• Posts 85
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  • Name Rich Ramos
  • Location: San Francisco
  • Occupation: Computer Engineer
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Financial viability of TheBrain company
I'll add my quick $0.02 to the original question.  Take it for what it's worth.

I've been active in the computer industry since 1981 when I sat down in front of a TRS80 model III (IIRC) and started programming in BASIC.  And over those 34 years I've watched the industry very closely, studied it and transitioned through more operating systems, programming languages, email clients, web browsers, productivity applications, ... that I can possibly remember.  Take it from me, just like humans and everything else on this planet, nothing lasts forever, it's just a fact of life that must be accepted and planned for.  It's no different for software companies.

Now that being said, I'm not trying to be negative on TheBrain as a company at all, I'm simply trying to set reasonable expectations about life, especially in the business of technology.  Now, as far as the company TheBrain goes, a 20 year track record is pretty impressive by technology company standards.  I've been using TheBrain (when it was called PersonalBrain) since 2009.  While my use of it (and my postings to this forum) have dropped off over the years, it still continues to be an impressive product.  IMHO they will continue to be around for quite a while.

What hardware specs ideal for PB?

I'm a heavy TB user as well (30,000 thoughts).  I have a 2010 MBP 17", Core i7 proc, 8GB memory and an upgraded hybrid drive (4GB SSD integrated into a 500GB HDD).

I find I have the same problems as you have described.  Slow response, freezes for 30-60 seconds, ...

AFAICT the app is very I/O intensive, much more than other apps as this is the only application that consistently acts this way (probably related to their backend RDBMS architecture).  I have not had a chance to try my brain with a full SSD, but I did notice *a little* relief back when I upgraded to a hybrid drive.

Without having tried with a full SSD, I can't make a firm recommendation, but just thought I would pass along my experience so far.

Newly uploaded webbrain seems very broken

Since there was no further input I went ahead and followed the procedures again (THIRD try) to get my brain up online.

This time it made it all in one go, no retries.  However after 2-3 days of sitting "preparing" I finally got this message:
"There was an error while extracting this Brain. Please delete this Brain and re-sync from your local copy."

Synchronize problems
The symptoms you describe with your webbrain sound very similar to the ones that I've run into:

don't know if that helps you any or not, but FYI.
Newly uploaded webbrain seems very broken

After a couple failed attempts and one having to re-upload the whole brainzip over from the beginning, it finally completed.  The brain that is up there now is much better than before, but still not completely correct.

Here's a couple things I've seen so far, there might be more...
1) it has some thoughts that are not attached in the correct place
2) instant activation doesn't always find a thought

Newly uploaded webbrain seems very broken
I was afraid of that.

I have followed the instructions and TB is in the process of re-uploading the 6GB zip file.  I will let you know what happens.
Newly uploaded webbrain seems very broken

Last week I decided to go ahead with paying for the big upgrade to version 7 and webbrain.  So far things are not going very well.

This is my first time trying the beta ( and the first time trying a brain with attachments.

It took three tries before getting my main brain uploaded (30,000 thoughts, 6GB of attachments), which finally completed last thrs (3/22).

I've been waiting to see if this was some weird transient problem, but from the main dashboard it reports my brain to have "0 bytes" of attachments.  When actually opening my brain through a web browser, only a single thought shows up.  With a little searching there seems to be a few thoughts there (maybe 10'ish), but clearly nothing close to what I've got on my desktop.

Suggestions on whats up?

lost keyboard accels when upgrading
That implies that accelerators are stored on a per brain basis. Is that true? I thought they were app wide prefs, and thus stored somewhere else, like the prefs file.
lost keyboard accels when upgrading
Not in recent history.  Were there instructions somewhere that said to do that as part of the upgrade process that I missed?  I backed up my brain DB before I upgraded.  I also saw that thebrain created a backup as well.  Was a backup of the accelerators automatically created somewhere?
lost keyboard accels when upgrading

I just tried using thebrain 7 for the first time today (v7.0.3.0)
All my custom KBAs seems to have been reset to the factory defaults.
Is this intentional?
Is there a way to recover my custom versions?
Slow Perf, Large DB files

Hi Harlan, Thanks for the response.

Quote: If your brain is large (10K+ thoughts), the size of the files in your cdbb folder is normal.
Yes that's my case (see screen shot, I have 23,000+ thoughts).

How often is the 700MB file updated and how?  Wouldn't that possibly cause slow downs?

Quote: Please try upgrading to, which contains a big performance boost for instant activation 
I have upgraded.  And while yes this update does speed up instant activation and thought creation quite a bit, that was probably a 2nd order problem for me.  Most of my slow downs still persist.

I got this response from one of the developers in my trouble ticket #8919:
Quote: There are some factors that are known to possibly drag slow PersonalBrain:

1. external attachments linking to a network place
2. big or complex notes, for example, showing 800KB of size will make notes editor pause for a sensible period;
3. slow network connection and URL attachments,

In the background, PersonalBrain runs a lot of maintenance tasks. Normally, a slow motion will complete quietly. However, in some cases when multiple actions get jammed, users may fill the sluggishness in the interface.

#1 & #2 don't generally apply to me as I try to make it a habit not to do attachments to network places or large notes.

However #3 and the "background maintenance tasks" sound more plausible.  What kinds of background tasks run and how do they get "jammed"?  Why would URL attachments cause a sluggish interface? (I have over 10,000 URL attachments).

For example, one symptom I've noticed is that after "breaking free" from one of these long UI hangs all thought icons seem to "spin" and update all at once.  Is there some background task updating thought icons?

Thanks for the help.
Click image for larger version - Name: Screen_shot_2011-04-10_at_11.56.32_AM.png, Views: 124, Size: 53.98 KB
Slow Perf, Large DB files

I've been having an on-going issue where the performance of PB really slows to a crawl many times throughout the day.

At what would seem random times, PB just stops responding for 5-10 seconds.
Clearly noticeable during thought inserts, but happens at other times as well, cannot see a pattern.

I've noticed that some of the files in my "brain_cdbb" directory seem rather large:
Richtop17:~ ramos$ ls -lSh /Volumes/My_Data/Brains/My\ Brain_brain/brain_cdbb/| head
total 2261656
-rw-r--r--  1 ramos  admin   680M Apr  7 10:29 LINKS.tbl
-rw-r--r--  1 ramos  admin   153M Apr  7 10:48 THOUGHTS.tbl
-rw-r--r--  1 ramos  admin   146M Apr  7 10:48 ACTIVITYLOG.tbl
-rw-r--r--  1 ramos  admin    90M Apr  7 10:22 ATTACHMENTS.tbl
-rw-r--r--  1 ramos  admin    13M Apr  7 10:29 ENTRIES.tbl
-rw-r--r--  1 ramos  admin   4.0M Apr  7 10:29 MODSLOG.tbl
-rw-r--r--  1 ramos  admin   1.9M Feb 11 17:54 ATTRIBUTESTRINGDATA.tbl
-rw-r--r--  1 ramos  admin   845K Apr  7 10:22 ATTACHMENTTOENTRY.tbl

Do those look a little out of what?

Trusted Systems and Thanks


Very sorry to see you go
Thanks for all your great help and contributions over the years.  You will be missed.

PB Thought/Database Corruption

The original issue posted by dlorde sounds very similar to an issue I had back in Nov. 
Symptoms were:
o orphaned thoughts 
o file attachments not showing up
o when attaching a file/url some other completely random attachment would show up instead.

This was all captured in a support ticket with TheBrain, not in the forums (I will attach below).

The solution then was, (not saying to try this without instructions from thebrain support), to do the "File > Utilities > Repair Orphaned Attachments", which did more than just repair orphans.

Again, the symptoms sound very similar, but may not be exactly the same (I didn't have the notes problem), so I'd wait to see what support has to say.


------------------------- Support Thread -------------------

Harlan, Nov 04 13:52 (PDT):

Great. Thanks for the screenshot.

Rich Ramos, Nov 04 08:44 (PDT):

All repairs completed (see attached).

It seems to have fixed all the corrupted attachments that I was aware of.

Thanks for the quick fix and close attention to this issue, it's very much appreciated!

-Rich Ramos

Repairs Report Screen shot 2010-11-04 at 8.12.12 AM.png

Harlan, Nov 04 06:35 (PDT):


Please download PersonalBrain Open your Brain and select File > Utilities > Repair Orphaned Attachments. This will correct problems that happened (such as the wrong attachment getting added) in your brain's database.

This new release should prevent any further problems in the future.

Thanks for your patience and support.


Harlan, Nov 03 19:43 (PDT):

Hi Rich,

We have replicated a possibly related issue in house (failing to add attachments) and are working on a fix. Hopefully this fix will also address your current issue. If it does not, could you send a .zip of the content of your _brain\brain_db folder?

Thanks for your patience and help.


Rich Ramos, Nov 03 13:18 (PDT):

More data...
I'm not sure why, but things have gotten worse. My brain has gotten to the point that EVERY TIME I attach something to a thought the attachment gets corrupted with another entry from another thought.

Rich Ramos, Nov 02 11:42 (PDT):

I caught it happening. See attach for logs and notes (read note attached to thought).

Note this doesn't happen every time I do the control-shift-drag-drop, only occasionally.


Screen shot 2010-11-02 at 11.37.11 AM.png
Corrupted Attachment output.log
Log Excerpt.rtf

Rich Ramos, Nov 02 11:19 (PDT):

More info...

I think the attachments get in this "limbo" state when I've attached them by doing a drag & drop while holding the "control-shift" key to move the file into the brain.

Matt, Nov 02 08:32 (PDT):


Thank you for upgrading to and sending this in. I'll forward this on to our engineers for review.

Thank you,
Matt Caton
TheBrain Technologies

Rich Ramos, Nov 02 07:27 (PDT):

At least one issue is still persisting...
#2) File Attachments that do not show up in the thought

I've attached the latest log file.


Rich Ramos, Nov 01 13:58 (PDT):

I have also confirmed that I'm having the orphaned thoughts issue as well.

So to summarize, I've run into:
1) Orphaned Thoughts
2) File Attachments that do not show up in the thought
3) SLOW performance

It would be very helpful if we could at least get an assessment of the issue so I could know if I need to go to backups because of the data corruption problems.

Rich Ramos, Nov 01 09:15 (PDT):

Almost forgot another important issue, there are files that are attached to the thought that are not showing up in the Thought windows.

Screen shot 2010-11-01 at 9.14.29 AM.png

Rich Ramos, Nov 01 08:31 (PDT):

This is a continuation of ticker #4085, which isn't associated with this account.

I've now had this problem two or three times in the past couple days.

I can't tell what actually triggers it, but once it starts happening I see a bunch of these kinds of messages in the log file:
******** CDB time: postprocessSQL 799 - 0,799
INSERT INTO ModificationLog (brainId, objectType, objectId, eventType, dateTime, userId) VALUES (1, 1, 20956, 1, '2010-11-01 08:13:12.361', 1)

The performance of PB slows to a crawl.
I try to quit, but PB just hangs with a stream of these messages:
Timeout while notifying BrainChangeListeners of close.

I have to then force quit the application.


2010 11 01output.log
2010 10 30 0928 hang_output.log

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