If there was ever a software program I wanted to review fairly, no matter how I felt about it personally, BrainStorm is that program. A purely conceptual, no-eye appeal, no-frills flight, BrainStorm is, to its credit, a ”thinking man's" software. Those, like me, who are fascinated by the workings of the human mind, yet find themselves scrambling to "organize" scattered, although creative, thoughts within their own, should heed my recommendation to download BrainStorm's 30-day trial version, and browse the contents of its comprehensive website.
Even if you choose not to use or purchase the BrainStorm software, you will have taken a worthwhile and oddly enjoyable educational adventure.
My decision to download the UK based, "organizer" software BrainStorm, was based upon something somewhat different than my normal, pleading, one-question criteria ("Can it really organize me? Please! Organize me!") when testing similar software. A sucker for "organizer" products, I can not resist anything or anybody promising to help capture my racing thoughts, and calm this chattering mind. Reviewing BrainStorm, however, became a much different experience. I was not so much taken with the program itself as I was with its history, development, and the fascinating labor of love from which it was born.
David Tebbut, the mastermind behind the BrainStorm concept, created the DOS version in the mid-eighties and, some ten years later, with the help of programmer Marck Pearlstone, developed the current version for Windows. BrainStorm falls into a category of software that Tebbut describes as "brainstorming and mind-mapping software."
An avid user of mind-mapping, organizational techniques, computer wizard Tebbut spent the early 80’s brainstorming software ideas for refining and simplifying "idea mapping" methods. His plan was to create a user-friendly, outwardly simplistic, yet enormously powerful program that existed only to "accelerate" one's "thinking, writing, and planning". BrainStorm was Tebbut's plan turned into a reality.
BrainStorm is about capturing and storing user information in a logical, cohesive, and entirely flexible format. Information can be typed into a Brainstorm "model", or, using an option called Magic Paste, captured/copied directly from any website, e-mail, online publication, separate program, or individual word, text, or html docs. Once pasted or typed, the information can be dated, separated, placed at levels of hierarchy, moved, given hypertext links ("namesakes") to avoid information duplication or to combine information of a similar nature, shared via e-mail using an option called Magic Launch, viewed in different formats, changed to any color, and embedded into other BrainStorm models.
Oh...but there's more - browse the BrainStorm website, its online Help section, or visit the BrainStorm Forum where David Tebbut himself will gladly respond to all posted messages, questions, and even improvement suggestions for future versions of BrainStorm.
To test and use BrainStorm, I organized the mass amounts of information I recently compiled to write a Dissertation. First, I opened a "New" BS "model" from the File menu and titled it. Next, I began copying pages of previously saved research docs from my original Dissertation file into my new BrainStorm model. A clever Tool Bar option allowed me to separate and timestamp entries as fast as I copied.
Fascinated by the Magic Paste option long before testing it, I began copying full-length research articles from online publication databases. With BrainStorm running in the background, I went from webpage to webpage, hitting Cntrl-C (Magic Paste) each time I found relevant information, trusting the option to work while not visually seeing it happen. To my pleasant surprise, as the last web page closed to reveal the open BrainStorm window, it was clear that all text and docs had copied and time stamped according to plan.
It would be impossible for one person to utilize each feature of BrainStorm because each feature is - deliberately - designed for a unique purpose and, therefore, only certain features will appeal to certain users, yet all features are available if needed, thus being the point and focus of the software.
Sound confusing? - I thought so, at first.
However, after countless visits to the website, and after discovering BrainStorm's humble, intentionally sincere beginnings, my chattering mind decided that, although this is certainly not software for the weak at heart, it should be respected, nonetheless, as a successful labor of love.
A 30-day, extendable trial download of the BrainStorm software is currently available through the Brainstorm website. Final purchase price is approximately $40.00 in US currency and ships directly from the United Kingdom. Online help is plentiful, and the inventor himself, Mr. David Tebbut, will post to you personally via the Brainstorm Forum to answer questions or respond to comments. Take a little adventure in the quirky, but oh-so-sincere land of Brainstorm, and its methods of mapping to your mind.
Brainstorm was also Reviewed By Charles Akin, you can find his findings by clicking this link: Brainstorm Review By Charles