• Posts 38
  • Member Since
  • Last Active
  • Name Don Blohowiak
  • Birthday May 06
  • Location: Palo Alto, CA
  • Occupation: Developmental Psychology
All Posts Topics Started
A New Use of Tags?

Hi Mark,

Thank you for sharing your impressive work!

A few thoughts and suggestions for you.

The Metaphor

The idea of a Doorway as the entry point to relevant, specialized information in an overwhelming sea of loosely related information should make sense at first glance.

To help that idea really come across, I suggest that future videos or other explanations make a tiny modification in describing the metaphor.

A 'doorway' is a noun, a stand alone object. I would modify your use of the word ever so slightly by describing it as: A Doorway to related (or relevant or selected or curated or specialized ) content \ material.

This slightly fuller description completes the picture in the new user's mind. It helps to convey the idea that the imaginary symbolic object you've conjured on top of a whole bunch of other visual objects sitting right in front of them on the screen (more on that below) is purposeful as a conveyance.

Extending the metaphor a bit, you might use language such as: "To metaphorically use the Doorway to access Climate Change information most relevant to you, just click on a curated topic. And then on any other topic linked to that topic. And so on."


The Overwhelming Visual

You have gathered so much wonderful information. The initial presentation of all those thoughts and links to the first-time or casual user may be quite overwhelming (read: off-putting).

Suggestion: Address, in your video, this fact directly. You might say something to this effect:

When you first see the volume of topics and links we've assembled for you, it may appear a bit overwhelming. But the beauty of this system is how accessible and navigable all this information is! The information is organized, tagged, and related in a very special way so that you can find information you might not otherwise, and find information you want to find exceptionally fast.


Or something to that effect. And then present the great overview demo that you have already prepared.

Hope this is helpful.

Many thanks for putting The Brain to work in this way and sharing your efforts with us here.


Brain 9: no Expanded view???

There is an old, wisdom-yielding riddle regarding managing information: "What is the difference between the information you can't find, and the information you don't have?"

The corollary for TheBrain relates to its assumed advantage, visualization of the relationships between data items. "What is the difference between the information relationships you can't see, and the relationships you haven't established?"

I, too, currently am disappointed with TheBrain's display options. Yes, this seems to invalidate the point (and key differentiator) of the software. (Elsewhere in this Forum, there are posts about the Rabbit Hole effect...)

I do appreciate the app's challenges in moving to multiple technical platforms. And I salute the reasons for making this change.

As a visual thinker and learner, I NEED to see the big picture visually. That's why I am a customer of TheBrain.

My subscription recently renewed. Right now, I am being patient; waiting on progress of v9, and the development of the new iOS version.

But, candidly, I am not using TheBrain as much as I'd expected given its current utility and the lack of features in iOS. (Not to mention my investment.)

Meantime, I've cobbled together a suite other apps to accomplish what I'd hoped TB would be doing for me. Not in the same way, of course.

Depending on how things shape up in the coming months, I may renew TB…

Looming issues for me that must balance with the decision to "all in" with TB, beyond the missing but requisite big picture views, include the lock-in from the app's unique data format and its proprietary web sync. (I do appreciate that everything in TB ultimately is exportable, but that requires a decidedly affirmative effort.)

TB is an innovative app. It appeals to a relatively small group of folks who think a certain way and want to take the time to work with their information in a particular fashion. In our little niche, we represent many disciplines, preferences, and desires.

I get that Harlan & Co. is not making this app expressly for me (or any one of us here). Still, I truly hope that the apps that they serve up serve my needs so that I can continue to happily buy again and again. In a few months, I will make the call that will be decisive for me.

Timeline and Events (#3481, #3611, #3618, #3636, #4333)
Harlan wrote:  I think I have come up with a much better way to work with events. 

Wonderful! Thank you for bearing with us as we work through our feedback on this aspect of The Brain 9.0.  Looking forward to seeing the new iteration.

Appreciate your continuing innovation and responsiveness.

The Challenges of Data Visualization with TheBrain
The metaphors offered by your correspondent of dropping through the keyhole and wandering through the maze resonated with me. I feel like this in my own Brain when it gets complex.  And I want to share my work more broadly but am concerned about these very issues that could confuse more readers than enlighten them.

On the other hand, the suggestion of using a wiki as an alternative to The Brain seems equally maze-like. A wiki can seem contextless when hopping from link to link.  The difference, I suppose, is that a wiki can show an ever-present outline of topics to orient the reader.

SUGGESTIONs for the Brain:
  1. Have a display view that shows the outline of linked topics and subtopics in a window (to orient the reader to context)
  2. Optionally indicate the number of linked topics and subtopics on the link line.
  3. Other visual cues?

Timeline and Events (#3481, #3611, #3618, #3636, #4333)
zenrain wrote: So what I'm missing is that the request is to be able to designate a thought as a unit of time, thus it will appear on the timeline.

For what it is worth, this is the design that I would like to meet my needs as a scholar. My interest is tracing the development of ideas in psychology over time

If time were a definable attribute of a thought that could be displayed on the timeline (e.g., "published in 1937"), it would help me show the relationship between ideas and their development over time (as well as the other relationships I establish in the plex).

This approach seems to me to be most consistent with the internal logic of The Brain which links disparate ideas together via user-defined relationships. 

In contrast, creating separate events to display on the timeline without connection to the Thoughts in the Plex, disconnects relationships and isolates the information from its corollary data -- antithetical to the concept of The Brain.

Am I missing, mis-stating, or misunderstanding something?

Crash and "Developer Tools" error message
Using v9.0.04 on my Mac, click from Thought to Thought, TheBrain crashed, and the following popped up on my screen:

TheBrain v9 Error mssg.png 
It's the Little Things
Thank you, Zenrain, appreciate your pointing out these things. Very helpful.
Sync Disabled [Update to 9.0.88 to Re-enable]

You have a copy of the v8 Brain which syncs fine. The v9 version has never synced. Always generated the "not authorized" error.

Sync Disabled [Update to 9.0.88 to Re-enable]
I am also (still) receiving the "not authorized to sync this Brain" error message.

Three things to note:

1) This is the Brain that I sent to y'all (twice, as requested) for testing on this very issue many weeks back.

2) I did delete and reimport this Brain into this latest v9 release before attempting a sync.

3) The v8 version of this Brain syncs just fine on multiple machines.

New Functionality Request: Increasing the depth of insight captured in The Brain


I am grateful to you for raising these suggestions. Yes, it would be wonderful if TheBrain worked this way for those of us who manage serious volumes of digital information.

In the broad spectrum of the app's users, I believe we may represent but a tiny sliver, but I have no empirical basis for that assessment. It could well be the opposite!

That said, I wonder if the good folks at TheBrain organization might accommodate a knowledge exchange among us — such as a dedicated knowledge work section within this Forum. We could use the forum to share useful tips, stratagems, and work-arounds related to managing voluminous digital information in TheBrain.

This would allow on-point peer-to-peer sharing of helpful practices for digital information using TheBrain as it is, while adapting to what it becomes.

As we hope and wait for TheBrain to become the ideal, we could be making the most of it more efficiently to our niche needs.

I expect this modest accommodation won't require considerable allocation of engineering resources or require a long lead time to implement.

Please. Thank you.


Thanks to TheBrain 9 team
Quote: Since my time for testing V9 has been limited, I have very much appreciated getting a preview of the V9 preview here in the forum!

Many thanks to developers and testers both! :-)

Ditto, metta's comment! [biggrin]

My mega-brain has not synched yet with the v9 server so I have been reluctant to add any data in the v9 environment. But I have been faithfully reading all others' experiences here daily.

Thanks to all for freely sharing! Very instructive.

Recording now available: Inside Jerry’s Brain.
Thank you. Very helpful! I also watched the "202" webinar and found that helpful as well. Thanks!

Failed Sync keeps trying
Here it is:
Failed Sync keeps trying
I made the BrainZip from v8. This Brain never was synced from v9. Can't explain a duplicate GUID. Perhaps there is another explanation?

Recording now available: Inside Jerry’s Brain.
I am grateful for this presentation. I found it both enlightening and inspiring.

Immediately after watching the recording, I merged several specialized Brains into my main Brain and began making latent connections. A gift. And, I am happy to report, the enlarged Brain, and the many added attachments, synched fine with WebBrain (version 8). 

I appreciate Jerry's generosity. And the clarity of his explanation for his approach to organizing his Brain.  He clearly is in a class by himself by the sheer volume of his connections. It's YUUUUUUUUUGE!

At the same time, it is worth noting that Jerry's collected thoughts (more than a quarter million of them!) are neither categorized nor tagged and have virtually no associated notes and no attached files other than web links. 

Compared to Jerry's very mature brain, mine is a newborn. Yet it has more than 750 notes, 300+ internal file attachments, more than a hundred tags to serve my organizational schema... 

I wonder if there is an existing -- or if you would be willing to create a -- video profile of a master content producer who deploys other features of the Brain. Notably, this use case of the Brain would be less for organizing found content (such as extant web pages) and more for managing original created content. 

I, for one, would find that valuable as well. 

Thank you!

count post selected

Add a Website Forum to your website.

Newsletter Signup  Newsletter Signup        Visit TheBrain Blog   Visit TheBrain Blog       Follow us on Twitter   Follow Us       Like Us on Facebook   Like Us         Circle Us on Google+  Circle Us         Watch Us on Youtube  Watch Us       

TheBrain Mind Map & Mindmapping Software     Download TheBrain Mind Mapping Software