SimTech, the developers of MindMapper, will release a new USB Edition of their flagship mind mapping program later this week. I've had a chance to play around with it for the last month, and I'm mighty impressed with how well it works.
The entire MindMapper 2008 Professional program - not a stripped down version - comes on a 4 GB USB key, which is partitioned to allow you to store your mind maps and other key files on it. When you plug it into a Windows PC, MindMapper starts up automatically, and displays a dialog box with the following choices:
- Start MindMapper
- Open USB folder
- Browse tips (opens a web page on the USB key, with tutorials for the program's many features)
- Minimize (to Windows' system tray)
Patrick Koh from SimTech says the USB Edition contains a few extra capabilities that enable it to work better from the USB key, such as being able recover from accidental formatting or file deletion from the USB drive. Also, the first time you insert the storage device into your computer, you can select from localized versions of MindMapper in English, German and Dutch. The USB version of MindMapper is protected; it cannot copied or loaded onto your computer. It must always be launched via the USB key. When you unplug it, MindMapper exits automatically after saving your data.
I asked him what motivated his team to develop this version of MindMapper?
"The idea came from many sources. Road warriors wanting to use MindMapper when they were away from their laptops. Corporate employees who wanted to use MindMapper in a conference room. Also from people who didn’t like the process of registration and activating the software. Then we noticed some security companies were using USB keys to launch their software to repair infected PCs. So we took this idea and found a way to launch MindMapper when you just plugged in the USB key."
Who is the USB Edition designed for?
"Our initial target segment were the road warriors. But we think it will also appeal to many people in the corporate environment. Even regular workers can copy their work on the USB, take it home, and work on MindMapper at home and have all their data accessible in the USB drive. This concept of portable software and install-free, instant-on software will be attractive to many people."
I used the program on both my work and home PCs, and it ran without incident. My work laptop is packed with mind mapping software, because I evaluate so much of it for this blog. But my home PC, which is quite old and has limited memory and hard drive space left, doesn't have any mind mapping software installed. So it was quite nice to be able to start a map at work, then take it home, plug in the USB key and continue working.
Kudos to SimTech for exploring this idea and developing this program. It's definitely one of those "why didn't anyone think of this before now?" kind of products!
SimTech says the list price of MindMapper 2008 USB Edition will be US$179.95, but they plan to run a promotion when the program launches at only US$149.95. As soon as SiTech launches their USB Edition web page, I will post the link here. But in the meantime, you heard it here first, folks!