Tag Archives: MindManager

Getting Twitter


Yeah, I know that Twitter lately is all about Oprah, CNN and Ashton Kutcher, but it’s also about brief remarks, gripes and triumphs related to products and/or services that you send into the world wide market. (And if you were waiting for The Tipping Point, it’s already occurred for Twitter, IMHO.)

BTW, before I go any further, I’m @craigsmusings on Twitter. (Thanks, Dan.)

If a tree falls in a forest, it always makes a noise–regardless of your presence there. There are social conversations that occur online (e.g. Facebook, blogs, wikis, Twitter, newsgroups, IIRC, etc.), and they will continue to occur regardless of your presence there, too. However, that’s an especially risky position to take these days–see the conversation but not engage.

Consider the following conversation on Twitter:


Very disappointed in _YOUR_PRODUCT_HERE_, does not appear to have very much to it at all….if anything!
12:10 AM Apr 23rd from TweetDeck


@johnsmith Did you see a live presentation or play with it,
4:45 AM Apr 23rd from TwitterBerry


@janedoe Had a play with it, will blog later this week, does not seem to give us anything to use as an accelerator
4:52 AM Apr 23rd from TweetDeck in reply to janedoe


@johnsmith Ouch! That’s the point in theory.
4:58 AM Apr 23rd from TwitterBerry

So, what will John Smith blog exactly? He’s indicated that his post is forthcoming but also that there may be time to engage him–understand his concern and possibly influence him after listening by demonstrating value.

Jane appears to be an interested party, too. Is Jane a known advocate, possibly trying to reach out on your behalf? Is Jane known to be skeptical?

How can you “see” this conversation?

I use TweetDeck, an Adobe AIR-based Twitter client, for my tweeting, etc. It works equally well on both MacOS and Windows. (There are many other clients out there, too!)


TweetDeck allows me to do a number of useful things.

  • For example, the leftmost column/pane is a group. (You can read that tiny font, right? ;-) ) In my case, I filtered All Friends (i.e. those I follow in Twitter) into just the subset that tweets about content management. (You can see that there is a horizontal scroll bar on the bottom, and the default “All Friends” column/pane is off to the far right (where I moved it to reduce seen UI changes).)
  • The “Replies” lumn/pane is just what it implies–tweets in reply to me from others.
  • The “Direct Messages” column/pane contains DM’s from me and DM’s to me.
  • The two rightmost columns/panes in view above are searches. Since these are Twitter-based searches–one for tweets containing “CMIS” and another for tweets containing both “EMC” and “Documentum”–I receive traffic updates that apply in near realtime (unlike, e.g., a Google search that requires one to hit Refresh to see new results).

Anyway, I can visit John Smith’s Twitter profile to learn that he has a 70:30 ratio (i.e. he’s following 70 twitters and 30 twitters are following him). Clearly, Mr. Smith is not a “rock star” by Twitter standards. (Certainly, I am not either!)

However, consider the junior high campfire song’s sentiment: “It only takes a spark, to get a fire going…” This goes back to my point above: there may be time to engage him–understand his concern and possibly influence him after listening by demonstrating value (and create a positive fire–however big or small–about your product or service).

The truth is that, although I’ve been blogging for awhile now, I’m relatively new to Twitter. Fortunately for me, I have great resources in my “2.0 type” EMC colleagues and elsewhere online. For example, I recommend that you check out Gina Minks’ Twitter Cheat Sheet. (I understand from Gina that a v2.0 release is due out in time for EMC World, too.)

I recall during last year’s Microsoft Strategic Architect Forum (SAF) that a good industry colleague of mine suggested a “I don’t get Twitter” topic for the open space segment of that afternoon. I egged him on to make the suggestion; so, of course I attended…and I think that everyone learned a fair bit in the process.

Since then I’ve only recently begun to seriously tweet. Already that engagement has paid dividends, and due to the fact that most of my cross-domain architect colleagues don’t yet tweet, I thought I’d humbly offer this post to get them to “dive into” Twitter, too, in a way that’s both meaningful to them and meaningful to their communities. (You know who you are. :-) )

For those who weren’t at or don’t know about SAF, Microsoft worked with Mindjet to mind map the open space sessions. Here are the notes from the “I don’t get Twitter” session in mind map form–just click the following image for the .mmap (MindManager 8 format) file:

SAF08 topic - 'I don't get Twitter' (notes as mind map)

So, what do you think of Twitter? If you find it useful, how do you receive value from it?

Update 4/30/2009: Gina Minks just published a new cheat sheet for tweeting from your phone.

Mind mapping

Recently I blogged about Mindjet MindManager and how this application has enabled me to realize the value of mind mapping. Well, until all of my colleagues become licensed users of this software, the folks at Mindjet Labs recently provided a useful bridge to the world of open source in the form of an integration for FreeMind. This integration allows a FreeMind user to import FreeMind maps into Mind Manager Pro 6. So now my colleagues can immediately install this Java application–on Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, etc.–to start producing mind maps, which can be freely consumed in MindManager. Kudos, Mindjet Labs!

Update 1/30/2006: FreeMind can import to MindManager X5 maps, too. So, with the Mindjet Labs integration and a willingness to not rely on version 6.0-exclusive map artifacts, this is a round-trip solution!

Update 2/9/2013: Apparently MindManager is now called Mindjet for Individuals.

Content attractors

In my quest to become more digital I’ve become accustomed to set of tools that allow me to create, annotate, manipulate, access, … content more on my terms. What I mean of this software is that it works with me, with the way that I think. Sometimes it even causes me to realize the implications of my thought process (e.g. realization of relationships to other thought and expression).

Here is a short list of software that attracts me to content:

Having come from a hand-made blog, WordPress was a delight to discover. No more worrying about plumbing and infrastructure. WordPress had all the features on my to-implement list, it was a breeze to install and it featured a team of committers that was helpful and supportive to newbies and oldies alike. Now I can focus on producing content, which is the essential premise of most blogs–certainly mine. And when I have the time to personalize my blog, adding and/or creating themes and/or plugins is straightforward.

I can’t attend a meeting without OneNote, and I’ve converted a significant number of my colleagues at work do have the same perspective. When you read the passion behind this new edition to the Office 2003 family in the form of Chris Pratley‘s and Owen Braun‘s blogs and then use the product a strong sense of design fidelity comes across. To say that OneNote replaces Notepad is a gross understatement; it changes the way I take digital notes on Windows–and I don’t even own a Tablet PC! Read the tips; install the PowerToys; download and activate templates; record an hour of voice-quality WMA in 6~7 MB; roll-up TODO items and lists; etc. OneNote has a bright future ahead of itself, too (e.g. shared notebook enhancements, OneNote Mobile, OneNote to PDF conversion, etc.).

MindManager is the most recent application to make the above list thanks to my colleagues at work. MindManager allows me to more effectively capture brainstorming that doesn’t lend itself readily to lists–and this happens more than I would have otherwise known. While I may not have formally “mind mapped” pre-MM, post-MM the value of mind mapping has become clearer and more familiar–except that my hand-written scrawls on scratch paper can be captured and circulated far more effectively (e.g. convert to PDF, Office formats, etc.) Now I just need to take some time to familiarize myself with the full functionality of this powerful tool. You can join me by tapping into the well-written newsletter and blog feeds here. (Yes, passion behind product matters!)

Omea has already been blogged by me. It’s a daily participant and guide in my efforts to stay current on trends, technologies and practices that will impact my architecture. However, this is another tool that I’ve not yet fully exploited where aggregation and annotation of “resources” is concerned, and here I’d like to see further usability (discovery and accessibility) improvements made by the JetBrains team.

Back in July of 2004 when I first became aware of and began to leverage Lookout, life in Outlook became significantly better where message and content retrieval was concerned–important for pack rats like me. Yes, MSN Search Toolbar is where Microsoft is investing now, not Lookout, but Lookout addresses at least 80% of my needs where Outlook-based search is concerned.

Just as Advanced Find in Outlook is inadequate to my needs, straight search in Windows Explorer is similarly insufficient. Enter Copernic Desktop Search. The CDS UI, its taskbar augment and its ability to be extended to index additional file types are welcome improvements (e.g. Mindjet Labs’ CDS integration for MindManager). A complaint I have with CDS, though, is its habit of holding a write lock on my PST file. IMHO, an indexer should be as passive as possible–and still perform, of course.

Who doesn’t use Google? I mean, who doesn’t Google? When your product becomes a verb, you must be doing something right. In a sense Google is to me like Lookout is to me: it just works and does so consistently. Yes, there are other search engines with auxilliary services out there, but I find no compelling reason to switch. So, why don’t I use Google Desktop Search instead of CDS or even CDS and Lookout? To be honest, there may be some habitual inertia in play. There are conflicting views, for example, about GDS and security (e.g. fine vs. concerned), and this has given me pause. The recent addition of the GDS Sidebar and the large number of useful plugins is nonetheless compelling, and several of my friends and colleagues benefit from GDS. What do you think? Worth the switch?

What tools attract you to content? How do they make content management a delight?

What tools do you tolerate or avoid where content management is concerned? Why are they so frustrating or limiting?