How to Revolutionize Your Note Taking, For Free!


Mind mapping on PersonalBrain

Mind mapping on PersonalBrain

I have many times tried to find new methods for keeping track of things by taking notes, creating databases or the like, but always loose my discipline as the storage medium gets large and unweildy.

So I was already pretty skeptical when my friend Omer pointed me to ‘PersonalBrain’ 4.5 by TheBrain.com.  After about 3-4 months using this tool regularly I am more and more enamored with it.  It is the only simple information management tool that actually seems to get more useful the more information that goes into it.  Also, it doesn’t require any setup or great thought about the relationships between information like a databases do.  You just enter material, manipulate it, and add links between related items.

The GUI is really what makes this work.  You can add ideas or ‘thoughts’ with parent and child relationships on the fly, and then make changes as you find better ways to rationalize your ‘Brain’.  You can then use a point and click interface to navigate the brain you have created.  The mind map concept is a web of linked thoughts that is supposed to be a much more natural way to organize information, since it mimics the way the brain organizes material.

I suppose that this tool would not be particularly attractive for very linear thinkers, but for people like myself, who are always (sometimes to my frustration) jumping from topic to topic with loosely related thoughts, this is a great way to capture your thinking and find out what you really are on about!

The best thing about this tool, is that you can get a very useful version of it for free.  So useful, in fact, that while I would like to buy a more full-featured version, the $150 jump to the ‘Core’ version is too dear and doesn’t add much to what I already get out of the free version.  If I used a PC, I might consider the $250 PersonalBrain Pro version that integrates into Office on the PC, giving you powerful e-mail management, but hey, if you read this blog at all, you know how unlikely that is for me!

You can download PersonalBrain for free HERE, which gives you a 30 day trial of the full version.  But don’t worry, if you get hooked, the free version is still really useful!  The tool is available on the Mac, Linux/Unix and the PC; with slightly different features.

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One Response

  1. I have since upgraded to the ‘Core’ version for $150 USD because PersonalBrain became such a useful alternative to my file system. Now I can always find what I am looking for! The ability to add visual icons to items is also brilliant for keeping track of diagrams and such.

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