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MindNode 2 for Mac

MindNode 2 for Mac review — a fantastic mind mapping tool

I started using mind maps years ago and found them particularly useful for planning projects, brainstorming, and planning written work. MindNode 2‘s predecessor, MindNode Pro, made it easy to create stylish mind maps, but there were a couple of features which I felt the product was missing. Before I switched to Mac I used Mindjet MindManager. It’s a richly featured mind mapping application but became more complex with each update. It’s also one of the more expensive alternatives and included a host of features I had no occasion to use. Mind maps are thinking tools to help organize your ideas,...

Scan handwritten notes with Carbo

First look: Carbo — handwriting in the digital age

Carbo sounds like a diet or nutrition app, but Creaceed’s new offering bridges paper-based capture and digital manipulation of your ideas. Some apps use a stylus (or finger) to write on a tablet. But writing on a sheet of glass is much less satisfying than using a quality notebook and pen. Carbo focuses on capturing, editing, organizing and sharing notes from paper or a whiteboard. It lets you keep using your favorite analog tools and digitize the content for sharing or use in other digital tools. Capturing Image capture works well but Carbo has a way to go to match...

Scannable: mobile scanning made easy

Scannable became a part of my workflow shortly after its release by Evernote Corporation earlier this year. In contrast to Evernote’s ever-expanding feature set, Scannable does one job well. This free mobile scanning solution captures documents and dispatches them to your favourite cloud storage service. At the time of writing, Scannable is only available for iOS 8 and higher. An Evernote account is not required. Overview Scannable activates the camera when the application launches so you can get straight down to business. The application detects document edges when you hold your mobile device above a page. Image capture, cropping and...

Nic McPhee via flickr cc

One simple approach to instantly improve your writing

Everybody writes. Whether it’s an email to a friend, your resume, a sales proposal, website copy or the next best-selling book, readers expect clear and error free writing. The problem is that it’s really hard to proofread your own work. Your brain sees what you meant to write, not what’s actually on the page. I wish I’d known about this easily overlooked tool years ago. It’s been a huge help in finding errors in my blog posts, books and other important documents that were invisible to me before. Text to speech is a simple way to find and fix typos,...

Molecover: a stylish leather Moleskine notebook cover

Molecover review: a stylish leather Moleskine notebook cover

A large, hardcover Moleskine notebook is my weapon of choice for capturing notes and ideas. Before switching to a notebook I used a Franklin Covey planner for many years. It was huge, but it had pockets and sleeves for just about anything you might want to carry. A notebook with a single rear pocket felt really restrictive at first. So I went looking for a leather cover which provided some extra storage without being bulky. Enter Molecover. Molecover is a simple but stylish leather cover for Moleskine notebooks. Covers are available in black, tan or white for large and pocket-sized...

Stop washing great ideas down the drain

For a long time I thought I was weird. Many of my more imaginative ideas happen when I’m in the shower or bathing the kids. Warm water and white noise seems to be my recipe for creativity. I’ve since discovered that this is quite common. Perhaps I’m not so weird after all… Capturing ideas in this environment is a challenge and many of my great ideas (they seemed great at the time anyway) went straight down the drain, never to be seen again. This recurring pattern sent me on a search for a solution. Here’s three options for capturing ideas...

Supercharged Notes: the easy way to make your notes more useful

Pen and paper are still the fastest and easiest way to capture notes and ideas, especially when diagrams are involved. But digital tools are so much better for searching, editing and sharing information. Why choose one or the other? What if there was a way to get the benefits of both? I’ve tweaked and refined an approach over the last 6 years that works well for me. Some of my colleagues have also found value in this approach, so I’ve finally written it up in an ebook. Supercharged Notes: Seamlessly integrate handwritten notes into your digital life explains how to:...

Tokai Love Rock electric guitar

5 things learning guitar has taught me about life

Learning to play an instrument even moderately well takes effort, discipline and focus. I’m learning this all over again as our son tortures us during his first months of violin lessons. Great artists make difficult pieces look effortless. It’s not until you attempt some of these pieces that you realise how much work is required to reach and maintain this level of proficiency. Studies have identified many benefits associated with learning an instrument. Playing music is one of my favourite ways to unwind when I get stressed out and it’s been a source of pleasure for me and for audiences...

Overloaded motorbike

How to migrate your stuff from Toodledo to OmniFocus

After using Toodledo as my trusted GTD system for around four years, I recently switched to OmniFocus. OmniFocus is one of the applications at the top of the task manager food chain, so I was surprised how few import options there are. I’ve recorded the process that worked for me and I’m hoping others making the transition will find this useful. If you’re migrating to OmniFocus from another task manager, most of this will apply as long as your current task manager can export data in CSV format. You cannot import Toodledo’s CSV output into OmniFocus without first massaging the...

File folders in a records centre

Mac convert tip #5: Fix Finder frustrations with XtraFinder

The smallest things can sometimes cause the greatest friction. It’s a very close call as to which Finder “feature” is responsible for the most expletives since I switched to Mac about six months ago. The contenders are: using return to rename files instead of opening them; and alphabetical sorting which mixes folders together with files. I prefer the Windows approach of displaying folders ahead of any files. Thankfully, a recent discovery has resolved both these frustrations. Perhaps it’s just conditioning from using Windows for so long, but grouping folders together ahead of files makes more sense to me. Judging by...