zenrain
I wouldn't usually link to a competing product's blog on this forum, but this is a great guest article, and you can do the same thing in PersonalBrain.

One of the ways you could mimic the articles setup is to save an expanded view of the area you are working on, and use that. Or simply stay with the standard view and develop it as you would a normal section of your brain.

I particularly like the point about making short and concise bullet points in notes rather than copying and pasting an article. I've slowly started to move in this direction prior to reading it, as it does seem to work better than just regurgitating what's said on a website. It makes you pay more attention to what you learned from the information, rather than the information itself, and put that learning in your context.

For my workflow, I would add that in addition to the "Genius Mechanism" thought, I would add the article as a jump to that thought (and sometimes add the home page as a parent to the article if the site is interesting enough to visit again). This allows me to keep the context of where the information came from, and allows me to reference back to it if and as necessary.

Update: Hum, I suppose with 6.x I could add hyperlinks rather than jump thoughts to those articles to keep it cleaner. I'll have to look at that.
Windows 7
J-1.6.0_22
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OSX 10.6.3
Java SE 6
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rhodes
Interesting article, thanks.

In it, Derek Franklin ("a best-selling author, copywriter, consultant, and all-around creative thinker") uses Mindjet's Mind Manager (MM) as a vehicle for demonstrating his concept of a "Genius Mechanism", implying that putting this idea into practice will make you a "genius". My BS detector always sounds an alarm when I see absolute terms such as "Genius Mechanism" and "Chaos Contraption" bandied about, so I was not surprised when, later down the page, it turned into a subtly positioned ad for his less-well-known GTD product "The Action Machine", getting a free ride on the back of Mind Manager like a parasitic suckerfish. Would he repeat this trick with PB if given the chance?

As you say, the main thing to get out of it is the advantage of using bulleted lists in Notes. Bullets are nothing new, of course, but do tidy up a page despite their occasional awkwardness in use. I don't like the way mind maps force one's eyes to jump radially around the central topic simply to read a list, any more than I like continually having to sweep my eyes from left-right-left in Normal view just to read the names of child thoughts; PB's Outline view is much better for this (MM can also display in outline format, though not as well, IMO). However, MM allows users to customize the arrangement of its topics, something we can only do in Expanded view.

Other aspects of MM's display that increase the enjoyment of reading this article include:
  • The distinctive appearance of topics at each level of the mind map due to size, color and border effects;
  • The increased thickness of the links to the central topic.

Quote: Hum, I suppose with 6.x I could add hyperlinks rather than jump thoughts to those articles to keep it cleaner. I'll have to look at that.

I would avoid hyperlinks in Notes in this situation, as jump links are self-maintaining; you might be creating a lot more work for yourself to periodically have to keep checking them for dead links. Why not instead create "connecting thoughts" between the active thought and the thoughts you wish to hide, tag the connecting thoughts so they don't clutter up the plex, and operate Reports with an inverse filter, which hides all such connecting Thoughts? It would be neat if links had a "hide" attribute to include hiding the distal thought too, but that is something we can only wish for.
Alan Rhodes
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zenrain
I think that you missed the point of the blog post. It was about synthesizing information and adding it to your context so it serves you rather than just capturing the entire article / document / source of information. This way you capture the learning and leave the clutter.

As far as the rest of it, if people find the premise useful then there are ways to incorporate it into either tool. If not, then move along go with what works best for you. It's certainly not worth the the effort of all that negativity.
Windows 7
J-1.6.0_22
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OSX 10.6.3
Java SE 6
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rhodes
It was just his self-promoting hype that got up my nose. Once you filter that out, most of his article is good practical advice for those who haven't considered these issues before.

I re-read the article and sure enough, he does emphasize the importance of distilling the meaning of whatever information one wishes to save, then paraphrasing that in one's own words, maybe in a bulleted list or some other schematic device. I would have thought this would be one of the first things taught to a student attending a "how to study" class. Software aids aren't essential here and sometimes even get in the way.

That's all very good, but a bit superficial for me. For instance, what do you do when you need to collect a lot of information first but haven't time to distill it immediately? Why, you first put it all together in one location such as a Note or an attached text file. Then, once you have finished with data gathering and the dust has settled, you return and start condensing it. You might have to make two or three passes depending on the value of this information. Each time you do it, the concepts become clearer in your mind, and just like a good whiskey, its flavor improves. Your plex and notes are subtly refined until you decide you have reached the limits of this process. Franklin doesn't seem to pay much attention to this aspect of it. No software can yet do it for you.

On the minus side, the author appears to be a plagiarist too. From the comments to this article:

Quote: Any resemblance between this article and the material that appeared in the 1991 book by Lana Israel entitled "Brain Power for Kids: How to Become an Instant Genius" (ISBN: 9781862992238) will, of course, be purely coincidental.

Unfortunately, this is all too common on the Internet. However, let's concentrate on extracting the wheat from the chaff.
Alan Rhodes
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Adathome
rhodes wrote:
It would be neat if links had a "hide" attribute to include hiding the distal thought too, but that is something we can only wish for.


Good suggestion, nice idea for Usersvoice! you can get my 3 votes
(In addition to more advanced link types and typed links have a direction.)
Regards, Ad Divide knowledge = multiply knowledge (Windows 10 -  TB8 / TB9)
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zenrain
Quote: That's all very good, but a bit superficial for me. For instance, what do you do when you need to collect a lot of information first but haven't time to distill it immediately? Why, you first put it all together in one location such as a Note or an attached text file. Then, once you have finished with data gathering and the dust has settled, you return and start condensing it. You might have to make two or three passes depending on the value of this information.

This is a good point, and for information you have to study and really "Get", this method is invaluable. Much more so if you re-write into your own words as you distill it.

However, I've found that for me, it doesn't translate well in day to day life when I have a lot of information to sift through, and want to retain and learn from it rather then just lose it (probably my default state ). Half of the battle is just using a program like MM or PersonalBrain to record it, and from a purely knowledge mining standpoint just this is invaluable. It aids retention and recall, as well as gives you a hard backup.

This is how I started using PB a few years ago, stuffing things in when I remembered. Over time my usage developed into more elegant stuffing, as I learned what to call thoughts so I could find them easily in quick search, and how to link related stuff so I could access it easily from similar stuff. Later still I moved to categorizing and tagging stuff for more usability.
Over time I learned (and honestly, am still learning) that if I capture everything I'm thinking and wanting to do with the information at the time I enter it in PersonalBrain, then not only am I much more likely to use it, but it's more useful, and saves time.
For example, I have an e-mail that I can't work on now, but need to in the future. I drag it into PB and link it somewhere. If I left it here it could easily get lost in the rest of the stuff. So instead, I categorize it as an e-mail, tag it if I need to process it (and set a calendar reminder if necessary), and then in the notes and above the e-mail text I add a check box with text describing what to do with it. Up front it takes more time than either leaving it in Outlook or just dragging into PB. However, in the long run it takes less, as I don't need to remind myself just what the heck to do with it, or place it back into context when I do get time to work on it.

The same thing goes with other stuff. I've noticed that if I take the time at the beginning to (like the article says) distill the information and put it into my use and context at the time I add it into PB it makes much more of an impression on me. It's easier to recall when I need to, and it's more useful than if I just dragged and left it.
This runs along the lines of touch once at the beginning, rather than get it in, come back and refine (which may or may not happen, and it's harder for me to remember the context and detail at a later time). Although it takes more time initially, it saves me time in the long run.

I'm not saying that the information has to be perfect when you put it in your system, as you can see my usage and PersonalBrain itself has evolved over time. I've found that if I ask questions as I put information in, I'm likely to better file and record it, as well as expand my usage of the program itself. For example:
How will I use this? How can I enter  and link it so I can make it more useful? What should I call it so it can be easily found? What do I need to remember later?
Asking these questions have sparked ideas which have turned out to be invaluable later on, and it takes just a few extra seconds.

Anyway, hopefully this helps clarify my usage, and how I try to refine my knowledge mining and retaining techniques. I'd be interested to hear what others do, or have learned through their usage of the tool.

Windows 7
J-1.6.0_22
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OSX 10.6.3
Java SE 6
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rhodes
I agree, this has become an interesting thread showing the different ways in which we work.

At one end of the scale we have people like David Allan who demonstrated how useful PB is as a place to "park one's ideas" when they suddenly occur. At the other we have Derek Franklin, who sees mind maps (and, by implication, PB) as vehicles for crystallizing these ideas. It is very hard for a single application to be all things to all people, but we can all develop our own best practices by studying their examples.

Alan Rhodes
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rhodes
Quote: It would be neat if links had a "hide" attribute to include hiding the distal thought too, but that is something we can only wish for.

Ad, thanks for your support but in retrospect I don't think my idea is a sensible one. If you can't see a link or the thought to which it connects, how would you know it's there?

In fact, as someone else pointed out way back, we can make a link invisible by selecting a uniform color for the plex background and making the link the same color. However, the target thought is still visible unless you hide it with an inverse filter.

I much prefer your long standing request for more advanced link types with proper link labels in lieu of "connecting thoughts".

Alan Rhodes
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Adathome
rhodes wrote: Quote:
Ad, thanks for your support but in retrospect I don't think my idea is a sensible one. If you can't see a link or the thought to which it connects, how would you know it's there?


This feature make only sense if you use link-types,
with a "LINK-Type Window" you can deselect and hide link-types you don't want to see.
Click image for larger version - Name: 26-7-2010_hide_link-types.png, Views: 439, Size: 348.55 KB
Regards, Ad Divide knowledge = multiply knowledge (Windows 10 -  TB8 / TB9)
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rhodes
Ad, thanks for the pic. I think we both agree that better link type management (labels for link-types) is needed, but I still can't see the value of being able to hide a link. I think I understand your detailed diagram, but can you give an example showing when it might be useful to hide a link rather than hide a thought, which I prefer?

The only way to hide a thought right now is to tag it then apply Inverse filter to that tag in Reports. I don't like doing this as it ties up Reports from being used for anything else, and the thoughts are not hidden when the brain is opened, until the Reports filter is activated. Although this method is okay for quick temporary hiding, a much better solution would be to give each tag a "hide" attribute. Then sets of Thoughts could be hidden/revealed. This is superior to giving thoughts a "hide" attribute, similar to Forget, as this would be far more limiting - you could only "hide all" or "show all" that have this attribute checked.

I know you would like to see directional links introduced; however, if this were possible it would also create an even greater need to add a comment as to what the directionality signifies. We cannot do this without better link labels. Doing this in a thought's note simply doesn't work. What might work, though, is giving each link its own NOTE, but the note would need to have a different background or something else to distinguish it from a thought.

Elsewhere in this forum I suggested that the option of displaying only child thoughts or only parent thoughts in normal view would really help make the plex easier to understand, just as it is when one hides siblings. I am still strongly in support of this.

Alan Rhodes
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Adathome
rhodes wrote:
 I still can't see the value of being able to hide a link. I think I understand your detailed diagram, but can you give an example showing when it might be useful to hide a link rather than hide a thought, which I prefer?

For example see attached zip-file with AVI-video

rhodes wrote:
The only way to hide a thought right now is to tag it

? you can hide your thought-types.


I use thought-types for the context of the thought

I use link-types for the relation between thoughts, every link i use has a link-type.
I use max. 5-20 standard link-types (Gellish relation types)
in my case i prefer hiding link-types above hiding thought-types, i think hiding link-types is more meaningful / power full.

See how i use link-types in my webbrain example http://home.kpn.nl/adathome/index.html
Regards, Ad Divide knowledge = multiply knowledge (Windows 10 -  TB8 / TB9)
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rhodes
Ad, thanks for posting these examples.

Quote: I use link-types for the relation between thoughts, every link i use has a link-type.
I use max. 5-20 standard link-types (Gellish relation types)
in my case i prefer hiding link-types above hiding thought-types, i think hiding link-types is more meaningful / power full.



Your Web Brain (about wine) is very specific for that topic, hence you can get away with a limited number of link types. Since the number of link types is limited, I agree there is no need to display the name of the type as long as there are sufficient colors or other means of distinguishing them, once the visitor has mastered the color code.

I appreciate that you have done your best with what Web Brain offers, yet I think a casual visitor would still be daunted by the three major limitations of links in PB:

1) There is no way to individualize a link label unless one creates a whole new link type to carry it, thus potentially ending up with an unmanageably large number of link types. A far better solution would obviously be to limit the number of types but use custom link labels to describe specific relationships. I see custom link labels as taking precedence over label type name, exactly as a thought label takes precedence over its type label.

2) There is no way to persistently display all link labels (or at least those surrounding the active thought) when required. One should not always be obliged to hover over each link just to read its label.

3) Lack of link directionality is still confusing, Gellish or not. I do not see arrows nor any other evidence of link direction in your Web Brain, and this makes it possible to interpret Gellish in the wrong direction. One cannot rely on link position to make a relationship clear, and even this is confused in Expanded view. The only way to indicate link directionality in PB at present seems to be some comment in a Note, which implies naming the thoughts at each end of the link, making this process both inefficient and dangerous by inviting duplication of data.

On the other hand, your JHotDraw example (was that what you used in your zip file?), like those of other graphic drawing applications, easily resolves these ambiguities and looks professional too, though I wonder about the scalability of this type of product. I have not yet encountered an application that finds a happy medium.

Alan Rhodes
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jostber
Vote for links!

http://thebrain.uservoice.com/forums/4597-thebrain/suggestions/74550-more-advanced-link-types?ref=title
http://thebrain.uservoice.com/forums/4597-thebrain/suggestions/83489-typed-links-have-a-direction?ref=title






TheBrain 8.0.2.0 Slackware 14.1 KDE 4.10.3 Java 1.7.0_25 / (Windows 7)

Quote
Adathome
rhodes wrote:
I do not see arrows nor any other evidence of link direction in your Web Brain, and this makes it possible to interpret Gellish in the wrong direction. One cannot rely on link position to make a relationship clear, and even this is confused in Expanded view.


Maybe you need a closer look to this webbrain, in the notes window you see a summary of the active thought with all the used link-types, the direction and the connected thoughts.

rhodes wrote:
The only way to indicate link directionality in PB at present seems to be some comment in a Note, which implies naming the thoughts at each end of the link, making this process both inefficient and dangerous by inviting duplication of data.


see my thread  http://forums.thebrain.com/post?id=4021667

Because PB do not fulfill my needs for more advanced link types 
i created a excel sheet with all the data and extract the notes summary with some macros and a pivot table so  i am not afraid for duplicate data.
With a export from excel to PB-XML i create an XML file and import this file in PB.

rhodes wrote:
On the other hand, your JHotDraw example (was that what you used in your zip file?), like those of other graphic drawing applications, easily resolves these ambiguities and looks professional too, though I wonder about the scalability of this type of product. I have not yet encountered an application that finds a happy medium.


I hope some day the brain company will listen and implement the advanced link-type functionality like in TwoMore tool v1.01 (see video)

So please everybody vote for more advanced link-types and direction see post jostber.
Click image for larger version - Name: 30-7-2010_reading_link-types.png, Views: 342, Size: 288.51 KB
Regards, Ad Divide knowledge = multiply knowledge (Windows 10 -  TB8 / TB9)
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rhodes
TwoMore? Ah that explains why it didn't look quite the same.

Thanks for clarifying that.

I can see what you mean by link directionality in your Note table, though I must confess I find it a bit heavy going.

Alan Rhodes
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