TheBrain for Mac - Free download and software reviews - CNET Download.com

TheBrain for Mac

CNET Editors' review

PersonalBrain is a full-featured mind-mapping program, designed to create a "digital home for your mind" that can help you visually organize almost any sort of process or project as a dynamic, interconnected system of Thoughts (called a Brain). PersonalBrain gives you a fairly intuitive interface for collecting, organizing, viewing, and navigating ideas, tasks, Web sites, related documents, and more.

Whether you're building a complex Web site or conducting academic research, this app can help you build searchable networks of information with tools for taking notes, creating shortcuts (pins), zooming out to get a higher-level view of your Brain (with "Distant Thoughts" and Outline views), and even generating reports. WebBrain publishing lets you sync a Brain between multiple machines, or upload a version for fellow collaborators to see. A new Transparent mode also lets you view a Brain directly on top of any other application without obscuring it, for a futuristic HUD vibe--and a related Mini mode makes it easy to keep a floating search box handy. PersonalBrain also has nice extras like a global system of tags and types, a calendar that can sync with Google Calendars, a full-screen Presentation Mode, support for HTML export, and integration with Outlook as well as Spotlight, QuickLook, and core Mac apps like Address Book.

Personal preference can be especially finicky for this sort of software, so definitely try before you buy and check out the app's user guide and tutorials (and even weekly Web trainings). PersonalBrain offers a 30-day trial of its Pro version, although a cheaper Core and much more lightweight Free version are also available.

Publisher's Description

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All User Reviews

Results 1-7 of 7

  • 3.0 stars

    "So much potential! Such bad pricing. Does anyone use?"

    May 15, 2012  |   By kevin.quincey

    Version: TheBrain 7.0.4.1

    Pros

    Gorgeous Interface
    Really helps you keep organised - but only as an individual - team tools are still weak and expensive.
    This product still has so much potential - but it needs attention.

    Cons

    Terrible pricing model
    Unreasonable lock-in
    Nearly useless free product - should just be called a "taster"
    No iOS version
    Manual Sync model - really in 2012? If you're built on Windows backend, how about using Mesh? Or even DropBox?
    No live team modification (Groove and MindManager did that in 2005) so having team modify a brain in a meeting is out.
    Suggestions to TheBrain: Add more to the free client, price the pro at $49, and build a better sync. People will happily pay monthly to use the online services if they get a reasonable amount of development attention. Adoption will go through the roof once you put something into the back-end. You could sell professionally build "brains" for all sorts of organizations - for example, if a help desk had50 people using Pro and could buy a brain with a starter pack of a question tree to traverse with linked articles, they would value something like this. If you could see public "brain of the week" picks that customers sold, you could get a cut.

    Summary

    I loved the interface back when TheBrain launched about 10 years ago but it looks as though it's not been updated since then. Their sync model is weak (shared brains don't atomically stay up to date when everyone has an internet connection and I can't see how there aren't hundreds of update conflicts if they rely on manual syncs). They also still don't have an iOS version so I can't take it with me where I go. But the big drawback for me is the pricing and rather unorthodox lock-in they force on the product. Information in it is so hard to get out that it will mean you will always struggle to get a whole team to use it. The pricing doesn't work well either: The free version is so limited that it really should just be called a taster because no one could use it productively for much. The price of the client is so high that an organization would really have to think long and hard about making such a commitment. I so wish this product could be mainstreamed. I love the presentation.

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  • 2.0 stars

    "Holds your data hostage!!!!"

    May 12, 2012  |   By yuanxhingo

    Version: TheBrain 7.0.4.0

    Pros

    Good interface and BUT you're locked in.

    Cons

    CAN NOT EXPORT YOUR DATA, AVOID IT.
    They've chosen not to let you export your data; consequently, once you enter data, it is held hostage. There is no way of utilizing your data in another app.

    If you want or need to export, every other mind map app lets you export in a wide variety of formats, you're not able to.

    Forget about using your own data on an iPad.

    Summary

    DO NOT purchase if you every want to used your data in any other app. There are a number of good apps for the iPad but you'll never be able to export your data to use these apps.

    This is only apps that I've ever bought that does not export.

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  • 3.0 stars

    "good product"

    December 31, 2010  |   By blavernette

    Version: TheBrain 6.0.6.1

    Pros

    powerful mind-mapping and/or project management tool.

    Cons

    the build-up of a useful "brain" is hard work

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  • 3.0 stars

    "Interested But Pass"

    October 6, 2010  |   By mhenzetdc

    Version: TheBrain 6.0.4.8

    Pros

    Just like other mindmap software.

    Cons

    Expensive, like other mindmap software.

    Summary

    With the free Xmind available, I don't know why people would pay $250 for mindmap software anymore. Maybe $20 for a personal and $50 for a pro version, but that depends on features and capability. I cut my mindmap teeth on MindJet and ConceptDRAW's products - which are in the same ball park price and feature-wise. So far, Xmind does everything that I need, including linking objects, etc, which is why I haven't had a reason to upgrade from versions 7 and 5 of Mindjet and ConceptDRAW, respectively. Viewing attachments in an app is nice, but there isn't a piece of software that does it without a spinning beachball popping up and slowing a system down, unless one has a lot of RAM - which also is affected by the size of the attachment, size of the app's database, and how many apps they routinely have open.
    On top of that, Xmind has a free community. So I don't understand the $250 for the software, and then $6.25/month fee for the WebBrain service. Where as Xmind is $49/year, but that's IF they want to go for the Pro version. Comparison-wise, it's cheaper to go with Xmind (free or $49/year), or PersonalBrain ($224/year or $234/year (includes WebBrain fee)).

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  • 5.0 stars

    "TheBrain is a great product"

    December 8, 2009  |   By PaulJYoung

    Version: TheBrain 5.5.2.0

    Summary

    This review was originally posted on VersionTracker.com.
    PersonalBrain provides a cross platform tool that allows you to organise your thoughts and data in myriad of ways. In fact once you get used to it, you will stop using finder or explorer to find your files within your file system (which can only have one hierarchy structure) and you
    will put them in your brain where you can refer to to them in many different ways.

    Think mindmapping Plus data storage Plus search on steroids
    Its a really good product

    Paul

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Now I'm happy !"

    January 24, 2009  |   By mejax.oheimer

    Version: TheBrain 5.0.1.9

    Summary

    This review was originally posted on VersionTracker.com.
    I stumbled over this tool and I am really happy with it. I am german - so I have to adopt to the missing language flexibility - but the offered way of organizing my thoughts, linking my files and data into this "brain model" is the kind of way to work on a computer I always was looking for. For me it is the next step beyond mindmapping or concept maps which I used until now.
    Great Idea and great tool!!!
    It is not really cheap, but you still get something useful in the free version.

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  • 1.0 stars

    "Mac and Java, yeah right."

    December 11, 2008  |   By jarlaxle.merc

    Version: TheBrain 5.0.1.0

    Summary

    This review was originally posted on VersionTracker.com.
    Just what I've always wanted, a big, fat, clunky, fugly Java app on my Macintosh. Big surprise that this is a cross-platform app? Hardly.

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TheBrain for Mac