During this morning's session Patrick hosted the session and sent me an invitation via an email. Once I clicked on the Join Session button, my instance of MindMapper 2009 opened and I was able to work on the mind map with Patrick as if it was on my computer. MindMapper Collaboration was very fast when I was entering information into the map and it was hard for me to believe that I wasn't working on the map from my standalone application. All of the features that I have in the desktop version are there and now when I am collaborating, within MindMapper Collaboration, I have access to a Chat and Polling feature. Unlike some other collaborative tools you can invite MindMapper 2009 users and non-users to your session which is a big plus. There is no need for your client to have access to MindMapper 2009 in order to participate in the session. At this time users will need to use Internet Explorer to access the session. Using MindMapper Collaboration, hosts can schedule and set up meetings ahead of time that are sent to the collaborators via an email. For individuals who participate in the meeting who don't have access to MindMapper 2009 there is a small application that will need to be downloaded in order to participate. Once the application is downloaded, guests will have all of the functionality as that of an individual who has a standalone version of MindMapper 2009. During the next couple of weeks I will have some time to test MindMapper 2009 on my own and will give you my impressions. The trend is clear- more users want to be able to use their mind mapping tools to collaborate and all of the publishers are listening and chart a course to make this happen. For more information about MindMapper Collaboration click here.
Verizon released today Skype for select Blackberry's that are running on the Verizon Network. Skype for Blackberry's will run on the following Smartphone:
- Tour 9630
- Storm2 9550
- Storm 9530
- 8830 World Edition
- Curve 8530
- Curve 8330
- Skype global rates
The same Skype rates to global landlines and mobiles. No extra cost.
- Stop counting minutes
Skype-to-Skype, IM and global calls from Skype mobile™ don’t use your wireless plan minutes.
- Free calls included
The same experience on your Verizon Wireless 3G smartphone means free Skype-to-Skype calls and IM
In MindGenius you would build your project in the mind mapping view and then click on the Tasks Tab on the Ribbon to access the features associated with the Gantt Chart. You will find it easy to assign Start, End, and Due Dates for each task in your mind map by selecting them from the Calendar. You can also record what percentage of the task is complete, the priority for the task as well as the status for each of the tasks. You can also record the duration of the work completed and estimates for the how long the task will take to complete. If you intend to use your mind map to track your costs you can include a Cost and Quantity for each item in your mind map. If you decide to include the Cost and Quantity in your mind map you can then export and generate reports in Excel. Once you have entered Start and End dates and the other information you can view your Gantt Chart by clicking on the Gantt View Button from the Tasks Ribbon.
MindGenius displays a very traditional Gantt Chart with with your tasks listed down the left side of the page. If a task has multiple items associated with it, MindGenius treats the higher level task as a Summary Level task and each item under that a child task. Tasks and subtasks can be linked using the Linking tool that is provided. As far as I can tell MindGenius 3.5 only supports Finish to Start Dependencies and does not allow for lag time. The Gantt Chart is MindGenius 3.5 clearly shows what percentage of the task is complete and can be manually changed by the user as they update the progress of the project. I would have like to be able to change the color of the bars in my Gantt view but I did not see this as an option. Assigning resources to a task is rather easy in MindGenius 3.5 you simply select the person from the Resources pane. One of the strengths MindGenius 3.5 is the ability to quickly generate a Resource map by Tasks with a click of the mouse. This helps to quickly visualize who has which task assigned to them and the responsibility for the completion of the task.
Probably one of the most powerful features that is found in MindGenius 3.5 is the ability to filter the information in the Gantt Chart. There are some Quick Filters that let you quickly see the status of your project when you select one of the filters. If you find that the Quick Filter does not meet your needs you can open up the Filter panel and begin to customize it for your needs. There is also a Filter Builder for building more sophisticated filters if you need it.
This past Friday I spent the entire day working with elementary school teachers in New Jersey showing them how to use Kidspiration 3 in the classroom. Within a two hour period all of the teachers were introduced to the Picture, Writing, and Math View. The teachers were quick to learn how to use the program and the intuitive interface found in Kidpsiration 3 which really helped them along. With the addition of the Word Guide and the Math manipulatives, Kidspiration 3 is clearly an essential piece of software for the elementary school classroom. Many of the teachers were excited to explore the Activities and Online Lessons to get more ideas on how this tool could be used in their classroom. With the text to speech support and the graphic representation of information Kidspiration 3 is an ideal tool for students whose learning preference is visual. Kidspiration 3 is also ideal for use with interactive whiteboards- and remember if you are working with young children you can move the tools to the bottom of the screen. Many of the teachers were really excited with the possibilities and thoroughly enjoyed using the Math tools that are now built into Kidspiration 3. If you have not taken a look at Kidspiration 3 in awhile, I would urge you to take a look at it and download the Trial version that is available from the Inspiration web site.
MindMeister works quickly in the cloud and is very easy and straightforward to use. It provides me with a way to add graphics, pictures and clip art into my maps to helps add to their visual appeal. MindMeister comes with a library of clip art but it is very easy to upload your own graphics to your map should you decide to go this route. Adding notes to an idea is easy to do with lots of formatting capabilities. Likewise, I can attach links, files and tasks to any branch in MindMeister. Being able to embed files makes MindMeister a great repository when I am working on projects and have related files that I want to database. Similarly, if I am working on a project with my partners it is easy to keep track of tasks and have MindMeister automatically email notifications when tasks are upcoming or overdue, from my mind maps. Notifications can be set up from within MindMeister to automatically email any collaborators that have tasks coming up or are overdue. It would be great if there was a way to export the Tasks and timelines into a project management software application. Or better yet MindMeister should consider having built in Gantt charting capability. You can always be hopeful!
Certainly the feature set that I really enjoy is being able to share my maps with others as I am working on projects and here is where MindMeister really shines. It is very easy to invite others to either "collaborate" or "view" my map which is done by sending an invite from within MindMeister. Since I am a blogger the one feature that really stands out for me is the ability to place a mind map on my blog. MindMesiter makes it very easy for me to publish my maps when I am done to my blog by providing me with the embed code. But more importantly I have a high degree of control as to what users who view my map can do. If I choose I can allow "copy and export," or give my viewers the opportunity to edit the map. In the same vein I can also password protect the map by adding a password into the equation. You can see an example of a mind map I created below by simply pasting in the embed code that was supplied by MindMeister. The mind map is fully interactive and you can expand and collapse branches and zoom in and out. Give it a try and let me know what you think. if you like there are also options for printing and exporting your maps in various formats. You can currently export your MindMesiter maps in the following formats: MindMeister, MindManager, FreeMind, PDF, JPG, and RTF.
A unique and powerful feature of the MindGenius Gantt view is the ability to use the map explorer to focus on specific areas of the project plan. Since it is not unusual to have a project plan of a couple of hundred lines or more, this makes it much easier to plan and schedule projects, easily switching back and forward between the map and Gantt views which are continually in sync with each other.
The Gantt view also integrates with the MindGenius quick filters, simplifying project management by allowing you to quickly identify tasks assigned to each individual, tasks due or overdue, milestones, critical path and status.
MindGenius 3.5 is free to all current V3 customers and will be available next week, look out for our announcement email which will also contain details of upgrade pricing for V1 and V2 customers.
The Gantt view further extends MindGenius’ reputation as the mind mapping tool for business. We have also added the Gantt view to MindGenius Education as a cost effective solution for the management of student, school, college and university projects.
PS: Look for an upcoming review shortly of MindGenius 3.5 and the Gantt View
I have been busy this year publishing some new materials which can be used to support assistive technology in the schools. I recently released a new video called: Assistive Technology: Powerful Solutions for Success which is a wonderful tool for teacher in-service programs. Likewise, in this age of information overload I created a four page laminated reference guide called: Assistive Technology: What Every Educator Needs to Know, which is chock full of resources and information about the use of assistive technology in the classroom. I will have both resources available at my workshop for you to take a look at. The session will be fast paced as we delve into some of the new tools and trends to support students in the area of reading and writing in the classroom. I hope to see you there- but just in case you can't make it here is my presentation deck that I will be using.
PS: You can now purchase my video and laminated reference guides right from my blog by clicking on the individual pages on the right side of the navigation panel.
CS Odessa announces ConceptDraw MindWave a no charge mind mapping add-in for Google Wave
San Jose, California, on March 1st, 2010 – CS Odessa released a version of its mind mapping tool for Google Wave. This is a no charge add-in to Google Wave that can be used as part of Google Wave to map out a strategy rapidly or brainstorm on a critical topic. The ConceptDraw MindWave for Google Wave tool allows teams to collaborate on a mind map in an interactive flowing manner building a map structure that represents the planned work.
The map add-in supports Google Wave playback that allows one to step back through a map. Once a mind map is has the contents from the interactive session the mind map file can then be downloaded to one’s desktop to be further developed using ConceptDraw MINDMAP for Macintosh or Windows.
Olin Reams, General Manager for the Americas at CS Odessa, states, “We hear from our customers that collaboration tools are critical for team communication today. It is what gives them the competitive edge needed to maintain flexibility. Google Wave and ConceptDraw MindWave are free tools that deliver seamless communication inside or outside your organization”.
Yuriy Varbanets, Product Manager for ConceptDraw MINDMAP, adds, “We feel that Google Wave is a great collaboration backbone for us to support with our collaboration tool. Beta customers have been talking up about how well suited it is to their planning process.”
Learn more about ConceptDraw MINDMAP add-in for Google Wave on the ConceptDraw
ABOUT CS ODESSA
Founded in 1993, Computer Systems Odessa supplies cross-platform productivity tools and graphics technologies to professional and corporate users around the world. With headquarters in Odessa, Ukraine and an office in California, CS Odessa sells products internationally through resellers in over 25 countries. The ConceptDraw Productivity Line of products has won numerous awards and is used by hundreds of thousands of people all over the world.