Notes on notes on… Notability

before we hand notabilityI am a notetaking fiend. Ever since junior high, I’ve had either a stack of pens in various colors or (my fave) the Bic retractable 4-color pen. I would use red ink for  vocabulary words & names of important concepts, blue ink for explanations, green ink for things that struck a chord with me, and black for general info. I also drew pictures & diagrams to help drive concepts home. Yes, my notes were epic. I admit, I do still use those 4-color pens when I’m forced to deal with hardcopy items. Sure, I’ve grown up a little, but I still want the flexibility of using pretty colors & putting awesome pictures in my notes.


Enter Notability.

I first stumbled upon Notability through this Cult of Mac post, which was sent to me by @JohnWilson. At that point, I’d been using GoodReader to read & annotate PDFs. I liked GoodReader well enough (and still have it), but I felt a bit restricted in what I could do. I think Notability (iTunes link) was on sale for $0.99 at the time, so I jumped right on it. [Read more...]

Mind mapping with MindNode

Today, I would like to introduce you to MindNode ($10) for the iPad. MindNode was one of the first apps that I bought for my iPad back in 2010 when it hit the app store, and it is one of the third party apps that I use the most often (ignoring games, obviously). As you have already guessed from the title of this post, MindNode is an app for mind mapping.

Mind mapping probably needs no introduction, but in short, the idea is to organize your ideas in a tree structure that starts from a central node in the center and then moves outwards. Benefits of mind maps are that they speak to the spatial parts of your brain: I can quickly find around my way even in very large mind maps, like the one holding all the topics I would like to cover in this blog, because my brain knows in what corner to look for the information it is looking for.

I am using mind maps for many different things. While I sometimes use it to structure my thoughts to prepare some writing, my main use for mind maps is to store ideas and little bits of info. I find that the structure of mind maps makes it easy for me to get back to the information collected in the map even after some time of absence.


MindNode gets out of your way

There are several mind mapping apps out there, and some a better known such as iThoughts HD ($10) or free such as Mindjet for iPad. So what is so good about MindNode? For starters, I really enjoy the simplicity of the app. I am a bit of a minimalist junky, and this is especially true for mind mapping apps. MindNode’s interface pretty much gets out of the way and allows you to jot down your ideas fast and easy. [Read more...]

Connect your thoughts with popplet

I think popplet was the first app I downloaded on my iPad. It did not disappoint, so it is only fair enough that it is also the first app I am blogging about. Having said this, I am nevertheless more excited about what this app might be able to do in future than it is able to do now. Popplet is – in a nutshell – all about conceptualizing your thoughts. In contrast to do this through a notebook or mind mapping app (more about this later), the good thing about popplet is that it gives you a reasonable degree of freedom in putting your thoughts down. You start with a blank canvas and an empty popplet (a rectangular box) in the center. From there, you add text, pictures, and free drawings to the box. You can also decide to change the size or the color of the popplet. And, of course, you can connect your popplets with one another. [Read more...]