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Suggestions for a better critical thinking tool  XML
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Author Message
Ike Washington

Joined: 08/08/2008 11:36:13
Messages: 2


After many years of buying and then not using commercial mind mapping applications, both as a graduate student and as a writer, I've been pretty amazed over the last week or so by the free academic mind mapping applications around. And VUE seems to be the best of a good bunch. Thanks!

I chiefly want to use VUE as a simple critical thinking tool, as a way of sketching out an argument and then seeing if the argument is a sound one.

A commercial application which does this well is Austhink's Rationale. However, Rationale lacks flexibility. You can't change colours, add link labels, move objects out of order, add pictures. While this may be an advantage when initially sketching out an argument, it eventually becomes quite frustrating.

VUE works well at creating argument maps. And its flexibility means that an argument map can gradually turn into a concept or mind map.

In each of my VUE argument maps, I have a standard set of nodes: position, reason, objection and rebuttal; several evaluation nodes; numbers. I duplicate these as and when I need them and drop them into nodes representing concepts in the argument. This works extremely well for me. I turn the finished map (via Acrobat Pro) into a pdf file. As well as allowing me to add notes to the map at any later point, this creates a map which can be searched by my computer's local search engine.

What would make VUE II even better:

- ability to create of custom styles
- page templates
- ability to change the default colour settings
- integration of the various windows into one primary dockable window
- indentation of nodes within nodes to create outlines
- automatic hierarchical layout
- export of text to text files: ideally, nodes could be automatically numbered and exported as an ordered and numbered outline directly to Word etc

The inability to export to text files is perhaps the biggest weakness in an otherwise excellent application. It's a huge weakness. But, given that the text is available when exported, in pdf files, it can't be too difficult to add this function to VUE II..?

Thanks again for VUE.

And I'd be happy to evaluate any VUE beta applications.


Ike Washington

Joined: 08/08/2008 11:36:13
Messages: 2

Yeah, this is in the wrong forum. Please feel free to move it.
Scott Fraize

Joined: 08/08/2008 11:36:13
Messages: 46

Ike -- thank you much for the feedback -- we really appreciate it and it's very helpful. I'd love to hear more about the features you're asking about and how you might like them to work, particularly custom styles, and what you might like a text export to produce.

I'd also be happy to speak on the phone if you're willing. Please feel free to contact me directly at VUE@fraize.org.

Scott Fraize
Architect on Tufts VUE
Andy Dent

Joined: 08/08/2008 11:36:13
Messages: 5

The ability to run an XSLT filter on Export and to manage a set of such filters, would take care of text exporting to various formats.

I can knock up some stuff with command-line Xalan as an example.
Damon Farol

Joined: 08/08/2008 11:36:13
Messages: 1

Like Ike (Washington), I have searched for critical thinking/analysis tools (for YEARS). VUE is definitely on the right track and I add the following observations/wishes.
1. the speed of thought is severely limited by the use of the mouse/pointing device.
... (wish) A simple command line interface for rapidly building initial graphic schemes.
... the simple sequence name1 <tab> arc/relation <tab> name2 --- can do a lot, very, very quickly.
..... some automatic fillins would be easy to spec.
2. keyword/tags feature is very good
... now if only I could list all the tags and their actual/potential values
... obviously future versions could actually DO things with the tags ... (see BLINER http://varatek.com/ ) for some interesting variants on how to do this).
3. VUE looks and feels "clean" -- keep that. Some progs, e.g. AXON, just succumb to feature bloat and so become virtually incomprehensible (albeit rather awesome).

Keep up the good work.
Jose Quesada

Joined: 08/08/2008 11:36:13
Messages: 11

I second the comments/feature requests above. I think this took is really good. Here are my thoughts...

Excellent idea: interface is 'modal', like vim. Maybe a command line, too, like vim?
Make it compatible with mindjet. I understand that mindmaps =~ outlines, and they are a subclass of the concept maps that VUE has as a paradigm. Coping and pasting from/to mindjet would be great.
Select, copy and paste will paste plain text (easy to interface with other applications, e.g., text editors, notetakers).
Notes: change font size possible. maybe implement RTF. Now, this is a very particular request but I'd love if you could make it accessible to intellicomplete:
Assign visual styles to roles (e.g., role A: round object, white fonts bold, green background)
Redefinable keyboard shortcuts
Operations on link length (like Axon)
Radius of an object made proportional to some variable (e.g., numerical attributes)
Arithmetic operations possible on a node's attribute and its children. This'd be good for example to sum the values of all chidren under a particular node.

Keep up the good work.

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