km23
I am a long time user of Mindmanager but I am impressed by Personal Brain.

Is there a way to import my existing Mind Maps to PB?

Thank you

km23
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mcgilh
sorry to intrude. I have no answer for you. I have always wondered how PB compares to MM. and why someone would consider switching over.  Could you briefly say what is attracting you ? Would you use both, or only one of the applications?
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jataylor
I use both.

PersonalBrain is used daily.  I have dual monitors, and my Brain is always open on one monitor, while I use the other monitor to switch between my Outlook and whatever I'm working on at the moment.

I use my Brain for notetaking, launching programs, collecting information, organizing information, brainstorming, etc.

I primarily use MindManager when I want to present information in a fresh way, but retain the hierarchical structure.

I use both for presentations, depending on what information I'm presenting.

Both have their place in my toolbox, but I find a lot more opportunity to use PersonalBrain because of its flexibility. I like the freedom and flexibility that PersonalBrain offers.

John A. Taylor
PB Pro 6
Win XP, Win 7
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Harlan
FYI, an import feature for MindManager files is in the prototype phase at the moment. I'm not a MindManager user (obviously), but if you can export into a tabbed outline format from MindManager, you could then import that into PersonalBrain 4.5.
Regards,
-Harlan
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Tracy
Hi Everyone,
Since I noticed you asking about how MindManager and PersonalBrain compare, here are my thoughts. First, I think they really are designed for different tasks.

While MindManager is primarily a brainstorming and task manager tool, like a flat visio diagram that lets you attach files. PersonalBrain is designed for easy integration with files and Web pages from the ground up, to structure all your information on your computer and Internet the way you think.

MindManager splits information up into separate maps, each of which cannot practically be larger than a few hundred items. PersonalBrain is designed to allow tens of thousands of items and files to be integrated into a single workspace. The software offers a dynamic visual display that is infinitely scalable. In fact, this same interface that is in use at the Department of Defense and large Fortune 500s to navigate and visualize hundreds of thousands of objects and databases. It would be very difficult to scroll through a large data sets in mindmanager.

As you know, a Thought can represent any type of digital information on your computer. Clicking on a Thought brings it to the center of the display and all related information then surrounds your active item. This makes it easy to see all related information without the clutter or additional branches. In other words PersonalBrain doesn't need to take up alot of screen real estate to be useful. In fact most of our users leave it on autohide mode whereby they simple click on a icon that appears on there desktop and PersonalBrain opens a quarter way across the screen.

Additionally, this dynamic reconfiguration  makes navigation faster and sleeker. There is also a back and forward button to move back to topics. The past Thoughtlist is literally a breadcrumb trail of everything you have clicked on. Add to that, you can click on any topic in the past Thought List to move back to areas of interest. This feature, along with our animation, enables superior navigation. You can even use TheBrain interface to navigate a Web site. This scalability is why Encyclopedia Britannica has OEMed our product dubbed BrainStormer. The latest version of Encyclopedia Britannica uses TheBrain to organize over 78,478 entries, and over 1.3 million article relationships within the Encyclopedia Britannica’s 2005 Ultimate Reference Suite (both DVD and CD versions) and the 2005 Deluxe Edition.

With MindManager navigating a Web site or database would be cumbersome. That is why their conversion to a standard outline view and Web page is so important.

I am definitely interested in your thoughts. The experience of the two applications really is completely different!
Tracy
Tracy Barr
TheBrain Technologies
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zenrain
I think MindManager is much more suited to presentation. You have much more control over it's layout, formatting and style. With the current state of PersonalBrain, MindManager  is still better for seeing the "Big Picture" (although there is a huge caveat, more on that in a bit). However, if PersonalBrain ever allows you to save views in the expanded view, the only thing MindManager will have over it is it's formatting.

The caveat for the "Big Picture" is the picture can't be too big. Once you get past a certain size it becomes too confusing. Although you can create links to other maps, your map loses it's continuity and useability.

Another thing MindManager has over PersonalBrain is directionality. You can present one way flows in MindManager, where Personal brain just has links, with no arrows available.

MindManager had more integration with the Microsoft suite, but with the advent of 4.5, and the calendar in 4.0, PersonalBrain has pretty much caught up.

Mindmanager also had multiple attachments to thoughts going for it, but PersonalBrain allows this in 4.x Pro versions.

The last advantage I can think of that MindManager has over PersonalBrain is it handles newsfeeds, and can updated and download newsfeeds automatically to specialized thoughts.

The advantages of MindManager end there. The scalability of PersonalBrain blows any other mind mapping software away. It's use of Jump thoughts also allow cross linking that's intuitive and very useful. It's default presentation of just the current thought, parent, child and jump keeps you focused on what you need right now, but you can expand to view more easily (and with 4.5 the expanded view is much improved).
PersonalBrain's search capability is similarly very advanced. Quick search makes all your thoughts easily accessible, even with thousands of thoughts. And if you can't find the thought using quick search, the regular search is much more powerful. Add the reporting feature and Thought Types, and you can slice and dice your brain any way you like.

So I guess to summarize, MindManager is very useful for small scale brainstorming and presentations. PersonalBrain is useful for taking the information you collect during the normal process of work and your personal life, and making it immediately accessible. It also allows easy cross referencing, and allows you to find related information or see links that you may not have thought of otherwise. It's not perfect, but it's the best Personal Information Manager that I've found for Windows. Finally the development team has been extremely responsive and the program has grown from it's orginal 4.0 release in leaps and bounds.

Whew, sorry for the great wall of text.

Windows 7
J-1.6.0_22
--
OSX 10.6.3
Java SE 6
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jataylor
Thanks Zen and Tracy for expanding on my comments above.

As I stated, I use PersonalBrain daily.  As PersonalBrain has increased its abilities to handle information in a variety of ways, I find myself using MindManager less and less because TheBrain eliminates the limitations I've found in MindManager.  To be honest, I probably keep MindManager on my computer for two reasons:

  1. Out of a sense of past loyalty
  2. Out of compassion for those I work with.  When I began using MindManager in the corporate environment, it was a leap of logic for many of my colleagues, but still somewhat comfortable.  PersonalBrain just blow their minds.

With Release Candidate 4.5, it's obvious to see that TheBrain is moving in a direction that decreases the limitations that have caused me to keep using MindManager for some things.

With every new release, the folks at TheBrain are prying me away from MindManager simply because I can incorporate PersonalBrain into so many areas.  It's intuitive, flexible, and increasingly integrates well with most of my other software.

Although when I showcase PersonalBrain to others, they are often overwhelmed by it's "complexity", I explain that it is actually much more simple to use than other mapping software, yet also much more intuitive and powerful.

That's the genius of PersonalBrain.  The complexity lies on the development side, but the end-user experience is really quite simple (and beautiful).  For me, MindManager (and most other mapping software) follows the old patterns of hierarchial thinking.

PersonalBrain is moving mind-mapping, thought processing, information management, etc.  into new realms.  The only limitation I've found in PersonalBrain is that in spite of being around for so many years, its still far ahead of its time.  People just don't know what to do with it.

Even Chuck Frey, at the MindMapping Software Blog, who while positive in his perception of PersonalBrain,  has made comments about PersonalBrain that lead me to believe that he doesn't really understand the power of the software.

MindManager represents an old way of thinking packaged in a new form.

PersonalBrain represents the evolution of a new way of thinking, a new way of approaching and processing information, and a new way of working.  It really puts the control of the process in our hands, instead of providing an artificial hierarchy that places limitations on the process.

In other words, PersonalBrain not only allows us to "color" inside the lines, it gives us the freedom to "color" outside the lines when it's most beneficial.  It allows us to think naturally, without the imposition of an artificial process.

John A. Taylor
PB Pro 6
Win XP, Win 7
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jostber
I don't use MindManager anymore, my maps got too big. But the new integrated application JVCGantt Pro looks pretty neat for project planning though.
TheBrain 8.0.2.2 Slackware 14.2 KDE 4.10.3 Java 1.8 / (Windows 7)
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jataylor
jostber  said: "I don't use MindManager anymore, my maps got too big."

My problem as well.  With PersonalBrain, it doesn't matter how big my Brain gets.
John A. Taylor
PB Pro 6
Win XP, Win 7
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zenrain
I would go as far as to say the bigger my brain gets, the more useful it becomes..
Windows 7
J-1.6.0_22
--
OSX 10.6.3
Java SE 6
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jataylor
Very True! 

Although my wife gets tired of me telling her how big my Brain is.

John A. Taylor
PB Pro 6
Win XP, Win 7
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Mattematikk
I am a heavy user of MindManager (MM) since early versions and have followed TheBrain from the beginning. I also use OneNote a lot. I keep all those applications allways running.

For me MindManager and TheBrain is two totally different approaches. As an example I use MM to create complete Word Documents, Websites, and Powerpoint presentations and I prefer brainstorming with it.

One note is a fantastic visual application for keeping notes, but it is totally useless for structuring or searching large information structures. (You can't even move a sub page to be a descendant of an other page, it will be converted to a main page!). However I link a lot from PB to OneNote notes.

PB on the other hand is my "memory" and structurebuilder. It is my mirror world!
My wet dream is to be able to continuously import MM maps or event better open them in PB as a associative structure.

 I do not see any reason why PB in the future couldn't be used for what MM is used for today. A mindmap would then just be a subset view towards the underlying source of the associative database.
 That would be a truly breakthrough. Because we would then finally have a software that combines both ways of handling knowledge. Wouldn't that be great?


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