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Outlines dominate the teaching and note-taking landscape. Many PowerPoint slides consist of an idea header with organized bullets that go into additional detail. High school teachers often required students to submit paper outlines prior to the first draft. Tony Buzan, the self-proclaimed creator of mind maps, argues that the brain doesn’t develop ideas in this traditional outline format; instead, ideas develop radially, starting with the central point and branching out into detailed topics and subtopics. According to Buzan, mind maps are more efficient and useful for capturing and developing ideas. The increased use of colors and images also helps the creator to retain and express ideas in an enhanced capacity.

Mind maps have several advantages over outlines. They provide a beautiful way to visualize data, especially for presentations and papers. Mind map topics can have complex dependencies and relationships that move far beyond the limits of a hierarchical outline.

Users looking for a mind mapping application will find a slurry of choices, from simple subscription-based solutions, to complex cross-platform behemoths. iThoughtsHD by CMS is a feature-rich mind mapping solution that supports many export and import options.

How well does iThoughtsHD stand up against the competition? Read on to find out.


Alright, I admit, I screwed up the first time we did this post and the wrong address for @iPadappstorm went out. My bad. However, we randomly chose the winners, and don’t worry, we counted everyone, including those that tweeted out the incorrect line per my mistake. Those winners are:

  • Tony Linde
  • Juan Leon
  • Nicholas LeBlanc

Thanks again to everyone who entered, and be on the lookout for some big contests in the next few weeks! (more…)

Microsoft’s development for the iPad has, in my opinion, been a little sketchy in recent times. Although there has been chatter of the entire Microsoft Office suite being released for the iPad (thanks to a job posting on Microsoft’s website), nothing much concrete has emerged apart from two components of the Office bundle, OneNote and Lync.

Yet, even Microsoft’s development of OneNote for iPad has been a little lacking as well — the current version hasn’t seen an update since December 2011, over 8 months ago — and even searching for the keyword “Microsoft” in the App Store on the iPad brings up the alternative query, “Did you mean mochasoft?” Of course, there are apps out there that offer full Microsoft Office compatibility and try to emulate some of the features seen in the popular office suite, such as CloudOn and QuickOffice Pro HD, however up till recently there has been no decent alternative to Microsoft OneNote.

That has changed, however, with the release of Outline+ which offers intuitive note-making as well as full OneNote support and a whole host of other features. I managed to download the app and give it a whirl. Here’s what I thought of it. (more…)