Free mind map software – FreeMind

November 5th, 2011

Mind mapping is a process of exploring and structuring one’s thoughts on a particular subject. The mind map is a visual diagram, representing the subject’s domain of concepts, thoughts and ideas, their relationships and structure. It is a very powerful tool for brainstorming, capturing ideas and requirements, creating and visualizing structure and building hierarchies.

There are many commercially available software tools for creating and manipulating mindmaps. The premier free and open source alternative is called FreeMind. It is a high productivity tool, written in Java (runs on any platform that has Java – Windows, Mac, Linux, etc.) and provides all needed functionality for creating, editing and printing mindmaps:

So you want to write a completely new metaphysics? Why don’t you use FreeMind? You have a tool at hand that remarkably resembles the tray slips of Robert Pirsig, described in his sequel to Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance called Lila. Do you want to refactor your essays in a similar way you would refactor software? Or do you want to keep personal knowledge base, which is easy to manage? Why don’t you try FreeMind? Do you want to prioritize, know where you are, where you’ve been and where you are heading, as Stephen Covey would advise you? Have you tried FreeMind to keep track of all the things that are needed for that?

Here is a nice overview/tutorial on FreeMind‘s main features:

Create a snapshot of your screen (screenshot)

March 16th, 2011

Wizard A friend called to ask me how to take a screenshot of a program’s settings menu. Generally, there are two built-in alternatives to grab a picture of the screen:

  • capture the whole screen – press Shift + Print Screen to copy the whole visible screen, then paste in an application (can be either a graphic editor like Photoshop, or rich-text editor like Word)
  • grab the current (active) window only – press Alt + Print Screen to copy, then paste in an application

These shortcuts apply to Windows, but there are the equivalent shortcuts in MacOS also. Just try different combinations of Shift, Option and Command keys together with Print Screen to see which does what.

Bear in mind, that some applications (video or games) use advanced techniques to display content, utilizing what’s called an overlay surface. In such cases, you may or may not be able to capture the window’s content.

Additionally, if you wish to record video of your interactions with a program, you will need to use a dedicated screen capturing application.

TinEye – a reverse image search engine

April 30th, 2010

TinEye Logo You know how search works – you open your favorite search engine, type a keyword or two, and there – a list of thousands of pages, containing info about your topic of interest. There even is an image search – you go to Google images and there again – hundreds of images, corresponding (better or worse) to the keywords you entered. But what if you do not know what you’re looking for? What if you have an image of a painting and want to know who painted it? Or a photograph of a place, you want to know where?

TinEye is the “reverse image search engine” you need – you just have to upload your image (or give the URL-address, if it is published on a webpage), and you will get results from other pages, containing the same image. It gives you the chance to learn what it is, since you will probbably get pages, containing info about it. Here is how it works:

It is also a good tool to see who is using your images 😉