Yesterday I downloaded MindNode for iOS because I was looking for a different way to organize a talk outline. I’ve only used it on iPhone, and I have to say it’s a pretty fantastic mindmapping tool.

Mindmapping

This organizational method focuses on the relation of ideas, or nodes, to one another. It’s more visual and freeform than a traditional, linear outline. Some people find it very difficult to construct and process information this way; others find it essential to thinking clearly.

iOS app

The iOS app is extremely capable while being easy to use. It has most features of the macOS version; you can compare the feature set using this chart.

Formatting

  • Themes: There are several pre-made themes to choose from, but you can also create your own from within the app.
  • Colors: There’s a decent palette of colors to use; you can also set a node’s color using hex codes.
  • Fonts: You can change the font of individual nodes.
  • Linetypes: You can vary the thickness and continuity of lines and arrows. You can also choose from a few shapes for your nodes.
  • Styles: Once you’ve applied these options to 1 node, you have the option of applying the style to all nodes or selected ones.

Outline Mode

As you build your mind map, MindNode builds an outline off of the content. This is something that really appeals to me. The mind map layout forces me to minimize my words, but this mode allows me to quickly see the ideas in a more linear way when that’s more useful.

Export options

There are about 15 different exports; here are a couple surprising, extremely useful options.

  • Markdown outline: Create a mind map, then export it as Markdown to Ulysses (i.e. your Markdown app of choice) to flesh out a post/essay/novel.
  • OmniFocus: Plan your project in MindNode. Mark actionable nodes as tasks. Export to OmniFocus, and items are added to your inbox with hierarchy and completion status intact.

Pricing

iOS: $10; definitely worth it. Get it on the App Store.
macOS: $30; I’ll probably get it later. Get it on the App Store.

Originally published October 01, 2015. Updated November 06, 2016.

With the release of iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan, Apple improved Notes so much that I feel comfortable moving from Evernote to Apple Notes.

What I Like About Apple Notes

In no particular order:

  • Encryption
  • Inline photos
  • PDF attachments
  • Voicemail attachments
  • Siri and Spotlight search, including attachments
  • Nice web links when shared from Safari

What I Want Added

This is a roughly ordered list; top 3 are top 3.

  • Web clipper: currently, sharing from Safari is only a link. Saving a nicely formatted version of a page to a note is tedious (open the Safari Reader view, select everything (Select All isn’t even an option in this view), copy, open Notes, paste, go through and restore formatting, then copy and paste each image you want to save).
  • Tags, tags, tags. Folders aren’t good enough.
  • Markdown support
  • Ability to send Mail messages to Notes
  • URL scheme for opening specific notes while in other apps
  • Get rid of the texture already!
  • Note annotation
  • Drawing mode integrated into the Note more, rather than being a tool separate from text
  • In-app PDF annotation: If I can do this in Mail on iOS, there’s no reason to leave it out of Notes. I think it’s more useful here, actually. This has been added, but can still be greatly improved with more, less cumbersome tools.

The other day I decided to try making bread at home. I ended up using a book entitled Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. I plan on upgrading to the new version at some point: The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.

The premise is that 1) traditional bread making includes several unnecessary steps, and 2) you make enough dough to last a couple weeks, keeping it in the fridge and pulling off a piece to make a loaf as needed. The basic recipe is for a French boule, but there are many other recipes with nuts and seeds and herbs.

Even without all the recommended gear, and not-so-great yeast, it turned out quite well. I’ll be making a new batch with fresh yeast, and expect much better results.

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