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  • Name Mark Trexler
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Expanded View Video
I want to create a looping video of a Brain in Expanded View.  Does anyone have any insight into the size of Brain, and the viewing parameters (if any) for getting the ideal visual experience?  Alternatively, is there some good video footage already out there I could use?  

Thanks,

Mark 
Pins and Types not syncing correctly
Gordon, when this happens the only thing to do in my experience is to Unpin all the pins on your desktop, unpin any pins showing up on Webbrain that aren't showing up on your desktop, sync desktop to webbrain, Repin the pins you want to use in the desktop, and sync again.  Scrambled pins happens to me every month or two for no apparent reason, and this multi-step process is the only one I've found.    

Mark
The Challenges of Data Visualization with TheBrain
All of these points are true, and the question is whether they can be overcome.  Right now when it comes to Webbrain we have so little ability to ease users into a Brain that we're pretty much out of luck. I've invested huge amounts of time trying to structure links and content so that someone coming in without the benefit of the background Zenrain refers to doesn't have to be overwhelmed.  But with no ability to use one-way thoughts to structure what people see, or to use basic "report" abilities to allow users to structure what they want to see, or to be able to filter TheBrain content in any way, it's VERY difficult to overcome the problems of cognitive overload in anything but the simplest of Brains (and the simplest of Brains totally miss the whole point of Brains).  I don't think that's inherently a TheBrain problem, it's just that no one has ever paid any attention to the problem before since the business model of TheBrain is exclusively based on desktop access.  If we would think a bit on how to allow others into TheBrain Club without overwhelming or scaring them to death, there's a huge opportunity there.  But it requires some effort.
Attachment sizes for web brain
A related question.  For the thousands of files already in a Brain, is this or any other compression solution efficient?  For example, just being able to right click on a PDF in a Brain folder and compress?  

But also, would there be any risk to compressing files that are already in Webbrain?  Would Brain even recognize that the file was different (compressed)?

Mark
Attachment sizes for web brain
JRH, thanks as well for the solution. Just curious whether you've compared different products and concluded this is best?  Thanks!
The Challenges of Data Visualization with TheBrain
I received a thoughtful email from a data visualization expert yesterday that I thought I would share just in terms of his reactions to Brains as a communications medium. 

"Mind maps are very flexible but have some inherent limitations when it comes to visualizing large-scale patterns (seeing the forest, not just the trees), and when used for navigation as you are doing:

  • They are mostly words (so you have to read them to understand them)
  • They tend to use space arbitrarily (so link positions alone don’t convey much meaning other than local grouping)
  • They don’t scale well (forcing you to explore them through a keyhole once they get beyond a certain size)

As a result, it’s hard for the user to maintain context.  The experience is like wandering in a maze. When you first enter the maze you have no idea whatsoever about how large and deep it is, and once you are inside it you can only see your immediate surroundings, so quickly become lost.

As long as you are committed to using this particular tool, there is not much you can do to overcome these limitations, other than constantly trimming your hierarchy so that there are never too many links on any one level.  Color coding or guidepost patterns in the background images might help if they were consistent, but I’m not sure how much control the brain software gives you over this sort of thing.  Are you open to exploring other tools or forms of visualization?

 When I work with people on visualizations and user experience I try to get them to focus on exactly what they are trying to accomplish.  Who is your user?  What precisely is this user trying to do?  How exactly will your brain help them do this?

 I agree completely with your E. O. Wilson quote that we are drowning in information while starving for wisdom.  How does your chess brain alleviate this problem?  In one of your videos you mentioned that the brain preserves links that would otherwise be forgotten and hard to rediscover via googling.  But is that really the primary problem you are trying to solve?  If so, how does a hiding those links inside a vast maze help?

 Or are you instead trying to create a guided experience that encourages people to browse and find links they’ve never seen before?  That’s a very different goal.  If so, what principle do you use when choosing links for your collection?  Are you trying to promote a certain perspective?  What are you doing to entice the user and encourage them to stay and keep exploring?

 Or are you trying to create a shared resource for the resistance community, one that will somehow evolve and incorporate their insights?  If so, is it really possible to do that while maintaining sole control over the topic tree and link choices?  Why not make a wiki instead?

 Or do you want to convey an overall impression of universe of information and reveal high-level patterns that might help people think more strategically?  Is so, wouldn’t it be important to incorporate the element of time so that users could see how the brain has been changing?  Wouldn’t it be useful to show where recent activity is and where it isn’t?  How would you do that through a keyhole?

 I ask these questions not to be rude, but to help you zero in on *exactly* what you are really trying to accomplish.  Once you have that nailed down, it will be easier to tell whether or not you are succeeding.

A New Experiment - Brain Crowdfunding
Brain Folks,

We're continuing to experiment with whether we can engage interested people to explore Brains through Webbrain, and have just launched 4 different Patreon crowdfunding projects relating to different Brain projects.  

The Climate Web     also available at http://www.theclimateweb.org

Type II Diabetes Brain 

Exchange Student Brain

Resistance Chess Brain   also available at http://www.resistancechess.com  

Each is using different ways of organizing information, and focusing on different types of information, to see what might work. Feedback and support welcome! 

I keep hoping that TheBrain will come to see Webbrain as something to really focus on in opening up whole new audiences of potential users for the desktop software. Right now getting people to use Webbrain is a real uphill battle, but we continue to point out to them that 1. It's a short learning curve to get past the original "OMG" response, and 2. The next version of Webbrain will be improved. Still hoping that's true.

Mark

Windows 10, Brain 8.0.2.1
Utilities vs. utilization in search?
That is one strange default synonym list!   :-)   If all sorts of completely different ideas are considered synonyms in the list, it really reduces the value of a search function.  

Mark
WebBrain Running?
That's been the case for at least a week (I've tried repeatedly without success).  Patrick told me via chat it would be down a lot as they work on the Webbrain program (although I'm not quite sure why the programming wouldn't be happening off-line and then get uploaded periodically).  

Mark
Backing Up (#3425)
Does that mean that it's impossible to use a program like FolderMatch, which I've used successfully for years to keep my Brains backed up quickly and efficiently?   If so, that's really unfortunate.  Is there a set of directories that if backed up would serve the same purpose?  

I have not tried backing up a mega brain in V9, but I can't imagine that backing up a 20GB brain is quick, not to mention the reliability concerns of any compression of 20GB's of stuff.  

Mark
Selling Knowledge Management with the Brain
Only with massive Brains, and we're finding that using TheBrain as a consulting tool rather than an information product is probably the value proposition.  A large Brain is just too complicated for 3rd parties to deal with independently. But what we're also going to try is mini-Brains tied to specific interests, news stories, etc.  Maybe even a subscription where we add to a company's customized Brain on a weekly basis.  But keeping the Brains small and easy to use.  It's still very challenging because the limitations of Webbrain in v.8 are a big problem, and we have no idea what Webbrain in v.9 is going to look like.

Thoughts?
Selling Knowledge Management with the Brain
I'm focused on rather enormous Brains for knowledge management purposes, but I'm curious who if anyone out there is selling TheBrain as a service in the sense of "I'll put together a knowledge management system for whatever topic or problem you are grappling with right now," and involving an hour, a day, or a week of time invested.  Anyone doing that?

Mark
Import Issue
I reported exactly the same problem a while back.  A V8 Brain I was having no problems with suddenly had non-stop errors immediately after I had imported it to V9. It was the standard "there is an error in the Brain . . . . ."   It seems to be ok again after a complete re-indexing, but caution is now the word of the day!     
API?
I will note that one of the things software-savvy people seem to find so unusual about TheBrain is the absence of an API.   I had one person comment recently "I'm amazed they can get away with that," and it obviously had a big effect on her perception of the software.  Which is unfortunate!  
Backing Up (#3425)
Thanks Harlan.  So how do I even tell which Brain is which in that directory?   A bunch of "B0. . . ." directories is pretty ambiguous.  Can I figure it out and rename the directories, or will that (as I suspect) confuse the program?  

Regards,

Mark
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