MindMap Navigator 1.3 is Released


I want to inform you that MindMap Navigator 1.3 is released. With new functionality it becomes more powerful and easier to use. Below is the list of features being added in the new version:

- Mapview context menu item "Sync with Navigator" allows to position the currently selected MindManager topic in Navigator tree;
- Enhanced "show branch alone" option: now you can set the level of details for the filter - 1,2 or expand all levels;
- MindMap Navigator now works with Mindjet Connect maps;
- State of options on the toolbar is saved when MindManager closes ;
- Ability to Cut/Copy/Paste and Delete multiple topics in the Navigator tree.
Also, several errors were fixed.

You can download your trial copy with a following link:

This upgrade is free for existing users.

Embedding your WebBrain in Your Blog

I recently posted about how you can post your PersonalBrain 5 to the web with WebBrain with a click of the mouse. Well pretty close to it. One of the really exciting features of the WebBrain is being able to have access to your links and attachments as if you were working with the PersonalBrain 5 on your desktop. Think of all the possibilities! This is a very powerful feature and one that I will certainly use when I am planning my workshops. Think about giving your attendees a simple URL to your WebBrian that they can access that would allow them to jump to web sites and have access to your attached handouts. That is really an outstanding feature.

WebBrain is evolving as we speak and I just learned that you can now embed your WebBrain in a blog or website by simply clicking on the Share button and copying the embedding code from the Webbrain site. If you click on the Customize option you can change the dimensions to suit your need. I should mention that you can also upload your PersonalBrain 5 files and keep them private so that only you can access them over the web. Likewise you can determine which Thoughts to keep private so that they don't appear when you upload them to WebBrain by marking them as Private thoughts in the PersonalBrain 5. If you have any questions or ideas on how you would use WebBrain - please leave me some comments.

Fifth Year Anniversary of Blogging

It is hard to believe that this is my Fifth year anniversary of the AssistiveTek Blog which started back in July 2004. Little did I know that this experiment would survive all of these years, and as I close in on my 500th blog post some time this summer I can say thank-you, to all the readers out there that keep me going. It has been a very exciting trip being able to share information and my ideas about mind mapping, assistive technology, project management and Web 2.0 technologies. Along the way I have met some incredible people who have the same passion for the technologies that I speak about. And while others may speak about social networking in the abstract, I would have to say that because of my blog I have enriched my life by meeting so many wonderful people that I keep in touch with on a weekly basis. So as I reflect on the Fifth Anniversary of the AssistiveTek Blog it has been a great road trip and one that I'm sure will continue for another million miles or so. If you have a chance I would enjoy your comments as I celebrate the 5th Anniversary of this blog.

Brain Technologies Unveils WebBrain Beta

One of my favorite features of the PersonalBrain 5 is the ability to create a SiteBrain from your PersonalBrain. I have used this feature many times in my workshops as a way to give my participants and easy way to move about various resources that I would provide. In the past you would need to Export your Brain as a SiteBrain and then upload it to your ftp site. Now with the release of the WebBrain Beta you can quickly upload your BrainZips and share your Brains with others. Once you sign up for a free account you can upload your BrainZip files and determine whether you want to make your Brain-Public or Private. You can also set the permission to share your Brain by sending a link via an email. I have posted one of my Brain files to show you how it looks on the web. The ability to share your Brain's on the web is a killer feature and one that I will begin to use more and more. You will find find this feature to be invaluable whenever your want to have access to your Brain data when you are connected to the web. So if you are a PersonalBrain 5, please take a look at the WebBrain- you will be glad you did.

Download a Free Trial Version of PersonalBrain 5 by Clicking on the Link Below

To purchase a copy of the PersonalBrain 5 click here. If you need training or support on how to best use the PersonalBrain send me an email

Context Organizer for MindManager Webinar

Yesterday I had a chance to participate and present information about Context Organizer, in a virtual MindManager User Group Meeting at a Fortune 100 company. After presenting and being a participant in various webinars, I am still amazed at what can be accomplished without the need to be in a face to face meeting. The hour long meeting went very smoothly and when it was my turn to present I shared my computer desktop with the group and showed them how Context Organizer, a MindManager add-in can be used to summarize Word documents, web addresses, and PDF files right within a MindManager map.

I have posted about Context Organizer before and I have a couple of video demonstrations to show you the power of this tool. The MindManager User Group had selected to see a demonstration of Context Organizer in action because one of the member's of the group had been using it to plow through large documents with great success. You can think of Context Organizer as a "search engine for documents," in that it finds the most relevant keyphrases and information and succinctly summarizes it for you. If your work requires you to read through large documents or to do analyze web sites, PDF's or Word documents you really owe it to yourself to look at Context Organizer. Having the ability to access Context Organizer within MindManager is a real asset in how the information is graphically organized. For those of you who don't own a copy of MindManager 8 you will be happy to learn that Context Organizer is also a standalone product that can help you summarize documents and send the information directly to Microsoft Word.

As a postscript to this webinar, I should share with you that I used my recently purchased Acer Aspire Netbook to present from. You see when I went to use my Dell XPS laptop the virtual meeting platform did not support Internet Explorer 8, so my only option was to use my netbook. I am happy to report that my netbook worked just fine even with all of the heavy lifting. To complement my presentation, I also used Canson's Papershow product which is an ideal tool to use when you are doing a webinar. With Papershow I could share my ideas and write them down so that other could see them as if I was writing on a whiteboard. Everything I wrote down was shared and at the end of the webinar I could save it as a PDF file to email. Here is an example of what I wrote and shared with the group using Papershow. Papershow is a real natural-when doing virtual presentations or distance learning and is as easy to use as pen and paper.

Please feel free to leave me a question about mindmapping

Interview with Mike Taylor Developer of StrengthsMapper for MindManager

Last week I had the opportunity to interview Mike Taylor the developer of the recently released MindManager 8 add-in called StrengthsMapper. Mike was kind enough to invite me into the beta testing of StrengthsMapper so that I could get a chance to use it before it was released. I also had the opportunity to read StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath and Strengths Based Leadership by Tom Rath and Barry Conchie which is the foundation for understanding how StrengthMapper can be used on a personal level and with a team in a business environment. Essential to understanding how StrengthsMapper can be used is the notion that as an individual we all possess strengths which when identified can be used to propel us forward in our personal and professional lives. As a psychologist, I can certainly relate to these premises and in my own work with children and adults know how important it is to help focus on an individual's strength as a means to work through their difficulties.

In 2001, Gallup introduced an online assessment, StrengthFinder which helped individuals identify their Top 5 talents among 34 different themes. You can find out more information about the online assessment which has been updated to StrengthsFinder 2, and take the assessment online for a nominal fee. Once you have identified your Top 5 themes you can now begin to put together an Action Plan around them. During the interview, Mike Taylor explained to me that as an engineer and business consulting he learned early on that he could make more headway with his clients when he focused on their individual strengths. Managing talent by helping others focus on their top 5 themes and then developing an Action Plan was a very powerful tool and one that Mike wanted to share with others. Being an avid MindManager 8 user, Mike thought that if he could marry the power of MindManager 8 and present a graphic depiction of an individual's 5 Top themes that he could have a very powerful personal development tool. With this, Mike set out to do just that and developed the MindManager 8 add-in called StrengthsMapper.

Once you take the StrengthsFinder 2 online assessment, you can quickly key in the information into StrengthsMapper and have a visual depicition of your Top 5 themes. You can see my 5 Top themes in the map to the Left. The power of this tool is not only on being able to visually stay focused on your strengths but by being able to build an Action Plan for the week, month and year ahead. StrengthsMapper is an easy and powerful tool to help you tune into your strengths and to build upon them via the Action Plans you create. Two version of StrengthsMapper are available, one for personal use called StrengthsMapper, and StrengthsMapper Pro which was developed for building effective teams by helping organizations to match talents and skills that are needed for a project. For more information you can go to

To listen to the audio interview click here or hover over the speaker icon: Interview with Mike Taylor

Vision Objects Releases MyScript for Livescribe Macintosh Version

I have blogged about my experience with the Livescribe Pulse Smartpen since its release and glad to share with you that Vision Objects has released MyScript for Macintosh. MyScript will now give Macintosh Users the ability to convert their handwriting to text for easy editing and formatting. I have used MyScript for Windows with my Livescrobe Pulse Smartpen and found it to work well, even with my handwriting (lets not go there :-).

MyScript for Livescribe is an application that converts your handwritten notes to digital text:


Send your handwritten notes directly from Livescribe Desktop to MyScript for Livescribe for conversion to text.


Use your personal dictionary to add names, terms and abbreviations for even more accurate conversion.


Convert handwriting, shapes, drawings and tables into print.


Edit the resulting digital text directly in My Script for Livescribe application.


Edited results can be sent to Microsoft Word or another word processor, to a text file, to your default email application or saved as a picture file.

EtherPad & Skype Perfect Together

I was in the middle of doing some brainstorming on the topic of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and Math, when I had IM'ed Karen Janowski to see how she was doing via Skype; and when I told her what I was doing, she suggested that we put our heads together and come up with some ideas. I decided to give her call via Skype and then Karen shared an EtherPad address with me so that we could both collaborate in real time over the Internet and record our ideas. EtherPad is a Web 2.0 application that lets anyone quickly share a document so that all parties can collaborate in real time. With EtherPad you are just a click away from collaborating with each other in real time. Once I clicked on the link that Karen had provided me, I quickly copied and pasted my initial ideas that I had in a mind map and we were off and running. Using EtherPad, Karen and I quickly added more ideas and when we were through I was able to export my EtherPad session as a Word document to my computer. Karen and I marveled how easy it was to use Skype for the audio component and EtherPad to record our ideas. Give it a try when you are collaborating to find out just how easy and powerful this combination is.

Matchware Releases Service Pack 1 for MindView 3


I just found out that Matchware has released Service Pack 1 for Mindview 3 which can be downloaded from their website. I have upgrade my version of MindView 3 BE to the latest version without a hitch. MindView 3 feels faster when changing from the various views. Going from a Mind map to a Gantt Chart is much faster than in previous versions. Give it a try and let me know what you think. You can download the Service Pack 1 by clicking on this link. According to the Matchware website here are some of the features of the Service Pack 1.

This Service Pack contains the following changes:

Service Pack 1:

  • Panels now include scroll bars when screen resolution is low or when space is limited.
  • Converting between views has been slightly optimized.
  • Branch text editor: Several usability issues and other problems have been corrected.
  • Icons: The Icons gallery now closes upon selection of an icon.
  • Outline view: The font settings can now be changed as expected.
  • Spellchecker: The problem whereby correct text was sometimes underlined in red has been resolved.
  • Word export:
    • PDF files are now handled correctly.
    • Links to embedded files are now handled correctly.
    • Pictures located in text notes on the Mind Map are now shown in the exported Word document.
  • PowerPoint export: The problem whereby comments were not exported to PowerPoint when using a non-English version of MindView has now been fixed.
  • SharePoint: Now fully compatible with SharePoint 2003. With SharePoint 2007 it may be necessary to check out the file before being able to save it from within MindView.
  • Many other usability and internal issues have been corrected.
  • Resources:
    • Adding resources from the Address Book now works as expected.
    • Resources assigned to tasks are now preserved when copying to another document.
  • Dragging a link from the web browser onto a branch now creates a hyperlink.
  • The Calculation Defaults and Formats dialog now supports localized decimal separators.
  • Excel export: You can now export to Excel even when Excel is not installed, but you will only be able to save the file in the XML 2003 Spreadsheet format.
  • HTML export: New export templates have been included.
  • Microsoft Project import: Files containing unsupported characters can now be imported.
  • It is now possible to export to the older OpenMind/MindView 2 XML format.

MindMap Navigator Released for MindManager 8

One of the features that is often asked for in MindManager 8 is a Map Explorer. For anyone who has used MindManager 8 with large maps you know that it can get rather unwieldy to navigate the map once it gets to large proportions. There was time when Mindjet Labs had put together an exploratory add-in that added a Map Explorer to MindManager 6 but development stopped and it was never upgraded for the current version of MindManager. This week I was excited to see that the Mind2Chart Team had just released a new add-in called MindMap Navigator that adds a full featured Map Explorer Pane to MindManager 8.

MindMap Navigator 8 add-in adds a fully functional Map Explorer to MindManager 8 that allows you to view your map in a Tree structure. Once MindMap Navigator is installed you will find a new pane called MindMap Navigator that you can open and close. Once the pane is opened you will be able to view all of your recent mind maps and open them from the MindMap Navigator pane. MindMap Navigator lets you quickly move from one branch in your map to another via the Tree structure. By double clicking on a branch in the MindMap Navigator pane you can jump to the branch in your map. View a video demonstration of MindMap Navigator by clicking on this link. Additionally, you can click on the Show Branch Alone button to isolate your branch in the map. You can also select branches and set a Relationship which you can format in your map. You also have the ability to Expand and Collapse Branches to help you quickly navigator through your mind maps. MindMap Navigator is a welcome addition and a must have for anyone who creates large maps. Having a Tree structure to navigate through your large mind maps makes it an ideal tool and one that you will say "how did I ever do without it." For more information and to download a trial version of MindMap Navigator click here.

Google Voice-Trying it Out

I have been hearing a lot about Google Voice for the past couple of months and a just today I received an email that I could sign up for a Google Phone Number. I quickly validated my account and set up a Google Voice Gadget that now appears on my blog. I am hoping that some of you might be interested in asking me a question or just drop me a line and say, hello. Google Voice is a free service, should you decide to give me a call within the United States. You can call me and leave me a message by clicking on the Google Voice gadget and entering the following number: (908) 955-3450. For the time being, I have directed all of my phone calls to the web where Google will transcribe my message for me-that I can access and listen to. Google Voice will also allow me to forward calls to my office or mobile phone, which at this time I have decided not to do. So feel free to give me a call and I will let you know how it goes!

Google Announces Google Chrome OS

FYI-Google announces that they are developing a new light weight operating system for netbooks.

Introducing the Google Chrome OS

7/07/2009 09:37:00 PM
It's been an exciting nine months since we launched the Google Chrome browser. Already, over 30 million people use it regularly. We designed Google Chrome for people who live on the web — searching for information, checking email, catching up on the news, shopping or just staying in touch with friends. However, the operating systems that browsers run on were designed in an era where there was no web. So today, we're announcing a new project that's a natural extension of Google Chrome — the Google Chrome Operating System. It's our attempt to re-think what operating systems should be.

Google Chrome OS is an open source, lightweight operating system that will initially be targeted at netbooks. Later this year we will open-source its code, and netbooks running Google Chrome OS will be available for consumers in the second half of 2010. Because we're already talking to partners about the project, and we'll soon be working with the open source community, we wanted to share our vision now so everyone understands what we are trying to achieve.

Speed, simplicity and security are the key aspects of Google Chrome OS. We're designing the OS to be fast and lightweight, to start up and get you onto the web in a few seconds. The user interface is minimal to stay out of your way, and most of the user experience takes place on the web. And as we did for the Google Chrome browser, we are going back to the basics and completely redesigning the underlying security architecture of the OS so that users don't have to deal with viruses, malware and security updates. It should just work.

Google Chrome OS will run on both x86 as well as ARM chips and we are working with multiple OEMs to bring a number of netbooks to market next year. The software architecture is simple — Google Chrome running within a new windowing system on top of a Linux kernel. For application developers, the web is the platform. All web-based applications will automatically work and new applications can be written using your favorite web technologies. And of course, these apps will run not only on Google Chrome OS, but on any standards-based browser on Windows, Mac and Linux thereby giving developers the largest user base of any platform.

Google Chrome OS is a new project, separate from Android. Android was designed from the beginning to work across a variety of devices from phones to set-top boxes to netbooks. Google Chrome OS is being created for people who spend most of their time on the web, and is being designed to power computers ranging from small netbooks to full-size desktop systems. While there are areas where Google Chrome OS and Android overlap, we believe choice will drive innovation for the benefit of everyone, including Google.

We hear a lot from our users and their message is clear — computers need to get better. People want to get to their email instantly, without wasting time waiting for their computers to boot and browsers to start up. They want their computers to always run as fast as when they first bought them. They want their data to be accessible to them wherever they are and not have to worry about losing their computer or forgetting to back up files. Even more importantly, they don't want to spend hours configuring their computers to work with every new piece of hardware, or have to worry about constant software updates. And any time our users have a better computing experience, Google benefits as well by having happier users who are more likely to spend time on the Internet.

We have a lot of work to do, and we're definitely going to need a lot of help from the open source community to accomplish this vision. We're excited for what's to come and we hope you are too. Stay tuned for more updates in the fall and have a great summer.

Gantt Charts vs Timelines-You Decide

In the early 1900's Henry Gantt introduced us to what is commonly referred to as the Gantt Chart, a way of visually communicating tasks and the timeline for each. In his 1919 book "Organizing for Work" [6] Gantt gives two principles for his charts:
  • one, measure activities by the amount of time needed to complete them;
  • two, the space on the chart can be used the represent the amount of the activity that should have been done in that time.
A lot has changed since 1919, and with the advent of computer technology we have seen a number of business project management software applications that take Gantt Charts to a whole new dimension. With the power of the personal computer we can now show not only task completion but the inter-dependencies of the tasks as they relate to the project completion. As more and more information gets added to the Gantt Chart and the visual complexity increases it certainly adds a real cognitive load for many, to make sense of the data. Recently, Wallace Tait and I had a conversation about Gantt Charts and their utility-which lead us to talk about the advantages and disadvantages of the visual display when presenting information in a Gantt Chart. One of the real advantages of using Gantt Charts is the fact that it can pack a lot of rich information into a small area. But this can be its downfall as well-and it does take a certain knack to be able to decipher the information and the dependencies that are often displayed in a Gantt Chart.

While Gantt Charts have a rich tradition some people may have difficulty understanding the complexities that are displayed on the screen and choose not to use them to communicate project information. In this regard, some users may want to opt to use a Timeline to convey project information which is a more sequential way at looking at a tasks over time. While you certainly lose out on the richness of the Gantt Chart you are quickly able to see the flow of the project and when things need to be done. One mind mapping application that bridges the gap between Gantt Charts and Timelines is MindView 3 BE. In MindView 3 BE, you have the choice of looking at your project in various modes: as a mind map, a Gantt Chart, or as a Timeline. You can check out my previous post on MindView 3 BE to learn about the features and the project management tools. MindView 3 BE even lets you display your project using a cross between a Timeline with Duration bars. So the question I leave you with is: What are your preferences when you are displaying project information? Please complete the survey that I put together about Gantt Charts. I will report the results once they come in.

MindGenius 2.5: An Overview

I had the opportunity several weeks ago to speak with Dustin Newport, Director of Business & Marketing for MindGenius about their flagship product MindGenius 2.5. I always find it interesting to learn just how these applications come about and their genesis. Dustin shared with me that MindGenius came about as the result of the work of the parent company Gael Quality Group, which is a large consulting company in the compliance and quality management field. In March 2008, MindGenius Ltd, spun out of the parent company into new quarters with a new vision of where they could take this exciting mindmapping application. For the past month I have been using MindGenius and find it to be a powerful, nimble, and straightforward mindmapping application that runs on Windows platform.

When you first start off using MindGenius you can select from a number of redesigned templates to start your mind map session. One of the features which is unique to MindGenius is the ability to use the Question Assistance when developing your mind map. With the Question Assistance turned on you will see a array of topics with questions to help jump start your creative thinking process. There are a number of different topics and associated questions for each of the topics in MindGenius. Once your select your template you are ready to start your brainstroming or planning session using MindGenius. MindGeniis sticks to the core of mind mapping application letting you quickly get your ideas out on the computer screen. As a user you simply start typing and a new entry box pops up to enter your idea. If you like you can format the entry within the dialog box and press enter to add an idea to your mind map. I found the means to enter and idea fast and fluid. To add a series of subtopics all you need to do is select the topic and start typing. MindGenius comes with a library of map markers that you can add to your mind map that can act as a means to create a new map based on the category of the marker. I found this to be a fast and efficient way to look at tasks in my mind map that are assigned to a particular category. Likewise, you can assign a resource to each topic or subtopic in MindGenius and then with a click of the mouse create a new map with all of the tasks sorted by Resource. When working on larger projects this is an invaluable tool to get the big perspective on who is responsible for each of the tasks in the project. MindGenuis does not have the capabilities at this time to visually display what percent of the task is complete. Another unique feature of MindGenius is the Map Explorer which is displayed on the left hand side in a pane that lets you quickly move about your map within an outline mode. As soon as you select a topic in the Map Explorer the topic comes into focus with all the associated subtopics. Having a Map Explorer makes it very easy to move through large maps and can be used to move through your maps when you want to use it for presentations. By simply using the down arrow keys you can move through your MindGenius map via the Map Explorer so that the focus is always on the specific topic or branch. Pairing up MindGenius with a data projector to present the information is a great way to communicate and share your ideas.

MindGenius is fairly typical of mind mapping applications and allows you to link to web sites, files, PDF's. I personally would prefer to be able to embed certain files in my mind maps or at least give me the option to choose between embedding or linking. MindGenius allows you to set boundaries as well as adding floating and call out text. You can also display relationships between ideas on your mind maps buy using the insert Relationship option. Likewise, it is easy to add a note to a topic or subtopic by typing into the Notes pane. If you choose you can also add a watermark to the background when printing your maps. When it is time to distribute your MindGenius maps you can use the free viewer or distribute it as an executable(.exe) file. You can also decide to export your map as HTML and upload it to your server so that others can view it on te web. Or better ye,t export it to the ubiquitous PDF format so that you can email it to your colleagues who can open it with the free Adobe Acrobat Reader.

MindGenius offers seamless integration of your mind maps into the Microsoft Office Suite of products. If you are interested in using MindGenius as part of your project management solution you will find outputting your mind map to Microsoft Project a snap. I found it very easy to move my MindGenius map right into Microsoft Project with all of the data completely intact. Once you start the export process to Microsoft Project you have an array of options as to what you would like to move over to Microsoft Project. You can click on this link to view an overview of MindGenius. You also have the option to export your maps to Word, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Visio.

MindGenius is an easy to use mind mapping application that you should be up and running in no time. MindGenius is a straightforward mind mapping application with some unique features that should make it a valuable tool in your arsenal for brainstorming, project planning, and business consulting. The Map Explorer feature along with the Questioning Assistance Pane add some unique functionality to this well thougth out application. My favorite feature which should be ideal for anyone using this tool for project planning is the ability to create a new map based on the resources or categories attached to a topic or subtopic. Overall you will find MindGenius an easy to use mind mapping application with a small footprint. I would hope that MindGenius will continue to build on their fine product and modernize the interface and refresh the graphics and the overall look of the program.

Click on this link to view an overview of MindGenius 2.5

Captivate 4: Export Videos to PDF Format

Over the past year I have spent a great deal of time working with Adobe Captivate to create numerous video tutorials for the classes and the workshops that I hold. I have found Adobe Captivate easy to use and many features that have arrived in the latest version, Adobe Captivate 4 have really cut down on my production time. I have written about the use of text to speech in the production of my video tutorials which has worked well for me. But when all is said and done, one of the really important features when I am done with the video tutorial is how am I going to distribute it? Prior to Adobe Captivate 4 I would generally upload it to my FTP account and provide my students or workshops participants with a link to the streaming media. While this has worked out fine it was great to learn that in Adobe Captivate 4 you could publish your finished video as a PDF file- making it even easier to distribute.

When you are ready to publish go to the Publish icon and make sure to select Export PDF in the dialog box. You will notice that you can also export the HTML and your SWF file as well in one fell swoop. The process is very straight forward and when you are done you will have your SWF video and PDF published to the designated folder. If you would like you could also store your finished PDF file on so that others could download it to their computer. Since the PDF has encapsulated the video you will want to download the PDF file and open it with Adobe Acrobat Reader 9 to view. Having the capability to publish the video tutorials to a PDF is a great feature and one that you should explore. Being able to distribute my tutorials in the PDF format is a real advantage since everyone has access to the free Adobe Acrobat Reader.

You can download a video tutorial that I recently made about Blogger by clicking here.