box account.

The alternative file formats have been created with iThoughts HD for iPad (.ITMZ file format). Compatibility to other tools is limited.

Application File format
Adobe Reader PDF
Apple iWork/Microsoft Office DOCX
iThoughts ITMZ
MindManager MMAP
XMind XMIND

The differences …

Comparing the two systems might be useful for those who are not deeply involved in computer technology. So first of all let’s see where the differences are to avoid misconceptions (Source, modified). Keep in mind that these differences are not valid for supercomputers with hundreds of processors or implemented artificial intelligence. We are just talking about an iOS device with a single processor.

  • 01 Brains are analogue; computers are digital
  • 02 Brains uses content-addressable memory
  • 03 Brains are massively parallel machines; computers are modular and serial
  • 04 Processing speed is not fixed in the brain; there is no system clock
  • 05 Short-term memory is not like RAM
  • 06 Brains cannot be divided in hardware/software
  • 07 Synapses are far more complex than electrical logic gates
  • 08 Processing and memory are performed by the same components in the brain
  • 09 The brain is a self-organizing system
  • 10 Processors only can handle commands predefined by the operating system
  • 11 Brains can learn
    As far as I know there are two areas where even iOS devices improve their capabilities over time. When writing words iOS saves frequently written words in an individual dictionary. Power management adapts to usage over time.
  • Bonus Difference
    The brain is much, much bigger than any [current] computer.
    Accurate biological models of the brain would have to include some 225,000,000,000,000,000 (225 million billion) interactions between cell types, neurotransmitters, neuromodulators, axonal branches and dendritic spines, and that doesn’t include the influences of dendritic geometry, or the approximately 1 trillion glial cells which may or may not be important for neural information processing. Because the brain is nonlinear, and because it is so much larger than all current computers, it seems likely that it functions in a completely different fashion. The brain-computer metaphor obscures this important, though perhaps obvious, difference in raw computational power.

Source

Processor and apps …

The mind map shows that the kernel of an iOS device has to be divided into processor, operating system, and memory.

The Memory

During installation of a new app, the installer code creates a home directory for the app, places the app in that directory ( /AppName .app) and creates several other key directories. These directories constitute the app’s primary view of the file system located in the memory of your device and represents the universe for that app. It contains everything the app can access directly.

20131120-150432.jpg

If you create a document (e.g. with Apple’s Keynote) or receive one via E-Mail you possibly want to further work with it in another app. In Apple’s filesystem this is not possible by default.Interactions of an iOS app are limited mostly to the folders associated with it. This limitation is labeled Sandbox-Mode and was designed to increase the security of the filesystem. Unfortunately it also decreases the usability in many cases.

Note …
One exception to this rule occurs when an app uses public system interfaces to access things such as the user’s contacts or music. In those cases, the system frameworks handle any file-related operations needed to read from or modify the appropriate data stores.

The Operating System

If you tap on a control within an app (or you generally touch the screen), the app (the touchscreen) sends a specific command to the processor which communicates with the operating system to retrieve the necessary further tasks. The processor only can handle commands which have been defined by Apple (implemented in the operating system), the developer of the operating system. Programmers (companies where you het your app from) use these commands to let you interact with their app.

The Processor

A central processing unit (CPU), also referred to as a central processor unit, is the hardware within a computer that carries out the commands of an app by performing the basic

  • arithmetical
    counting the number of mails
  • logical
    setting WiFi on or off
  • input/output
    playing music, or asking Siri via microphone

operations of the system.

The fundamental task of a CPU is to execute a sequence of stored instructions (a program). The instructions are kept in the memory. Usually CPUs work in 4 steps:

  • FETCH
    Fetch involves retrieving an instruction (a sequence of numbers) from the program memory. The location in program memory is determined by a program counter (PC), which stores a number that identifies the current position in the program.
    The instruction that the CPU fetches from memory is used to determine what the CPU has to do.
  • DECODE
    In the decode step, the instruction is broken up into parts that have significance to other portions of the CPU. The way in which the numerical instruction value is interpreted is defined by the CPU’s instruction set architecture (ISA). Often, one group of numbers in the instruction, called the opcode, indicates which operation to perform. The remaining parts of the number usually provide information required for that instruction, such as operands for an addition operation. Such operands may be given as a constant value (called an immediate value), or as a place to locate a value: a register or a memory address, as determined by some addressing mode.
  • EXECUTE
    During execution, various portions of the CPU are connected so they can perform the desired operation. If, for instance, an addition operation was requested, the arithmetic logic unit will be connected to a set of inputs and a set of outputs. The inputs provide the numbers to be added, and the outputs will contain the final sum.
  • WRITEBACK
    The final step, writeback, simply “writes back” the results of the execution to the memory. Some types of instructions manipulate the program counter rather than directly produce result data. These are generally called “jumps” and facilitate behavior like loops, conditional program execution (through the use of a conditional jump), and functions in programs. Many instructions will also change the state of digits in a “flags” register. These flags can be used to influence how a program behaves, since they often indicate the outcome of various operations. For example, one type of “compare” instruction considers two values and sets a number in the flags register according to which one is greater. This flag could then be used by a later jump instruction to determine program flow.

After the execution of the instruction and writeback of the resulting data, the entire process repeats, with the next instruction.
Scientists found out that a brain can also be divided into areas with special functionalities. But don’t ask me how this all works together within a human being and whether parallel execution of tasks is possible or not. Fact is that the processor cannot work on two different tasks as long as their is no companion processor which is designed to offload work from the main processor. The introduction of the M7 Motion processor in Apple’s iPhone 5S in October 2013 allows to aggregate all the data from different sensors of the device and deliver necessary data to the CPU if needed. So the device gets faster because work is partially done by two ‘brains’.

20131120-143425.jpg

The Sensors

In the skin, there are at least five different types of nerve endings:

  • heat sensitive
  • cold sensitive
  • pain sensitive
  • itch sensitive
  • pressure sensitive

All these senses submit reactions controlled by the brain, the many experiences stored there, and patterns which initiate reactions.

Your iOS device also needs the help of many sensors to work properly. For example, if you turn your device from portrait to landscape mode the operating system will also turn the screen of an app (if the developer implemented this feature). In contrast to human sensors, the device’s sensors always initiate the same actions if the input data are the same whereas a human being is able to react in different ways up to the actual needs, e.g. hearing a voice (the sound waves) but not processing the content.

Summary …

There are similarities but only in a figurative meaning. Human beings learn many additional skills and can change their reactions even if causes remain the same. An iOS device gets its skill when manufacturing is finished and can only expand them with the installation of an update of the operating system. Advantage human being. So keep control over yourself and do not delegate essential task to your device. Just use it for what it is intended for, show you the way with the app Maps, connect you to the giant sources of knowledge, and help you being creative by using a mind mapping tool.

Related links …

Science Blog

Every App is an i(s)Land

Sensitiveness

Thanks for stopping by.





instaGrok

25 01 2014

instaGrok by instaGrok Inc., USA, is an educational web-based research engine that lets students or anyone else research any topic in an engaging, visual way. instaGrok finds information on the topic and presents it as an interactive mind map (“grok”), showing key facts, concepts and relationships, videos, images and more. Users can pin their favorite materials to their grok and take notes in the built-in journals.

Prior to the launch of the iPad app instaGrok was accessible via any browser. The iPad app is a free version released on Jan 09, 2014 (version 1.0.1).

The concept …

The company tries to retrieve comprehensive information about a topic in a visualized layout with the main topic as the center of a mind map.

20140124-054155.jpg

The developer about his concept:

  • Visual interface
    instaGrok presents each topic as an interactive visual interface, allowing the user to quickly grasp important concepts, key facts and relationships.

20140124-062814.jpg

  • Features
    • Key Facts show important facts about the topic (with links to the original content page)
    • Difficulty Slider adjusts the difficulty of the material
    • Quizzes offer fun challenges that reinforce learning and encourage exploration
    • Glossary defines important terms
  • Journals, Pinning, History
    • Integrated journals allow easy note-taking or writing of research reports
    • Pin buttons allow pinning of favorite facts, websites or images to your grok
    • Search history is automatically saved, allowing you to come back to your research activity
  • Classroom version
    In the school setting, an integrated teacher dashboard allows teachers to monitor the progess of each student, view their research activity, and view/comment on students’ journals.

How it works …

Enter a search term in ‘What would you like to know about?’ and tap on GROK.
A visualized summary of retrieved topics appears.
Tap on a topic to see

  • Key Facts
  • Websites
    instaGrok provides an integrated browser. So following a source doesn’t require to move over to Safari.
  • Videos
  • Images
  • Concepts
  • Add Note
    Notes can be added to each topic.

instGrok provides a text editor with lots of formatting features to summarize information about the topic.

20140124-055929.jpg

Here is a video about the usage on a desktop computer

Sad to see that many of the essential features don’t work when using the iPad app.

The cons …

The following features are not available:

  • Items in the ‘History’ cannot be deleted.
  • There is no way to add a pin to the journal.

The UI looks perfect but …

  • The iPad’s status bar is overlapped by the app’s screen.
  • The tab ‘Grok’ disappears in some cases.
  • Changing the view often logs the user out.
  • The UI is quite jumpy when rearranging topics although my cable internet connection is a 40 MBit/sec connection.
  • Apple’s autocorrect feature doesn’t work when writing the journal. It’s quite frustrating to manually correct all those minor typos.
  • Many of the formatting options using drop-down menus are not really useful because the controls are too small for targeted usage on a touch screen.

Summary …

A perfect idea unfortunately with a jumpy UI (iPad 3, iOS 7) and not working features.
It seems to me that the iPad version just retrieves the website where many features are also not available, neither with Safari nor with Google Chrome.

Again an app is hastily stitched together and released without a critical internal control.
Three years after the release of the first iPad and the availability of lots of powerful apps fully adapted to the iPad’s touch screen the developer should do it bit more to satisfy customers.

In total I don’t see teal benefits compared to a powerful mind mapping tool like iThoughts for the iPad with which you can also do it all and do it better because of a perfect adaption to touch screens.

Related links …

How to use instaGrok (YouTube, 6:21)

Reviews of mind mapping tools …

iThoughts for the iPad

Pearltrees

Inspiration

Three In One (about MagicalPad)

BigMind

About mind mapping …

Mind Maps vs Concept Maps

Mind Mapping (1)

Mind Mapping (2)

Mind Mapping (3)

Thanks for visiting iNotes4You.





Final Argument

30 10 2013

Reviewing apps can be a funny or a really troublesome work. This depends on how conscientious you do your work. Downloading the app from the App Store, playing with it for 20 minutes using provided templates is not enough for a serious rating. But this procedure is often done when we read ratings like ‘Awesome app’, ‘Best app of the year’, or ‘Swiss army knife’. The egg-laying wool-milk-sow is still not born, sorry, not developed.

Enthusiasm is still forced by these small and powerful devices we call smartphones and tablets. The first tablet was launched by Apple in 2010 and technical improvements are done with nearly the speed of light. In the twinkling of an eye we can do things which in former times required

  • Going to the work desk
  • Launching the operating system
  • Staring at the flickering screen, lost in daydreams, and disregarding the everlasting war of drivers
  • Waiting until all the update messages are gone and let you get a sneak peek at the desktop icons
  • Starting the application

With tablets this painful procedure is reduced to ‘Starting the application’.

So people, including me, are still impressed if it comes to controlling a device just with some fingers and using it anywhere and anytime. It’s the hidden child in nearly all of us that takes away the dispassion and forces enthusiasm.

With this in mind let’s take a look on the app Final Argument by Morris Cooke, UK.

General information …

Final Argument is in the line of applications allowing non-linear presentations. In contrast to Apple’s Keynote or Microsoft’s Powerpoint presentation tools slides can be arranged in a non-linear (in contrast to top-to-bottom) layout. .

With this kind of presentation, it is possible to jump to any out-of-order slides. Non linear presentations are excellent where audience participation is expected and encouraged. For instance a manager summarizing the latest progress of a project with his team, team members may interject to explain something, as a result the manager jumps to a different slide.

The features …

What’s the idea of Final Argument?

The app allows to present existing PDF/Keynote/PPT slides, use an interactive whiteboard, and record a presentation as a video.

The main idea is, in contrast to Keynote and Powerpoint, the ability to present in a non-linear way. During a presentation the way going through slides is based on a mind map.

Features …

  • External screen support
    The audience only sees the content the presenter wishes to display. If you receive an unexpected question from the audience, it’s easy to immediately create a new slide or add something to an existing one.
  • Non-linear presentation layout
    Slides can be arranged in a mind-map like style.
  • Close integration with Explain Everything
    You can import your .XPL projects and show them in a non-linear way. Presentation recordings are saved as XPL files, that can be later edited in Explain Everything.
  • Drawing
    Draw in any color, add shapes, use Bates stamps, text boxes, and use a laser pointer.
  • Editing objects
    Rotate, move, scale, copy, paste, duplicate, and lock any object added to the canvas.
  • Powerful clipboard
    Move objects to and from a clipboard invisible to the audience.
  • Import
    Import photos and videos from the Photo Library.
    Import PDF, PPT, DOC, XLS, Keynote, Pages, Numbers, and RTF files from a number of cloud sources, such as Evernote, Dropbox, Google Drive, or WebDAV repositories.
  • Share
    Share presentations using Evernote, Dropbox, GDrive, WebDAV, Email, iTunes, and any app that allows you to open PDF or MP4 files using “Open In…”.
  • Record
    Record your presentation to use it later as the meeting minutes.
  • Export
    Export the recorded session as an MP4 movie, PDF document or XPL project (Explain Everything) directly from your iPad.
  • Upload
    Upload your session directly to YouTube.

To go through the main features I created a small presentation about the app Google+ for iOS devices with which you can seamlessly engage in this network.

The screen …

To create a presentation for this blog post I first tried to use the integrated features of Final Argument, stopped doing so after about 10 minutes, and moved over to my preferred app for mobiles, Apple’s Keynote presentation tool.
Why? Well, Final Argument is not intended for creating slides. Admittedly it’s useful when creating a slide during a presentation just for keeping ideas from the audience on file.

Morris Cooke’s blog
„Our aim was not to compete with Keynote or PowerPoint – they do their job well for staged presentations, but show their limits when presenting at workshops when the presenter doesn’t have a script to follow. With Final Argument, you can better react to ad-hoc question.”

See these screenshots to get an impression of the UI (user interface).

The screen partitioning …

20130828-090216.jpg

20130828-090529.jpg

Selection of single pages of a Keynote presentation …

20130828-090619.jpg

Working with an external display …

Final Argument is designed to give you full control over what is seen by the au- dience on an external monitor.After turning the external screen on (by connect- ing a VGA cable to your iPad or switching on Airplay using your Apple TV), four additional buttons will be displayed on the presentation screen. These buttons let you control what will be displayed on the external screen. There are four different modes …

  • HOLD
    The audience will see the ‘Intermission’ screen. You can use it during breaks, before the presentation or whenever you need to hide the presentation contents.
  • MIRROR
    The audience will see exactly what you see on your iPad. This mode is rarely used during presentations, as it displays the whole presenter’s screen, together with tools you’re using and the slide map.
  • SHOW
    The audience will see only the currently selected slide. The map, clipboard and sources will never be revealed when you access their contents on your iPad.
  • MAP
    The audience will see the the map on the full screen. Use this mode to display the slide structure to the audience – as a visual agenda of your presentation.

Play a session recording using an external display …

If you’re on the project screen (the front screen of the app, where all the projects are shown), the external display will always be in the “Hold” mode. The external monitor will reactivate when an existing recording is being played.

See my article

Presenting with iPad (1)

for an appropriate hardware configuration to present the iPad’s screen to an audience.

The pros and cons …

That’s what I found out within 2 hours.

The pros …

  • 01 Final Argument lets you decide which information is shown to the audience
  • 02 Suitable UI and easy to use functionalities
  • 03 Access to different pre-defined well-known cloud storages
  • 04 Availability of WebDAV access for accessing not predefined storages
  • 05 Powerful editing features of imported slides within a Final Argument slide
    (Copy, Duplicate, Bring to Front, Bring Forward, Send Backward, Send to Back, Set as Background, Rotate, Move to any position)
  • 06 Selection of single slides of a presentation for further use in Final Argument
  • 07 A powerful clipboard to transfer slides or parts of a slide to other slides by just marking a snippet (function is named as callout tool) within a slide and drag it into the clipboard area.
  • 08 Comprehensive help system accessible from within the app.
  • 09 Only a few controls neede for working on a presentation
  • 10 Sessions can be recorded and exported as a video and uploaded to YouTube
  • 11 Perfect videos about the usage of Final Argument accessible from within the app

    Morris Cooke, Final Argument

The cons …

  • 01 An integrated browser is not available.
  • 02 Features for creating slides are poor, tricky to use and far away from guidelines for intuitive usage.
    There should be a thin border around objects if they are selected.
    Vertical and horizontal lines for adjusting objects are not available.
    Rotation of objects is not supported by showing the angle like in Apple’s Keynote.
    For more complex slides you have to move over to a dedicated app like Keynote. Admittedly the offered features are suitable for creating ad-hoc slides during a presentation e.g. for note taking.
  • 03 Hyperlinks used in slides don’t work.
  • 04 Projects cannot be organized in folders.
  • 05 There is no Redo button and in some cases the Undo button doesn’t work, e.g. After setting a border around a text box.
  • 06 If the on-screen keyboard is visible while working in a text box the options menu for text boxes is not fully visible because it’s displayed behind the keyboard. There is no automatic positioning of an object so that it’s in yhe visible part of the screen.
  • 20130828-090818.jpg

  • 07 The indispensable ‘Open in’ doesn’t work when using a helper app.
  • 20130828-091208.jpg

  • 08 Projects are not automatically backed up. If you made a mistake you cannot go back to a former version.

See this mind map which visualizes the features of the app.

20130828-091912.jpg

Feel free to download this map from my Box account.

The alternative file formats have been created with iThoughts HD for iPad (.ITMZ file format). Compatibility to other tools is limited.

Application File format
Adobe Reader PDF
iThoughts ITMZ
MindManager MMAP
XMind XMIND

A simple alternative …

See my article

Non-Linear Presentation

in which I describe a simple solution using iThoughts HD mind mapping tool for presenting to the audience.

Summary …

Final Argument is a high-rated app for the iPad getting much positive response in publications. But there are still no ratings in the (German) AppStore.

Anyway it’s a suitable tool for composing (not creating) non-linear presentations, if not the best. To make it clear, contents must be be created with other apps and Final Argument can then be used for overtaking these slides and put it into a mind map-like order.

The developer should implement a browser which is indispensable for ad-hoc researches within an interacting audience and useful during the process of creating a presentation.

Related links …

Morris Cooke

Non-Linear Presentation

Presenting with iPad (1)

Comments are appreciated.
I’m pleased to see you here on iNotes4You.





An alternate Apple Store

26 10 2013

The Apple Store, a subsidiary of Apple Inc. was founded in 2001.

At the time there are 412 stores in 14 countries. The Apple Store is managed by Tim Cook (CEO) and Apple’s Phil Schiller as the director for marketing.

To seamlessly buy Apple products every iOS device comes with the pre-installed app Apple Store. The app can be connected with your Apple ID and requires some additional information about your banking account to purchase products.

A large percentage of people learn from pictures rather than words.
When it comes to sales offers nearly all of us first want to get an impression of the product before going into the details.

I would like to show you an alternate approach to an array of products by using a mind map.
The mind map was created with the mind mapping tool iThoughts HD for the iPad and shows the offer of the Apple Store, UK, of July 2013.

20131025-231629.jpg

Feel free to download this map from my Box account.

The alternative file formats have been created with iThoughts HD for iPad (.ITMZ file format). Compatibility to other tools is limited.

Application File format
Adobe Reader PDF
iThoughts ITMZ
MindManager MMAP
XMind XMIND

The classic layout …

To choose products and get information you have to move through different screens with images of the product and textual descriptions in general and more detailed.

20130816-062333.jpg

The jazzed-up layout …

Buying a device in the Apple Store starts with the selection of a specific model.

20130816-064309.jpg

Images and graphics that’s what gives it the extra something to attract potential customers. This is particularly valid for products perfectly designed and finished with high quality materials.
Let me illustrate this important point for a useful and innovative accessory, the Smart Cover.

This part of the mind map uses two topics, an Overview for quick information and comparison and Details for seeing the details and purchasing a variant.

20130816-062759.jpg

With the Tap + Hold gesture images can be displayed in full-screen mode.

20130816-062634.jpg

Further actions allow to use the image for other purposes.

Benefits …

Exploring the product offer with a mind map is much more interesting than doing it by reading just text. It’s the graphical interface which makes the difference.

The whole offer divided into main topics (=products and services) is always visible and navigation is done by a fingertip in contrast to the hierarchical structure of the app Apple Store where you have to dive into the details and then trace back the hierarchy to explore other products. Within a mind map just tap on the Collapse Control (-) and you are back on level zero with the products overview.

20130816-065548.jpg

Nearly all mind mapping tools provide a Search functionality. A term or part of it can be entered and the hits are displayed in a list. Tapping on an item opens the related topic. This cannot be done seamlessly on Apple’s website. You always have to scroll up and down, tap on links, and return to the basic site.

The classical app allows zooming only for images whereas the mind map can always be zoomed by using the two fingers. Pinch two fingers together to zoom out or spread them apart to zoom in.

For comprehensive technical descriptions PDFs should be attached to a topic.

20130816-063657.jpg

Note
See my post

PDF the Web

for a detailed description how to convert any website into a PDF file which than can be easily added to the mind map by using the ‘Open in’ command from within Safari and selecting iThoughts as the destination app.

Disadvantages …

Mind maps need a lot of space if all topics are expanded.
So a meaningful usage is limited to tablets and computers.

Steve Job’s philosophy was to focus on some products. So my suggestion for an alternate store wouldn’t work with Microsoft products.

20130816-063851.jpg

A special functionality is needed to mark products you want to purchase and put them in a shopping basket and an outlined list on the left side of the screen. This new feature is no standard functionality of mind mapping tools but of course it could be implemented in an extended mind mapping tool.

An alternative could be to hide topics which are not of interest. The remaining products are automatically moved into the shopping basket.

Hotspots …

You might argue that I present an alternative for buying in the Apple Store but the user yet doesn’t have the device he is looking for and so cannot use this mind map. Well, mind maps can also be used on websites. Mind mapping tools like iThoughts HD for the iPad for example allow the export of a mind map in the so-called HTML+PNG format. When using this format a website is created and it contains so-called Hotspots which are clickable.
So even on websites it’s seamlessly possible to use all the benefits of visualized information.

Indispensable extensions …

Well-crafted mind maps can liven up any sales offer because they can let the clients see how the product or service can actually benefit them.

So a mind map for sales offers should not just present the facts but also some examples of applications and an overview how the actual products fits in the vendor’s ecosystem.

Here are some suggestions how the actual mind map could be extended to cover the idea of improving sales by showing potential customers something more than just the product.

20130816-092633.jpg

Summary …

A slightly increasing number of web services offer mind maps as the main navigation and for visualizing summarized contents e.g. Vizify for displaying bios. It might be a problem of programming languages for websites, performance issues, and the display of unavoidable advertisement that hamper an intense usage of this technique.

Related links …

My blog offers a so-called Keyword Cloud on the right side.
Just tap on ‘Mind Map’ to retrieve more articles about mind mapping here on iNotes4You.

20130816-071304.jpg

Chuck Frey: Intangibles of the Sales Process

Thanks …

Comments are appreciated.
Thanks for visiting http://iNotes4You.com.





Mind Maps + Concept Maps

2 10 2013

Mind maps are a perfect way to visualize creative processes like brainstorming or summarizing hierarchically organized content like feature descriptions e.g. of a software product.
But when it comes to the visualization of non-hierarchical organized knowledge of a whole system with interdependencies mind mapping will fail.

This article is about the differences between Mind Maps and so-called Concept Maps. Additionally the app Inspiration (iPad) for creating concept maps is reviewed.

Mind Maps …

Mind Maps visually outline information in the way the creator thinks about the topic. Insofar it’s a subjective (or personalized) view on a topic.

Consider a simple experiment, the relationship between resistance and temperature of a metal conductor. Pupils should mind map the way to

  • think about the right questions
  • create a suitable experiment
  • think about appropriate accessories to reach the goal
  • think about the right presentation of the results
  • extend the primary question for getting more knowledge about nature, e.g. to repeat the experiment with other materials like iron or silicon.

20130726-070515.jpg

The example exhibits many of the characteristics of a Mind Map. Graphics bring it to life, and the subject is pretty clear, although the intended purpose of the map is not. The subtopics are certainly related to their parents, but not necessarily exclusively, and the exact nature of their connection is left to the reader to decide. That can be an advantage but at the same time a disadvantage too.
A mind map is often created around a single word or text, placed in the center, to which associated ideas, words and concepts are added. Major categories radiate from a central node, and lesser categories are sub-branches of larger branches. Categories can represent words, ideas, tasks, or other items related to a central key word or idea.
Ideas and information far away from the centre are usually regarded as the less important detail.

It can be used as a result of a brainstorming process and gears to be extended by further ad-hoc ideas. So a mind map often reflects an ongoing process.

Mind Mapping developed as a personal note-taking, memorization, learning and brainstorming technique is very effective, because the rich layout helps greatly with recall. Visualization of initially boring topics enforce pupils and students to further go into the details.

A report format would not inspire pupils while thinking about this topic. Providing the mind map with visual mnemonics, colors, icons and links pools the information and goes along with satisfying the play instinct.

Concept Maps …

Concept Maps visualise and communicate knowledge.

Joseph Donald Novak (born 1932) is an American educator, and Professor Emeritus at the Cornell University, New York, and Senior Research Scientist at the Florida Institute for Human + Machine Cognition. He is known for his development of concept mapping in the 1970s.

From the outset, Concept Maps were designed to communicate. A student’s Concept Map can be systematically evaluated by their teacher, to assess their grasp of a subject. The scope of their maps and their level of understanding of the relationships between ideas are a reliable indicator of their “knowledge” – what they have learned and integrated, not just learned by rote. It is one thing to know facts, but relating them to each other and understanding their influence on each other takes us from information towards knowledge. Facts alone do not help us to predict behaviour, whereas knowledge represented by models does.
(Nick Duffill)

Summary …

Bringing Nick Duffill’s analysis of the differences between mind maps and concept maps to a very shortened summary:

Mind Maps are captured visualizations of fairly independent objects gearing for extensions and loosing much of their relevance for people who weren’t involved in the creation process.
The tree limb is just connected to the bole.

Concept Maps visualize knowledge of whole systems with interacting elements and logic operations. In contrast to a tree limb objects are connected with basically all other objects like the orbs in the solar system where the gravity and the magnetic and electric fields define the interactions.

If you are interested in a comprehensive description of the differences please read Nick Duffill’s excellent article about mind maps and concept maps (see the link below). He hit that nail square on the head.

The visualized differences …

Within Apple’s iOS operating system some settings influence the battery life but cannot be summarized under one topic. Unlocking the device immediately after using it not only saves energy but also increases security.

This is the visualization of some aspects regarding security and battery life with the help of a mind map.

20130726-071334.jpg

One way to point out the influence of unlocking on security AND battery life is to draw a cross-connection with a thin line. An alternative would be to split the map into two separate maps for security and battery life. This causes redundancy of topics.

Here is the same topic visualized in a concept map without a tree structure where every subtopic is bound to a parent topic.

In contrast the Concept Map visualizes the whole system with it’s interdependencies and it’s not limited to a strict hierarchy as some points are bound to more than one parent topic.

20130726-071618.jpg

In this Concept Map you can see that dependencies are going along with textual description explaining them. Concept Maps need less space an redundancy can be avoided.

The app Inspiration …

The app Inspiration (Inspiration Software Inc., USA) for the iPad is intended to create concept maps as well as mind maps by offering the following features:

  • Brainstorm new ideas and capture insights
  • Analyse information
  • Understand cause and effect
  • Organise projects
  • Organise thoughts and topics for writing
  • Take notes

Features ..

  • Simple usage because of a perfect UI
  • Diagrams are easy to build and saved instantly
  • Diagrams transform to outlines by just a single tap
  • Personalization with images, colour, shape, arrow style, and backgrounds
  • Using images from the web or the camera roll
  • Notes can be attached to any item
  • Hyperlinks can be added as floating shapes
  • Templates are available after installation

Filesharing …

Inspiration Maps files can be converted to Inspiration desktop files

  • with other apps by using the ‘Open in’ command
  • with other iPads via Dropbox or iTunes
  • E-Mail or export diagrams or outlines in vector PDF format

Impressions of the UI …

20130726-125820.jpg

The pros and cons …

Pros …

  • Simple UI (user interface), perfect UX (user experience)
  • Maps can be organized in folders
  • Transfer of a map to a self-created folder is done by drag and drop
  • One and just one task bar at the top of the screen
  • Hyperlinks can be added as floating objects
  • Maps can be generated from an outline

Cons …

  • WebDAV is not supported
    The user is bound to Dropbox except he uses the ‘Open In’ command to transfer the map to a file management app. From their it can be transferred to other cloud storages.
  • Text color of hyperlinks cannot be changed
  • Text color doesn’t automatically change if the object color is changed
    Changing the background color from black to white should automatically change the text color from white to black.
  • Opening of hyperlinks only via dialog
    A nice-to-have feature would be the tap-and-hold gesture.
  • Connection symbols between notes and topics have a standard length
    If moving a note away from a topic the connection cannot be assigned any longer.
  • Saving to Dropbox does not allow to select a folder
    The app uses /apps/inspiration maps as the default folder.
    So it’s recommended to install the free Dropbox client app to manage the files.
  • Multiple saving of the same map creates numbered file names
    So on one hand a version history is created on the other hand it cannot be managed by the app.

To check the quality of the developer’s support and to get a statement about the cons of Inspiration I sent some questions by mail. Here are the answers:

20130726-075543.jpg

See what Chuck Frey wrote about this app one year ago

Mind Mapping Software Blog

What I see is that the app is basically still without new features.
It’s useful for easy tasks but a bit light weight for business purposes.

Notes …

A big thank to

Prof. Toni Krasnic, USA

Concise Learning

He suggested the app Inspiration, is an expert in mapping technology, and created the Google+ community ‘Mind Mapping’.

Nick Duffill, Harport Consulting, Scotland

Mind Maps + Concept Maps

He is an expert in mapping technology as well writing sophisticated articles about mind mapping and concept mapping.

Inspiration Software Inc., USA

Inspiration for the iPad

developer of the reviewed app Inspiration and intensively taking care of my questions.

Related links …

Web-based Mind Mapping

http://www.wisemapping.com/
http://www.mindmeister.com/
http://www.mindomo.com/

Articles

Basics …

Chuck Frey, Mind Mapping Software Blog

Mind Mapping (1)

Mind Mapping (2)

Mind Mapping (3)

Further information …

Remarks to Mind Mapping

Pairing People with Mind Maps

Molecules and Art

Mind Map bs Textual Pages

Mind Map ‘Concussion’

Platform for shared maps …

The group ‘Apple’ on Biggerplate
created by myself in Jan 2013 on the world’s largest platform for shared mind maps with lots of mind maps regarding Apple and Apple products

Thanks for visiting http://iNotes4You.com.





Pearltrees

16 09 2013

Accessing the internet is more and more done by mobile devices. It’s simply much more convenient than taking out a laptop computer and waiting for it to boot up. If you also do so the majority of your bookmarks will be located on your mobile devices, which can make it inconvenient to share a couple of links referring to a special topic with your friends. Sharing and collaboration is hampered because syncing of bookmarks across devices is usually limited to one and only one Google (Chrome) or Apple account (Safari).

Furthermore it’s not possible to add notes or other stuff to bookmarks managed by browsers.

As an alternative one can use a mind mapping tool like iThoughts for the iPad where the main topic is connected to subtopics containing links to websites. Using these links is usually followed by opening the devices standard browser and so you always have to return to the source application to view further topics.

Based on these considerations an app called Pearltrees (universal app for iPad and iPhone) was developed. It’s intended to bridge the gap between simple bookmarking and visualization of information retrieved from websites.

The features …

The developer describes his application as

Pearltrees . Cultivate your interests.

A pearl is an object which may contain a link, a photo, or a note.
Pearls can be organized in trees that means they can be connected to each other and build up a pool of information with the main topic in the center.

So a pearltree is like a folder that contains subfolders which can be pearls or further sub-pearltrees. You can collect what you like by turning it into a pearl and then organize your pearls into pearltrees as you like. Pearltrees can be opened (expand), closed (collapse), and put it into other pearltrees and share where and with whom you want.

20130712-150727.jpg

A visual interface allows you to create an unlimited number of folders and subfolders containing links, photos, or notes.

Because Pearltrees is a collaborative digital library, you can discover the pearltrees others have already organized on topics that interest you. For this you can explore related pearltrees, use search, or let yourself be guided by the notifications you receive.
Pearltrees also allows you to follow the activity of pearltrees organized by other enthusiasts. By ‘picking’ a pearltree and adding it to your account you will be informed when new pearls or comments are added. Finally, you can collaborate with others to organize a topic as part of a team.

A glimpse on the Home Screen of Pearltrees shows that it doesn’t follow any guidelines for a suitable user interface. There are two taskbars (one would be enough) with controls which aren’t in any context with the creation process (e.g. Buttons for the installation of the Pearler bookmarklet, What’s new, and Go Premium). All controls should be only accessible when opening the settings dialog.

Summarized:

Pearltrees is a visually organized collection of links and photos which can be accessed from others. So it’s like a social network where ‘posts’ (pearls) are arranged around topics similar to mind maps.

It’s like Pinterest with a mind map-like layout.

Can Pearltrees compete with main functionalities of a social network?

No, it can not.

It will not get the importance of a social network as it is limited to those users having Pearltrees installed on a device running with iOS or Android. All other networks just require a browser without additional software.

Collections of commented links with added images would be useful but in many cases it’s indispensable to use this collection in an additional context e.g. as an outline in a text document or on a website. Pearltrees doesn’t offer any different file format like OPML (Outline Processor Markup Language), PDF, or a simple text format. So all information is bound to the existence of the app.

So the companies announcement

Sharing with whom and what you want

is a bit boastful and in reality limited to a small number of people having an account on pearltrees.com.

Obviously collected information can be created with an underlying structure but it’s highly confusing to take advantage of it. It’s the wrong approach to organize and share interests except for leisure purposes.
Admittedly mind mapping is a perfect technology for visualizing information but Pearltrees provides a map layout which is a bit confusing. Opening a pearl hides all other pearls so the overview of collected pearls gets list. Additionally, rearranging of pearls cannot be done by just moving objects to other pearls using gestures. You have to do it within a dialog.
Other well-known format attributes available in mind mapping tools like color, text size, etc. are not available. Expanding and collapsing selected topics is also not available.

Getting started …

After installing the app you have to sign up for an account at pearltrees.com.
Objects will than be created on a cloud storage of the company.
Sign up can be done via Facebook, Twitter, or by E-Mail.

The app starts with a pearl in the center.

The first thing you have to do is installing a bookmarklet for Safari, which enables you to collect links as pearls. The installation procedure is clearly described. For frequent use of Pearltrees it’s recommended to locate the bookmarklet within the visible part of the bookmarks bar.

After doing so the app is ready to add new pearls.
If you tap on + you can select the type of the new pearl. It can be a Pearltree, a weblink, a photo gallery, or a note. To add a weblink you need to know the address. If it’s in the clipboard it can be pasted, if not, close Pearltrees, open Safari and use the installed Pearler bookmarklet to collect links. After tapping on the Pearltrees bookmark you can select the location for the new link.

The following steps were carried out to create the pearltree shown in the image below.

  • 01 Open Safari
  • 02 Open the website iNotes4You
  • 03 Select the article ‘Apple, a unique company’
  • 04 Tap on the bookmarklet ‘Pearltrees’
  • 05 Add the website to the central pearl ‘iNotes4You’
  • 06 Open the website ‘Air Mail by Apple’
  • 07 Add the website to a new pearl named ‘Printing on iOS devices’
  • 08 Adding two more websites about printing

The disadvantages …

In most cases information is retrieved from links to websites so Pearltrees competes with usual browsers and their bookmark feature.

So what’s the really new idea of Pearltrees?

I didn’t find an answer except the unusual layout which looks nice but gets a bit confusing if there are many trees with many pearls but not clearly defined pearl titles.

Note
To edit the title of a pearl -which is generated from the link and not often suitable- you have to close Safari and do the work in Pearltrees.

It’s neither an innovative mind mapping nor a suitable note taking tool. It allows saving links by using the Pearler bookmarklet which is quite comfortable.

If there is no connection to the Internet there is an option named ‘Poor connection. Tap here to start offline!’. This option doesn’t work. A message comes up and prompts to quit the app.

Because of it’s form factor Pearltrees is not recommended for smartphones like the iPhone. It might be used for a special topic with a small number of links.

In Pearltrees everything is public and collaborative by default. So you have to register for a Premium version with annual fees to keep your bookmarks private. Otherwise all the pearls you create are publicly accessible.

It’s not acceptable to pay for a workspace if you don’t use the app regularly for a long time. There are many free cloud storages available where you can share all kinds of files. I understand that the company is interested in continuous payment flow but this strategy is not accepted by the majority of the users.

The Benefits …

A funny application of Pearltrees could be to summarize a holiday with some links, notes, and many photos. Friends with access to this data can easily explore your experiences and holiday highlights posted on Facebook, Twitter, or sent by an invitation via E-Mail.

20130712-195112.jpg

For Twitter and Facebook fans it might be interesting to pearl the links posted on their accounts. Transferring Tweets or Facebook posts to a further platform might be a way to summarize information spread over an account.

Thanks for visiting iNotes4You.
I appreciate your sharing to other networks.





Three In One

8 09 2013

Three-In-One Concepts is an educational corporation based in Thousand Oaks, California with the purpose of assisting individuals who are interested and willing in taking responsibility for creating their wellbeing personally and professionally through the integration of Body, Mind and Spirit. Developed by Gordon Stokes, Daniel Whiteside und Candace Callaway in the 80s, it’s a worldwide accepted approach today.

For technical products Three In One is just a synonym for a set of three features implemented in just one product. Three-In-One concepts are well-known from printers. For printing, copying, and scanning documents there is just one device which does it all.

Within app development I found out an approach to combine note taking, outlining, and mind mapping resp. concept mapping.

The app is named MagicalPad by MagicalPad, USA.

The developer talks about his app …

MagicalPad is a Massachusetts based start-up provider of innovative mobile and web-based applications for visually organizing and managing information and ideas to drive structured thinking, spark creativity, and enhance business innovation and team effectiveness.
The thousands of users who use MagicalPad understand the value of structured notes to help structure their thoughts and ideas. MagicalPad has quickly become THE app for many business users for brainstorming, meeting notes, project notes, school notes, mind mapping, creative writing and other information management and outlining needs.

This announcement forces me to dip into the details.
Does this app really combine all these features?

The features …

What you should know is the meaning of the term ‘Notebook’. The developer uses it for single projects consisting of ‘Pages’. Notebooks can be created on the home screen and pages on the worksheet. It’s comparable with files (Pages) in folders (Notebooks).

Here is a full feature description visualized as a mind map created with the app iThoughts HD for the iPad. An image often says more than 1000 words.

20130703-202821.jpg

You may download this map in the following file formats

PDF

ITMZ (Native format of iThoughts)

MMAP (Mindjet)

XMIND (XMind)

The UI and UX …

Not all readers are familiar with all the abbreviations used in the IT world. So UI means the User Interface and describes the layout of an app seen by a user. Developers should follow some standards published by Apple in The iOS Human Interface Guidelines.

UX means the User Experience and describes what users feel when they use the app the first time and extensively later on. The impression must be positive to keep the app on the device for further usage.

Both UI and UX are in some way subjective criteria. So take a look on these screenshots and build your personal opinion.

20130703-182046.jpg

What you cannot retrieve from these screenshots is the feeling when interacting with the app. Sorry, but you have to buy it to check this out.
What I recognized on my iPad 3rd Gen was a stuttering behavior when moving objects and slow performance when loading complex notebooks.

Export, Import, Share …

Nearly all apps available at Apple’s App Store use native file formats. So sharing of files with other people not using the same app is an important criterion when it comes to collaboration.

I used the notebook coming with the app and exported it using all supported file formats as there are

  • OPML
    OPML (Outline Processor Markup Language) is an XML format for outlines. Each node contains a set of text values.
  • JPEG
  • PDF
  • RTF

The results:

The main disadvantages …

While using the app as a mind mapping tool I recognized that there is no automatic combining of topics. So it’s an ugly work to manually set every single arrow which combines a topic with a subtopic.

The performance of displaying objects when loading a page is near to be not acceptable (iPad 3 rd Gen). Moving objects to new positions is a bit jumpy.

Objects cannot be connected to internet sources by attaching a hyperlink.
I asked the company via E-Mail to get an answer regarding this flaw (and to test the support):

20130703-182421.jpg

The support is perfect. The company answered immediately even on further questions I had.

Summary …

Like all the other apps I reviewed here on http://iNotes4You.com there is still some work to do for the MagicalPad developers. The mind mapping features are stunted compared to specialized apps whereas the outlining feature is well-developed.
What can be named as MAGIC is the idea to combine outlining, mind mapping, and note taking.

It’s an ongoing experience to see useful features in one app that are missing in another app.

Related links …

Note taking

Mind mapping (3)

Thanks for dropping by.





Publishing Mind Maps

31 08 2013

If you create mind maps you may publish your work on Biggerplate, your blog, or on social networks like Google+.

Here is a description of how I do it to seamlessly allow other people to download the map. On my iPad I use the app iThoughts HD by Craig Scott, UK, which is the best mind mapping tool for the iPad.

To justify my steps you should consider that

  • Not everybody uses a mind mapping tool but nevertheless is interested in the content of your map.
  • Compatibility between the different file formats used by min mapping tools is more or less limited.
  • For some maps like feature descriptions it’s useful to additionally provide the map e.g. as a Powerpoint presentation.
  • For maps near to artworks like those of Daniel Tay you should provide the map in PNG file format.

Additionally you should know that uploading a map to Biggerplate does not work. The reason is Apple’s filesystem which does not allow direct access to app specific folders or cloud based storages when using the SAFARI or any other browser. The only files you may upload with an iOS device are photos from the camera roll. The functionality is called ‘Take photo or video’ or ‘Choose existing’.

Direct uploads from mobile devices to Biggerplate are hopefully possible in the future.

The workaround …

It’s useful to save maps on cloud-based storages additionally to the local folder of the app iThoughts. Use Dropbox, Box, or any other cloud which can be accessed by a WebDAV connection like iDriveSync (via hostname https://dav.idrivesync.com). By using a cloud storage you backup your map and you can share it with others as well.
Access to a cloud storage can be done in iThoughts when using the function Copy To Cloud. Tap on ‘+’ and enter the credentials for your Dropbox or Box account and additionally the hostname for WebDAV access.
To retrieve the sharing link use the native apps for your cloud account. All these apps are free.
I prefer Box net and iDriveSync because of the many more features compared to Dropbox and the perfect design of the website for downloads.

If your map is created and saved follow these steps.

Step 1 Create a description

Describe your map.
Add links to the files you saved in alternate file formats to improve user-friendliness.
Add some information about yourself as text or link to your website or profile e.g. on Google+.
See the images below for an example.

You can use this map description for

  • upload to Biggerplate
  • your post an Google+ or other social networks
  • your own documentation

Step 2 Upload to Biggerplate

See these screenshots to provide appropriate information to Biggerplate.

Step 3 Share your map

After uploading to Biggerplate dialogs for sharing the map on Twitter and Facebook is automatically available.
Sharing on other social networking platforms like Google+, LinkedIn, or Pinterest must be done manually. Use the image of your map (PNG) to illustrate your post and the description to give some additional information to your followers resp. visitors.

Note
If you include the PNG file format make sure that all topics which should be displayed in details are expanded and all others are collapsed. The PNG is generated by following WYSIWYG.

File formats …

You should provide all the file formats supported by Biggerplate.
This ensures seamless downloads even for people not using the app iThoughts.

For mind maps with more descriptive content try out the Microsoft Word format (docx) and the Microsoft Powerpoint format (pptx) which can be imported in Apple’s iWork Suite (Pages, Keynote) as well.

Compatibility …

Here is an example how mind maps look like in other applications if you use an alternate file format provided by iThoughts.

With iThoughts your map can be optionally saved in the file format of Mindjet (IMX). See this comparison between the map within the native app iThoughts and the map saved by iThoughts in Mindjet file format opened by the mobile version of Mindjet.

Compatibility regarding layout, sizes, and images is limited but structure and content were retained unchanged. By the way: The desktop version of Mindjet does the task much more better.

Summary …

Present your maps user-friendly by providing different file formats and a comprehensive description.

This map summarizes all the main informations of my article.

20130624-182230.jpg

You may download this map in the following file formats

PDF

ITMZ (Native format of iThoughts)

MMAP (Mindjet)

XMIND (XMind)

Related links …

Mind Mapping (3) (containing features of iThoughts)

Remarks to Mind Mapping

Mind Map vs Textual Pages

Apple on Biggerplate.com

Thanks for reading my article.
I appreciate sharing this article to your friends and followers.





Mystic signs of progress

24 07 2013

Archaeologists decoded many signs used in prehistoric times.
With the signs of today this task is done with smartphones within seconds.
The built-in camera and an additional helper app decodes barcodes and so-called QR Codes.

The term QR Code (Quick Response Code) is a registered trademark of Denso Wave Incorporated, Japan, a Toyota subsidiary.
It’s a two-dimensional barcode originally developed for the automotive industry. The label is machine-readable and attached to an item to get information about it.
Recently, the QR Code system has become popular outside the automotive industry due to its fast readability and greater storage capacity compared to standard barcodes; applications include product tracking, item identification, document management, marketing, and much more.

A QR Code consists of black modules (square dots) arranged in a square grid on a white background, which can be read by an imaging device (such as a camera) and processed using Reed-Solomon error correction until the image can be appropriately interpreted.

Information stored in a QR Code is partially redundant so that the information is still accessible even if parts of the pattern are missing.
Source Wikipedia

20130518-105816.jpg

The image shows a typical application of QR Codes where the coded information contains a link to a website.

The technology …

QR Codes consist of black modules on a white background where textual information is coded. Additionally there are areas containing information about positioning and versioning.

If QR Codes are slightly damaged the information is still available because it’s coded redundant.
The so-called Error Correction Level defines the level of redundancy. In magazines low error correction levels can be used. For signing spare parts in the automative industry best practice is to use a high error correction level due to dirt or mechanical damage.

Because of error correction, it is possible to create artistic QR Codes that still scan correctly, but contain intentional errors to make them more readable or attractive to the human eye, as well as to incorporate colors, logos, and other features into the QR Code block.

20130518-110224.jpg

Other problems may appear if a QR Code is enlarged, made smaller, or is distorted by using an image processing tool. It may look like a normal QR Code, but it may be difficult or impossible to read the code.
If you place letters or pictures on an area overlapping a QR Code, the contrast between the bright and dark areas becomes indistinct. This kind of code is difficult or impossible to read.

An overview …

See this mind map which outlines the main topics of QR Code technology.

20130518-154736.jpg

You can download the map in different formats

PDF

ITMZ file format (iThoughts)

MMAP file format (MindManager)

XMIND file format (XMind)

Visit

The Apple group on Biggerplate

to see and download more mind maps related to Apple, products for Apple devices like database clients or mind mapping tools, and background information about the company.

The app Qrafter …

Qrafter is the best app for iOS devices with which you can decode and create barcodes and QR Codes. It’s a universal (pay once and use on iPad and iPhone) and reliable app with a perfect UI and tons of powerful features including the creation of QR Codes for different types of content like

  • URL
  • Location
    Location is automatically determined (Latitude, Longitude) and the following actions can be executed
    Show Map, Open in Maps, Open in Google Maps, Send by E-Mail, Send by Text Message, Share on Facebook/Twitter, Copy to Clipboard.

  • Contact Card
  • Event
    Select from Calendar
    Create New
  • Phone Call
  • Text Message
  • E-Mail
  • Tweet
  • WiFi Network
    SSID, Password, Encryption (WPA/WPA2, WEP, None)
  • iTunes App URL
  • Foursquare Venue URL
  • Text
  • Clipboard Contents
  • Barcode
    EAN-13, EAN-8, UPC-A, Code 39, Code 128

Feature descriptions refer to Qrafter with Pro Pack.

20130723-171256.jpg

If your partner also installed Qrafter (for iOS or Android) you can communicate in a secure way by using a password for encryption. If you want to send sensitive data create a QR Code of type ‘Text’ and enter a password in the creation dialog. The QR Code turns into a different image and it’s content is now encrypted with your password.

20130723-175029.jpg

See all further functionalities here in these screenshots:

Qrafter cannot decode

  • Micro QR Code
    little capacity and rarely used. QR Code readers cannot read Micro QR Codes as these are different types of codes. Micro QR Codes have a square in one corner to set the orientation.
  • Microsoft Tag
    is Microsoft’s proprietary coding and can only contain URLs. They are in competition to QR Codes but don’t offer the flexibility of standard QR Codes. Codes can only be scanned by the official Tag Reader app by Microsoft.
  • Others
    like BeeTagg, Shot Code, etc. which are commercially licensed, proprietary and rarely used.

Online creation …

If you don’t have an app like Qrafter to create QR Codes you can also do it online and take a photo of the generated QR Code for further use. For example visit

GoQR

Consumer acceptance …

Consider a recent study by comScore, which states that only 14 million American mobile device users have interacted with a QR Code. In essence, less than 5% of the American public has scanned a QR Code.
Less knowledge and the need to install the right app hampers a more widely usage. At the time it’s not a built-in feature of iOS although it could be reliably used for saving contact and product information from business cards and magazines.

Risks …

Often QR Codes contain an URL in that someone scanning a QR Code doesn’t necessarily know what website he is directed to. Some URL-shortening services include antimalware checks in the service or a preview of the destination website, but the applications that read QR Codes don’t always offer the same options. Malicious QR Codes, once scanned, direct visitors to a potentially malicious website that could install malware on an unsuspecting user’s phone.

To that end, it’s not a bad idea to start thinking about QR Code security best practices. To protect smartphone users, a few options are to use a client antimalware application (where possible), have smartphone users take advantage of the corporate Wi-Fi network and its standard network protections to block the malware, or use a QR reader application that checks URLs against blacklists of known malware-laden websites.

The limits …

Visual perception is the ability to interpret the surrounding environment by processing information that is contained in visible light. We have intuitive reactions to images that a QR Code can never evoke. QR Codes are perceived as coded information only. So there is a need for a more visual alternative to QR Codes which stimulates more positive responses.

The QR alternative …

With Mobile Visual Search (MVS), you simply point at a product or logo and shoot a picture with your smartphone’s built-in camera. Within seconds, the MVS application will provide product or company information, or even the option to make a purchase right then and there on your mobile device.

MVS is a far more compelling and interactive tool to enable mobile marketing and commerce. In today’s increasingly mobile world, instant gratification is the norm, and taking the extra step of finding a QR Code scanner on your mobile device no longer makes sense. With MVS, you are interacting with images that are familiar and desirable, not a square of code that elicits no reaction.
(Quoted from Mashable)

Related topics …

Text Recognition (1)

Text Recognition (2)

Thanks for dropping by.
I hope this post contains some useful and interesting information for you.








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