"Joseph N." wrote:
> This is really a consolidated posting, addressing three different but
> interrelated issues.
> 1. There's been a lot of discussion about Mindmaps. I looked at the
> website, but cannot see anything in the description of the program
> that differs from an old-fashioned, pen-and-paper splash pattern. I
> did not download the program, so I am going only on the basis of what
> I've read here and there. What are the differences between a Mindmap
> result and a splash pattern, and what advantages--beyond
> neatness--does the program deliver?
Neatness is big for me, since I use it for presentations, but you wanted
to know about other advantages, so here are a few.
1. Mindmapping software gives an advantage just as a word processor does
for writing. If you only make one version and get it right the first
time, you could use a typewriter. But some of us are spelling-challenged,
want to edit our work, want to release a second version, want to modify an
existing map for use in another situation, etc.
2. You can organize material with hyper links. For example, if I am
working on a project and it involves a number of different types of
materials for different aspects of the project, I can hyper link them into
the appropriate places. Then, with one click, on a branch, I can open a
word document, another mindmap, a spreadsheet, etc. Some even use
mindmaps to organize their hard disk (I'm not one of them ;-).
3. You can keep the material on the computer. Paper files may be a
necessity, but I prefer to have everything I can on my computer. I can
always put my hands on what I want quickly and without having to sort
through drawers, files, etc. If I have ACT open to a customer and I want
to look the history of our meetings, I can launch the mindmaps I used to
organize the meeting and launch the notes I made after the meeting, along
with any proposals, etc.
4. Although this falls out of 2, you can create and manage complex maps
more easily by linking parts of one map to another map and jump between
them. This is like expanding and contracting levels in an outlining
> 2. For some reason, there's rarely a mention here or in the various
> personal PIM lists of Lotus Organizer, although it is the world's
> best-selling PIM and regularly outranks others in side-by-side
Interesting. I would have thought Outlook was bigger. I'm not surprised
that Lotus is better, since most will have Outlook as a "freebie" (it
comes with office, it comes with pocketpc's, I think it came on my laptop,
it must come with lots of other things).
> I use it, am incredibly pleased with it, and just
> mention this in case it is helpful to anyone. It organizes calendar,
> contact, task, and other information in extremely flexible and
> powerful ways. It does not have the AI functions of Agenda; for that
> I use Zoot. Zoot's ability to use folders, categories, databases, and
> projects amounts to a workaround for what was described as a
> 250-category limitation, although that seems so high it is unlikely to
> pose a problem for most users.)
I don't have a thousand contacts yet, but I'm not that far from it ;-).
Also, I keep the companies customers who are not mine in another database,
but many people don't.
You might be right that there is a workaround for the limit. It just
seems like I would need to get hip-deep in the program before I could work
it all out.
I don't have the experience to answer your last question (#3), but I can
tell you a few things about ACT that matter to me. The sales reporting
features do not, since I don't have to give reports on my activities to
anyone and I don't track things that way for myself.
What is useful are the ways in which you can easily log activities. It
logs all the notes, the next meeting, etc., and it is all integrated with
an efficient interface that is ready to do the appropriate thing with
little digging through menus. For example, I can set up appointments and
it knows who is in front of me and links it all together. When I am
checking off the appointment, there is a button for follow up activity.
If I get off the phone and we agree to meet, I click that button and set
the appointment, I add notes about the conversation in the dialog and tell
it I am done. If you have a complex process you go through a lot, it can
automate the steps of the process (this is not a macro feature -- which I
think it also has -- but an automatic population of the database with the
relevant process steps).
My only complaint is that the search feature could be less hassle to use
(i.e. it often takes an extra button stroke that it shouldn't take). I
realize this is a small complaint, but it adds up every time you look
someone up. Perhaps there is an easier way I haven't figured out ;-).
As a final comment, there are advantages to industry-standard tools. For
example, if you use Outlook, it will work with pocketPCs and zoot. If you
use Lotus, it doesn't integrate seamlessly. If you use the Palm, you are
better off than with a PocketPC (I feel the pain a lot right now on this
one, but I want the extra power -- the bleeding edge at the cutting
edge). If you go to the act web page, you can see that they have pages of
third-party add-on products. I only use one of them, but I'm sure glad it
is available. If you use office, everything integrates with it and you
can easily exchange files with others. I may not always like using
industry standard tools (and filling the coffers of companies that do not
have the best interest of customers in mind), but there are advantages to
. Organizer does not have the sales reporting features of Act!, but
> it does have history and activity links (in ver. 5 and above). If
> anyone has thoughts on the relative merits of Act! and Organizer, I
> would be interested. Even better if one can also comment on the
> merits of those two programs as compared with the combination of Zoot
> and Outlook, which many or most Zoot users find to answer all their
> PIM-based desires.