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An outline of outlines

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Posted by Alexander Deliyannis
May 1, 2006 at 01:15 PM

 

Sometime ago, in the now frozen outliners.com discussion list, I proposed that the most effective organisation of information would be a non-hierarchical network of mind maps or outlines ( here is my original posting as cached by google: http://www.google.com/search?q=cache:dVrUTQQFGs4J:www.outliners.com/discuss/msgReader%241923%3Fd%3D14%26m%3D5%26mode%3Dday%26y%3D2004+deliyannis+power+law+reality+mind+maps+site:outliners.com&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=2 ). I proposed Personal Brain or Cmap Tools as a means of creating the network.

Since then, I have settled on UltraRecall as the most effective general information manager for my needs, but I rely on Brainstorm for organising textual information within a creative project. The result is an UltraRecall tree of projects, where the first node in any project branch is a “Project Notes” Brainstorm file. UltraRecall’s advantage is that it can maintain the Brainstorm files, which are very space efficient, as attachments” within its single database file.

Project branches also contain other information such as contacts, budgets, contracts, main documents etc., but it is the Brainstorm files that seem to grow the fastest, as i note down ideas and work on deliverables, reports etc.

I am very happy with this arrangement which has contributed to my having easy access to my project context information virtually everywhere.

alx

 


Posted by Graham Smith
May 1, 2006 at 02:18 PM

 

Alx,

How big are your UltraRecall files becoming and are you using UltraRecall as a repository for all documents?

It may be a new forum, but my indecision over Zoot and possible replacements stays the same :-(

Graham

 


Posted by Wojciech
May 1, 2006 at 02:45 PM

 

Alexander,

Could you please write a couple of more words on how you integrate BrainStorm with UltraRecall? As I wrote some months ago, I bought UR and have been trying understand its logic but had several problems (sure, with my ability to work with it, not with the program itself). To be honest, I would appreciate a kind of instruction, how do you structure and build your project tree, how do you include/attach BrainStorm file, do work with BrainStorm from within UR, what UR windows do you keep open etc.

I am sorry for bothering you, sometimes I ‘catch’ the idea and ways of working with the software immediately—and like it from the very beginning, even when it becomes somewhat obsolete (netXtract, Research Assistant), but sometimes I cannot break my first prejudice… BTW, are there any useful hints how to start with the UR somewhere at the Internet?

Best regards,

Wojciech

 


Posted by Alexander Deliyannis
May 1, 2006 at 03:58 PM

 

My main project information file, now about a year old, is less than 18 Mb and grows very slowly. Indeed, it is much more efficient and effective for me to keep most of my deliverables as Ultra Recall items as they are stored as compressed data.

I quote from the developers’ blog ( http://www.kinook.com/blog/?p=18 ): “An Ultra Recall database file is highly efficient in size, and all stored binary data stored is compressed. The net result is that quite often, less space is consumed for documents stored in Ultra Recall (including meta data and indices) than the original files on disk.” I can confirm this claim.

Here’s another interesting example: I use LinkStash to keep my internet bookmarks; I have imported the LinkStash file into UR; now, every once in a while I select the UR item, press Ctrl+F5 (sync) and it will re-import the latest version. This way I can carry my bookmarks along even though UR itself is not an efficient tool for bookmarks.

There are a lot of files that I _do_not_ keep within the UR database and among these are: large files (mostly graphics), my e-mail and my time plan. For large reference files, I maintain a Windows folder structure and acces them through IDEA!. For graphic files I use thumbnail folders, though I may resort to a specialised tool eventually.

I do not miss holding “everything in one place” simply because I don’t think that would be effective enough.

alx

 


Posted by Alexander Deliyannis
May 1, 2006 at 04:23 PM

 

Wojciech,

It actually took me quite a while to get used to working with UltraRecall. I initially chose it based strictly on its features, not its usability. Even today, I make very specific use of its metadata (attributes) and am sure there’s a lot of things that I could do more easily if I sat down and read the manual!

Nevertheless, UR is a very effective and well thought out program. I can only suggest that you take your time to learn it, starting from the basics; for example, you can hide all panes except for the Data Explorer and the Details and it will look as familiar as any 2-pane outliner. I personally maintain all other panes as tabs, below the Details pane, so that I only get to see them when I need them.

Re working with Brainstorm through UR, it’s more or less the same as with any external application file; I create the file in the external application and save it in my project Windows folder; I then import it into UR (with Store File Contents in UR checked) or simply drag-n-drop it to the Data Explorer tree while holding Ctrl.

When I want to work with the file again I usually open the linked document, not the internal copy, and then press Ctrl+F5 to sync. There will be additional syncing capabilities in the next version of UR, coming soon. Right now syncing only works in one direction, from the external location to UR.

alx

 


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