Sunday, July 26, 2009

An Interesting Video on Scobleizer, or Mindmapping can be of Interest to a Wide Audience Like Other Technologies

Just the other day, I saw an interesting video in which I thought many of you might be interested. It was about Mindmapping and it was on Scobleizer’s Videos. Robert Scoble was interviewing Michael Deutch, Chief Evangelist for Mindjet, the company behind MindManager. In the video, Michael discusses Mindmapping in general, MindManager in particular, and then presented a brief demonstration of MindManager. The video is also available as part of the July 24th, 2009 post of the Mindjet Blog.

This is significant to me, and it should also be to those of you who are trying to get coworkers and bosses to use Mindmapping. The obstacle to widespread use is often that there is a false belief that Mindmapping is an obscure, niche technology that will be gone in a year or two, tops. We all know better, but sometimes we need additional ammunition to convince others. This video is the perfect thing, for a couple of reasons.

First of all, Robert Scoble is well known as a technology enthusiast and expert on the up and coming technologies. He generally makes videos about technologies which he feels the community should know about. The general assumption is that he would not waste his time on an obscure, flash-in-the-pan technology that he expects to fizzle out in the near future. Scoble even says in the video that he uses MindManager himself. All of this lends Mindmapping a certain legitimacy.

The second reason that this video is good news for Mindmappers is that the video will, in all likelihood, be viewed by a lot of people. It could be viewed by a large audience made up of people who don’t use Mindmaps. It could even reach some individuals that haven’t even heard of Mindmaps. Scobleizer Videos are broadly viewed throughout the technology community. Not only that, I am aware of several people that don’t follow any technology blogs at all, except for Scobleizer.

Don’t be surprised if a coworker, or a boss, approaches you and asks about Mindmapping, which he vaguely remembers you pitching to him in months or years past. When your boss recognizes the value of Mindmapping, he may not only encourage their use, he may even mandate it!

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

CRPS, or Why Tech Landscape Has Been Inactive for so Long

When I started this blog several months ago, my intent had been to post quite regularly. When I posted my list of Mindmapping solutions and announced the shootout, my intent had been to rapidly make my way through the mappers applying some sensible set of criteria, and to promptly post the results for all to see. However, as so often happens, reality interfered with my plans. Not reality as seen in ‘reality’ television shows, but reality in the form of a really nasty disease by the name of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS).

CRPS, formerly known as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) is an incurable, serious disease of the nervous system. It is usually present in one or more extremities and it brings a particularly unpleasant list of symptoms including excruciating pain all the time, weakness, loss of movement, discoloration, swelling, brainfog, loss of short-term memory (did I mention excruciating pain?), and many, many more. It can spread to face, mouth, eyes, and even internal organs. The best way I have seen anybody describe the way CRPS feels is that you soak the affected area in gasoline, set it on fire, and you can’t put it out. Ever. Not even temporarily. That is actually an understatement. There have been studies done on the severity of different types of pain. CRPS pain was ranked as the worst pain recorded in humans. It ranks way above cancer pain and the pain of childbirth. It even ranks above amputation without anesthetic. That gives you an idea of what CRPS is like although, really, you need to be there. If you want more gory details of CRPS, google it and you’ll be surprised at how much material you can find. I know I was.

In my specific case the pains started in February, 2008 in the big toe of my right foot. By Summer it had gotten much worse and spread to my whole right foot. I couldn’t drive or walk without crutches. That is when CRPS was diagnosed. Throughout the Fall, it crept up my right leg and jumped over to my left foot. Around the beginning of 2009, the pain started in my hands and arms, both of them. This was about the time I started Tech Landscape. I was still able to write, although only for short periods of time. When I started the Mindmapping Shootout, a few weeks seemed reasonable for me evaluate software packages albeit very slowly with most of my time resting. Then everything worsened, especially my hands. I came down to only a couple of minutes on the computer, either typing or mousing, before having to rest for an hour or so (seriously). My fatigue and brainfog, with the attendant short-term memory problems, made it impossible to get much of anything done. Since then, the CRPS has spread so that it is essentially the full lengths of my four extremities, covering my lower back, the left side of my upper back, my temples, and maybe my eyes. I’ve also developed fairly frequent dizzy spells, which make me fun to watch when I’m on crutches. All of this has caused my blogging to come to a grinding halt, although it has not dampened my interest in blogging. Also, I will really need to cut down my triathlons to two per year. As they say, “Best laid plans of mice and men...”

So, you may ask, “What does this mean for Tech Landscape?” I asked myself the same question, and it turns out that there is a simple, yet imprecise answer. CRPS is a disease where getting anything accomplished is a great victory. I believe that I have been biting off more than I can chew, and consequently choking rather than writing blog posts. The Mindmapping Software Shootout will have to be pushed onto the back burner. I might be able to complete the reviews at some point, but not anytime soon. I apologize to those of you that have contacted me wondering when the reviews would be posted. I’m considering the use of guest bloggers to get the reviews done. If anyone would like to do one or more reviews, please leave a comment with an email address that I can use to contact you and we can discuss it. There are a lot of exciting developments in the areas covered by this blog. They have generated lots of ideas for posts. Since these are each small efforts, I will start writing them up. Due to the nature of CRPS, I cannot predict the frequency with which I will be able to post. Sometimes, I may publish several times in a week. If my health is acting up, there may be a long gap. I have no plans to stop posting, I just have to do it as my health allows.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, I don’t anticipate writing any more about my health in this blog. I just figured that I owed an explanation to the folks that have followed my posts and then wondered if I had disappeared from the face of the earth. Thank you for your patience, and I look forward to getting my next post out to you, soon.