PJMiller
I have been using The Brain 8 for a while now and have been pretty impressed with it's capabilities, so it was with great anticipation that I downloaded the beta test preview version of The Brain 9.

Two of the features which I use quite a lot are the fact that I can have the notes in a floating window maximised on the second screen and virtual thoughts.

It seems that these capabilities are no longer present in The Brain 9, or at least I haven't been able to find them yet, they may be still there but well hidden.

Also the interface for the text editor in the notes pane seems to have been dumbed down quite a lot.

Simplyfying the interface is good but when it is at the cost of removing useful capabilities then it is not so good.

This might be less bad if there were a way to customise the text styles for the limited number presets available.

This is just a first reaction, there may well be ways of doing what I want, I'm still looking.

But if there are no floating windows and if there are no virtual thoughts then I might end up staying with The Brain 8!

[frown]
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zenrain
To create a floating Text window:
  1. Create a new tab. 
  2. Open the Brain you want and navigate to the thought
  3. Drag the tab out so it creates a new window.
  4. Double click the area above the tabs in the note section (to maximize the note).
  5. Resize the window.
This window and location should persist on shutdown/startup  [smile]
Edit: As a side note I've requested the ability to right click a thought and have it open in a new tab to speed this up (among other things). 

Give notes time. At first I missed being able to change everything to how I wanted it, but then realized that after I picked a style I liked well enough, it allowed me to just concentrate on the notes and use the easy formatting, rather than fussing around with the html behind the scenes to get everything just so.
Also, the automatic formatting of links and images is very nice. For me it's much easier to make notes look nicer. I'm still missing the ability to add tables, but that is a known request and coming (at some point).
macOS 10.12.5
TheBrain 9.0.192
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zenrain
(also, these should probably go in the Beta Forum [wink])
macOS 10.12.5
TheBrain 9.0.192
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PJMiller
zenrain wrote: To create a floating Text window:
  1. Create a new tab. 
  2. Open the Brain you want and navigate to the thought
  3. Drag the tab out so it creates a new window.
  4. Double click the area above the tabs in the note section (to maximize the note).
  5. Resize the window.
This window and location should persist on shutdown/startup  [smile]
Edit: As a side note I've requested the ability to right click a thought and have it open in a new tab to speed this up (among other things). 


Yes this creates a second window with the notes open in that second window but when you navigate in the first window the notes in the second window do not update, they stay on the same node (thought) which isn't very useful in my opinion.

The replacement for virtual thoughts (a folder structure from the disk represented as a network of thoughts) is to link to a folder when it is dragged and dropped into the plex, this just opens windows explorer when you click on it, again not very useful.

As I said if there were a way to customise styles or to create a custom style (or at least set the font) then the notes would not be much of a limitation but as it is now with preset immutable styles this is not useful.  Changing the font may not seem to be much of a problem but I need many special characters and foreign characters and I have a couple of fonts which have all the characters I need but the default fonts used for the notes in The Brain 9 don't seem to have these characters.  There should be at least one pan-unicode font amongst the presets.

It seems that The Brain 9 is a step backwards, a dumbed down version, missing many of the capabilities of The Brain 8.

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zenrain

For the font, you might want to submit a support ticket or post something on the forums with an example for Devs to look at. It sounds like a use case they didn't anticipate. 

Ah, I see what you are asking for re: the second notes window. No, that's not possible right now (although I also entered a request for notes windows to update live here).

You might do a search on Virtual Thoughts in the Archived Preview Release forum. I think there was some discussion on it, but since I don't use them, I didn't retain what the result was.

macOS 10.12.5
TheBrain 9.0.192
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zenrain
PJMiller wrote: It seems that The Brain 9 is a step backwards, a dumbed down version, missing many of the capabilities of The Brain 8.

Just noticed this line. First, this is the Beta of the first release after a complete re-write of the entire application. TheBrain 8 had 5 versions (starting with v4) to mature. Is this release going to fulfill every wish of new and power users alike. Not a chance. Is it going to carry forward every feature from the old version? No.

Once again, give it a chance. I've been using TheBrain 9 for a while now, and there is no way you could convince me to go back to v8. For me it's easier to use, more powerful in doing the things I do often, and has new capabilities which enhance and have changed my old work flows for the better. The worst that could happen is you continue using TheBrain 8 until this new iteration has had time to mature. [wink]

macOS 10.12.5
TheBrain 9.0.192
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Harlan
Paul,

The ability to create custom styles for notes is something we are planning for the future. If you have specific needs for a style now, please let us know and we can probably add it in for you.

Sorry, but virtual thoughts will not be making a reappearance for a variety of reasons. Most importantly is that they cannot be supported properly - they are not cross-platform, cannot be linked between each other, cannot have properties add on to them, cannot be searched properly, etc. Their inclusion as thoughts makes it necessary put caveats on many aspects of the software and is confusing to new users. Even for advanced users, many people just assumed that we could make all of these limitations go away by adding more features to virtual thoughts, however this is not the case and has resulted in some frustrations for people that we'd prefer to avoid going forward.

If you give it a chance, I am sure you will see that Version 9 is far superior to Version 8. We rewrote TheBrain from scratch and were able to use all the lessons we learned to make something that is far more robust and capable.

In terms of the UI, everything has been custom-designed in V9 to allow you to focus more on your information and not have to spend time fiddling with UI gadgets. For the case of wanting to put notes onto a separate screen, this is not possible right now unless you use a second tab, as discussed above. You are correct that it will not change thoughts as you navigate, however it does update live as changes are made if you have the same note open in multiple tabs at once.

Regards,
-Harlan
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PJMiller
Harlan wrote: Paul,

The ability to create custom styles for notes is something we are planning for the future. If you have specific needs for a style now, please let us know and we can probably add it in for you.

Sorry, but virtual thoughts will not be making a reappearance for a variety of reasons. Most importantly is that they cannot be supported properly - they are not cross-platform, cannot be linked between each other, cannot have properties add on to them, cannot be searched properly, etc. Their inclusion as thoughts makes it necessary put caveats on many aspects of the software and is confusing to new users. Even for advanced users, many people just assumed that we could make all of these limitations go away by adding more features to virtual thoughts, however this is not the case and has resulted in some frustrations for people that we'd prefer to avoid going forward.

If you give it a chance, I am sure you will see that Version 9 is far superior to Version 8. We rewrote TheBrain from scratch and were able to use all the lessons we learned to make something that is far more robust and capable.

In terms of the UI, everything has been custom-designed in V9 to allow you to focus more on your information and not have to spend time fiddling with UI gadgets. For the case of wanting to put notes onto a separate screen, this is not possible right now unless you use a second tab, as discussed above. You are correct that it will not change thoughts as you navigate, however it does update live as changes are made if you have the same note open in multiple tabs at once.



I agree that version 9 is much easier to use.

And taking a good look at how I use Virtual Thoughts I could probably get by without them, it will take some adjustment, Virtual thoughts were just the icing on the cake. I can make do without the icing.

However having a floating window with the notes which updates live is essential.

The styles are too restrictive but I also use Connected Text which is just as restrictive with styles, however editing the CSS file allows you to set up the style you want and then you don't have to bother with it again and you can just concentrate on the content.

Similarly with The Brain version 9 you should be able to set up a custom style and set up the parameters of that style then not bother with it again, or be able to alter the existing styles then not bother with them again.  This would not clutter up your clean UI for the editor because it would be hidden away in the preferences.

The style I need would have a font which includes the following Unicode Blocks  'Mathematical Operators', 'Miscellaneous Technical', 'Letterlike Symbols', 'Miscellaneous Mathematical Symbols-A' and 'Geometric Shapes'.

But the ideal solution would be to allow editing of styles.

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JarBal
I think I'm quite able to fuss around with my own styles and at the same time concentrate on the essentials while creating Notes. Furthermore, I've already made some Brains, some even quite extensive, in V8 with my way of dealing with Notes and I don't get the same information after importing them into V9.
Even in this section you provide us with the opportunity to choose between various fonts. 

Another problem I met is the inability to import attachments into the V9 while keeping a copy of the intended attachment on my own disk. In V8 there was an option to choose between an internal and external attachment. I might loose quite some files if I would be losing TheBrain's support (for whatever reason). So now, I've got to make a copy of all the files I intend to attach.
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Harlan
PJMiller wrote:
...
However having a floating window with the notes which updates live is essential.
...
The style I need would have a font which includes the following Unicode Blocks  'Mathematical Operators', 'Miscellaneous Technical', 'Letterlike Symbols', 'Miscellaneous Mathematical Symbols-A' and 'Geometric Shapes'.

But the ideal solution would be to allow editing of styles.

The ability to float the content area out as a separate window is a good feature request, but not one that we are likely to implement in the immediate future.

Editing of styles is already something we are planning on adding. In the meantime, we can add a style to suit your needs. Do you happen to know offhand of a font that contains all those blocks and is available by default on both Windows and macOS?

JarBal wrote:
...in V8 with my way of dealing with Notes and I don't get the same information after importing them into V9...

If you have content from V8 that did not import correctly, please send a sample (a V8 brainzip would be ideal) so that we can see what is going wrong and fix it.

JarBal wrote:
Another problem I met is the inability to import attachments into the V9 while keeping a copy of the intended attachment on my own disk...

Version 9 is very happy to point to your external attachments also. When you link to a file via Add Attachment > Link File, it is left where it is by default. From there you can copy or move the file into your brain if you desire. When you drag and drop a file into TB9, the action that happens is either move or link. You can choose what you prefer via Preferences > UI > Content > On drag and drop of files.
Regards,
-Harlan
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PJMiller
In the preferences there is the option to either link files or move them into the brain.
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JarBal
I'll just send an example of two brains to Harlan. Maybe I'm mistaken, did something wrong and can be corrected. You'll see them in your mail.

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Harlan
Sorry, I wasn't clear in my post... Please send to support@thebrain.com. [smile]
Regards,
-Harlan
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PJMiller
Harlan wrote:
Editing of styles is already something we are planning on adding. In the meantime, we can add a style to suit your needs. Do you happen to know offhand of a font that contains all those blocks and is available by default on both Windows and macOS?



I don't know what fonts are available by default on the Macintosh.  On Windows very few of the Microsoft fonts have a comprehensive coverage.  There is one which is widely available free of charge called DejaVu Serif, they also have DejaVu Sans and DejaVu Mono.

You could always embed a font in the installation package and install it if it was not already installed, this would mean that you could guarantee it would be available for the program.  There would be no copyright issues if the font was licensed under the GNU license or the SIL Open Fone license.

There are many free fonts of good quality which would be suitable (but there is also a lot of rubbish out there).

Editing of styles is probably the best solution, not least because it would allow people from around the world to type notes in their native languages.
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Harlan
Hmmm. That's unfortunate. We've already investigated shipping a font with the application and decided against it due to the amount of work required. If there is no font available that meets your needs, you will have to wait until we get the style editing working as that will be easier that shipping a font.
Regards,
-Harlan
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