JosefBetancourt
This article (http://www.geekpreneur.com/productivity-tools-personal-dashboards) presents another possible application of the PB.  Well, I already use PersonalBrain as a Dashboard in a way, but this article has some good ideas and references.  Note that the article is strictly focused on Mind Mapping tools, not a PB type of tool.

-- Josef


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westbroek
Article had me liking MM again too I love toys. Thanks for the link!

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I already use PersonalBrain as a Dashboard in a way


I'm always very interested in learning how others use PB. Could you share a bit more on how you use PB as a dashboard?
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tcahill
The major characteristics of dashboards is that they present simplified real-time summaries of more complex interactions: Speedometers, tachometers, temperature gauges, fuel, etc.

An evolution in this form of information presentation is 'a heads-up display'. This differs from a dashboard in that the information is projected or overlain onto the front wind visor glass when driving a car or flying an aircraft, rather than in a separate area lower in the field of view.

Another metaphor is that of a portal, in the web or intranet sense. This is a single page which agregates many data points in a format that can be quickly comprehended. From the portal, one may 'drill-down' through the summary material to analyse or work with some part of the detailed underlying systems

What each of these metaphors have in common is that they are means to present information from 'deeper down' on a single unified interface. The interface's purpose is to quickly inform of the status of critical remote operational processes.

If my brain is to benefit from a dashboard, portal or other summary display, that feature needs to be able to aggregate low-lying data into a metephor that meaningfully reflects the status of that data.

If it is a task, I'd like to know what percent complete. If it is a workflow process, I'd like to know when something is awaiting a response from me. If it is my schedule, I'd like some representation of how full my day is. If it is communications, I'd like to know if there are items from persons I report or sell to. I would like my dashboard to understand my library's automated books-on-loan page, and remind me of a book comming due, and ask me if I'd like it renewed automatically? Track, notify and pay e-bill notifications.  Etc.



Be vewy quiet. I'm hunting wabbit.
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bfisher
I do agree with you.  I still have my mindmapping tool (MindVisualizer) handy... I just can't do the same things in PB as a mindmapper (order my children as I'd like, different colors easily, see the whole map instantly, etc).

That said - I use PB as my dashboard.  Not quite like the article shows - but it does manage all of my daily tasks fast and easy.  I have a parent for each day and I can quickly organize and move activities around... and it's only in 1 spot (PB) and contains everything I want.  It's a great way to work...

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Darkstar

Hey, I love PB, but if there was a better app/tool to do what I needed, I'd migrate. There just isn't any such thing at this time or I haven't found it.

I really don't see how you'd get PB to be a full featured dashboard--- there isn't any way to have it load up a graph/page showing dynamic data to give provide that green/yellow/red instant visual showing for important areas--- although you can have shortcuts to actual pages or client apps that do that for you. I do use my PB as my "alternative desktop". It's my document/data/URL tracker and launch bar (app tracker). My "high density" text goes into wiki tools--- so I can easily hyperlink between pages/subjects in the text.

I've been thinking about this "mind map" visualization since our discussion where Dyslucksia talked about 3D visual point mapping in science fiction games showing galaxies. I'm definately using SF game mind-space mapping when I use PB. When I make mental images of my PB thoughts, I end up picturing them just like I do the SF space games--- that is, each thought is a "planet" that orbits a hub "star" or is itself a hub "star" in a particular brain "galaxy". Since I never know PRECISELY where that "thought-planet" will be around "hub-star" at any particular second, I don't even TRY to worry about it. I go to the "hub-star" if I'm looking for it, and then navigate to it (when I don't just use Instant Search to navigate straight to the thought).

PB is a like a GROUND VIEW mind map, rather than the top down tree view. If you put a mind map into a level designer from some first person game, you'd get a view much closer to what PB gives you in the plex. Or--- it's like the difference between the circuit diagram and the actual wiring.
-Darkstar
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westbroek
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its three-generation view is too small compared to the breadth of a Mind Map


It's why I'm always somewhat surprised to see PB billed as a mind mapping tool. It's a data storage tool for me, comparable sooner with Zotero or Evernote than with MindManager and the like.

I remember the 1st time I realized the view limitation you outline. I was on a conference call, PB open, proudly ready to relate my way through the call. Then I found myself clicking up, down, drilling left and right. The huge, easy, top-level 2D view I was used with with MindManager simply wasn't there.

I store relation information in PB. I mindmap in MM.
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JosefBetancourt
Great feedback.  I agree, PB is not really optimal for dashboards.  I use it as a dashboard, only in the sense that it gives me rapid access to other forms of information.  But, with storage of expanded views and presentation mode, PB gets closer to being more usable for dashboards.

Dashboards are really aggregations of filter applications, a portal per se.  For PB to do this would require scriptability and many other features.

One view of the future is as virtualized cloud based applications that are correlated in mashups to tackle requirements, mining the data linked web to create knowledge.   PB, and related applications, will be needed to navigate this infosphere.

-- josef


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JosefBetancourt
Perhaps off-topic, but I found an online reference (http://speakeasy.org/~lion/nb/book.pdf), "How to Make a Complete Map of Every Thought You Think" by Lion Kimbro.   Have not had a chance to read it yet, the intro starts out as "This book is about how to make a complete map of everything you think for as long as you like."

A quick browse of the contents shows that it is complex and intense.  I wonder if he heard about PersonalBrain and MindMapping?

-- Josef

P.S.  I got the link to that book via this page:  http://notebook.kulchenko.com/how-to-write-and-publish-a-paper


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westbroek
Maybe there's some hidden nuggets in that book but after a lot of digging through "I'm just spitting this out" and MOC and SMOC ideas it doesn't really go anywhere.

Thanks for the link though
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JEL
I'm still very new to PB in comparison, though I've had it for over a year and I really want to find a mind mapping or similar software to visualize organize my laptop/PC desktop.  If it can dashboard that even better, but for now I'd settle with a excellent visual of my Windows Vista desktop (tired of the files, dropdown, windows views).  Please any ideas and help in this area would really help me progress.  I rarely use my PB (paid good money for it) because of this.  My ideal software should be able to read my files and at the very least, like PB does for your IE favorites, visualize them.  If it was a "smart map", it could even suggest some organization of brains (map worlds) into work, personal, etc., and then let me modify the suggested organization.

Am I dreaming and htis doeesn't exist or have I just not found it?

Thanks!
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JEL
dyslucksia wrote:
After reading Raj's article in Geekpreneur, I have to admire his use of MindManager to create a "Personal Dashboard". Unhappily, my advice to PB users would have to be, don't waste your time trying to re-create this in PB, particularly if your version lacks Expanded View, or a calendar. In its basic form, PB is unsuitable for all but the most rudimentary personal dashboards, because its three-generation view is too small compared to the breadth of a Mind Map.

There is another reason too. PB's automated display is great for making relationships in large associative databases intelligible, but mind maps offer far greater individual customization such as:
  • different link shapes
  • annotation boxes
  • free standing text and images
  • an orderly, stable outline view, better than PB's Expanded or Outline views, and with no switching between them required.

All these result in an image much easier to visualize, retain and manipulate mentally than anything PB can come up with at present.

If you close your eyes after investing some time creating a mind map, chances are you can see it clearly in your mind's eye (if you have that kind of graphic memory), and while you are doing other things, your subconscious will be working on it, so that the next time you open it on the screen, your mind will be full of improvements to make to it. It will be a truly intimate object, not merely a fancy 2D look-up directory.

I know many hardened PB users (Darkstar, are you there?), will disagree with this point of view.

Horses for courses, say I. But do the neighs have it?



I forgot to ask in my previous comments, but if you do have the latest Pro verison of PB, how can I make it my dashboard (in the true sense of being THE start program I interface with instead of my Windows desktop or at least how could I integrate PB into a dashboard software?  Thanks!
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zenrain
If you wish PB to start when you boot Windows, place a shortcut to the program.exe in your startup folder (I think this is the same in Vista).

In PersonalBrain, to to Options > Preferences and click on the UI tab. Make sure Show virtual Thoughts for folders is checked.

Now find your desktop folder in Windows Explorer and create a shortcut to that folder in PersonalBrain (make sure when you drag the folder into the plex it has the shortcut icon before dropping it into the plex, if it doesn't, hold down ctrl+ Shift).
You can do the same with your My Documents folder, or any other folder you wish to see in PB.
Now below that folder should be a blue folder with your attachments, and child thoughts for each of the child folders.
This way you can browse your file structure in PB.

To make PB feel more integrated into your OS, go to the  Window dropdown and make sure it's set to Float and maximize the window. You can  then choose View > Presentation Mode (or alt + V then m). Then double click the plex background. To leave presentation mode, press the esc button. To go back to being able to view your tabs, double click the plex again.
I have it set up so PB shows in my entire second monitor screen. If you set a nice (but not too loud) background instead of the default it makes a big difference.

Anyway, just some ideas.


Windows 7
J-1.6.0_22
--
OSX 10.6.3
Java SE 6
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zenrain
I almost forgot. For a starting Dashboard like feel, go to expanded view. Pull in all the thoughts you need quick access to, and drag them to arrange them until it makes sense to you (to hide thoughts you don't want to see click the minus button when you mouse over).

Now choose View > Save Expanded view.
Whenever you want quick access to these thought sets, choose View > Load Expanded View (alt + v and then L) and choose the expanded view you just saved. Then active your desired thought and type alt + v then n to get to normal view again (or View > Normal, or right click in the plex and choose view > normal ).

Whew!

Windows 7
J-1.6.0_22
--
OSX 10.6.3
Java SE 6
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Darkstar
Actually, it was.

It was meant to be an alternative interface to your OS, as well as a application and document launcher.

It is just that when it was moved to Java from its Windows roots, it became vulnerable to Java issues. On Windows, this means that it is slower, prone to crashes and lock ups when other products are running or changing graphics mode, etc etc etc. Of course, PB 3 and under didn't run on anything BUT windows, so by going the Java in version 4, PB expanded its possible customer base, and now can run on various *nix flavors as well.
-Darkstar
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PaddyVA
This is a great thread -- just want to add my personal example of a dashboard (see attached), which I've been expanding recently with TB7 (love those curved lines!).  I've been a long time (maybe back to 2003) user of Personal Brain, now The Brain, but feel like I'm just beginning to tap the power of it, along with the Webbrain.

As one who remembers wistfully programs like Magellan and Agenda (with nothing I know of to replace the latter), I find TB to be a great replacement for the former, and so much more.  One of TB's greatest beauties is how fast and easily it works.

BTW,an old standby that has been given new life in Win7 is EccoPro, still without equal as a PIM -- go to http://www.compusol.org/ecco/ for details and free download.

Here's the article that got me started on a personal dashboard:  http://getitdone.quickanddirtytips.com/manage-life-with-a-personal-dashboard.aspx .

Just thought I'd offer a little contribution to maybe inspire others as I have been and maybe receive some more good ideas.

p.s. Just added Jerry's brain to my Dashboard -- http://webbrain.com/brainpage/brain/3D80058C-14D8-5361-0B61-A061F89BAF87/ .
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