Lino: Because Mind Mapping Software is Boring as Boring Gets

Good evening fellow living things with arms, legs, heads, hands, feet… Can you tell I’m tired?

Well, welcome to the last week of class. Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!… I thought I’d find an image to illustrate how I feel as the end of the semester gets nearer and nearer and here’s the image that best suits how I feel:

Okay, so even though I’m near total exhaustion, I must still bring you la crème de la crème of web teaching tools. One evening, as my mind drifted from one of my research projects to videos of baby birds and comedians on the internet, I stumbled upon something quite nice on this website called The Teacher List.ca (which you should take a look at, it’s quite interesting for web tools and general discussion regarding technologies in teaching). It’s called Lino.

DID YOU MEAN ”DINO”? HECK YEAH! DINOSAURS! WHAT ABOUT THEM? THEY’RE STILL DEAD, AREN’T THEY?

Well, yes they’re still dead. I doubt that this is going to change any time soon but this is not what this tool is about. Now, now… before you express your utterly extreme disappointment, let me tell you more about this darling.

Before anything, we’ve all had to make some concept maps as students. Making them by hand takes forever and, let’s face it, how often do they look even near the aesthetically tolerable? That’s right. Never. Nevertheless, they’re still pretty useful study tools for many students.

But for the love of N.W.A., is it just me or is all that mind mapping software really boring and messed-up? I’ve tried a few myself and they generally respect at least one or all of the following criterion:

  1. The aesthetics are impossible to figure out. Why the hell is this line red and this one blue? Can’t they be all the same colour? And why is there a smiley face here? What’s this arrow about?
  2. You can’t move stuff where you want it to be moved.
  3. You can’t get past the freaking automatic configuration of those freaking treasure hunt trails (I’m talking to you, people who made iMind Map … that is indeed what your mind maps look like) in order to print something that fits into a single sheet.
  4. Why can’t those lines be STRAIGHT?????? I’m not a graphic designer for God’s sake! I want those lines to be straight! Screw the visual effect!
  5. And so many more frustrating features…

Here’s where Lino comes to the rescue.

RESCUE? AM I DROWNING? OH NO! SAVE ME! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

Calm down. Here’s the deal in a nutshell, according to the people who made that tool:

  • It’s basically a blank canvas that allows you to make up your own sticky notes and drag them wherever the Hell you want to create you own concept maps, note pads, schedules, etc.
  • It’s freaking free, unlike a lot of mind mapping software which often requires paid membership after the trial period.
  • You don’t need anything else than a web browser to work with it. Now… I know what you’re thinking…

THIS WON’T WORK FOR THE LIFE OF ME IF I USE IT ON MY IPAD! OH NO!

Well, darlings. It turns out that it will (That’s right, there’s an app for that). In fact, it works with pretty much any electronic device and much more. It turns out that you can use this baby quite everywhere with pretty much any electronic device. Check out the advantages listed on the blog of Dreamcss:

  • You can attach files to sticky notes, such as ”Hey do not forget to print that thing for tomorrow (include the important file in the note)” or ”It may or may not be a good idea,depending on how much you care, to check your course syllabus (insert link to syllabus here).”
  • With the free membership comes the possibility to add 100MB of small files within a month. Pretty sweet, uh? For most of us, that’s fairly sufficient.
  • All the notes you take can be shared on a group page. Exam reminder for all made easy!
  • Let’s say you just made up a bunch of notes and, for the love of God, you can’t find that note you’re looking for. Don’t you worry darling because there’s a search bar that allows you to enter keywords and search through your notes to find the one you’re looking for.
  • I know what you’re thinking… It’s an online tool. You can’t save anything, right? Well, it turns out that you can. You can even select favourite canvases that you’ve made, chose the ones you want to share, etc. Thank you Lord. It doesn’t have to get lost in the infinite and endless world of the internet. You can all save this as part of your free membership.
  • Remember just a few lines ago when I told you that you could insert a link to your syllabus? Well you can insert HTML codes of all kinds in there.

But wait, there’s more!

I CAN’T HANDLE THIS MUCH AWESOMENESS! MAY THE LORD TAKE MY SOUL FOR I CANNOT HANDLE THIS INTELLECTUAL COMPLEXITY OF THE UTTERLY INSANE!

Hold on a second. With all of that goodness come what I consider to be Lino’s best features:

  • You get a whole bunch of free layouts to use. That’s right. It doesn’t have to be boring, yet the aesthetics of it all can be pleasing and easy to use. They’re already made for you!
  • You can insert pictures, videos, anything into your notes.
  • It’s all online, so you can access this from freaking anywhere. If that’s not sweet enough…
  • You can change the colours of your notes and place them wherever the Hell you want. There is no automatic bullcr*p that prevents you from building your own design.
  • You can create an e-mail message including one of your notes and send it to lino. This bad boy will post it as a sticky. I know, right?

And there is so much more that I will not discuss because it would take hours and hours, but you can follow Lino’s blog for more updates and info on how to use its features.

That’s it folks! I most probably will not be back here in a while so have fun this summer!

IT THIS ALL? ASIDE FROM CRYING BLOOD, I’M GOING TO CRY ACTUAL TEARS OUT OF ACTUAL SADNESS?

Farewell! But remember, it’s not over until I say it is…

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