5 Kick-Ass Brain Dumping Apps { Web Wednesday #28 }

Web Wednesday with Shai CogginsI can't help it. I'm a geeky app-loving girl. Tell me about a new app or gadget, and I'd be stupidly excited about it. Only time and/or finances will keep me from trying a new app or gadget.

And, as I've already confessed, I'm also a nerdy idea-loving girl. I need all the assistance that I can get when it comes to working out and playing with all the ideas that come to me.

So, if you show me apps or gadgets that will aid my idea brain dumps, then I'm easily sold.

But, what do I mean by brain dumping apps? For me, it's a multi-purpose, catch-all app that enable me to brainstorm, collect and expand ideas, make lists, add images, audio, and/or video, plus more, if possible. Of course, good ol' pen and paper still work very well for me. But, I'm certainly a fan of the fancy electronic versions too.

Now let me share with you some of my favourite brain dumping apps so far...

> Curio (Mac Only) - In my experience, this is probably THE brain dumping app to beat for me. I've only started using it, but I'm already completely addicted. You can do mind maps, make to do lists (or any other kind of lists), create sketches, organise files, manage a project, fill out a dossier, record video and audio, create presentations, and much more. If you have an Evernote account, it works with Curio too! So far, I'm using it to re-plot and re-organise my current novel, plan my projects, create unit or lesson plans, collect notes on courses/workshops I'm taking, and brainstorm ideas. I love it. It does have a few bugs (e.g., it can get quite slow at times, cross-linking pages is not the best, mindmap is okay for simpler stuff, etc). But, regardless of the down parts, I'm still taken with it. In fact, I think it's the first app that made me stop missing MS OneNote. Currently, Curio 6 Standard costs $99, while the Professional version costs $149 (to me, the pro is so worth it). Students and teachers get a discounted version (I think the Pro is $80). There's a 15-day trial available (may be extended upon request).

> Microsoft OneNote (Windows Only) - When I switched to Mac, there were only two apps that I missed the most: MS OneNote and Picasa. Thankfully, Picasa eventually became available to Mac users. And, no matter how many other similar Mac apps I've tried, nothing came quite close to OneNote. Well, until I found Curio. But, yes, if you're a Windows user and you're not using OneNote (and you love brainstorming/brain dumping, then I think you're missing out. MS OneNote is available to try for 60 days. It's available at either $79/$99.

> Evernote (Mac, Windows, iPhone, Web) - It was love-at-first sight... this thing I have with Evernote. Ever since I learned about it, I knew it was a keeper app. It's a wonderful brain dumping app as you can pretty capture everything - images, audio, text, web links, screen shots... You can even make it work online, via email, your iPhone, and on your desktop. I love that it can also recognise text within images (e.g., capture a business card information via your phone, send to your Evernote account, and you can search it later on). You can even organise your notes, files, and records in notebooks or by tags. It's really great! I know I don't use it often enough, but I'm hoping to learn how to incorporate its use much better. One of the best things about it is that it's FREE! But, for more space and versatility, you can upgrade to a Premium account for $5/month or $45/year.

> VoodooPad Pro (Mac Only) - Compared to the first three apps I mentioned, this one seems pretty basic. What I like about VoodooPad, though, is the power in its simplicity. It's a great little electronic notebook that you can transform in to a mini-Wiki in your computer. You can start a document and link pages within that document fairly easily. You can add all sorts of things to it - like PDF files and images. You can even draw/sketch in to it. And, while they used to charge for VoodooPad Pro, it's now available for free. However, they still have an upgraded version (VoodooPad 4.2.3) for $39.95 (or $19.95 if upgrading from a previous paid version).

> Google Notes / Google Docs (Web) - This isn't quite as high-tech or versatile or pretty like the others I've mentioned earlier. But, one great thing about Google Notes / Docs is the ability to use these brain dumping apps as collaborative tools. Yes, with the help of Google Notes/Docs, we can brain dump together! 🙂

How about you? Do you have any favourite brain dumping apps that you'd like to recommend or share with us? Do you use any of these apps that I've shared? If so, how do you use them?

About the Author Shai Coggins (MTeach, MSoc Sci App Psych)

Shai has been managing and blogging here at ShaiCoggins.com for 17 years. Here, she writes about creativity, productivity, and how to recharge for a better, happier lifestyle. She is the author of Today: Life Journal, Colour Bliss: Kaleidoscopes, and a little known children's book. A serial entrepreneur, Shai also currently runs Vervely.com, a boutique digital media agency offering online content, community, and conversion marketing services. Her blogging experience and digital work have been featured in various media, including being listed in Fast Company's "Most Influential Women in Technology" list. Originally from Manila, Shai lived in Singapore and the USA before moving to Australia with her British husband. They have two children, a pet bunny, and a rambunctious rescue Labrador.

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