Looking for the Best Mind Mapping Tools

I’m a very recent convert to the belief that mind mapping tools can be valuable. After years of sneering at them as vague and superflous (without ever really trying them) I did a one hour consulting gig with the folks over at Imindi a week or so ago.

Now I am hesitant to think about anything without the ability to “write it down” in a mind map. The ability to document the free flow of connected thoughts is just too seductive to pass up when thinking through complex proccesses.

I could use some help figuring out what the best mind mapping service is, though. Here’s my criteria so far – above in an image from MindMeister (which is AWESOME so far). Can you suggest anything I’m missing or favorite tools I should evaluate?
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5 PR Pitches: The Good and Bad

I wear two hats. I consult for companies on usability, market intelligence and launch planning. I also blog about new web applications and internet industry news over at Read/WriteWeb. I don’t write about my consulting clients, but after several years of experience working on both sides of the promotion game – I think I’ve got some pretty good advice. At least on what not to do!

I want to post here about some pitches I’ve gotten from PR people and I don’t need to look back further than 24 hours to find most of them that I want to use as examples. I look at probably 30 pitches a day, sometimes more.
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Explaining The Business Value of Blogs and RSS, Quickly

I’d like to do some consulting for some environmentally focused businesses next year. As part of that effort I’m pitching a relevant trade journal with an article idea. That’s not something I’ve done before, but for now that’s beside the point. I write to you here to ask- what do you think of the following as a succinct explanation of the power of blogging and RSS? I thought you might enjoy reading it and comparing notes.
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Unforgettable (Usability): The SquidWho Login Experience

As part of some recent consulting work, I spent some time looking at the new people-search engine from Squidoo called SquidWho (it is not Squidoo I was consulting for). SquidWho is an interesting service that may or may not be worth using (in most cases I think not) but there are a lot of things the team is doing very, very well. It’s worth checking out the site’s user experience and use-flow; it’s all quite well put together.

The one thing I haven’t been able to get out of my head in the weeks that have passed since I tried the service out is how easy it was to get started with SquidWho. It’s simple, really – and I was kind of kidding about using the word unforgettable in the title of this post, but I really do keep thinking about it. It’s more like it’s unnoticeable for once!

Easy login is important because there are so many web applications launching every day that yours should be as pleasing to use as possible at every step or you’ll loose out on the use and advocacy of early adopters – at the very least.
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Twitter is Paying My Rent

Update: I have to update this post in July of 2009. Today I get the keys to the first house my wife and I have ever bought! No more paying rent, thanks twitter!

This weekend will mark one month that I’ve been writing over at Read/WriteWeb and doing consulting. In my previous stints as an online news writer (which I missed very much) I was often able to break news faster than my tech blogging competitors primarily through some advanced use of RSS feeds, which I wrote about here. I’m still doing that in this job, but there’s a new tool that’s making a huge impact on my reporting – Twitter!

I’m @marshallk on Twitter if you’d like to connect.

People laugh at Twitter, and they can go ahead and laugh for all I care, but I’m here to tell you that it can be invaluable. Aside from the personal connectedness and relationship maintenance it’s good for, let’s be honest – it’s paying my rent. (Thanks Twitter!) I don’t mean they’ve hired me as a consultant, though I would love that, I mean Twitter is great for news discovery. Read on for my thoughts on how you can use Twitter more effectively, but keep in mind that communication has its own inherent value – I swear that’s what I like best about Twitter!
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Case study: Softrax – powering news for financial executives with RSS

One of my favorite clients that I’ve consulted with in recent weeks is a Massachusetts based company called Softrax. I helped put together a unique and powerful newswire system for their website RevenueRecognition.com. The site’s subtitle is “revenue management resources for today’s financial executive.”

Softrax came to me with almost no experience in using new web applications and by the time our work together was done they had a topical OPML file, a system to easily aggregate industry news on their website and a solid initiation into the web 2.0 experience. This case study is an example of one sort of plan I help clients strategize and implement.
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