I love it when I find an implementation of technology that has likely existed for a few years but works (almost) seamlessly the way I need it to. I may have missed it the first time out but it’s still important to let people know how they might find it useful.
iPhone Mindmapping with iThoughts
MindManager is a great tool but when I’m in a short client meeting, I don’t always like to pull out my notebook. For the past year, I’ve been using iThoughts on my iPhone and really enjoying how well it integrates with MindManager, using its innovative “transfer” capability (it creates a web server on a Wifi connection and gives you a web page to upload and download files).
MindJet’s iPhone interface is remarkably similar to the iThoughts interface – almost to the point of it seeming like a direct copy or re-licensed version.
However, when my iPhone was upgraded to iOS 4.0, it also upgraded all of my applications, including iThoughts to version 3.0. The refreshed interface is wonderful – including in-line editing and more.
What impresses me the most is the integration with Box.Net, which has been around for a while. I created a free account and uploaded some of my MindManager maps. I then opened my files in iThoughts on my iPhone (no conversion necessary), made changes and synchronized. The files are all updated. I could then make changes in MindManager and sync them directly over the web.
The downside is that I can’t synchronize a Windows folder with Box.Net (or if I can , please let me know how). Mesh does this via a desktop client. If I could do that, then the circle would be complete. I could modify my map on my notebook and it would sync transparently.
There are other alternatives – I could use a web-based MindMapping tool (such as Mind42), but some of these use Flash (and thus don’t work on the iPhone) or the web implementation just doesn’t have all the features or are too slow.
While web apps may be the future, but until they get to the point where they can match the features and functionality of the dedicated platform apps, we will need tools like box.net and others, and thankfully, they are there to fill that void.
Update: although I had heard about it for a few years, I hadn’t tried DropBox – a direct competitor to Box.net. While Box.net offers some more advanced features, for what I need, DropBox is the better solution. Thankfully, the latest version of iThoughts supports both. The real benefit of DropBox is that it *does* provide folder syncing (even though it is its “own” folder – My DropBox).
The sync between DropBox and iThoughts is amazing. I updated a Map on my laptop and then sync’d one minute later on my iPhone. The changes were there. I then did the same on my Iphone – after syncing through iThoughts, the change was there on the laptop. No time lag whatsoever. That’s perfect for what I need.