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Obscure underdogs

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No longer, as the New York Times mentions BrainStorm, the best, simplest and flexible application for sorting out your thoughts.

Next is a truly obscure underdog: software called BrainStorm, created and sold by two independent programmers in England. Its kind of elegance, quite distinct from the style and polish of the Mac or TiVo, is the stripped-down functional beauty of an excellent sharpened knife.

BrainStorm is a return to the early days of personal computing, in its resemblance to outstanding DOS-era programs like XyWrite and GrandView. Its display is text only, with no graphic grace notes, and the only thing it does is manage lists – of ideas, tasks, references, names. Behind this simplicity is surprising power, or so I have found since buying it on a friend’s recommendation several months ago. The program makes it very quick and easy to add, subtract, rearrange, or reconsider information you are working with.

David Tebbutt, one of the handful of bloggers whose off-line company I have a chance to enjoy, has spend much time and loving care on BrainStorm. I find it very useful when preparing for presentations, for example, as my thinking tends to be lateral and disorganised. Using BrainStorm enables me to switch from the creative (unstructured) to the analytical (structured) mode in a very convenient manner. I do recommend it, not only because I know how much effort went into it, but because it works. I also think that BrainStorm is like one of those little secrets that people like to keep to themselves – a phone number of a reliable and inexpensive plumber or a builder. Fortunately, Brainstorm can take the rush in orders, so off you go, organise and grow your brain.

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3 Responses to “Obscure underdogs”


  1. jon
    on Oct 2nd, 2005
    @ 19:55 pm

    For Mac users, Tinderbox by the folks at Eastgate is a comparable application. It has quite a steep learning curve but it’s worth it. There’s also a really supportive community out there.

    Thanks for the tip about Brainstorm. Shame there isn’t a Mac version !


  2. David Tebbutt
    on Oct 2nd, 2005
    @ 23:00 pm

    Yep. It is a shame. When we have some revenue, we’ll open new development streams. Mac and handhelds are top of the list with Linux lurking in the wings. But, that pesky revenue… (or investment!)


  3. Thinkerlog
    on Oct 4th, 2005
    @ 8:35 am

    BrainStorm thanks Adriana and Dennis

    Adriana Cronin-Lukas and Dennis Howlett have commented on the New York Times piece in Media Influencer (cross-posted from The Big Blog Company) and Bazaarz. As always, a bit of extra commentary never goes amiss. Thank you both.

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