Ignited Software recently released version 2.0 of ThinkDigits, a unique combination of calculator and mind mapping application for the iPhone and iPod Touch. The first version focused more on calculation than visual mapping, so I haven’t covered it in this blog before. But the new version now includes symbols, connectors, an extensive library of icons plus customized backgrounds. Version 2.0 also bolsters the app’s calculation capabilities, with over 40 mathematical, financial and statistical functions.
ThinkDigits 2.0 makes it easy to collect and manipulate information via drag and drop. To add a value to your map, you simply use the program’s built-in calculator to enter a value, which appears in a small window at the top of the “calculator.” You then drag and drop that number onto the workspace in the top half of the screen. A new topic (which the developer calls a “tag”) containing that value is created. Double-tap on it, and a dialog box appears that enables you to add a topic name (the app keeps track of the topic names you’ve used before in a list, so you can quickly grab the one you need without having to retype it – nice!), change topic color and size, and adjust number formats. This “bubble settings” screen appears to be well-designed and easy to use.
In addition to topics that contain numerical values, ThinkDigits enables you to add notes to your maps, which look like colored Post-it notes on the screen. Notes act like floating topics; they cannot be connected to any tags.
Topics can be connected by dragging and dropping one topic over the edge of another. If you want to delete a topic, you drag and drop it to the trash can icon located in the calculator window. A new page copy feature in version 2.0 enables you to save maps as templates and re-use them.
If you want to change the value of a topic, you simply enter a new value into the calculator and drag and drop it over the top of that topic. The program instantly recalculates a new total based on the value that you changed. This enables you to explore “what-if” scenarios quickly and easily, plugging different numbers into the app’s calculations to see what effect they have. Cool!
ThinkDigits offers more mathematical functions than the average user will ever need, including these:
- Mathematical: sqrt, cosh, power, asin, acos, tanh, atan2, abs, deg, mod, rad, sin, atan, cos, sinh, log, tan, divide, subtract, multiply, ln, exp, fact.
- Statistical: median, stdev, mode, max, min, average, sum.
- Loans & Investments: irr, npv, pmt, rate, pv, fv, nper.
- Margin / Mark ups: grossmargin, markup, spmarkup, spmargin.
- Taxation: tax, inctax, extax.
Recently-used functions appear at the top of the list, which is very convenient – especially if you tend to use the same set of functions repeatedly.
Maps created in ThinkDigits can be e-mailed as image files or PDFs to other ThinkDigits users.
A settings page enables you to customize the app around your needs. For example, you can customize the list of “quick labels” that it displays when you add descriptions to your topics. You can add your own as well as delete the ones that you don’t expect to use. You can toggle page titles on and off, and can select a map background “theme” that the program will use for all new pages, including an adjustable transparency setting. In addition, you can use this settings dialog box to set the default colors for tags, bubbles and notes. Rates, functions and number formats can also be customized using this screen.
In conclusion, version 2.0 looks like a very useful application for the iPhone and iPod Touch, especially if your job requires you to do mathematical calculations in the field – such as real estate and insurance agents. The calculator and dialog boxes are easy to use, and the app allows you to customize its operation to a remarkable extent. Help screens and tutorials are well-written and easy to understand – essential for first-time users, who may find the process of adding calculation functions to their maps to be confusing at first.