Netsaver
Hi gents,
I've been experiencing PB4 for a month.

A feature I strongly miss is the Insert Object capability,
already available in PB3 notes management.
Well, ones of the most impressive features of PB is to
reorganize in a smarter and flexible way all kind of
information, including files and portion of files.

But it's rather difficult to manage ALL with PB in exclusive way,
that is: if a large amount of text / pictures information is to be
shared with other applications so that it may change in the future,
instead of linking a lot of files to a thought I'ld like to insert directly
the content from original rtf, doc, xls files in the thought's notes.

With PB3 I could paste them as a link from source file and view them
as modifiable information, which would be also more immediate for
navigation (instead to load each linked file with it's own source application
and discover later it's not interesting for that idea)

I could imagine this would avoid many files to be accessed from the OLE
in the same session, increasing the efficiency, but wasn't it possible
to take a snapshot of all pasted content at pasting time, together with
the link and so update it only on request?

That's why the OLE were first created, I suppose.
And we want PB to be integrated in the shell and in the whole system
as more as possible, right?


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Quote
tcahill
I started to reply with a discussion of good old object linking and embedding, and got some way into it, but decided to start over. I think Harlan's decision to drop RTF and OLE in favor of HTML is good both strategically and tactically.

I do have quite a lot of old OLE notes, and they are still there, as rtf attachments if I really need them. I've still got a lot of Lotus 123 and Word Pro files in my PB plex, also, for that matter. They are still there, available when I need them.

HTML certainly seems to be the dominant standard for linking, and you can approximate "embedding" within an HTML document. For example, I've just opened a random jpg image and copied and pasted it into a PB note. The image displays as you would expect in Design view, but when you switch to HTML view you see something else. The Html code was pointing to a temporary file, not the original image. This isn't what I wanted, but I could see that the link just needed to be adjusted. So I changed the reference to point to the original image file:
<p><img alt="" height="135" src="file:///windows/D/ghm/Sales and Marketing/Art and stationary/3d25ec90.jpg" width="135" /></p>

It seems to me that we could benefit from extending this discussion to develop and document the necessary steps that would allow one to carry on linking and embedding in a similar manner as you and I understand it.

As for the issue of a large number of text/pictures, perhaps virtual folders simplifies their management?
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Netsaver
I could easily agree on selecting a dominant standard like
html, or xml too.
The point is: how to get the same advantages by using the new
standard? Following your advice, I've tried to formalize the steps
to import the content of my external files into PB html notes.

Well, I couldn't find any import/open/convert from html option
in the menu, so from the source application I saved the file
as html, then opened it with notepad and copied all the html script
inside.

After pasting in to PB notes, in design view I could read the text but not
the images and other linked objects, so I remembered of your example
and added to the relative link: note_folder/img_file.gif also the absolute
path: file:///D:/Work/note_folder/img_file.gif.

Great! At this point I could visualize the image, I only needed to repeat
the process for all the links in the html !!
Sorry but Find/Replace options is not available, so come back to the
notepad file with html content and perform a full substitution of all the
links, then re-paste the content in to PB notes (this should be done
by a html-import procedure...).

Surprise! All the html content could be visualized in PB notes, very fine too!
The satisfaction almost compensated the effort, but a final observation
was snaking in my mind..

What about synchronization? This was the most important feature of OLE
techique: if any source file is modified, this could be reflected in all brain thoughts! (and viceversa??)

Please tell me if I skipped some basic PB4 option, but I think that html
engine could substitute OLE only if this two aspects are preserved:

1) external references management, for information embedding into PB notes
2) synchronization of the content, so that PB can share the knowledge baseall with source applications and keep it updated

I'ld like to have some further impression on the matter...

Is this your house?
I'm Wiston Wolf, I solve problems.
Quote
tcahill
This issue was developing in another forum yesterday:
http://forums.thebrain.com/tool/post/thebrain/vpost?id=1999142

Harlan wrote:
Thanks for noticing this problem. We have fixed this for the next release, version 4070. 4070 will move images from the temp folder back into the PersonalBrain Notes folder for the appropriate thought and adjust the relevant links within the HTML whenever a thought is activated or highlighted.
Be vewy quiet. I'm hunting wabbit.
Quote
tcahill
Netsaver wrote:
I Please tell me if I skipped some basic PB4 option, but I think that html engine could substitute OLE only if this two aspects are preserved: 1) external references management, for information embedding into PB notes 2) synchronization of the content, so that PB can share the knowledge baseall with source applications and keep it updated I'ld like to have some further impression on the matter...


Well, the very well-known limitation of html is that there is no intelligence in the linking. You may very well have a bunch of links pointing to nullspace, but you're link will not be aware of it. The browsers (please correct me, someone if I'm wrong ) have the capability to notice if a linked page has changed, and manage the color of the link depending upon if you had visited it or not.
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Quote
Netsaver
Well, would still be a step ahead having an 'import from html' option, let's say the user has many external sources (ex. employee's curricula CV_emp1, CV_emp2, ...) he wants to collapse into a PB note.

Instead of pasting a link (the curriculum would be available only opening with browser), the user selects the source file from PB note menu, then a snapshot of the content is taken. In later utilizations, the user could navigate through employees nodes visualizing their data on the fly.
After selecting a node he is interested in, if he wants to get recent information, he could press an 'update' button on the related note, so PB shouln't be forced to update on the fly all the links at startup.

The more, it could be useful (ex. for those who have to collect many info on the same subject together, as bloggers or news writers) to collapse many sources into the same note (ex. different variations on 'spaghetti al pesto' for a chef, or different chronicals on the 'hubble repair' for a news writer, etc.).

Other ideas could be found, but the key point is that the user should not be charged with composing personally the .html files,  like he had not to do before with external .rtf files or OLE objects, or pasting manually the html code from a source, which has no 'memory' of the source itself.

Then, if someone likes, we could speak of mono or bi-directionality of information flux, that is how much PB should be considered a collector of information, and how much a modifier (always of external sources, obviously)

bye
Is this your house?
I'm Wiston Wolf, I solve problems.
Quote
tcahill
Netsaver wrote:

1)Well, would still be a step ahead having an 'import from html' option,
.
.
2) the user selects the source file from PB note menu, then a snapshot of the content is taken.
.
.
3) In later utilizations, the user could navigate through employees nodes visualizing their data on the fly. After selecting a node he is interested in, if he wants to get recent information, he could press an 'update' button on the related note, so PB shouln't be forced to update on the fly all the links at startup.
.
.
4) the key point is that the user should not be charged with composing personally the .html files,  like he had not to do before with external .rtf files or OLE objects, or pasting manually the html code from a source, which has no 'memory' of the source itself.
.
.
5) Then, if someone likes, we could speak of mono or bi-directionality of information flux, that is how much PB should be considered a collector of information, and how much a modifier (always of external sources, obviously) bye


Well, altogether, these seem like billion dollar ideas to me. I start out agreeing (#1) that an "import from X" feature would be very useful. But, it seems your ideas quickly move on toward what I'm interpreting as an nth generation browser.

Ideas #2 through #4 seem to suggest an analogy with a modern tabbed web browser, except that:
Each thought is a tab
Each thought is a bookmark
Each bookmark is a browser
Each web page is user editable

If PB could do all that, who would need another browser? I'd be buying The Brain Technology Inc. stock. Harlan! Any thoughts on going public?

It seems to me that the issue of synchronization becomes very problematic here, as with OLE we could presume that object sources were "owned" by the person runing the OLE client. That whole understanding seems in retrospect to predate the full blown web that we have today. Today there is nothing to stop you from downloading a web page and modifying your copy of it to suit yourself. It would be something else entirely for you to be able to upload your changes to the original web site.
Be vewy quiet. I'm hunting wabbit.
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Netsaver
Hi Tcahill, it seems you are the only one interested to developing adiscussion on this matter.
Well, I admit all the points above may seem too ambitious, but after we agree on the import option, what could be so difficult as you imagine?

If Harlan has decided to abandon rtf formatted notes in favour of html, in fact he has embedded an html interpreter, which is the main function of any browser.

The more, the import function would simply get an address from the user (not necessarily on the external network, but think how much useful could be sharing the notes content with other users on a LAN-shared folder in a company), after that the address would be stored and the linked information re-loaded on command (as it was with 'old fashioned' OLE objects).

At least we'ld have a one-way synchronization, other browsing functions would not be so relevant here.

I confess I was surprised when, after discovering the 'insert object' function was no more available, I couldn't perform similar things with html, at least without very time-consuming actions. An example was provided in the 'mathematical notation' thread, but in general, according to Harlan philosophy, described since 1999 interview, he did like to realize an environment where all information could be integrated together, without manipulating and duplicating the same data with many different applications.

Well, brains merge, plex exporting, outlook integration and also html capabilities go ahead in that directions, viceversa the loss of external references to embed in the notes (a part from the trivial file-linking, which is could be useful only AFTER brain navigation and not when FOCUSING an idea, where the browsing is predominant) is some step back respect to PB3.

I'm wondering what Harlan thinks about it, hmmmmmm....




Is this your house?
I'm Wiston Wolf, I solve problems.
Quote
Harlan
I would love to enable an OLE like capability in PB... The problem is that such a system relies on standards that have to be established... OLE never really caught on and never really worked properly, so I don't miss it.

I may be missing something, but it sounds like what you are suggesting is a caching mechanism where PB would grab a copy of information and could be asked to update it on demand. Is that right? Or maybe you mean grab multiple pieces of information and composite them together for the user? I'm sure I've seen a tool that does just that, back when portals were all the rage... there's something called "eClips" in my Brain though, but it's no longer online...

The notes image problem mentioned above is fixed in 4071, up now, BTW.

Regards,
-Harlan
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Netsaver
Well, I agree on the fact that OLE technology is not a standard, it's sometimes more unefficient than expected (over time/memory...) and has many misworkings that would suggest to abandon it in favour of more stable solutions. Indeed I'ld like having a OLE-like features.
Anyway XML is a good standard, whose specifications are now increasing for portability and wide sharing purposes (which standard are you implementing for XML: ODF or MSoffice XML? Likely the first one as you produced also a Linux version ...).
So I tried to use this technique to substitute OLE links in the PB notes.
Here attached are the results (OS = XP Pro), which perhaps could help Tcahill in some mathematical notation issues:

- Original word 2003 file with equations (as images, converted from  
      Mathtype) and some column formatting
- Doc exported as XML and opened with Office 2003 XML editor
- Doc exported as HTML and opened with Internet Explorer 6.02
- Doc imported as XML script in a PB 4.071 note
- Doc imported as HTML script in PB 4.071 note

I can notice two small complications:
1) HTML has relative addresses for images: is there a trick to import html code into Brain without inserting absolute references with find/replace? (i.e. html link is relative: html_folder/file_img/img005.gif, I have to add absolute path file:///D:/.../Desktop/html_folder/file_img/img005.gif for each link).
A function 'import html / xml from source' inside Brain would help so much...
Note that XML has not this problem as the file is one and its images are embedded into Brain after pasting XML script

2) in both cases (XML/HTML import) the column separation is lost and the images with text/img around are overlapped. Is this a XML limitation or the cause is the Office standard for XML?

As final consideration, I do not need some trivial information collector that cannot rely upon Brain's navigation logic, which is really unique!
I only think that information stored in the nodes is important as well as the navigation through nodes, and as in the real world the 'thoughts' can be
- internally elaborated (generated inside Brain, like PB hand-written notes)
- coming from outside (linked to external files, here an extract in PB notes
  would be very useful for further processing)
- going outside (the XML export of plex selection is already available)

The 'update on request' (only for selected nodes), loading again the XML code from source linked inside, would help the user to track external information in the time, saving much time to the Brain 'maintenance'

Maybe PB is not an experimental AI tool output from some laboratory, but among commmercial tools is the best appoximation I know about it...

Regards,
Netsaver 
Is this your house?
I'm Wiston Wolf, I solve problems.
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