Pragy
I'm a new user, and I recently posted this rant criticising TheBrain: Unprofessionalism! I was expecting a bashing from the users here, but I got worse - no response! Not even from the devs.

My problem is, that I've failed to find another mind mapping tool that supports multiple parents, can handle thousands of nodes and still look pretty. Therefore, for now, I've settled with using TheBrain on my desktop instead (SSD + 16gigs RAM + GTX1080). TheBrain runs smoothly on it. (Note: The performance issue persists on my laptop. Not everyone can afford a system designed for Deep Learning)

However, there are still tons of issues that need to be solved. For example, there are hardly any options! The lack of customizability makes the software extremely immature. I haven't used the previous versions of Brain, so I'm not sure if they supported many more options or not. I can't even fix the "Normal" view to always show me 2 levels deep (it always resets to 1 level upon changing layouts).

The forums are essentially dead! For a software that claims to be used by Fortune 100 companies, and have millions of downloads, having a dead user forum is a big red sign of the software being close to collapsing. The devs/company might still be earning from it and not see the coming doom soon enough.
Also, the forums are a mess! The register function is buggy, hell even the "Remove Formatting" button doesn't work on hyperlinks!

There are tons of open feature requests and issues, and the core developers aren't able to keep with it (common with good software). However, a mature company will take steps towards handling this issue, which TheBrain doesn't seem to be doing.


This is a nice mindmapping software, please don't let it die a slow, painful death.
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ruudhein
Yeah, personally I didn't take time to respond because usually posts like that are made by someone leaving; why bother taking the time to respond when the response likely won't be read?

This year TheBrain goes back 20 years. 20. On the web alone that is eternity; in software that's right up there with the largest. In those 20 years its demise has been predicted many times and has been suspected by myself. For some certain features, or lack thereof, cause a prediction of failure. Others thought TheBrain would never catch up to mobile. Yet others describe doom and gloom based on pricing that NOBODY would pay for it, according to them. But alas, here we are, 20 years later with a product that has developed, expanded, yet stayed true to its core.

I'm not sure what features you're looking for. Discussions and requests about them in the appropriate place are usually handled very well, in my experience. Maybe specify them and discuss them?

Speaking for myself, I have a very pleasant time using The Brain and am thrilled to have upgraded to version 9 which, may I point out, is still under active development and improving with each intermediate release.

Of course I have a longer time of using, and not using, TheBrain behind me. That learning experience has made returning to the software very easy for me, and, again, very enjoyable, as I know precisely what I want and can get out of it. I know how to use it and what to use it for. I've seen users frustrated because the software doesn't do what they think it should be doing; could that be your case?

As for the forums -- there is reasonable activity from people who have questions as well as from dedicated users who like to talk about TheBrain. But as TheBrain does what it does, you won't find a lot of people here the way you would on the Evernote forums. And that's a good sign. Just as most people only take the time to review a purchase when their experience is negative, many product forum posters come to fix a problem. Again, the Evernote forums are a good example.

Compare it with a forum for Notepad, a program slightly older than The Brain; you wouldn't expect an onslaught of posts there.

Althought I don't work for the company, have no "in" and therefor no inside knowledge, rest assured the software isn't dying a slow, painful death, or otherwise [smile]

So -- let's make this fun. Welcome -- and what is it you want to achieve or do with TheBrain?
Using: Evernote | FilterizeEverdo | Dynalist | Liner | TheBrain v9.0.263.0
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Pragy
Thanks for replying [smile]

ruudhein wrote:
This year TheBrain goes back 20 years... demise has been predicted many times and has been suspected by myself...product that has developed, expanded, yet stayed true to its core.

Oh, it's good to know that the software is going strong. Personally, I try to improve my tools frequently, so a software with the core philosophy of resisting change is probably not meant for me. Given how version 9 is a complete rebuild gives me hope that TheBrain isn't such.

ruudhein wrote:
...features... Discussions and requests about them in the appropriate place are usually handled very well, in my experience.

I couldn't agree with that. A quick scan through the feature requests subcategory leaves it clear that the features are almost always postponed into oblivion. See my post http://forums.thebrain.com/post/developer-api-9616985


ruudhein wrote: I've seen users frustrated because the software doesn't do what they think it should be doing; could that be your case?
...
So -- let's make this fun. Welcome -- and what is it you want to achieve or do with TheBrain?

That's probably it. I've explored Anki, Mnemosyne, Supermemo, Evernote, XMind, Vue, TiddlyMap and more, but I've failed to find a software that lets me offload my memory onto a digital system. I used to think that Spaced Repetition is the key, but have realized its shortcomings after several years, and have found conceptmapping to gracefully handle most of them. Thus, I'm trying to find a good tool, but have utterly failed to do so.

I'm sorry that the frustration has left me bitter.
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zenrain
Some context around new features not being implemented in quite a while may be found here. TL;DR version, v 9 has been in development for 5 years rebuilding on new code base from the ground up. 

"No Customization" is a bit different from it not saving the expansion state when changing views. If you would provide concrete examples of what you are trying to do, maybe some fellow users can offer suggestions. Otherwise it's just "I don't like peas because they are green and squishy". Ok, not much I can say to that besides maybe not to eat peas. Also, as a side note, I'm not a big fan of squishy peas either. [smile]

If you take a peak in the Beta 9 forums, you will see that they are anything but dead. And there was a new release just yesterday. Sorry about the forum registration woes. Not the greatest forum I've used, but far from the worst, lol. Maybe email support for that?
macOS 10.13
TheBrain 9.0.250
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ruudhein
Quote: features are almost always postponed into oblivion

I had something like this in mind as an example of how current feature requests are dealt with.

Quote: I've failed to find a software that lets me offload my memory onto a digital system. [...] Thus, I'm trying to find a good tool, but have utterly failed to do so

Usually what people like us need is a toolbox, with a hammer and a screwdriver, whereas most software is a tool; just the hammer or just the screwdriver. When you try to make the tool do the job of the other tool it sort of works but becomes frustrating pretty fast. So we have to pick one thing to go with. And when we find software that is more than one tool, they've added the wrong tools. Or added them wrongly. Frustrating indeed.

Things to be hopeful thebrain is adequate for your needs:
  • visually relational: beats pure tag based or wiki interlinking, for me
  • the parent-child-jump structures leave the meaning of those to you; in one section it could be a family tree, in another section topic-subtopic, etc.
  • Links and files are stored on disk, in the file system

Thing to be mindful about:
  • you can export your data (additional export abilities available in older versions are coming back) but just as with Evernote's ENEX export, it's not like you have a readily usable "thing" to use elsewhere
  • thoughts vs notes: you're going to be experimenting a lot, possibly, with how you want to do things. You may go Thought + subthoughts for points:
    1.jpg 
    ...and then realize you lose context for those sub points. Or find them too vague. Or you may go 1 thought and the points in the note:
    2.jpg 

We all toy with "how do we structure this?" Recent discussion, and an excellent post about using one mega brain.


Quote: I'm sorry that the frustration has left me bitter.

No worries, we're all a bit odd here [smile] When you're "into" programs like TheBrain you're almost never completely middle of the road [wink]
Using: Evernote | FilterizeEverdo | Dynalist | Liner | TheBrain v9.0.263.0
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zenrain
I'm not odd. I'm pleasantly eccentric. [biggrin]
macOS 10.13
TheBrain 9.0.250
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vmilhoan
I, too, have tried NUMEROUS applications available to support me in my job. It is frustrating and there is nothing out there that is perfect. I would also agree with the comment above that there's a lot of guidance on these forums from other users, but we want to be careful about trying to spend too much time helping someone who will just be leaving.

That being said - if you're still up for giving TheBrain some time for evaluation, I would point out these features that I find critical to my work and only in TheBrain:

- Files/attachments can be stored as an Internal file, but that file is still in a directory on your computer. If my work told me I could no longer use TB for any development and I had to uninstall it right away, at least all my data would be there and not embedded into the application.

- Multiple parents, plus jump thoughts: I haven't found any other tool out there that can provide the ability to have multiple parents. For me, this is critical because I have a LOT of customers and sometimes I'm collaborating on a project that includes multiple customers. I can have that same "project" thought be a child under multiple customers. If I'm meeting with a customer, I can activate their thought, I'll see all the projects I'm working on with them, all the people I talk to that work there, etc...

- Project switching: The way that TB handles activating a thought and bringing in all the information around that thought is brilliant. Again, nobody does that as far as I can tell. I have about 100 active projects that I'm either spending a lot of time on, tracking, or will work on as time allows. When someone asks me a question, I can quickly find the project in TB, activate the thought, and see everything I need to know right there in the plex (links to notes, docs, who is working on the project, what customers are involved, what tech is involved).

Yes, there are some features I really want (either I don't agree with how the dev team implemented a feature, or it's a feature that was in v8 and not in v9), but every other tool has far more things I don't like. Also, the dev team focuses a lot on keeping data secure (v9 has encryption at rest for your data in the cloud, as an example) and keeping the integrity of the database so you don't lose data. They also spend a lot of time thinking about the impact of a feature change and how it impacts the rest of the database and what to do about it (which us, as users, don't always consider when demanding something new). This, in my opinion, sets them apart from the rest of the tools.

One other thing to note - once you start your brain (or multiple brains), you can change the structure later. Your brain is very flexible - I've changed my structure/the way I do things numerous times as I figure out what's most efficient for me.

Hope this gives you some things to think about. For me, nothing beats TB and I can't live without it [smile] 
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zenrain
Really good summary of the benefits of TheBrain vmilhoan!
macOS 10.13
TheBrain 9.0.250
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ruudhein
Agreed. You took the thoughts right out of my mind and put them into words.

Another one to add: no matter the size of your brain, search remains near-instant. The only program that comes close to its speed is InfoSelect. It's harder than you think as you notice when you compare it to the performance of other programs at scale. E.g.: Evernote
Using: Evernote | FilterizeEverdo | Dynalist | Liner | TheBrain v9.0.263.0
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zenrain
Ha, yes. I overlook the search speed a lot until a few days into testing other software with a lot of data, and there is no comparison to the Instant Search functionality. Especially with the ability to just type in the first few letters of each word and 9/10 times find what I'm looking for within 3 seconds.
macOS 10.13
TheBrain 9.0.250
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mcaton
Pragy,

Thanks for posting. We appreciate your honest feedback. I believe most of your concerns have been addressed in this thread, and I believe I would be repeating many of the same responses with regards to our longevity the dedication we have to our software. So I'll simply add another 'Welcome to TheBrain'. The forum community is open and honest. Some questions will be answered by other community members, others by Brain employees and from time to time, you may even get a direct answer from our CEO, Harlan Hugh.

You mentioned tons of issues to be solved and lack of customization in TheBrain. Please feel free to share more details on these in TheBrain 9 Desktop Beta category. This is currently the most active location in the forums which I'm guessing you may have missed on your initial visit? Additionally, you can always write to us directly at support@thebrain.com . You're right about the forum's "Remove Formatting" not working for hyperlinks.  I'll see if that can be addressed. 

Also, as I mentioned on your other thread, I'd encourage you to join an upcoming Brain 101 class. It's a great way to get introduced to TheBrain and learn about some basic functionality that would create a good foundation for you as your digital Brain continues to evolve.

With regard to the feature requests. You may notice that we often update a thread title with a number. This link that Ruud shared is a good example. (#3019) is an internal reference to this feature request. Our response may be brief, but the request not forgotten and is documented for future consideration. Wouldn't it be great if we could implement EVERY feature request...

And last, to address your Expanded View issue (application remembering to display 2 generations of Thoughts). I would guess that you are closing the individual Brain tab - correct? This will, in fact, reset the view. TheBrain will still show the expanded view if the tab is left open and the app is closed and re-opened. Please test to see if this process works for you.

Thank you,
Matt
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nicobi
You have not had a look at MindNode  https://mindnode.com .

The biggest shortcomings:

1) A new thought can only be created as child, or parent or jump (or stand I corrected ?). It cannot be created immediately as free floating. It must be disconnected, and then vanishes from the graphicak display into the bottom line. Why can't it stay free floating additionally ? MindNode does a better intuitive job here.

2) The UI in V9 is a magnitude slower in responding than in V8 and earlier, running on the Java-Environment, on a MacBook Pro 17" C2D with SSD and 6 GB Ram in OS X 10.11. That's a fiasco for native programming in my book. The last iterations of V9 haven't changed that.

3) Data Import and Export through most common methods. Data-LockIn is a bad Idea and not negotiable in workgroups.

4) Cloud, private cloud, cloudfree carrying of TheBrain Databasefiles. Privacy laws and enforcement become stronger and stronger as demand for this rises. That really speaking mostly means that personal data you have collected be not on servers you do not control within your vicinity. It is irrelevant if encryption takes place.

Hence I am greatly missing the option to

a) have a TheBrainServer-Software run on my hardware (even a raspberryPi may do…) like a FreeNAS (allowing VMs and dockers lately) to connect to with all of my devices through TheBrainClient through SSL, SSH, WebDAV or VPN

b) being able to connect from Mobile through an encrypted channel to my NAS to open an there located TheBrainDatabase

c) being able to transfer a database to a mobile device, editing it there, and vice versa.


That I point out clearly: TheBrain is a fantastic piece of software. I never got the picture why "MindMaps" and their softwarecounterparts are persued so heavily. They are useless clutters if more than three topics have to be covered, in my book.

So, I am thrilled to what will happen within the time to come.


vmilhoan wrote:
I, too, have tried NUMEROUS applications available to support me in my job. It is frustrating and there is nothing out there that is perfect. I would also agree with the comment above that there's a lot of guidance on these forums from other users, but we want to be careful about trying to spend too much time helping someone who will just be leaving.

That being said - if you're still up for giving TheBrain some time for evaluation, I would point out these features that I find critical to my work and only in TheBrain:

- Files/attachments can be stored as an Internal file, but that file is still in a directory on your computer. If my work told me I could no longer use TB for any development and I had to uninstall it right away, at least all my data would be there and not embedded into the application.

- Multiple parents, plus jump thoughts: I haven't found any other tool out there that can provide the ability to have multiple parents. For me, this is critical because I have a LOT of customers and sometimes I'm collaborating on a project that includes multiple customers. I can have that same "project" thought be a child under multiple customers. If I'm meeting with a customer, I can activate their thought, I'll see all the projects I'm working on with them, all the people I talk to that work there, etc...

- Project switching: The way that TB handles activating a thought and bringing in all the information around that thought is brilliant. Again, nobody does that as far as I can tell. I have about 100 active projects that I'm either spending a lot of time on, tracking, or will work on as time allows. When someone asks me a question, I can quickly find the project in TB, activate the thought, and see everything I need to know right there in the plex (links to notes, docs, who is working on the project, what customers are involved, what tech is involved).

Yes, there are some features I really want (either I don't agree with how the dev team implemented a feature, or it's a feature that was in v8 and not in v9), but every other tool has far more things I don't like. Also, the dev team focuses a lot on keeping data secure (v9 has encryption at rest for your data in the cloud, as an example) and keeping the integrity of the database so you don't lose data. They also spend a lot of time thinking about the impact of a feature change and how it impacts the rest of the database and what to do about it (which us, as users, don't always consider when demanding something new). This, in my opinion, sets them apart from the rest of the tools.

One other thing to note - once you start your brain (or multiple brains), you can change the structure later. Your brain is very flexible - I've changed my structure/the way I do things numerous times as I figure out what's most efficient for me.

Hope this gives you some things to think about. For me, nothing beats TB and I can't live without it [smile] 
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