A thoughtful set of questions and you've crystallised issues we've all faced at some time. To respond to what i can: Of course, there are no right or wrongs here just my user experience. Hope that helps.
Firstly, if you have a lot of sources of daily info might i suggest you use RSS and a good aggregator. I use the super Netvibes (
). There is not a single email feed that I subscribe to that doesn't now use RSS and makes the experience manageable (you can also export and store the RSS feed list locally in your PB as a backup). I've now completely eliminated news coming by email and using netvibes has actually allowed me to assess ten times the information flow with less time! Along with Outlook i consider it an essential partner tool for PB4 now.
To internalise a web page, I tend to either print to pdf or save as web archive (*.mht) directly from IE7 and drag the saved page to the thought. i'll usually also add the url to the same thought for completeness. Both pdf's and mht's will be readily indexible and searchable by PB4. If i'm really into the site and concerned about it remaining there, i'll use the useful HTTrack (
) to swipe it and store the entire website in a single thought! Also, I will check on web archive (
) for past snapshots of sites. Netvibes, HTTrack and Webarchive are free-use licence.
For sets of information I would still tend to use separate thoughts. I would recommend you treat the issue of 'clutter factor' as a red herring (diversion) in this case. Our minds are prone to form patterns based upon logical association and it's quite understandable that it makes sense to create neater patterns to combine certain file data into single thoughts. However, I have found that maintaining the thought per file approach where necessary and appropriate creates a far superior knowledge structure. For example, I would only put a spreadsheet file and a pdf printout of that file together in one thought and not spreadsheet files of (even slightly) separate subject matter.
In your example of home sales by state i would definately put spreadsheet files of different states in different thoughts. In that scenario, i might have a parent thought for each state itself and when activated it might list that homes sales spreadsheet along with relavent legal sites, zoning laws, competitors, local realty agents, property lists etc etc all relating to that US State. The property lists might also be attached to parents of Commercial, Residential or Industrial. Clicking on Industrial would list all industrial property in the US, for example. (A future PB feature may then allow for a boolean type search function and report function of all children of 'Industrial' AND 'Florida':
). You would lose that richness if you over combine files into single thoughts. The vital essence of PB's architecture and its advantage is reduced if the multiple attachment function is inappropriately used. 'Clutter don't Matter'
I'll skip the details referring to managing data in attachments since as you can see above, i rely far more on thought architecture and have not found a need to drill down too much. I used Enfish for many years as an effective data search facility which usually solved my search issues. Of course, PB4 also has it's own facility now. By using a system relying more on thought structure the issues of attachment management become less relavent.
Regarding the issues of validity and maintanence of relavent information my approach is to consider PB4 as a fuzzy system. That is to say the task of actively maintaining for the sake of maintanence on an ongoing basis would take more effort than in my view worthwhile. I basically have a single brain file which is multidimensional in use. It is a journal, project tracker, information library, contact manager, document manager etc.
I don't tend to go through individual thoughts maintaining them for thier own sake, but at least three times over the last decade of using PB i have significantly restructured the framework to cope with expansion. A few times in addition restructuring at a more local level has occured. After migrating to PB4 I spent the best part of a week re-ordering to take advantage of the multiple attachment facility and other new features. Of course if I notice anything out of date in PB i'll deal with it as i find it but from my experience, any significant maintanence tends to occur in blocks rather than incremental.
I treat my brain as the 'hard drive for my mind' and with that perspective the issues of clutter, relavency etc do not concern me. I have found the most important issue by far is the question of information retrieval; the more links and liquidity a large brain file employs, the easier it is to retrieve information quickly.
Perhaps once the 'copy/move selected thoughts to other brain' feature is added to PB you might want to employ an archive brain, if that works for you. Personally, I don't worry about how much of an infinite data space I'm filling up
. In terms of hardware limits, well my 140GB PB currently fits on a dedicated 160GB drive and I'm reasonably comfortable with the fact that hard drive capacity is increasing faster than my PB expansion. Check out
for an excellent approach to secure data growth.
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