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Virtual Thoughts and File System

Let me add my two cents.
I agree that Virtual Thoughts should be used in 'not exclusive' way (I'm thinking more to external apps modifying attachments), but a relationship with internal map of thoughts should be mantained in the time.
This is what I propose:

- Every folder (inside a pre-defined root folder) becomes a virtual node
- Every virtual node is uniquely associated with an internal brain node
- The association could be implicit (virtual and internal nodes are merged in one entity) or explicit (virtual node is automatically managed - not unlinkable - as distant thought of the internal one)
- The files inside virtual folders are managed as 'external attachments', therefore are not incorporated into the brain database, but still are accessible from the plex just as for all external attachments
- Just the PersonalBrain notes could be embedded as for all other thoughts
- Path to virtual thoughts should be managed as relative (to the root), adding the capability to change the root path, therefore making the whole structure 'portable'

Well, maybe six cents, but I suppose someone will add the rest...


Papers and Zotero as future goals?
Wouldn't it be enough to associate any PB thought to an external link?
If you have a thought, i.e. your favorite star (Charlize Theron, only to do an innocent example), then you could link the thought to Charlize's homepage, or also to a local html file on your disk, then PB makes a 'dump' of the page (or an extract) in the PB notes (which are html notes).
Anytime you browse, or search inside your PB and click to that thought,
it could reload automatically the content for updating.
You could exploit also tag mechanism for finding articles inside PB.
As alternative, attaching multiple docs to any thought, PB could insert a preview function for (a predefined) one of them, so you could have PB notes to display compatible extension files, i.e. rtf, html. jpeg, etc.
In order to limit the processing load, one could make the update on the single thought available on user command.
What do you think about?

Thoughts indexing inside notes
As thoughts can be referenced many times inside notes text content, why not to automatically search thoughts names inside each note and place a link over each one?
This would mean to use also the notes panel to navigate and not only the plex. Indeed a note could refer to hundreds of thoughts, while having all them in the plex linked to the current thought is another (noisy) matter!
A more subtle function could be build automatically the links from the text...
A thought found via parent (children) hierarchy only could be linked as parent (children) thought and as jump link otherwise.

Alternative or complete system?
I prefer leaving all the file management stuff to the OS, so I can keep the wanted logical positioning and shell operations according to my OS preferences.
For all people who would like to only import file 'information' into PB and use it as information manager rather than file manager (much beyond PB target, I think), it would be fine to have a file import capability, for all files which can be opened inside PB notes.
So I would leave all .doc, .txt, .rtf, .html, .xml...... files in their source folders, so that I can still edit them with other specific SW. After importing them into PB (one by one or by importing their parent folder), I would like to have their txt, rtf, or html content readable inside PB notes.
So I could organize physically files in the OS and logically in the PB, edit them with (or link them within) specific apps, quickly navigate them in the PB plex and read their related info in the notes panel.
This would mean an updating of file content in the notes panel, which could be executed at thought selection or by manual request (update button).
This would also leave the user the freedom to build up a network of files (for example a  portion of a web site) and to use PB as a browser, with the bonus that external items can be mixed and linked with internal PB thoughts.
All external file structure could be linked into PB with relative addresses, so that I could have a 'portable' brain file that, if relocated on other media together with external files, would still be capable of finding any information...

PB as source for metadata and file tagging
Well, twospoons, I start from the assumption that categories we use to classify our files (photos, music, videos) have place in PB as thoughts (not as PB categories).
If I like to use PB as personal database (too), I can insert a lot of files as attachments into one specific thought, created as child of all my categories.
So, for instance, I'ld create thoughts: '2008,2009,2010'... as time categories, then 'work, home, travels'... as common-place categories, then 'barcelona, sardinia, rome'... as specific places, 'friends, relatives, workmates, wife'... as common people, and so on.
I also mark (with some flags to implement on PB) this thoughts for tagging (that is as category source for future linked files).
Now after my come-back from holidays in sardinia with my wife in 2008, or from my work in barcelona with my colleagues in 2009, etc., I create specific thoughts for this two events and put all my photos inside them.

In facts, after connecting these thoughts with all above general thoughts (each with proper ones), I have already (inside PB) categorized files, so why not to leave PB write these info inside my photos instead of doing it manually and a lot of times? There is a standard for tagging, so PB could write thought names (those ones linked to the event with photos attached and marked for tagging) inside file tags.

I hope to have explained better my idea...
rendering html within PB
I often requested such a feature, which could be a marvelous way to keep all text-based information synchronized and displayed in the same environment.
It would be like having a site-structure with all your thoughts and activities as html pages, but with navigation capability of PB!
Moreover, if html files are located on the local disk, you could keep editing them with external tools, while if they are located on the global network, every time you 'think' about them inside PB, you will see them updated.
I also suggested an 'update' button to avoid that tons of thoughts could be reloaded automatically causing any excess of processing.
Anyway this seems not to be much interesting for the most of PB users, so...
let's wait for more feedback from PB community!


PB as source for metadata and file tagging
How much time did you spend to classify photos, images, audio / video files, etc. and tons of other file types with related properties?
Each one has got its own standard to manage metadata encapsulation into binary data, and often we have many standards, as mp3 tags Id.v1,v2...., images IDTC, XMP, etc.

For each of these formats we need a dedicated tool, and often we have to create our classification structures, many times if we have to change or reinstall utilities, with difficulties to import/export, etc.

So why do not use PB to build a unique classification system and then project our personal classification on every file attached?

For instance, I attach some JPEG files to thought "Sardinia Photos", linked to thoughts 'Sardinia', 'Summer 2008', 'Sea', 'Travels', ...
Let's suppose to mark each of these thoughts with a flag, like 'enable this thought for tagging of files with extensions:' followed by some check box 'mp3, jpeg, png, mpeg, ...' or some format protocol xml-like for writing in the files.

Now, each time we attach a file, PB knows from linked thoughts and from their attributes whether to tag the file and the label to insert. This would be also possible as batch processing at the attachment of many files together.
By contrary, when attaching a file with some tags already defined, the user would be prompted about keeping the tags, overwriting them, and even creating or merging some thought related to incoming tags.

Someone would find this feature useful?
(at least, this could contribute to the wide-spreading of PB as file managing tool...)


ASCIIMathML, javscript & PB notes
Of course, it would a marvelous capability for PB to import html from external files into the notes panel, as suggested some years ago...
Not to redesign the panel, only performing a synchronization of the note content with the file content when requested, for instance I attach a pippo.html file to a thought Tpippo and select a synchronize flag (only for notes-compatible extensions, as html, txt, rtf).
From now on the note on Tpippo would be filled with a PB internal representation of the file pippo.html and is refreshed anytime I navigate over Tpippo (or, if too heavy for the computation, on pressing an update button).
This would leave us the freedom to keep the file structure on the disk and to edit files with external programs, but still to navigate among them with unique PB interface.
The more, it would be interesting to implement some xml extension on PB, but this is another story...


Note links to thjoughts
in the sense that I'ld like also an automatic function searching for existing
thoughts while writing the notes (it should be easy re-use the synchronizer module
to do it) and underline (or mark in other ways) the thought names in the note as link
to the PB node with the same name.
Just like encyclopedias do it. 

How do you consider this feature?

ASCIIMathML, javscript & PB notes
Kilucas, thanks for your post, I'm interested in it too.
I usually write XML pages with AMAYA, with enclosed
MathML formulas, it exists also a Firefox extension to visualize them,
a part from MathPlayer.
The Math-ML code can be also generated by MathType 6 with
a simple cut & paste.
I'ld like to have a XML processor inside PB notes, but it's not in the plan,
at the moment.
So you use a javascript code referenced in the HTML page to display
the math-ml tags as images, right? And the PB notes java app seems not
to execute (or visualize the output of) the .js app referenced on the disk, is it?

Have you considered to paste formulas as images whose alternative text
includes the math-ml tags? So the html processors (like PB) which do not
know Math-ML will display the images, while the ones which know it
can use the alternative text to edit, modify or display formulas in a different style.


Mathmatical notation
I simply advise that there's a Firefox add-on for reading
XML files with Math-ML tags, so if anyone looks for fine
math writing, Math-ML is a standard and is easier than LaTex.
Then you should link the xml files into PB.

Unfortunately, PB notes does not read XML files with Math-ML
extensions, so if you want the math pages also displayed in your
PB notes, you have to save formulas as images (for example) into a
.doc file, than save .doc as html and copy html content into PB note.
MathType 6 is good at saving formulas into documents, both as images
or as Math-ML tags according to user preferences.

Really would be a big advantages for technical writers to have a PB
interpreting XML files with its main extensions...


importing types from other brains
Many thanks, Zenrain
It's very useful, only I'd have preferred an import option,
more than copying in a new Brain some unuseful thoughts
together with their types, then keeping the types and canceling
the thoughts.
But I suppose I can leave only one thought in the template..


Autotyping of new thoughts
I do believe that a drop-down box for new children would increase productivity, because if a thought has many children of the same type, you can select the type for children only once.
If the thought has already children created, you can perform a multiple selection and quickly associate them a type.
The real advantage is for children not created yet, supposing their are created 'on the way' and not all at once.
Ok, it seems only me to be interested in multiple types, but also with a single type per thought could be useful having a type inheritance for new children.

So your drop-down box could have a default itself, taken from the parent at child first creation (in PB world, there's always a first parent, the most important could be the last to know! ), then if all hierarchy below has the same type no type has to be assigned manually at all!

Finally, we could embrace also Zenrain's objection, estabilishing a priority among types at type definition. This would save your productivity when creating children, but could increase it when re-linking children thoughts to other parents.
This way, if the new parent has a 'dominant character', the children linked to it will get the new parent's type, otherwise will keep the previous.

You might not decide to estabilish a priority anyway...
Will Zenrain like it?


importing types from other brains
Hi gents, there's a way to import all thoughts and/or link types from other brains?
Often they are not related to the specific brain, but to general classes which are valid in many different contexts.
This would save so much time when creating a new brain without filling again all types, supertypes, colours association, etc.
Who knows how to do it??
Could be enough to create a void Brain with only types filled and then merging it with the new Brain?

Thanks and regards,
Paul Netsaver

(last topic for this week, I promise...)

Autotyping of new thoughts

Cornan's suggestion to inherit parent type only for new children is interesting, it would overcame Zenrain's observation about conflict with multiple parents.
Anyway, the truth is that a thought could be rewarded as a particular type depending on the related thought (the observer) or mainly, on the relationship with it.
So, for istance, if you are describing a company, a human resource can be classified according to his role in the company or his contract, i.e. executive, employee, labourer , etc. or according to his role in the project, i.e. engineer, manager, buyer, etc.

So if the thought 'John' is related to 'Mark' as child through the type link 'company hierarchy', he could be seen as 'employee' type and Mark as 'executive'; at the same time he could be child of 'Anthony' through the type link 'project hierarchy' and could be seen with the type 'engineer', while Anthony could be seen with type 'project manager', etc.

So one solution is not to use types, but including John as child of parents 'engineers' and 'employees'; anyway this would obscurate John's roles as related to the structure you're interested (company/project hierarchy).

Another solution is to allow more types for each thought, each to be assigned to a link.
When a thought is selected, its linked thoughts are represented in the plex only with the type associated to their current link with the selected thought; the selected thought with a generic 'multiple type' colour. When the mouse is over a link, the related types are underlined on the pinned thoughts.
Moreover, a new filter based on the link type could point out the sub-plex pertaining to the filtered type (i.e. company hierarchy) and so the thoughts would be shown enlighting the type congruent with their relationships.

How do you think it?

Thanks and regards,
Paul Netsaver

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