asexymind
To Harlan and developers/team - I love Personal Brain, and have built my life and business using it. Thank you. The idea I am about to express applies to more than typing...it has to do with the future structure of PB - and whether those structures will support the features that will make PB dominate the information management space.

f6, f7, f8 are shortcuts to creating "thoughts" with "child, parent, and jump" links/relationships. these relationships are fundamental to how personal brain is structured.

My question is: "Why?"

Or rather, my question is:
1) "why is the 'logical' relationship between two ideas given fundamental status in Personal Brain, such that we must try to fit the relationship between our thoughts into that 3 category dimension?" Why not just "link" ?

Imagine if, whenever you created a new thought, you had to choose between type-ing it "abstract, concrete, or experiential." Since the system requires that you make that distinction, it would both train you to think that way, and frustrate you if it doesn't easily fit into those categories. Yes, you can "type" it with something additional after the fact, but it will basically always be one of those three relative to some another thought. Essentially, PB would be forcing you to think in those "terms," even if it were irrelevent for your particular information/values.

Fortunately, PB does not require you to make this kind of distinction. A "thought" is a single, 'untyped' minimalist representation of anything you can fit into the brain. It might be a document, a picture, text, a webpage, etc. Because it is minimalist, it is natural to 1) not type it, or 2) type it according to its nature in your understanding.

However, when it comes to links - you cannot choose "link" - you must choose "parent, child, or jump." Why? What is so sacred about this set of relationships? Why are we forced to use this set of distinctions on any relationship/link we want to make between thoughts? Of course, I'm sure it comes from a developer with a mind that values logic. :-)  I also value logic, so this is great for me. However, I also value many other things. Being forced to fit the relationship I perceive into the parent/child/jump categories every time I add something to the brain actually/radically slows down my thinking and work.

--

My understanding is that you are half way between a beginner's system and an advanced system. OTOH, if you use an untyped "link"as default, the brain is really "just" a customizable associative network (that I love and utilize daily!). OTO, if you put in too many choices, the learning curve is too steep. So, untyped thoughts + parent/child/jump links = ideal balance.

BASIC LEVEL PB: 
Let's say that is accurate, and that is the ideal focus and balance. What about people who prefer different strutures (link types) and are willing to deal with the consequences of only using their structure (not using parent/child/jump)?

ADVANCED LEVEL PB
Use link/thought as the base system, (minus parent/child/jump)
Then, whenever you create a new link or thought, it really easy to choose :
- its thought type, or link type, or both
- tags (as custom-hierarchical types - arranged in brain, default filtered out of main view)
- any attachments

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As a developer, here is how I think about it in terms of QA and UI functions:

Imagine that you were a filing clerk, and each day you were in charge of organizing a 6 foot high stack of random papers. You create your folder system, then start putting them in relational database style filing cabinet. You must put them into the cabinet 1 at a time. However, each time you have to put a piece of paper in the cabinet, you must classify this documents relation to some other document in the system according to whether or not it is a parent/child/jump...It would slow you down and break your flow - every single time you added new data. At what point would you either 1) adjust your system to leverage this distinction you are forced to make, 2) learn to hate that distinction like...
- palestinians hate border crossings
- dictators hate checks and balances
- Charlie Brown hates Lucy's tendency to pull the football right before he kicks it.
...

Then, you could create (or allow the PDA application developers to create apps for!) customized systems for organizing information within the brain. (financial, operational, personal development, teaching, authors, site owners, etc.) utilizing an API that leverages the custom type hierarchies for links and types. Etc...

The question I have is: "Is 'parent/child/jump' hard coded into the system (unscalable as a work around), or is it just a type-like any other link-type?  If "link" is the master category for links, and "parent/child/jump" a peer with other links (like: person, buisness, politics, football), then this should be a simple advanced feature to add. If not, I encourage you to estimate the cost of re-designing that part of the program/database. Ouch...  AND, ask yourself if you want to have to work around that distinction any time it interferes with your desired future features. (as well as your client's information management system.






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This forced choice link type "jump" becomes a catchall relationship that means "connected, but not as a parent or a child".

What if we simplified and broke out of the box of "parent adult child"what if we understood 'thought' in terms of thought types and

--
Mark Michael Lewis | The Profitability Coach
http://GameOfThriving.com | Mark@TheThriveCoach.com
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dyslucksia
Mark

I don't know whether Harlan would be willing to answer you in quite this way, but my take on this is as follows:

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Why is the 'logical' relationship between two ideas given fundamental status in Personal Brain, such that we must try to fit the relationship between our thoughts into that 3 category dimension? Why not just "link"?


'Cos it's a patented system, that's why. It's a clever system, no doubt about it, explicitly satisfies the market hunger for a multiparent classification system that doesn't favor one parent over another (compare PB with InfoQube, TreePad and Info Select's way of achieving the same end), and was designed primarily as an expert classification system, NOT as a logic system, which seems to be what you're wanting. The trick is how to make it do both, rather than endure the learning curve of another system and then try to sit between two horses and ride them.

But just as patents keep the competition out, they also constrain their users not to deviate too far from their specified format, as Darkstar has pointed out. Also imagine how much time and money would be wasted in a basic redesign of PB's plex, for example, doing something as simple as hanging an extra jump gate on the opposite side of a Thought. They can't afford to do that while there are so many other more pressing tasks.

Instead, you're the one who needs to change. Forget about Brains, Thoughts, Parents/Children/Jumps and all the other flotsam and jetsam of Brainspeak. It's funny you should post this right now. Had you been reading my post on Argument Maps? Much of what you've described is right there, waiting to be conceptually realized in PB.

Although PB's links are not directional, consider this a blessing of sorts. How much more difficult would it be to restructure its network if every link had a dirty great arrow in its midriff forcing your thoughts to flow in only one direction, a direction that couldn't be changed?

PB is whatever you make it.

Quote:
Use link/thought as the base system, (minus parent/child/jump)


Have you ever tried any of these origin-less "concept maps" such as GraphViz or CmapTools? Nothing else quite resembles a bowl of spaghetti. Programmers get sacked for coding like that. It's hard to develop a sense of direction when you see one of them, because the directions they take, unlike those of PB, are less predictable. So thank your lucky stars you're being offered a scaffold but don't feel your only option is to hang yourself from it.

When I first started using PB I too was resentful of the unholy P-C-J trinity's apparent stranglehold on me. But like Alice in Wonderland, I came to regard them as only a pack of cards. The problem is not in the Thoughts but the nature of the links. Links can be our Thoughts' best friends or their worst enemies. Minimize them physically, banish them conceptually and the problem disappears. As good ole Uncle Joe Stalin might have put it, eliminate the link and you eliminate the problem. Kapish?

I sense that you are dissatisfied with PB because its interface limits your creative abilities. Well, forget about using jump thoughts for the moment and try considering all links to a parent gate as inputs, and all links from a child gate as outputs. (Since PB won't let you make a parent-parent or a child-child link, there's no point in trying.) The black box in the middle is your Thought. Better?

In this black box go all the bosons, leptons and quarks that contain your conceptual logic. Expect things to be up, down, maybe strange, but with lots of charm. And who said all this needed to be confined to just one thought? Why not distribute your logic among three or four Thoughts, tightly interrelated?

Let your mind decide your design, not your Brain.

PB 5.5.2.1 on Windows XP, J-1.6.0_17
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zenrain
Just to make sure I'm understanding this, are you suggesting / requesting PB becomes more of a dynamic mindmapping solution. For example, MindManager allows links from all directions from the parent thought (although subsequent trees aren't allowed this flexibility).
Is your suggestion to have PB treat each thought as a parent MM thought which allows links in any direction?

Windows 7
J-1.6.0_22
--
OSX 10.6.3
Java SE 6
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Adathome
dyslucksia wrote:

Although PB's links are not directional


Why do you think that ???

PB stores directional information about links.
See answer Harlan,
July 10, 2009
http://forums.thebrain.com/post?id=3502486


asexymind wrote:

f6, f7, f8 are shortcuts to creating "thoughts" with "child, parent, and jump" links/relationships. these relationships are fundamental to how personal brain is structured.

My question is: "Why?"

Or rather, my question is:
1) "why is the 'logical' relationship between two ideas given fundamental status in Personal Brain, such that we must try to fit the relationship between our thoughts into that 3 category dimension?" Why not just "link" ?



direction child, parent, and jump is for visual purpose only, a code 1,2,3 in PB database.
Why not just "link"  this is true in PB database every link is between two thoughts with idB and idA.

See http://webbrain.com/u/10DP , and download the excel translation sheet under brain info, every link only between two thoughts, the code "dir", 1,2,3 is only for visual purpose.
Regards, Ad Divide knowledge = multiply knowledge (Windows 10 -  TB8 / TB9)
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Darkstar
PB's links are a bit limited, but it isn't very much.

If at first you don't know what kind of link you want or it should be, make it a jump.

PB does give you the gentle push to arrange things heiarchially, thanks to its emphasis on vertical Parent-Active-Child without having the same thing on the horizontal Preceeding-Active-Following thought relationships. If we had that, we'd have a full network of being able to order and arrange things in all manners of ways. Without that, we get the subtle visual reinforcement of a verticle sequence, of a category tree, or heiarchial file system--- all with jump/reference/see also/symbolic links.

But you shouldn't let it bother you--- except to demand a "following jump" so you can have a full up/down/left/right visual flow.

Seriously though, I don't worry about what kind of link things SHOULD have when I make them. Maybe it is all the years of using PB, and knowing that in 6 months, I may reorganise that brain. Or maybe it is that I do a lot of drag and drop for linking, so everything "starts" as a child of the wrong thought and then I move it to a holding hub or just link it then to it's "currently proper" place and be done with it.

My advice: don't worry so much about getting that linkage EXACTLY right. Get it in the right neighborhood for what it is connected to (but don't worry about whether that should be P/C/J if it isn't immediately obvious to you in what makes sense, right then),  and later on, when you are back in that bit of your brain, you may figure out how you'd prefer to see it, or how it makes sense to you to have it arranged. If not, then it is probably in the right place, right where it is.
-Darkstar
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asexymind
Harlan,

I think your answer is music to my ears! If I heard you accurately (I paraphrase...)

"Mark, parent/child/jump IS basically a link type - specifically a link type that helps visually sort out the visual presentation in the basic plex interface. Hence, any concerns you might have that the underlying database structure would limit more complex link types is mis-guided. No worries. I thought this out. I got your back."

Great! I half thought so, but for reasons I will share when I call, wanted to make sure.

In that case, in terms of the "filing guy" metaphor - the part that matters is an easy way to choose thought and link types when creating a thought or a link - so I can do it all in one step, rather than creating the thought/link, then right-clicking to set "types". Consider this another "vote" for that "all in one step" process.

Dysluckia, I think you have a bit more frustration built up than I! ;-) 
--
Mark Michael Lewis | The Profitability Coach
http://GameOfThriving.com | Mark@TheThriveCoach.com
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dyslucksia
Thanks Mark and everyone else who responded. What thoughtful feedback so far.

(zenrain)
Quote:
Just to make sure I'm understanding this, are you suggesting / requesting PB becomes more of a dynamic mindmapping solution. For example, MindManager allows links from all directions from the parent thought (although subsequent trees aren't allowed this flexibility).
Is your suggestion to have PB treat each thought as a parent MM thought which allows links in any direction?


I'm not quite clear why you used the word dynamic here. If anything, PB is more dynamic, particularly in Expanded view. But I understand what you're getting at.

The more one thinks about the basic design of such visual displays, the more fascinating the topic becomes. When you start running out of ideas for designing a new Brain, go here and rummage around (yes, you'll find PB here too). It seems we want to have our cake and eat it. We want to connect our topics in as many ways as possible, we want to see all its neighbours as well, and we want to fit in as many levels as possible on the same screen so as to see the big picture. Some display priorities are needed, and PB achieves this reasonably well by its clever use of solid and hollow gates

Directional links imply the existence of goals, which are far from a bad thing. The home Thought is a goal from which flows the classification. Or it may be a conclusion from which flows an argument map. The central node in a radial mind map is also a goal. Problems arise when the same database has multiple goals, therefore multiple trees, intersecting at various points, but I think PB comes off well in this department, although permanently visible multi-line link labels would be an advantage.

I guess the point I'm trying to make is that the connections you assign between Thoughts are entirely notional (i.e., depend entirely on how you define them). Link colors, types, relationships etc. can actually be limiting compared with an exact definition of each relationship (say, in Notes).

There's no reason why you can't do this in PB right now, if you want to try it out. You could make all Thoughts orphans or link them in a rudimentary way only, reduce the size of the Plex and do your real linking by hyperlinks in Notes, with full and exact descriptions accompanying each link. I can see from UserVoice that there has been a lot of support for being able to create hyperlinks from within Notes to other Thoughts. No big deal here, you can do it right now using macros. I can foresee this coming in soon if PB is to remain competitive. Try doing it this way for a few thoughts and see if you can find a happy, eclectic medium that meets your needs.

@Adathome, I know you're correct there, but I was referring to the visual display of links in the Plex, which unfortunately are not directional. This is noticeable in Expanded View when child Thoughts can angle upwards. I agree there's a great need for redesign here and allowing us to set directionality.

@Darkstar, I would love to use Jump links a lot more for logical relationships but their reflexive design is a big disincentive, as well as old hat now. As you say, a "following jump" link is the way to go, so Thoughts can now be seen to be vertices of a grid, rather than merely branches of a tree. In the past there was no way to turn off sibling views, so jump thoughts had to be crammed into the space on the left side of the Active Thought. But now that we can switch off sibling display in 5.5 and also give ourselves unlimited horizontal plex room if we wish (as in Expanded and Outline View), that should remove the greatest impediment to horizontal, left to right, logic flow across the active Thought rather than vertically downward. Have you considered that this would now split Create Jump into Create Left Jump and Create Right Jump, so that PB would prevent you from connecting two left Jumps or two right Jumps?

In the meantime, you can create one colored tag for a left-to-right thought and another for a top-to-bottom thought, and simply make them all parents/children, your mind and descriptions supplying the necessary logic. Incidentally, the new Reports filter would then enable you to display only the horizontal links or only the vertical links.

@Mark (asexymind)
Quote:
Harlan,  I think your answer is music to my ears!

Did you really mean that?

PB 5.5.2.1 on Windows XP, J-1.6.0_17
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