MindManager, ResultsManager, GyroQ, and MindReader are organizational tools that users often want to synchronize between multiple computers along with their maps. This page provides an overview where necessary information resides and of approaches used. With netbooks and cloud computing starting to gain in popularity, approaches to synchronization are becoming more important. When synchronizing between computers, it is important to know where Configuration Storage Locations are for MindManager and the add-ins. In considering what option is best for you, you want to consider...
- How and what do you want to synchronize?
- How are you using the various machines that you are synchronizing with?
- How are your machines connected?
- Are you always connected to internet?
Synchronization has been discussed several times on the GTD_MindManager Yahoo group including this July 2008 discussion
What makes MindManager synchronization special?
- Maps tend to have many hyperlinks to other maps that can break across machines.
- You need to be aware of Configuration Storage Locations.
- MindManager uses hidden lock files that may not be synchronized automatically.
If you are using multiple computers, you should run the Setup program to get the latest versions of MindReader and Mark Task Complete and their supporting libraries as these function now close hidden maps to minimize write conflicts.
WARNING: Synchronization has a hidden danger, especially if it is automated: Less sophisticated users have been known to see it as a substitute for backup. It is not. If a problem is found with a file, for example corruption, a bad edit or accidental deletion, and the two or more sets of files have already been synchronized, then no backup exists. Some online services such as dropbox may keep revision history which helps in this regard. Note that Dropbox does maintain a version history that allows for recovery from deletions and corruptions.
Below (in no particular order) are some potential options. Please edit in your experiences or add comments/questions to the associated blog entry on activityowner.com. There is also a blog entry discussing synchronization between outlook and mindmanager.
Mindjet Catalyst is a service from Mindjet.
- Simultaneous multiuser collaborative editing
- Tightly integrated web conferencing
- Compatible with ResultsManager and GyroQ
- Cost ($30/month/user base price)
- Internet collaboration requires separate fees for each account
- Requires network connection unless pre-cached
- Potential corporate security issues (hosted outside firewalls)
- No simple mechanism for maintaining a mirrored backup on a local drive - files must be downloaded by hand, one at a time
- No folder structures
Dropbox insists on synchronizing a "My Dropbox" folder. You have three options for working with this: 1. Put all folders you want synchronized in the my dropbox folder and configure your software to look for it there. 2. Put all folders you want synchronized in the my dropbox folder and add symbolic links from their original locations to their locations in the dropbox. 3. Leave folders in their original locations and create symbolic links in the dropbox folder that point to them.
Option 1 is the simpliest and safest approach. You may need to set some paths in AO tools but main change for MindManager is to set the default map location under options.
Option 3 works OK but doesn't synchronize changes made after the program starts up.
You can set up a "C:\users\activityowner\my dropbox" folder and then add symbolic links to the folders you want to syncronize To do this run cmd.exe as adminstrator and type (substituting your username for "activityowner"): "mklink /d "c:\users\activityowner\my dropbox\my maps" "c:\users\activityowner\my documents\my maps"
One downside of the above approach is that dropbox only see changes upon startup. Option2 seems like a better approach may be to move your desired folders into the dropbox folder and then put links in place in original location.
It is HIGHLY recommended that you backup your my maps folder to another folder before proceeding. As you set up the above on multiple computers it is very easy to synchronize deletions made as part of reconfiguring across computers and wipe out things.
- Provides off-site backup
- Can share folders to 3rd parties
- Can access files from web directly from anywhere or any computer via web interface
- Security concerns with putting maps in cloud
- Need to put maps in "My DropBox" folder (which can live under "my maps") or put in symbolic links
- Works well and copes well with large folders and file sets
- Works across multiple platforms, e.g. you can share files between MAC and PC
- Compatible with ResultsManager and GyroQ, provided relative hyperlinks are used
- While it is free now, it might not be free forever
- Every few months Microsoft "update" and require you to reinstall and sometimes even reconfigure your shared folders
- No cloud security issues
- Easy to set up
- Easy to use:
- Have a "Synchronize" button on desktop, click it from time to time and choose the folder pairs to be synchronized; or
- Schedule synchronizations.
- Synchronize: New and edited files are copied both ways. Renames and deletes on either side are repeated on the other.
- Echo: New and updated files are copied left to right. Renames and deletes on the left are repeated on the right.
- Contribute: New and updated files are copied left to right. Reanmes on the left are repeated on the right. No deletions.
- Files to be synchronized can be filtered using wildcard definitions.
- Synchronized PCs must be on same network: No web-based option.
- Windows only.
- No cloud backup
Corporate environments can add SharePoint to existing Windows Server machines. Internet users can sign up for sharepoint hosting (e.g. from 123together.com) services.
- Increased usability with MM 8.2
- Can be internally hosted (no incremental cost over Win2003 server)
- Slow if used from server
- Hyperlinks must be set manually
- Clicking on SharePoint link yields read-only copy (true in 8.2?)
- No free internet-based options
See comment on blog
- Free versions
- Free version requires you to be on same network
See blog comment
Windows Live Workspace
See comment on blog
Corporate file share or home-based network drive
- Secure/locally hosted
- Inaccessible from outside (if using on home network)
Share a folder from primary machine and use from laptop/netbook in house
- Single copy of each file
- Requires live/local network connection
Windows briefcase functionality has been around in Windows for quite awhile and can work well for map synchronization. You can either keep your primary maps on your main computer and then use a briefcase on a USB drive to access them from a second computer or, keep the primary maps on the USB drive and use briefcases on multiple computers synchronized to the usb drive.
- No "cloud" security concerns
- Need to carry around the usb drive/stick and synchronize manually.
- Conflicting edits can arise
- Seems this is superseded by SyncToy
- see blog comment
- Groove can be used to sync folders, but gets very slow and hogs a huge amount of resources when the number of files and folders gets large. Storing maps in Groove workspaces is not recommended, as files are exported to a temporary folder and filename on demand. This means that ResultsManager cannot automatically follow map to map hyperlinks.
WebDAVis the protocol SharePoint utilizes and this is supported by MindJet. WebDAV shares can be set up through hosting providers (e.g. Dreamhost). activityowner has tested with webdav1.activityowner.com/test1 and it works but a bit complicated.
- Can map as a network drive?
- Map display lock information in multi-user environment
- Difficult to configure/use
- Hyperlink issues
- Cannot create maps in place via MindManager itself
- Security concerns
In this scenario we are managing and processing email, task, and calendar information using MindManager(MM) and Outlook with both synchronized. To be productive while mobile, we also need the following on our smartphone:
- Current view of task, calendar, and email
- Basic updates (completion %, due date, task note) are synchronized with MM and Outlook through the Exchange Server
This solution largely depends on the functionality of the smartphone application so this section will present some options with any limitations. See below for specific applications for your smartphone OS that will work in this scenario.
Android (all versions)
My understanding is that the native application on Android 2.1 does not support task synchronization.
TouchDown by NitroDesk Inc.
TouchDown worked without issues and synchronized tasks with the Exchange Server once configured. Updates made on the phone will flow to Exchange and update your Outlook file. From this point the Outlook to MM synchronization process will take over.
- Supports Exchange Server 2003 SP2 and above.
- Check website for several other email servers.
- POP3 and IMAP servers not supported.