westbroek
I'm looking for input from users who've made the move to use PB as the main front-end for file management.

I'm on the fence about it at the moment, going back and forth between:

- leave all files external, link them (human readable folder structure)
- move all files internal (handy)
- copy all files internal (betting on two horses...)

How do you use PB? Why do you do it that way? And especially: are you worried one day you'll want to have your files "the regular way" and if so, how do you deal with that worry?

Signed: concerned & confused
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zenrain
I'm not sure what OS you are using, and what other file management programs you have, so I'll stick with Windows and no other programs.

I store most of my thought related files in PersonalBrain. If the only way I would access those documents is while in PB, then I'll put them there. Since I use it primarily as a personal information manager, this accounts for 90% of the work files I deal with. This means that I don't have to worry which folder it's hidden in, as it's an instant search away.
For files that are related to other programs which handle the search function and are better equipped to handle that sort of file, I keep them out of PB and will link to them if necessary. Mainly this is music, photo's, movies, etc.

If I have files that I need to access outside of PB, and want to be able to find them without PB being open, then I'll keep them in a file structure, and just link to them instead.

I won't use a PIM that stores attachments in a proprietary format (this takes Evernote out of the equation for me), and PB is perfect in this regard. True, the files are stored in GUID folders, but they are searchable by the OS, and are unaltered by PB. Even if the database is corrupted, my files stay in their folders and aren't affected. I don't need to export them to get at them. Not only that, but they are backed up in addition to my normal backup routines whenever I create brainzips.

If you are really worried about the ability to get the files out easily, run a wildcard search using windows explorer (*.??? or *.doc for word files etc.) for all files in the \files folder in your _Brain database. You can access them that way without having to worry about the folder structure.

It all comes down to what works for you. I would stay away from having a copy in PB and one in your folder, it seems like unnecessary duplication, and worse, you may get confused, update one, and then overwrite the wrong one by mistake.

Hope this helps.
Windows 7
J-1.6.0_22
--
OSX 10.6.3
Java SE 6
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vlad1
I prefer storing thousands of documents externally on an Apache web server, so that the links don't change if I end up changing my client or server hardware configuration (resulting in the drive letters changing). Hopefully I won't change my mind about the web site name. Have a look at the comments made in http://websitetoolbox.com/tool/post/thebrain/vpost?id=3286469
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westbroek
yup, I'm on XP, zenrain.

Quote:
It all comes down to what works for you


That's the catch 22: currently neither solution satisfies. Traditional file management lacks a lot. Meanwhile PB while adding a lot (metadata) removes a lot too (traditional, readable folder structure).

A lot of the files that would go into my brain are files my children will "inherit" one day. Photos, videos, emails, scanned letters, etc. I find adding the context and information important yet at the same time it takes a geek to know how to get this stuff out if you can't figure PB out etc. See what I mean?

Vlad, I like the server idea but as you see from the previous paragrapgh, that's a step too far
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zenrain
I see your point.
There's one more thing you can think about. In the upcoming 5.1 beta I believe they are adding the ability for notes to print when you use Edit > Copy as text outline.
You may want to wait a bit, and see how that pans out.

My idea on using this is adding your notes or information you want in the notes, linking the attachments you want, and include the attachment path in the notes.
That way you can save the thoughts as a text outline and have the metadata and references to the file.
Either that, or just bring the files in, and they can use the outline as a map and use the thought names to do instant searches until they get used to the program.

Just some more ideas to chew on.

Windows 7
J-1.6.0_22
--
OSX 10.6.3
Java SE 6
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twospoons
I haven't made the complete switch to PB as a file manager.  There are a couple of reasons:

1) The process for moving some files into PB is not as seemless as it should be.  It works great if you have a file already on your computer and just want to drag it into PB.  But it is a little cumbersome when creating new files.  For example, I have an Excel spreadsheet I use to create one-off invoices for some of my clients.  After creating an invoice, I print it to a pdf file so that I can email it to the client.  To store this pdf within PB, I have to either

a)
    i. print the pdf to my docs
    ii. open my docs folder
    iii. navigate to the file
    iv. drag the file into PB as a child to that client's invoices Thought
    v. drag the file into the email attachment and send the email
    vi. delete the original file from my docs folder

b)
    i. in PB, create a new child of that client's invoices Thought
    ii. open the Thought folder
    iii. copy the folder's path
    iv. print the pdf to the copied folder path so that the file shows up as an attachment.
    v. drag the pdf from the open Thought folder to the email

I really wish for an easier way to do this.  I run into this same problem when scanning documents and with email attachments as well.  Do I save it to some location and drag it into the brain or do I go create the thought where I want it to go and save the file to the GUID location?  I've tried using a dropbox folder as a virtual thought and it helps some, but sometimes I end up saving a bunch of stuff there forgetting to go link to it in my brain.

2) The only files I really take the time to put into my brain right now are things that I want indexed for faster searching.  However, the new Desktop Search for Windows is really minimizing the need for this as well.  The indexing within Exchange/Outlook 2007 has made some big improvements to finding what I'm looking for.

3) I really would prefer to put PB attachment inside of PB instead of just linking to them.  This makes it easy to brainzip the whole thing up and move it if I need to.  However, this also creates problems as the brain gets bigger and bigger.  If I just link to the files, then I can keep the brainzip smaller, but I can't transfer it as easy.  I also perfer to have one brain file as opposed to many smaller brains because segregating thoughts into separate brains reduces the ability to create links between thoughts.  Though I have conceded to segregate my work brain from my home brain, as there is personal data in my home brain that I don't want to have on my laptop at work.  But that means if I have a thought while I'm at work and want to capture it in my home brain, I end up sending myself an email to put that piece of information into my brain when I get home (which then brings me back to the great new indexing abilities within Outlook, so is there a need to move that message into my brain?).


Westbroek brings up a very interesting topic that I too have given consideration to.  What happens to all the digital information I have compiled into my brain file when I'm no longer around?  How do I leave it to someone else?  How will they know how to access it?  I know this applies to all my digital information and not just PB data, but its a good place to focus a discussion.


Wes
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Spacenexus
Hi

I have all my files within PB. Appropriate use of single and multiple attachments makes a key difference.

For documents, reports etc i'll keep one per thought; if there are pdf printouts or subsequent versions, i'll also keep them in that thought with a version number.

For example, sets of photographs i put as multiple attachments. So one thought for Xmas Holiday Photos, for example. I have a trunk thought called Images (you can use tags just as well) that i also make a parent for that image thought, as well as the specific linkings.

One can get hung up on the workflow decision of whether it is more or less effort to maintain your file structure within PB. When i enter a new outlook contact, i also drag that into PB, classify it as Person thought type, link to appropriate People trunk thought (Business Colleagues, Friends, etc) and then link it to the correct context thoughts. I also manually switch the thought title to Lastname, Firstname.

All that can take an extra minute, sometimes more. If you do that for every file you insert in a week it means you might spend and extra couple of hours total time per week in maintanence and integration. It is a valuable time investment.

The other advantage is that all your files are in one place. I even have my Outlook data files within a thought in PB. Same with my Collanos data files. I don't use My Documents or any other explorer structure for storing files. When i want to backup, i just backup the MyBrains folder and i have everything saved.

It's always a personal choice and some great points raised in support of a different approach. For my part there is no other way than full assimilation.

Be superconducting - resistance is futile!

Jim









@170907:
TB8022 32bit
Java 32bit Version 8 Update 141

Firefox, Office 2013 Pro Plus 32bit
64bit Win10Pro
64bit Primary Laptop, 8GB RAM, Intel Core i7
64bit Secondary Laptop, 64GB RAM, Intel Xeon E3
Brain user since zygote
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westbroek
I'm leaning towards duplication for the moment. My kids will be more familiar with My Pictures than with the brain

For myself I'm not really worried. I use Google Desktop, having it set to launch programs/files. When I want a file I often hit CTRL twice to bring up the box, start typing and on partial filename match it starts to show results; most recent on top. I launch most files this way.

Space-wise duplication isn't an issue. HD's are cheap these days.

After doing this for a while I can see how much I like having files in the brain and how often I reference them through it rather than wanting to go to them straight away.

It's funny the problems I create for myself sometimes; this is simply one of choice and me liking the idea of having an all encompassing Brain. Liking it in a geek boy-like manner almost

Thanks for all the input (so far) -- I hope to continue and discussing about this here and throughout the forum!
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BrainyBill
I hope this is helpful and not off-topic or missing the mark in terms of your inquiry. For about four years I have used Copernic Desktop Search to catalogue and search the desktop. It bears little if any resemblance to PB, but it does make searching the desktop a breeze. The way it presents data has everything to do with your folder management and nothing to do with any relationship that might exist between/among files. It is fast, short learning curve. The initial indexing can last overnight. After that, pretty quick. If you leave it resident, it catalogues files as they are created, deleted, or moved.


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westbroek
spacenexus wrote:
For example, sets of photographs i put as multiple attachments. So one thought for Xmas Holiday Photos, for example


So instead of viewing the images by holding your mouse over them you then open the thought folder and go from there?

@BrainyBill thanks for the Copernic tip. Used it for a while but I don't tend to rely on search that much. I use Google Desktop as a launcher and if pressed to search.
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twospoons
spacenexus wrote:
For example, sets of photographs i put as multiple attachments. So one thought for Xmas Holiday Photos, for example


Does storing multiple images in a single thought limit your ability to tag the images with specific metadata about each image?
Wes
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Spacenexus
Quote:
Does storing multiple images in a single thought limit your ability to tag the images with specific metadata about each image? 


There are times when I have 50 or 200 or any number of images from a particular event; holiday, conference etc. With such blocks of photos i do tend to dump them into one thought and not undertake individual tagging. If some photos have specific value i'll drag them out as children of that original thought and link as normal.

Quote:
So instead of viewing the images by holding your mouse over them you then open the thought folder and go from there? 


When i click on a thought with multiple images, the first thought open in media player or another viewer, and i can just run through with the cursor keys. Viewing single images from thoughts is a great experience but i do like having blocks of photos in one place for easy transferring or thumbnail browsing. Multiple attachment approach gives me best of both worlds.
@170907:
TB8022 32bit
Java 32bit Version 8 Update 141

Firefox, Office 2013 Pro Plus 32bit
64bit Win10Pro
64bit Primary Laptop, 8GB RAM, Intel Core i7
64bit Secondary Laptop, 64GB RAM, Intel Xeon E3
Brain user since zygote
Quote
JEL

BrainyBill wrote:
I hope this is helpful and not off-topic or missing the mark in terms of your inquiry. For about four years I have used Copernic Desktop Search to catalogue and search the desktop. It bears little if any resemblance to PB, but it does make searching the desktop a breeze. The way it presents data has everything to do with your folder management and nothing to do with any relationship that might exist between/among files. It is fast, short learning curve. The initial indexing can last overnight. After that, pretty quick. If you leave it resident, it catalogues files as they are created, deleted, or moved.


How does Copernic's Desktop Search compare with Windows' in Vista?  I have another great Copernic product but it's main feature for my purposes, web tracking/scheduling doesn't work with Vista.  Sorry for being off topic, but since it was brought up, I'd thought I'd ask.

Again, if only can help me find a great way to have PB as my desktop interface for my entire PC world then I'd have all of my files in it.  What I want, and think lots for customers would like is a visual interface like PB for their PCs. 
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