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Opinions On TheBrain?

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Posted by Gary Carson
Jun 13, 2008 at 01:24 PM

 

Anyone used TheBrain? Specifically, PersonalBrain 4?

The Pro Edition Trial looks pretty good. I like the interface. There aren’t enough keyboard shortcuts, so the program probably has ergonomic problems (too much switching between mouse and keyboard required). Other than that, it looks like it could be pretty useful. I can’t afford to get the Pro Edition, though. Will probably end up with the Core Edition if I buy this thing.

Any feedback or opinions in general? Thanks in advance

 


Posted by Graham Rhind
Jun 13, 2008 at 01:45 PM

 

I’m using The Brain Pro (which I chose over Core because it allows multiple documents to be attached to a single thought - the “lesser” versions seemed to me to be too crippled and I knew I wouldn’t use them). 

The Brain is in a fight with Ultra Recall and OneNote for my attention.  The Brain can auto-minimise to a small icon at the monitor’s rim, which I find very useful.  I am currently using it mainly for my family tree and as a way to find and open business documents which I need regularly but which are scattered around the network - a glorified Explorer.

The Brain lacks the ability to keep structured data structured, so for that sort of information (customer data, purchase patterns etc.) I use UR.  I’m using OneNote as my library, but I am currently considering building a knowledge brain with The Brain because of its ability to have multiple links to multiple items, and to show these in the interface - something I miss greatly in OneNote.

The newest Brain release (4.5) is much snappier but I still notice a delay in opening thoughs that contain notes, even short notes, so some patience is required when using it.

Graham

 


Posted by Gary Carson
Jun 15, 2008 at 02:20 PM

 

Thanks. Have you run into any stability issues? Problems with corruption? Etc? It sounds like the program’s pretty stable even with huge brains. I’ve been watching some videos that people have made showing off brains with thousands of thoughts, but I can’t tell at this point how much maintenance is required (re-indexing, etc) to keep these monster brains running.

I’ve been playing with Pro v4.1.3.6 for a couple days now and I’m really starting to like it. The lack of keyboard short cuts hasn’t been an issue so far because there are shortcuts for all the major operations (create child, etc). In general, it’s a real pleasure to use. I haven’t noticed any delays opening thoughts with attachments. The program takes a while to launch, though. Haven’t found any bugs so far. The F6 keyboard shortcut (create child) doesn’t “stick” sometimes, but that may be crumbs in my keyboard or something.

 


Posted by Christophe
Jun 15, 2008 at 02:47 PM

 

Gary Carson wrote:
>Anyone used TheBrain? Specifically, PersonalBrain 4?
> >The Pro Edition Trial looks
>pretty good. I like the interface. There aren’t enough keyboard shortcuts, so the
>program probably has ergonomic problems (too much switching between mouse and
>keyboard required). Other than that, it looks like it could be pretty useful. I can’t
>afford to get the Pro Edition, though. Will probably end up with the Core Edition if I
>buy this thing.
> >Any feedback or opinions in general? Thanks in advance

I’ve used TheBrain (version 4.2)  for a while (few months).
It’s an interesting software with specific pros and cons :

Pros :
- You can link (almost) everything to your Brain,
- You can link any Outlook items to every topics of the Brains (as shortcut : when you click on it, TheBrains opens the *specific* item),
- It’s VERY easy and VERY natural to create links and an hierarchical organization of your data. (you only have to drag’n drop from an intem to another one. You can create siblings or child/parent links). I think this point is (imho) the best feature of TheBrain. It is the easyest and the fastest way of creating hyperlinks I’ve ever seen in a software !
- It’s very visual,
- Each items can have a note (with an html editor) and have several properties,
- you can use keywords as tag,
- You can select a portion of text in you web browser and then drag it to the TheBrain icons wich remain permanently on one of the edge of the screen. This works also for files,
- You can paste a picture from the clipboard very easily as an item (One use of that for instance is taking a snapshot of a web site, then go to the brain, and paste the snapshot as the icon of your item. It stay like an icon, but when you pass your mouse pointer on it, the picture is enlarged.),
- You can assign type to links and to items with differents presentation of them,

Cons :
- It’s very expensive (249 $ to have the benefits of all the features)
- It’s very unergonomic…sometimes it can be very tricky to use it, you have a lot of manipulation even if you just want to copy and past items…and I really think that developpers should spend a while on making it easy and, most of all, fluent to use,
- The design of the interface is not so nice…
- It’s confusing. I think it depend on the mind of every one, but the easiness of creation of the data organisation have its downside : very quickly, if you don’t pay attention, you have A LOT of links everywhere and the interface don’t have enough tools to filter, select, enlight, move and focus easily on the point you’re working on.

I would say, as a conclusion, that TheBrain does (almost) exactly what the developpers says : it create another brain, as complex and as confused that the one we already have. If I use an Information Management software it’s precisely to (try to) organize the muddle I use as a brain !

Sincerely,
Christophe

 


Posted by Graham Rhind
Jun 15, 2008 at 03:44 PM

 

I personally have had no corruption or stability issues at all (though some users have had, with earlier versions - check out the forums), and I’ve never needed to re-index - that’s all done on the fly.

Note that the delays in opening thoughts I have experienced have been for thoughts with notes, not those with attachments.

 


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