DialogVisual Magazine

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Posts tagged "technology"

Great news for Tumbloggers: The fab iPad app Blogsy has introduced full Tumblr support. It’s now awaiting approval from Apple for this ‘Dragon’ update.

If your latest GTD* method and that new bit of ‘To Do’ software you purchased at Xmas hasn’t helped you make more than a slight dent in your project list for 2012, perhaps it’s time to try a completely different and more visual approach to project planning. 

Visual and colourful project planning

Research suggests that, people in general respond better to shapes and colours when it comes to understanding and remembering than to lists of text. Add to this the fact that as creative people we are often exceptionally uncomfortable with linear thinking and you’ll see why mind-maps provide a colourful, visual and, yes, fun way not only to get an overview of our projects, but to drill down to the nitty gritty next actions as well.

Idea Sketch

If this sounds like what you need and you also happen to have an iPad and/or iPhone (the app is universal), then you might want to experiment with a fabulous free** app called Idea Sketch by award-winning education and software developers, Nosleep software.

The latest version of the app offers lots of varieties of shapes for your concepts and extra colours are promised for the March update, but what makes Idea Sketch stand out from the host of mind-mapping apps out there is the option to also see your map as a hierarchical list. 

But didn’t you say we were getting away from lists?

Mind-mapping is a great way to capture a flow of creative ideas and to see an overview of everything related to a project but there’s going to come a time when you need to focus on taking some concrete steps. 

Most digital mind-mapping software will allow you to close up branches of the map thus permitting you to focus on one particular area, but Idea Sketch’s list view is like generating an instant ‘To Do’ list for your project. You can add more information in either of the views and it will be automatically reflected in the other.

Mind Map

Unfortunately, as yet, Idea Sketch doesn’t include the option of tick boxes the way Omni Outliner does nor can you include your own images or collaborate across platforms in the Cloud as you can with Mindjet; and the ability to export just one branch of a project as a new map would also be a great help. But the software is being constantly updated so maybe the developers will include these features at a later date. 

Creative Spring

So if 2012 didn’t get off with quite the kick-start you hoped for, why not start your Spring planning with a colourful and visual mind-map? There’s lot’s of software and apps to choose from – and paper and coloured pens still work – but at the bargain price of FREE, Idea Sketch is definitely worth a whirl!

*GTD – Getting Things Done a phrase coined by productivity guru, David Allen in his book of the same name.

**The app does offer some extra options as in-app purchases but I used the app happily for nearly two years without needing these extras. (This is not an affiliate link and I am not affiliated to NoSleep software in any way.)

The Creative Person’s Guide to Technology & Social Media

My first experience of digital technology was the Lynx home computer bought by my father in the early 1980’s. Fascinated, we investigated how to change the screen from green to red to blue using ‘if this, then that’ Basic commands. I was hooked.

The Story of a Techno-nomad
From then on computers, in one form or another became part of my life: I learnt to type on an electric typewriter with a tiny one line display showing the last seven or so words typed; I struggled with AutoCad in a minute, dingy room at art school and typed my dissertation (and earned spare cash typing up other student’s) on the ubiquitous Amstrad word processor. My first digital graphic design experience was a course in Quantel Paintbox (two screens - tools on one, design on the other), then came PageMaker and Corel Draw under Windows 3.1! The list goes on and on: Email when the address was an impossible-to-remember-number at compuserve, becoming a digital graphic-design nomad in ‘96 with a laptop and a mobile phone — both of which weighed a ton — and a hand scanner; Dodgy, slow dial-up connections, more Microsoft operating systems from 95 to XP, a stream of digital cameras, Mac OSX from Tiger to Lion, broadband and an increasing number of i-devices. The list continues to grow.

What do all these have in common? That, except for those in the last few lines, none of the rest are in use anymore. Yet at any point in that potted history, salespeople the world over were assuring that THIS was the ultimate. And it was. But the ultimate has an extremely short lifespan and it’s best not to get too attached to it or to worry too much whether you have it or how you use it — or not.

What’s all this got to do with Artists?
What’s important about technology is not what it is or how cutting edge or popular it is but how you use it. As artists, or creatives of any kind, hopefully this means artistically, bravely, creatively.

After all, if every time we wanted to paint a picture or write a poem, we sat down and read a “30 best ways to” article about how to do it, we’d not only never develop our own style but we’d never paint any pictures or write any poems!

Own Your Social Media
So instead of reading another article entitled 25 ways to sell your art through Pinterest (or Facebook, or LinkedIn or Google Plus), sit down and tinker with the media in question as you might with a new kind of paint. Push it and pull it and see how it feels. Then go on and brainstorm 25 ways this technology might fit in with who YOU are as a creative, how YOU feel most comfortable marketing (or not) your work through this kind of social media, what kind of benefits or inspiration it could mean for YOU.

After all this stuff doesn’t stay around for long so you may as well treat it as something ephemeral to experiment with than something that’s set in stone; think zen sand sculpture more than monolithic stone.

Remember, being creative is about forging new, exciting combinations not blindly following what other people say — especially when they are trying to sell you something.

Quantel Paintbox anybody?

Do share any creative uses you’ve made of social media in the comment box :)

Photos all CC clockwise from top left:
Lynx – Anders Sandberg some rights reserved, derivative work: Ubcule
Amstrad PCW – Boffy
Paintbox – Ye old quantel paintbox on-air broadcast graphics, some rights reserved