Feeling like I had some time finally as a break from work, I played around with some software I had downloaded but not yet used (because of a learning curve to go through in a period where I couldn’t afford to take the time out for it).

This is FreeMind, a mind-mapping tool. You start by creating a parent node. Here, the parent node is PLANTS. Child and sibling nodes can then be created to extend the concepts and expand on points. This is done easily with keyboard shortcuts. I decided to use it to help me with assimilating my physiological ecology lectures on plants. Plants were never my forte, though they are so incredibly important. Here’s some screenshots.

The backbone of the mindmap, for all major topics covered in class. Nodes can be shifted from one side to the other easily by using the mouse. Very handy. Clouds can encircle major points, and every child node from that point will be enveloped in the cloud. See below.

Adding more details in. Icons can be used to highlight important points or questions. Note: removing nodes isn’t as convenient (right click>node>remove node) and I realised why. Inventors made the programme such that you can move nodes anywhere, so if you created a node that you no longer want to be there, just simply move it to another side and edit it (without having to remove one, and create a new one on another side).

Colour can be changed, to highlight individual items of importance, or segregate items. Something I wanted extra out of this programme was to place pictures in. Not sure if it’s capable of this yet – doesn’t seem so.

And finally, when it’s done? The complete mind-map! Viewing of course, can be changed to any scale, user or program defined. Clicking on any node will collapse it – so clicking on all the major nodes will bring me back to the first picture. Handy! I can view the map at a complete scale, or just concentrate on one area at a time.

What I like:

  • Instinctive, easy to use, lots of shortcuts make making the mind map a breeze
  • Coloured clouds
  • Icons (cute to place in mindmap)

What I think it should have:

  • Picture support
  • Highlighting of words
  • Allow end-joining of concepts, and arrows to link across concepts
  • More than one parent node in one file
  • Separate formatting within a node (all the words of a node are formatted together currently)

Definitely going to keep using it.


Preparation for battle

The saving up of resources

Building the skeleton

And then the flesh

And viola! The final product

To all friends:

My calendar is filling up, quite rapidly – in bursts! Book me if you wanna date me! (: I’ll give you all my attention on days we’re out :D

Oh my dear. It’s April already – I was so wrapped up with my essays and assignments (and I still am) that I only realised today exactly how soon I’ll be home! Just 20 more days and I’m flying off around Canada, 35 more days and I’m HOME. On my doorstep. In my oh-so-Singaporean bed.

I started packing today, just to get a feel of how much I can bring back home, and if I need a new luggage bag. Most of my clothes have fit into the chinaman bag, hopefully everything else that I want to bring home can fit into my remaining pieces of luggage (ie. my backpack that is supposed to be a hand-carry and my smallish canvas luggage bag). Eek. Now it seems a little bit of a mammoth task. Hurhur.

So the advice for future program students? Don’t bring so many clothes lah. I wore most of my field clothes, but only during field studies (which wasn’t too long). I ended up buying some clothes, so you can probably count on that to fill up a bit of wardrobe and get souvenirs at the same time.

Back up, back up back up. Back up all your content, periodically, regularly, to the point of being obsessive. You never know – besides, it’s good practice for honours year, because really, you don’t want to cry when you’re done with data collecting and all that’s left to do is the writing up, before you realise that everything’s gone either because you lost your laptop, the data got corrupted, or your laptop crashed. Murphy’s law man, Murphy’s watching, I’m telling you. Everyone wants to be right – and Murphy usually is.

Also, travel to your heart’s content. Immerse yourself here. It’s such a beautiful intellectual ferment; here I get to bask in the light of knowledge, and how apt that I live just 200m across from the second largest library in the whole of North America. Make friends, meet people, get out there. Eat, cook, braise everything in culinary joy! This is what I relish about being independent, though I do wish everything was cheaper.

In any case. I’ve had such a blast here, I know this is an amazing part of my life – and I almost can’t believe that everything’s going to change very, very soon.


On another note, here are more hilarious typos that came recently:

mindy + mins = minsy
leave = leaf
crucial = cruel
ie. “The type of substrate used for metabolism in bears is hence especially cruel.”

Off to hibernate.

I have created for myself a routine to stick to, so that I can force myself to be productive and do work instead of shouting about how spring and sun are finally here and I’m stuck indoors. Hurhur.

My mixed-up word list is increasing. 3 recent words:

black + bear = blear
past + few = paste
have + large = larve

I also recently cleaned up my bookmarks list on my toolbar. So exciting! I’ll clean up my bookmarks list in my firefox after this, and then back up all data and clean up the computer. Hopefully before term starts in late June I can get relevant programmes, and perhaps hopefully stick with Linux.

Otherwise I’d just partition the hard-drive I think. I like my Ubuntu!

oh. my. goodness. i. am. so. tired.

Late nights of four hours of sleep these past few days trying to figure out a project is no fun – and it is made even more so when I realise that the weightage of the project is much lower than the work it commands.

Some things just disappoint – and I suppose sometimes, there’s only so much one can do. I stood firm, and I wonder if it made any difference at all. Perhaps not.






Sometimes while I am chopping mushrooms or the dish of the day up into shapes that fit my mood of the moment, I pause and stare in wonder at the ingredients before me, having a curious moment of epiphany of how easy it is for me now to suddenly whip up a lunch meal, or full dinner that my stomach is in agreement with.

The wonders of being dependent on myself for food.

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