Off to National Educational Computer Conference 2009

Yes- it is that time again- off to the National Educational Computer Conference 2009 in Washington, D.C. I will spend the next couple of days talking to exhibitors and educators and participating in one of the most exciting educational technology conferences. I admit going into the Exhibitors Hall is like be a kid in a candy store. Upon entering the Exhibitors Hall you are overwhelmed with the sounds and visuals as each vendor tries to attract you into their venue. I will have some time to meander in the Exhibitors Hall-but I do have a pretty full schedule of interviews set up with some of the top industry leaders that I am really looking forward to.

I just got finished packing my bags and I am sure you want to know what technology I will be taking with me to NECC 2009. While I am gone I will have my trusty Blackberry Curve to stay in touch on the Verizon Network. I will also have my Acer One, my lightweight and dependable netbook with me which you can throw into any bag and not really know its there. To round out my technology attache- I will have my Apple iPod, a Flip Digital Video Camera, and my Olympus digital camera with me. I will also be taking my Livescribe Pulse Smartpen to take notes and for my scheduled interviews. It should be a lot of fun and I am looking forward to seeing all of the latest and greatest new products that are announced and being demonstrated on the floor. With the Stimulus Funding coming down the pike, I'm sure that the vendors will be in a real positive mood and will go the extra mile to make our stay in Washington, D.C. a memorable one.

So to keep in touch while I'm at NECC 2009 you can follow me on Twitter. I will use the hash tag NECC as part of my tweets which you will be able to search. I hope to do some regular postings while I'm at NECC 2009 to keep you abreast of all the happenings. And by the way if you will be attending NECC 2009 shoot me an email maybe we can connect.

Interview with Phil Novack of Mindjet

I recently had the opportunity to interview Phil Novak, Manager of Global Communications at Mindjet and ask him some question about the recent release of Mindjet MindManager 8 CPA Edition.

Brian S. Friedlander: I noticed that Mindjet just released MindManager 8 CPA edition- I was wondering if you could tell me more about this edition and how it differs from the standard version of MindManager 8?

Phil Novack: The MindManager CPA Edition is a purpose-built tool that enables CPA's to synthesize information and communicate it all in a way that business understands. The MindManager software is not changed; however, the CPA Edition includes with MindManager twenty-four custom-built templates that were developed by CPA's for


Brian S. Friedlander: Can you share with us how this edition came to be? And how will CPA’s will benefit from using MindManager 8 CPA edition?

Phil Novack: The edition came to be as a result of Mindjet’s relationship with Tom Hood from the Maryland Association of Certified Public Accountants (MACPA). CPA's are trusted advisors for clients and peers, and today the business and accounting worlds are changing at unprecedented rates. MindManager CPA Edition is focused on providing CPA's the following benefits:

  • Improve organization

Organize and find information you need quickly and efficiently in a map. By adding and updating information, documents, and hyperlinks in the map, you can count on having the most current information at your fingertips.

  • Track processes

Manage the evolving accounting landscape and cope with increasing complexity and ongoing standard changes. Track and understand your unique processes within a living document and allows you to understand all the moving parts.

  • Communicate more effectively

See the forest without losing site of the trees. Detailed maps of your processes provide context that drives team

and stakeholder alignment. Communicate with engaging visual illustrations that speak to business in the language it understands.

What are some of the templates that are included in this version?

· Audit Plan

· Audit Checklist

· Internal Audit Checklist

· Due Diligence

· Organization Chart

· XBRL Implementation

· Board Meeting

· And more…

Brian S. Friedlander: Can we expect to see other editions of MindManager 8 that are geared to a specific profession or industry?

Phil Novack: Mindjet sees great potential in providing solutions for our customers that focus on the specific business value for their role or industry. While we can’t comment specifically on any future products, we recognize the tremendous value solutions like these provide for our customers and are always working to serve them better.

For more information about MindManager CPA Edition Click here.

SimTech Releases MindMapper Viewer 2009

SimTech recently released MindMapper 2009 Viewer which makes it easier for you to share your MindMapper files with those that don't have a version of the program on their computer. You can download the MindMapper 2009 Viewer by clicking this link. Once you have downloaded the MindMapper 2009 Viewer simply unzip it and double click it to open the application. You will see from the screenshot that you can view your mind maps as well as your Gantt charts with the view. You can also view the Outline and Notes with the MindMapper 2009 Viewer and Print the maps for your use. This is a handy utility for those clients that you may be working with that don't have a full working version of MindMapper 2009. Give it a try a let me know what you think.

Mindjet Unveils Image Library Add-In for MindManager to Help Users Better Illustrate Their Information

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwire - June 24, 2009) - Mindjet®, the leading provider of personal productivity and collaboration solutions that visually connect ideas, information and people, today announced an image library add-in for MindManager 8 and MindManager 7. Customers now have access to more than 300 bold, rich images that will add depth, visual appeal, and meaning to their MindManager maps.

The new images help users' information come to life. For quick and easy access, they are stored within the pre-existing MindManager Library tab, reducing the need to conduct image searches outside the MindManager application. With more visual assets at their fingertips, users can save time and maintain focus by keeping their workflow process moving inside MindManager.

The image library add-in provides seamless integration with MindManager -- users can download the library from and have access to hundreds of new visual assets within minutes.

"Visually presenting ideas and information through MindManager is a powerful method of communication and collaboration," said Neil Mendelson, vice president of products for Mindjet. "The new image library add-in augments these capabilities and helps our users create that 'wow' factor by adding visual depth and enhanced aesthetic appeal to their task lists, project plans, brainstorming concepts, meeting agendas and more."

Unlike documents, presentations and e-mail that constrain you to working one page at a time, MindManager's visual approach on an expandable canvas, or "map," efficiently organizes complex ideas and processes to increase clarity and turn ideas into action. Personal or business information and processes can be viewed at a glance, with the ability to drill into details by clicking into sub-topics and branches.

The MindManager image library add-in for MindManager 8 and MindManager 7 is available immediately for the English, German and French Windows desktop versions of the product. Japanese will be available at a later date. It's available for purchase and electronic download at the Mindjet online store or through a Mindjet corporate sales or channel representative for $29.

Deleting Unused Items in Captivate 4

I was planning on doing a short video on how to delete Unused Items in Captivate 4 and then I saw RJ Jacquez's tweet about the Tip. Deleting unused items is just one way to make your projects size smaller and have them run more efficiently. When you open a Captivate 4 project with unused items Captivate 4 will prompt you. So it is a good idea to remove unused items within your projects. I thought it would be easier to show you how to do it, using Captivate 4. So here without any further explanations is my Captivate video.

Acrobat Labs Unvieils Tables Beta

On the heels of last week's release of Presentation-today Adobe Labs released a beta of Tables. a spreadsheet application that will sure to be become part of their offerings at I just had a chance to fire it up and found it easy to use. Tables is a collaborative spreadsheet application that lives in the cloud that allows you to quickly share data with others. The interface is easy and intuitive and it has a unique Summary feature which makes it easy to apply formulas to the values in the columns. As far as a I can tell there is no graphing capabilities at this point in time. So give Tables a try and let me know what you think. has also released a Premium version of their Web 2.0 service with added value.

Webspiration has been Updated!

Just wanted to let you know that I received an email today from Inspiration, Inc., that a host of new features have been added to Webspiration. I wanted you to be the first on the block to hear about this. Some of the new updates to Webspiration include:

  • Insert your own graphics to your Webspiration diagrams or outlines
  • A new Starter screen which gives you easier access to your documents
  • New button on the Starter screen to access templates and Examples
  • Improved Chat features

Visit to learn more. One of the most asked for features the ability to add you own graphics to your mind map has been added. I for one have sked for this feature for awhile now and am glad to know that it was included in this update. I have tied this feature this morning and am glad to tell you it worked great. I found it very intuitive and easy to use. You will see in my mind map that each of my symbols now has a customized picture. This is a huge feature and one that I know that you will enjoy. Another key feature of Webspiration is the ability to embed or publish your mind maps to the web. To view the mind map that I created with Webspiration click here. Webspiration makes it very easy to share your mind maps over the web and the new Chat features will make it even easier to communicate while collaborating. I would be interested in how you are using Webspiration in the work that you do? So please feel free to comment! To sign up for a free Webspration account click on the link.

Article about the Power of Mindmapping

There was quite a buzz this week about the article posted on the website about the Power of MindMapping. The author Dan Woods talks about the difference between a linear and nonlinear approach to presenting information and the impact it makes in sharing information.

From my perspective, there is an energy that is shared when presenting information in a mind map that is not often felt when producing it in a text based outline. For me, mind maps help to clarify and give you a clear snapshot of the task or project at hand. With this clarity, I am able to better plan and initiate my projects-but more importantly it is a great way to visually communicate and share ideas with others in refreshing manner. Many of my clients often comment that they really enjoy my presentation of the information that is conveyed and that it is more digestible, then seeing it in a report or in an outline form. But just in case, I always have my outline as a backup for those clients who may not be inclined to seeing the information in a mind map. If you haven't tried mindmapping I urge to experience it and see what it is about. I have a number of resources on my blog to help you gt started and if you need some help, please free to email me.

MindMapper 2009 USB Edition Shipping

When I went to pick up my mail this week I was surprised and delighted to to see a package from Simtech Systems, Inc. in my mailbox. When I opened the Priority Mailbox, inside was a beautiful purple jewelry box with the word MindMapper emblazoned on it. I opened the box an inside was a shinning gold USB MindMapper 2009 USB Edition of their mind mapping application. The 4GB MindMapper 2009 USB Edition is a portable version of their standalone application MindMapper 2009 Professional that can run on any PC by plugging into the USB Port and requires no activation to run. MindMapper 2009 USB Edition ships on a swivel USB drive which makes it really small and can easily fit on your key ring. Once you plug MindMapper 2009 USB Edition into your USB port MindMapper 2009 Professional automatically brings up a dialog box allowing you to jump right into the program. MindMapper 2009 USB Edition is an ideal tool for those individuals that need another license to run the program for home use or for those business people who travel and may not bring their computer with them but may access to a computer in an internet cafe or at another office location. It is an ideal way to store and save your mind maps that can then be used in a business presentation by simply plugging in MindMapper 2009 USB Edition and opening the map up from the drive. The MindMapper 2009 USB Edition allows the user to store and save your mind maps on the USB drive giving you access to your stored information.

For those of you who have not taken a look at MindMapper 2009 in awhile now is the time to do so. MindMapper 2009 Professional is a significant upgrade from MindMapper 2008 and now includes the familiar Fluid Ribbon Interface along with a number of powerful new features that can easily turn this mind mapping application into a presentation and project management tool. In the project management arena MindMapper 2009 Professional includes: task scheduling, Gantt charts, Resource Allocation, and integration with Microsoft Project. It is easy to assign Resources to tasks as well as dependencies and view them in a Gantt Chart. By default MindMapper 2009 sets up Finish to Start dependencies which can not be changed. You will find it easy to change the percentage of the task completed which can be easily visualized in the Gantt Chart. In the Gantt Chart View you can also have MindMapper 2009 USB Edition to track Actual versus Projected Costs. MindMapper 2009 offers a Scenario Mode which lets you use MindMapper 2009 in a Presentation Mode by isolating each of your branches. Once in the Presentation mode you can view your mind map in a presentation manner, in Full screen mode and moving through the slides by clicking or setting up a time delay before advancing to the next slide.

MindMapper 2009 USB Edition is a powerful mind mapping application with a built in Gantt Chart and Presentation Mode. It is easy to use and having access to MindMapper 2009 USB Edition makes it easy to work with the application- wherever you are as long as you have access to a Windows based computer and a USB port. So give it a try and let me know what you think.

It Doesn't Get Any Easier than with Inspiration 8

I have used many mind and concept mapping applications in the last couple of years and it is always refreshing to revisit Inspiration, where I first learned about the power of visual thinking. I'm not sure what version of Inspiration I initially worked with but it was probably version 2 or 3. When I first saw a demonstration of Inspiration it was an epiphany for me. The light bulb turned on and I never looked back. You see for me, when I am thinking about organizing my ideas, or working on a new project one of the first tools that I look for is Inspiration 8.

Inspiration 8 is easy to use and all the tools you need are there in front of you. Over the years more features have been added but the program has always been true to its mission allowing the user to think visually about the topic at hand. You see for me, the true test of a software application is that it fades into the background and doesn't interfere with the work at hand. In this respect Inspiration 8 with its powerful RapidFire feature makes brainstorming and getting your ideas out on the page easy and elegant. For the the visual thinkers the Library of pictures adds to the appeal of the program but the same can be said for the linear thinkers who have access to a powerful outlining tool with the click of a button.

Today I had the opportunity to work with a student with a learning disability and I asked him if he had been using Inspiration as I had recommended to his teachers. The student said that he had been using it and when I put Inspiration 8 in front of him he quickly created a map of his favorite activities. Within minutes he had mapped out his favorite activities and if we had more time he would have been able to add note cards and transfer the information to Microsoft Word. I had a chance to speak to this student's Language Arts teacher and she reinforced how important it was for this student to use graphic organizers in the writing process. She shared that for this student, being able to visually see his ideas and the connections was an important and essential part of the writing process for him.

As we all work with students to develop their skills, it is important to give them life long tools that they can use even after they finish their formal education. I for one am a big proponent of teaching all students how to use visual thinking and mind mapping skills-which are essential in helping students to think, create and present information in a graphical way. As the amount of information expands exponentially the ability to use tools like Inspiration 8 to help students organize and visualize information will become more important and certainly one of my priorities as a 21st Century skill set.

Adobe Labs Unveils Presentations

Not resting on its laurels Adobe Labs just released into beta their Presentation tool. Much like Google Present, Presentations is a free presentation tool with a very slick Flash based look to it. More importantly- with Adobe Presentations you can share your presentations with others via an email. Presentations tool is ideal for group collaboration. Adobe Presentations has the look and feel of a desktop application that can produce some very visually pleasing slide presentations. There are a number of templates to choose from and you can even change and modify the Master slide to customize your presentation deck. I found Adobe Presentation very easy to use and more powerful that Google Present. I do wish that Adobe Presentation provided embedding code and some way to quickly put your Adobe Presentation up on your website or blog. Other than that, I think you will find Adobe Presentations to be a very well conceived presentation tool for sharing and creating online assets. I would imagine that at some point- Adobe will add this to their suite of online tools at Email me if you would like me to share my Presentation with you.

Google Docs Now Supports Microsoft Office 2007 Formats

One of the features that I have wanted for a long time is the ability to Upload my Microsoft Word 2007 and Excel 2007 files directly to Google Docs. Today I learned that this feature is now available and I wanted to share that with you.