More on Mindmapping

In a previous blog I wrote about Mind Mapping and software that supports it. This came from a one day workshop. I just got the notes from the workshop and here are some of the mindmapping tools that were mentioned:

  • VisualMind, Pricing: Basic $69.00usd, Business $149.00usd
  • Freemind, Free software
  • MindManager, Pricing: MindManager X5Pro $284.05usd, MindManager X5 $199.00usd (Prices increasing Jan 1st, 2005)
  • NovaMind Price $103.00cad
  • Map It, Price $78.00usd
  • Mindgenius, MindGenius business $189 MindGenius education $97 MindGenius home $53 MindGenius brainbloom $53
  • Visimap, Price $125.00usd
  • Openmind, Price $249.00usd

Continue reading More on Mindmapping

Tufte: Visual and Statistical Thinking

Visual and Statistical Thinking is a “textbooklet” by Edward Tufte that Lorna got me (along for a replacement for my missing The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint. It looks closely at two examples of how graphs were used to think through a problem in order to recommend action; first John Snow’s analysis of the Broad Street cholera epidemic, and then the decision to launch the space shuttle Challenger. Tuftewrites that his “general argument is straightforward”:

An essential analytic task in making decisions based on evidence is to understand how things work – mechanism, trade-offs, process and dynamics, cause and effect. That is, intervention-thinking and policy-thinking demand causality-thinking.
Making decisions based on evidence requires the appropriate display of that evidence. Good displays of data help to reveal knowledge relevant to understanding mechanism, process and dynamics, cause and effect. That is, displays of statistical data should directly serve the analytic task at hand. (p. 3, copyright 1997, Graphics Press, Cheshire, Connecticut).

Text visualization in the humanities is not, however meant to guide decisions. Literary analysis guides interpretation which does not lead immediately or causally to decisions. What then is point of interpretative analysis (visual or not)? An extreme view would be that it is an art; the art of creating new aesthetic works of a particular genre called intepretation that stand in a particular relationship with other works. Interpretations are made or crafted from abstract matter, namely other works of art. Their appreciation is predicated on knowledge of the “original”.
Continue reading Tufte: Visual and Statistical Thinking

CANARIE and Video Conferencing

I’m at the CANARIE Advanced Networks Workshop 2004 today after wrapping up at The Face of Text. I gave a talk about TAPoR – the token humanist at this conference. Most of the talks in my session are about video conferencing over the net and telepresence.
My sense is that “access grids” for shared network meetings are close to being usable. The ViDe Videoconferencing Cookbook was suggested a good starting point if you want to try a virtual meeting.

Zoomify an Image off the Web

Zoomify is a cool utility for providing interactive zooming and panning of high-resolution images. It is a specialized visualization tool useful to any with high-rez images that they want to serve.
I heard about this from a paper by Pamela Asquith and Peter Ryan on Kinji Imanishi Archive where they use it. This paper was one of the many excellent papers at The Face of Text – a conference here at McMaster.

Mind Mapping

At the Burlington Art Centre I attended a day-long workshop on “The Art of Change” where the “mind mapping” software Mindjet: Mind Manager was demonstrated. Mind mapping apparently was invented by Tony Buzan as a way of unleashing the potential of the mind. See, Buzan Centres – Mind Mapping – Mind Map Definition. The presenter oversold mind mapping and it is not clear that visual thinking software running on a small screen is preferable to a good big peice of software or whiteboard, but at its heart mind mapping seems to be hypertext for thinking – drawing graphs of ideas. What is is strange is how this business technique has spawned software similar to what has come from the hypertext community, software like Storyspace, which bills itself as serious hypertext for writers.
Continue reading Mind Mapping

Next Generation foundation and the Map of Creativity

The Next Generation Foundation has a Flash based site that is interesting both for its design and content. This organization was set up by the CEO of Lego and, for an organization focused on “creativity” has a stiffling “Terms of use” (see the link off the main page.) The foundation focuses on children’s play and creativity. To get a sense of their mission (to sell more toys?) read the bizarre “Manifesto and Call to Action” by Seymour Papert. Here is a quote,

There exists today an unprecedented opportunity for synergy between the goals of parenting and the goals of industrial entrepreneurship, between spiritual concerns about the meaning of life and political concerns about the policies of nations, between the cultivation of the arts and the preparation of young people for the workplace.

One neat feature they have is an interactive Map of Creativity which has a circular interface for navigating projects that recommended as innovative and helping children play.
This came StÈfan’s blog

Mau: Massive Change and Overrated Sight

Bruce Mau of S, M, L, XL has a show in Vancouver coming to the AGO in Toronto called Massive Change and a web site with the same name. I hope the show is better than the site which is less-than-massive. Most of the web site is light on content with high-concept pop-corn ideas followed by blog-like “did you know” factoids. One part of the site, however, makes up for the rest – there is a number of full-length streaming audio interviews from a radio show at CIUT in Toronto with interesting people on the change. The creator of the Massive Change – Radio show, Jennifer Leonard redeems the site with content.
I assume Bruce Mau’s content is in the show or the book – it’s not in the silly plastic plates for Umbra that look like a massive advertising opportunity. Let me guess who one of the sponsors of the show is.

A National Post reporter asked Mau about what is overrated and he said, “I think the first image that pops into your head is exactly what is overrated: the visual.” See, National Post, “Design not in the eye of the beholder”, by Vanessa Farquharson, Oct. 4, 2004. The site proves his point – what I can see is overrated, what I can listen to is not.
Now I have to figure out how to get the hours of interviews onto my iPod. It’s time for an “Import Into iTunes” feature.