Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Good tools: Personal Brain

At Code Freeze 2009, Neil Ford recommended using mind mapping software to organize the things we try to remember. Personal Brain is the software that Ford recommended in his talk. He called the process of storing the information using an exo-cortex.

I gave it a go and installed Personal Brain at home. I started mapping the people I run into at conferences and user groups. It didn't take very long before I had an intricate graph of the relationships that I have with people I run into. For example: I attended Code Freeze 2008 with a colleague from PTC. He and I also attended the No Fluff Just Stuff conference in Spring of 2007. He and about 30 other former colleagues from PTC.

With a mind map I was able to create a list of the people I remembered seeing and form links between them and the other events I may have attended with them. In addition to events, other common links can be created. I'm on a bowling team with a bunch of the PTC people, so I linked them with a bowling team 'thought'.

After a few minutes of adding different 'thoughts' I had a pretty extensive model of the people and events that I've attended for the past couple of years. Personal Brain does a really good job keeping the interface and the presentation smooth. From my brief use of the tool I am left with a very positive reaction.

My only question on the tool is what the differences are between the free and pay versions. Personal Brain comes in a free and a couple of pay versions. I really can't tell what the differences are. The thing that gets a little confusing is, the free version is also a trial version of the pay version. I assume that there are features that are only available to the pay versions that will be disabled after the trial period ends.

1 comment:

Pierre said...

The trial version is the "pro" version for 30 days, after which it reverts to the "free" version.

Versions are free, core, and pro, which free being more limited than the others, pro is the feature rich version.

Core version lets you attach a file reference to any "thought" (a node in the graph). The pro version lets you attach multiple file references. It also lets you export to an html site.