Allowing some extra—and it turned out not needed—travel time for traffic, unavoidable road works and the slick check in process at Auckland Airport means I’m through security looking at a departure board which says ‘Relax’. Time to blog!
I’ve been invited to an AutoCAD Blogger day early next week and took the opportunity to spend a bit longer in San Francisco. Initial plan was to rent a bicycle and get some hill practice for my upcoming Himalayan adventures but I also stumbled upon a mind mapping event: “Biggerplate Unplugged”.
Since it was literally around the corner I was happy to get one of the last tickets. Several of my MindManager related contacts are attending (or in one case speaking). That will fill a day but I still have a couple of days for cycling and other touristy things before the Autodesk event.
Although Auckland is a long way from everywhere I’m looking at some of the latest aviation technology as I write. A pair of Emirates A380s and a China Southern 787.
My ride is with Air New Zealand in one of their few remaining 747-400s. I suspect these are still in use due to the delay in their own 787 order. It’s direct to San Francisco, so only 12 hours, arriving Wednesday morning after leaving Wednesday evening. Time is an illusion!
Travel & some accommodation provided by Autodesk, see disclosure page for details.
Mindjet have announced a revised structure for their “Mindjet” subscription packages which meet with a very mixed reaction when first announced.
In addition to the full “Business” ($30/month) subscription there is now an “Individual” option. This appears to add the Mindjet desktop application, formerly known as MindManager, to the previous web only $15/month package:
“Mindjet for Individuals includes our desktop versions for Windows and Mac, along with use of the Mindjet web app for personal file storage and task management.
Mindjet for Individuals License includes:
Fully functioning Mindjet for Windows and Mac desktop versions
Mindjet Web with personal file storage
Mindjet Tasks to help users manage personal items and “to do” lists
The price is $15 (USD) per month with a multi-year purchase option and is available in English, French and German.”
While the new pricing is more expensive than the old software assurance it adds some web services to the desktop package. It is a much more acceptable offer for those who don’t need the full team/social mapping features in the business package, but more than the old web only subscription offered.
Its great to see this response from Mindjet but I wonder about the process which developed the initial packages. I hope it is not too late as know, via comment and email response to this post, that previously loyal users have been motivated to investigate alternative products. Probably not quite the reaction Mindjet were aiming for with their re-launch.
For the details on Mindjet for Individuals or other Mindjet products go to www.mindjet.com
UPDATE 2012-11-22: I still found some aspects of the new subscription confusing especially when I received a renewal request for the old (pre-subscription MSA) fee. Below are the questions and responses from Mindjet Support:
“Could you help with these question re MSA & the Mindjet Subscription changes?
1) I have/had MindManager 2012 as a perpetual product with MSA. I believe this entitled me to a perpetual license of Mindjet 11 desktop irrespective of upgrading/not to the new Mindjet Subscription?
-Yes, active MSA entitles you to upgrades and moving to the subscription is only an option that will provide you with all our products (desktop, web and mobile apps).
2) If I pay the MSA $79.80 will I get perpetual updates for future desktop versions of Mindjet even if I choose not to update to a Mindjet Personal or Business Subscription? If not what is this charge for?
-Yes, if you decide to keep your MSA. You will continue to receive the upgrades of the desktop software only.
3) If I update to a Mindjet Personal or Business Subscription but later chose not to renew it can I use the (then current) Mindjet desktop application perpetually to create/edit/view local data or does it stop at the end of the subscription term?
-If you upgrade your windows key to the Mindjet subscription, you will receive a perpetual license for windows and a subscription key for the mac desktop software and web service. After a year, if you decide not to continue with the subscription, you will keep the windows perpetual license but the mac and web service will turn into view only mode.
4) If I choose not to update to a Mindjet Personal or Business Subscription can I use the Mindjet 11 application perpetually or do I have to revert to MindManager 2012?
-No, you can keep the latest version (Mindjet 11) that you received. “
Recently MindManager, the premium mind mapping application from Mindjet, has seen some radical changes. It’s not the typical application centred change — like new feature set, controversial new interface or file format — but rather a transformation in how the application and services are offered to the user. Even if you’re not a MindManager user this post may be of interest as it highlights the user impact of a software developer reacting to technology and workspace change.
Goodbye MindManager, hello Mindjet!
Like all desktop software companies Mindjet are facing up to the evolution of mobile and cloud. How you migrate your existing desktop customer base to ‘the cloud’ seems to be the number one challenge for many companies. Over the previous few years Mindjet have made acquisitions in the cloud and social ‘space’, launched their own collaboration portal and created mobile versions of their premium desktop application MindManager. They embraced the change by offering a portfolio of solutions to choose from.
They recently revealed a new business model based on cloud/mobile/desktop packages with subscription only options. I’m a MindManager fanatic but the new Mindjet has me wondering about the future of the application, the company and its regard for current users.
My MindManager, a retrospective
I first purchased & downloaded MindManager X5 from the Mindjet website way back in 2004. Over the years I have upgraded* it to (as I wrote this) MindManager 2012 with a “Mindjet Software Assurance and Support agreement (MSA)” to cover annual updates. My purchases were done via the Mindjet website, my last update to 2012 supplied direct from Mindjet as part of MSA.
* Some incremental updates were received as reward for beta participation as detailed on the disclosure page
Stumbling into the future of Mindjet
What follows is how I learnt of “the new Mindjet”. Given a main component of their business focuses on communication of ideas I think they, thanks in part to a trigger happy partner, got this process spectacularly wrong.
Early September: The first misfire…
It started on 4 September 2012 with a rather abrupt email from an Australian based Mindjet partner. I had never, knowingly, dealt with them and the content was so bizarre I actually wondered if it was some sort of phishing attempt targeting MindManager users.
“At the end of September 2012, Mindjet MindManager will be changing. It will effect how the 2 million plus users access Mindjet products and services. Are you ready for the change?
There are multiple offers on the go. If you plan to buy any new licenses or upgrades in the next 12 months we recommend getting in now while all these discounts apply. You only have a few weeks to act, so be quick because the deadline is fast approaching!”
As a MindManager user, owner, this was rather a surprise.
Would Mindjet.com clarify things?
Surfing over to http://www.mindjet.com was no help. When I visited, and even several days later (as seen in the screenshot below), it appeared to be to be business as usual. The application was being sold as a desktop application, with optional support assistance/subscription, and no sign of the radical changes coming in a few weeks.
A second email makes it clear, if not particularly palatable.
On 5 September 2012 an email arrived from a NZ Mindjet Partner I know but again hadn’t dealt with for my direct web Mindjet purchases. They addressed the confusion created by the previous correspondence and detailed the changes planned by Mindjet. This included the new product offer, business model and five upgrade/promotional offers depending on your current status.
Bizarrely there was still nothing (I could find at least) on the Mindjet web site. The screenshot below is actually Mindjet.com captured several days later on 09-09-2012 21:34 NZ time as I wrote this part of the post…
And, finally, an email from Mindjet
Finally on 6 September an email (right) arrived direct from Mindjet. MindManager owners without MSA had only a couple of weeks to consider an upgrade offer ~$190 before the price jumped up ~35%. From late September to December there is another offer with all upgrades withdrawn after that.
If you were on MSA the new Mindjet 11 application is part of that with a “special upgrade offer” to get the additional services for a year.
Personally I had no need to panic, MSA assured my upgrade but not the services, but if not on that would have been rather annoyed by the “deals” and timelines presented.
Out with MindManager, in with Mindjet!
Although the desktop application lives on ‘MindManager’, the name, is history. Seems a bit odd to walk away from a name with so much heritage as a mind map pioneer. However if Google Trends is any guide Mindjet seems to be matching awareness, if only due to MindManager’s decline!
There is also a new Mindjet logo and black/grey/red corporate brand. The new product range will simply be known as “Mindjet” + application/service: Mindjet Desktop, Mindjet Web, Mindjet Mobile etc.
They will only be available as a subscription bundle which is a rather radical change from the previous application + service plan model. The full Mindjet bundle includes the formerly separate web services for map sharing/edit/collaboration (Connect Vision) and task management (Connect Action). There is a lesser web only based package but it would not be of interest to a serious MindManager user.
My current MindManager investment
MindManager was never “cheap”, but for me it was always good value. It cost about half what a I paid for Microsoft Office Pro. At (2012 prices) us$400 you could have MindManager desktop for life with about us$80/year upgrade assurance keeping it current.
If I had paid for all upgrades from X5 to today (a couple of upgrades were gifted in return for beta activity) I would have spent about nz$1500 over nine years to maintain current copy of MindManager.
Given MindManager is my primary document generator and also replaces Microsoft Project for my Gantt needs I think nz$166/year was good value.
Mindjet: more than MindManager but at a price
The Mindjet ‘packages’ are subscription only. You get everything desktop and web for us$30/month or a web only version for us$15/month.
Mindjet justify the premium version by including services which once were separate. You get the full desktop app and cloud based storage, task/project/activity management and the mobile applications.
Mindjet Web looks very limited in comparison with the MindManager strengths of Office integration, multiple view modes (outline/gantt/presentation) missing entirely. Click the capture (right) for details.
This is fine but it appears most, if not all, the additional features are aimed at what I will term social mappers. Teams who collaborate on a map, locally or in the cloud.
I’m mostly a lonely mapper using MindManager as an authoring tool and generally only share office format exports (no other MindManager users at work).
Apart from the convenience web storage for mobile use, and I found that’s limited by roaming data costs when travelling, there is no value in the additional social services for my workflow. It will cost us$360, more than four times the current MSA annual cost, for access to the Mindjet capability I enjoyed with MindManager to date.
Mindjet’s worth? Good value becomes expensive.
If you consider the Mindjet package useful is it good value? Perhaps using Microsoft Office as a yardstick is still a viable. I was happy to pay about half Office desktop cost to get MindManager Desktop. If you compare the MindManager Web offer with Office Web the cost/benefit ratio tips the other way.
At us$30/user/month Mindjet is 1/3 more than a Microsoft Office 365 Plan. I think the fairest comparison is 365 Plan P with the addition of a desktop Office Pro subscription at us$21/month. Remember that offers the full Office suite (5+ applications) and a bunch of on-line services vs. Mindjet’s one platform and service offer.
I’m not opposed to subscription software but you have to justify the cost/benefit of the services you are paying for. If that means paying a significant sum for functions/services you don’t actually need or ever use that’s pretty hard to do.
Where from here?
I’ve got Mindjet 11 desktop and won’t be taking up the subscription ‘offer’ this year. For now I can say that unless Mindjet consider adding more flexible packages with more reasonable pricing options I suspect Mindjet 11 will be the last version I buy. As someone who has used it for nearly a decade and loves it that makes me pretty sad.
MindManager is ideal for visualising hierarchies and summarising task information. PROJECTSCHEMA uses MindManager topic & task features (icons, progress an date) to show/edit part status. You can view parts in the MindManager browser pane (using SolidWorks or its free viewer) and plan/report progress with MindManager (9+) Gantt View.
I’m not a SolidWorks user but as a MindManager fan think this sort of integration with design project information has real potential.
PROJECTSCHEMA allows an entire SolidWorks assembly to be opened as a MindMap. It imports thumbnails, custom properties, eDrawings and attachments. It's meant to allow anyone to quickly gain insight into (and brainstorm) the project without needing to open SolidWorks.
Once the mindmap is generated, you can interrogate the entire project by filtering and changing the views. You can even use the Gantt Chart view to plan and track your progress.
When creating multiple maps, the key to project efficiency is standardization. A quick way to standardize your maps is to create custom tags & markers that can be applied to a variety of different maps…
MindManager 9 for Mac out, New iOS version coming soon…
If you are a MindManager user — or want to see what it is all about — near Auckland Mindjet Partner Mindlogik have a free evening seminar next week. It sounds like an interesting event and there is beer! If I wasn't somewhere in the South Island on a bicycle I’d be there!
REGISTER NOW for our Free MindManager Seminar Cheese, Beer and Wine Evening. 23 March 5 to 8 pm at Cliftons Event Centre, Auckland
Meet Cameron Ackbury from Mindjet San Francisco who is flying in especially for the day to meet with Kiwi MindManager users. Come and meet with other avid MindManager users.
Session 1: Not sure if you are ready to buy or upgrade? This covers getting to know MindManager9, the basics and how MindManager can help your business to grow.
Session 2: You might already own MindManager but feel you ought to get the full benefits its functionality offers. We will show you how to understand and use the advanced features of MindManager 9, to supercharge your productivity!
Session 3:Guest Speaker slot – MindManager 9 THINKBLUE for Projects. Jonathan Baker, from Project Mapping, shows how to use integrated project management templates for completing any stage of the project management cycle, on budget and on time.
I’ve been using the notebook (right) for meetings since Autodesk University 2004. It’s apparent that I don’t take many analog notes as, seven years later, I have only just filled it! One reason it survived is I like the size and ring binding which allows pages to be torn out and filed/scanned.
Was that my last paper notebook?
An IT colleague noticed the old AU 2004 logo on that book recently and thanks to him I already have a replacement – from another conference - in the same format. Thanks Amit!
It will last even longer as I typically use a computer (laptop or tablet) or my iPhone for notes. For Autodesk University 2010 I didn’t take any paper documents as packed the company Convertible Tablet PC* and my iPhone. All my class resources were available on both – maintained using Dropbox cloud sync - and I used Mindjet applications for my notes.
When small is good
For sessions like the main stage & keynotes I prefer Mindjet iPhone (left), especially with a black map theme. It is discreet, easy to handle and was able to keep up with the information flow for key info. I especially like being able to tap in rich info like URL’s and use them immediately if needed. I saw quite a few notebooks and iPads in the general session but think iPhone is better in tight theatre/stadium seating. I use the dark scheme as find a bright white screen in a dark room quite annoying (and imagine others do too).
I’d like this to be an application theme which applied to all parts of the Mindjet iPhone UI, not just the map document. I’d also prefer Mindjet iPhone to use the same .mmap format as MindManager but it has it’s own (compatible) format.
Or scrawl & scribble
For lectures I used MindManager on the Tablet PC in tablet/pen mode. As I detailed last year the MindManager structure, text recognition for search and ability to mix sketches and hand written text is awesome for lecture notes. The browser pane in MindManager allowed me to have reference session notes and my working note map side by side without fiddling with window layouts (or maximise/minimise).
Open, but not, Office
The Tablet had Open Office loaded and I found it poor at rendering anything other than basic Office documents. Some reference documents, especially presentations, were illegible as Open Office failed to resolve so much content or formatting. Lesson learnt for next time, take a real Office!
I don’t miss the dreaded post match “notes write up”!
One thing that I love is how IPhone Mindjet notes export to MindManager (right is the iPhone map seen above). I leave all my hand scrawled, can’t call it writing, maps in ink format. It’s OK for me to read and MindManager does background recognition which makes them searchable without conversion.
Apart from a simple file transfer from the iPhone there is no need to “process” notes or “write up” after a meeting. It is one aspect of analog note taking I don’t miss!
Tablet + Smartphone does not equal iPad?
This trip confirmed I don’t want a Tablet I can’t write on especially if it means losing half an - already small - screen for a virtual keyboard. For me the “gap” between smartphone and real computer is too small to justify investing in another platform.
* Although getting on the old HP was recently updated from Vista to Windows 7. The change has been rather remarkable as it almost feels like a new machine, especially the speed at which it wakes up from sleeping.
MindManager 9 was released recently and brings significant changes to my favourite mind mapping application. In fact, too many to cover in one post! This highlights my first impression of MindManager 9, based on experience with the pre-release version, and leaves the detail for future posts.
User Interface Refinements
MindManager adopts an Office 2010 UI “feel” with a File Tab replacing the version 7/8 Application Button. Some map items and views have been renamed to better indicate their behaviour for new users. Text Markers are now “Tags” (but work much the same). Ribbon/Tab layout has been refined, supposedly based on user workflow, and there are two major Tab changes.
A new Developer tab contains the Template, Macro, Custom & Database tools. It is off by default and enabled in Options>View.
The “Export” tab has disappeared as its tools get a new location back stage.
Functions that are not related to creating and formatting the map are found in the new File Tab>Backstage View. If you’re an Office 2010 user this will be familiar but may take some adjustment for new/upgrade users. To quote the Mindjet Help:
Think of MindManager as a dramatic production - the map corresponds to what the audience sees, and the Backstage view corresponds to what happens "behind the scenes", or backstage.
This is a mixture of the Application Button and Export Tab whose options are now found in File > Save & Send > Export. I find this a bit “buried” compared to the old tab and not really an improvement.
A new view of MindManager
I think the View Tab reveals most about the changes in MindManager 9. Long established Map and Outline views live on as does “Presentation”, now renamed “Walk Through”. This does explain its function more accurately but, I suspect, also reflects it will likely to see less use for presentations due to the arrival of Slides.
“Slide” Presentation View
Slides are a completely new map presentation mode. You can regard them as a filtered view of map branch which can be saved and recalled in a click. The resulting series of Slides can be rearranged in the slide viewer (irrespective of their map location) to suit your presentation narrative.
You can view them in the MindManager editor or a full screen slide play mode. It’s great for combining the “structured” nature of an export to PowerPoint with the flexibility of a live mind map when you want to go off script. My only regret is the presentation of topic notes hasn’t been improved beyond the existing tooltip/panel display options and some limitations in the layout of slides. The slide thumbnails are not “live” but can be easily refreshed and you can print slides with a variety of output options. I foresee far less use of the Export to PowerPoint button and the “Walk through” mode due to this new view.
Integrated Gantt Project View
Previously an external application, JCVGantt Pro, or export to another package was required to see a Gantt View of your MindManager map. MindManager 9 has an integrated Gantt panel which allows viewing, editing and printing. This doesn’t offer the power, or complexity, of a full project management application but is more than adequate for simple time, resource, task timeline aspects of a project map. It can be used with a full map or branch enabling your project map to combine conventional topics and tasks which define a Gantt timeline. This is a huge advance for MindManager as a project management tool.
A new Outlook, and mixed feelings
Outlook Queries are another powerful new feature. The legacy Outlook map topics remain and are used by this feature. Queries allow MindManager to interact with Outlook and create topics automatically based on your specification. You can query Outlook Tasks, Emails, Appointments and Contacts using a variety of criteria and display options.
Mixed feelings? The behaviour of the legacy “Categories” Text Markers (which synchronized to Outlook Tasks) changed in the preview. This won’t be a problem for new users but I found it impacted my MindManager > Outlook Task workflow. I need to review this with the release version but recommend backing up & testing your legacy synchronized maps before committing to MindManager 9.
Try it or Buy it?
Mindjet have a 30 day trial and, from my experience with the preview, it will not impact an existing MindManager 8 install. I have run both simultaneously, often editing the same map in both versions.
Click the link below for more detail and link to 30 day trial or purchase options at Mindjet:
It’s the time of year when Autodesk unleash new versions of their applications. I just finished watching a webcast announcing the AutoCAD, AEC, Manufacturing and Visualisation products.
“With the release of these powerful applications, the 2011 Autodesk product line is truly the best-in-class,” said Autodesk President and Chief Executive Officer Carl Bass. “Building on our long history of making complex technology more accessible to a broader audience, we made our portfolio of 3D design and engineering tools both simpler and more powerful".
Full details about the 2011 products are available now at www.autodesk.com (Source Autodesk Press Release)
There is certainly plenty to look and the hour long webcast touched on a myriad of feature and technology improvements within, and across, the platforms. I already have experienced a few pre-release applications and was MindManager noting furiously (below) during the presentation. Check out the Autodesk site for product details and keep an eye on this blog for posts over the next few days, weeks, months as 2011 arrives on my desktop.
UPDATE 03/26/2010: Fixed the bad link to Autodesk, thanks for telling me Gary! Perils of blogging at 05:00 when you’re a night owl by nature!