FreeMind versus SimpleMind – Simply free your mind and freely come back

Mind mapping software such as FreeMind or SimpleMind  is a great way to explore (brainstorm) new ideas or solidify what you’ve learned. I use it all the time to help me organize my knowledge or help me spark new ideas.
Since circa 2005, I’ve been using FreeMind on Windows and Mac. I recently tried SimpleMind and found the app beautiful but lacking.


  • My mind maps are huge but lots of good info that I need in one place. Practically speaking, I could not  search (find) by keywords such as “load” because the lower branches (nodes) overlapped too much and I could not see the context.
  • I quickly got 2 conflicts when syncing via Dropbox with my Android device.
  • No practical way to reconcile the differences when a conflict arises.

The bad:

  • Poor search (find) support. Maybe my mind maps are huge. I use them as a knowledge base. In SimpleMind, I spent way too much time… maybe over 1 hour… compulsively organizer my higher level  branches (pardon my advance math speak, but I’ll call the individual branch points nodes) as much as possible so they would not overlap. I thought I could adapt to SimpleMind. But alas, I was wrong. When searching for something such as “load”, the nodes expanded, no exploded, into an impossible amount of overlapping. The currently highlighted node can sometimes be hidden, as it is below, depending on how you finagle the search. For all you Clint Eastwood fans :D, I must say, this is the ugly (see screenshot below):


Searching and Finding in SimpleMind is not simple

The context is impossible searching with SimpleMind. Way too much overlap.

  • In all my years with FreeMind, I never had this problem. FreeMind would automatically layout the nodes and leaves so that I could always understand the context and content. FreeMind auto-layout makes searching clean and useable. See screenshot below (search emphasis of keyword “load” is mine):
Searching in FreeMind is clean

With auto-layout, searching in FreeMind is simple and clean.


  • Conflicts of syncing – The syncing from Dropbox was pretty sweet and enticing feature, but I knew I had to buy to test if I would have problems. So I paid $5 on Google Play to test my primary Android device with syncing. I modified on my Android device, went back to my Desktop, waited for the Dropbox notification “<SimpleMind file name here> was recently updated” in the upper right of my Mac, and started viewing the mind map in SimpleMind, and expanding nodes. Minutes later, SimpleMind popped-up a notice that there was a conflict and SimpleMind would save another mind map. Bummer. This means I probably have to remember to confirm the sync with Dropbox and SimpleMind happened. What is worse, I went back to my Android device, opened up SimpleMind Pro there, and WOW, more conflicts and another mind map created. Props for recognizing the conflicts but -2 for not providing a way to help me out of my quandary.
  • No way to reconcile your conflict problems – Maybe there is a secret to syncing, but I know I won’t remember to sync in whatever certain way to avoid conflict, so, in light of this, how can I reconcile?
    • Let’s try what savvy FreeMind on Linux or OS X user would do –  compare the conflicting mind maps with diff. Ouch! No way to do this  the files are binary:
      $ diff /Users/davidregal/Dropbox/Entrepreneur{,\ \(1\)}.smmx
      Binary files /Users/davidregal/Dropbox/Entrepreneur.smmx and /Users/me/Dropbox/Entrepreneur (1).smmx differ
  • Lags on medium size mind maps – Expanding to about 200 nodes or more, the app started to lag when zooming or panning, consuming about 50-90% of CPU on my pampered MacBook Air, mid-2011. Compare this to FreeMind which can handle showing way more than 200 nodes, I never tested or experience much lagging, but prolly 1,000 nodes or more.

The Good:

  • Beautiful interface. Native Mac feel.
    • Mac pinch zooming was smooth if open nodes are under circa 200.
  • Low memory usage compared to the latest FreeMind
    • FreeMind 1.0.1 – right now is hogging 401 MB but luckily only 16 MB of real. Installed through a dmg installer.
    • SimpleMind – did not go over 200 MB.
  • Semi-syncing with iOS for free!
  • Sweet automatic styling for higher level nodes.
  • Reasonable one-time cost – for both Android and Desktop.
    • The other mind mapping I considered, MindMeister, couldn’t open my huge mind map on Android and they wanted a relatively expensive monthly subscription.
  • Opens large FreeMind files on Android and iOS. This was impressive. Using the one of main competitors on Android, MindMeister.
    • Side rant – With MindMeister on Android 4.x, this app couldn’t open my mind map even with a beautiful Nexus 7 2013, 2nd gen, with plenty of CPU, memory and on a ridiculously fast Comcast cable internet connection.
    • Android is my choice platform of mobile devices. With my reasonably large FreeMind file successfully imported through their web app, the Android  MindMeister app failed miserably every time –  stalling, crashing with the final prompt for “Send error report”.
  • Export into FreeMind format.
    • Exporting to FreeMind format is available in both paid versions of desktop and mobile so SimpleMind is provides a way out.
    • Because I can create on mobile and send to myself with FreeMind format, I will keep using SimpleMind on my Android device mobile but only for small, brainstorming mind maps.
On Android, Simple Mind Pro export to FreeMind format.


I’ve retreated to FreeMind for my mind mapping home base but will keep my eye on  SimpleMind and come back if the issues above are resolved.
I will keep using SimpleMind to brainstorm on my Android device, especially since I already bought it, but I won’t do that much since I’ll have to manually export and import to FreeMind on my desktop. I don’t mind paying a one-time fee for solid software.
Versions tested and technical details:
  • Mac, desktop Simple Mind Trial, trial, app version 1.9.4.
    • OS X Yosemite (10.10.1).
  • Android, Simple Mind Pro, paid, app version 1.9.1.
    • Nexus 7, 2013 2nd gen, with stock ROM 4.x.
    • Samsung Galaxy S2 with custom ROM CM 10.2, carrier T-Mobile.
  • iOS Simple Mind, free, app version 1.8.3 on iOS 6.x.
    • iPhone 3GS.
  • Importing file from FreeMind version 1.0.1.
    • Authored on Mac OS X Yosemite, native FreeMind app (i.e. dmg install).
    • FreeMind file (*.mm) size 350KB.

What was that “Security Update Installed” notification on my Mac?

Because I haven’t seen it before, this notification splashed by on the upper right and freaked me out for a few minutes while trying to confirm it was benign.

Notification in OS X Yosemite

After Googling for a minute, I find out this is a security update that Apple decided to push to all users. You can read the details about the security update at OS X Daily.

What scared me is I didn’t know Apple pushed security updates this way. My thoughts are nice work Apple for making the security update option enabled by default and pushing the necessary security updates. Bottom line, make sure you leave the ‘Install system data files and security updates’ checked.

Screen Shot 2014-12-23 at 4.30.49 PM

Even though I’m relatively  quick to update my Mac, unlike OSxDaily related post, I don’t have “Install OS X updates” because I try to install when I’m at home. This way, if anything funky starts happening on my Mac, I’ll have some time to start Google, blame, test or fix. Related to fixing, I want to wait I’m on my home wifi so my Time Machine backup will be there to pickup the update or give me a quick exit from the update if needed.

My MacBook Air is on Yosemite 10.10.1 but this security patch applies to OS X Yosemite (10.10), OS X Mavericks (10.9), and OS X Mountain Lion (10.8).

Great job Google for finding the bug and passing the heads-up to Apple. Kudos to OSxDaily for giving legit info on


VMware and Komodo Edit display problems on Mac OS X host

I love VMware. I love Komodo Edit.

Why? Komodo Edit is a code editor that works beautifully in Windows, Mac and Linux. There are so many useful and cross-platform features  that amaze me no matter which OS I’m working in. Bottomline, Komodo Edit is solid software and I’m not paid to say it. As a nod, VMware is light and nibble, well worth the price compared to other virtualization software.

Sorry, I spewed a bunch of nerdy jargon. If I’ve lost you, then ignore the rest of this post, or, if you’re an overachiever like me, Google for info and tutorials on hardware virtualization.

Anyways, the problem I often find with Komodo Edit running in Linux VM is crazy display problems. This started happened after upgrading from Ubuntu Linux 12 to 14 LTS on OS X Mavericks.

The main panel will be somewhat messed up with repeating non-sense. E.g.:


A bunch of repeated keywords , Finnish umlauts or other accent marks we don’t use in English. Basically, the display is messed up.

The above screenshot shows a bunch of repeated keywords and Finnish umlauts I don’t use. Crazy! Basically, the Linux display is really messed up.



Slightly move the border between the left frame and main content frame, and Voila, you easily solved  the problem.


Nice job! Take notes because the harder part is to remember the solution. Do you want help with your Dev Op or Sys Admin needs? Contact us at Techborder.


Tech Details:

Komodo Edit (build info version 8.5.4, build 14424, platform linux-x86_64)  in Ubuntu Linux (Ubuntu 14.04.1 LTS) with VMware Fusion (7.0.1) on an Mac host ( OS X, Yosemite, 10.10.1) .

Summary: After using dozen of other software solutions, I’m still loving and preaching VMware and ActiveState, so great job brothers and sisters working there!

Please comment on Google+ or share where ever.

Fixing Python error “object from LD_PRELOAD cannot be preloaded”


Using Trac on the Bitnami stack on a AWS server, I needed email notifications. To get email going, I installed sendmail.

In Trac, sendmail would work but there was always an annoying and unsettling warning-error. Warnings, especially ones that have the word error in them, make me nervous.

"Warning: The change has been saved, but an error occurred while sending notifications: Sendmail failed with (0, ERROR: object '' from LD_PRELOAD cannot be preloaded: ignored.), command: '[u'sendmail', '-i', '-f', u'',u'']"


  1. Edit script
    sudo vi /opt/bitnami/scripts/
  2. Comment out the line
  3. Save the file.
  4. Restart Apache
    1. For  Ubuntu
      sudo service apache2 restart
    2. Specific for bitnami
      sudo /opt/bitnami/ restart apache

Lessons Learned

  1. Try easier way by looking (grep) for hardcoded references to the ‘.so’ file in question.
    I spent a lot of time trying to fix library paths, manually link to new libraries or replace any reference the bitnami python in /opt/bitnami with the system python in /usr. Hours lost which I do not get paid for since this is our company’s own server.
  2. Use bitnami for proof-of-concept only and do not put valuable data or config in the apps.
    At first, bitnami seemed like a good deal with easy setup of tons of web apps, free account for 1 server and automatic backups. But this configuration problem, along with the no easy way to upgrade existing software or add new applications, make bitnami stack, even if free, too expensive compared to a pure AWS server. I’ve never had this much trouble configuration or update trouble with a modern Linux system that uses apt-get.
  3. Python interactive shell is great for troubleshooting.
    Adapting Jim’s script from stackoverflow and running it in the python shell, I was able to trace down the error to a python configuration problem.
    Follow my debug logic. Since I could reproduce the error in python interactive shell, I knew that the error “ object ‘’ from LD_PRELOAD cannot be preloaded: ignored” was probably nothing specific to Trac. Since the system python (/usr/bin) worked fine with sending mail and the bitnami python did not, I knew the error had something to do with the bitnami stack.


The combination of the completely separate bitnami binaries from the system binaries and various config scripts inconspicuously hidden in various folders in /opt/bitnami/ made this one hard problem to root cause and fix. This took me a way too long to debug. Using my typical Ubuntu or Debian server setup, I probably could have solved this in about 2 hours instead of 8. The Bitnami stack can be a quick way to test drive software, but hand in the keys after the first couple days of driving.

Heartbleed exploit in the context of Apache and MySQL

Heartbleed exlpained by Ernie Souhrada in context of upgrading or emailing your users of Apache, MySQL, and other software –

Ernie Souhrada does not give a yes-no checklist for reset password based on your Linux version but if you have the know-how, then you can figure out if you need to email every user to reset their password. Thank you Ernie! Our clients are patched and good for now as hackers try to break into bank accounts and other major corps.


This article helped me answer a couple questions (hence FAQ versus FUD).
Let me digress, I hate FUD (Fear-Uncertainty-Doubt). Political stances aside, there is way too much FUD these days with computer security. I want to spread anti-FUD and thus decrease the FUD population.

If your mind exploded, sorry. I try to make software easy to explain, Apple-pretty and rock solid. Software is very complicated. In the meantime, money hungry hackers in low-cost countries will try to maximize profits in the time they have so patch your servers.


Overall, seems like a huge gaping security hole for Open Source community, but I still put more trust in open source over closed source.


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