JonnyB
In a previous post, you mentioned the following:

Quote:
I usually save all my documents, .pdfs etc to one folder. I don't bother with subfolders. On my Mac, after I've moved the file to my document folder I drag it to PB so it's added as a link. I also have a program called Hazel (Mac only) that when a file gets saved in the document folder, it calls upon another program to add a tag that's visible to spotlight. That way, all my files are easily backed up, available in PB, and also easily found by spotlight. If I want to find a file and not use PB, I use another program, Leap to sort by tag, file type, date saved etc.

Unfortunately on my work computer I don't have spotlight, but my needs are much more focused, so I can get away with moving all files into one folder and purely use PB to access them. Since everything is in one folder, I don't care about them not being included in a Brainzip because I just zip the contents of that folder, and if I need to restore, I restore both at the same time, no broken links.

I use Dropbox to sync my two machines (which is why I moved to storing everything external to PB) so if I do need a document availalbe on both I save it internally to PB.


I was using PB heavily at one time.  However, it became kind of big and took more time to maintain that I wanted.  I also  realized that it wasn't practical between many computers and furthermore I didn't want to be locked into one system that was proprietary.  So I stopped using PB and used a combination of evernote (which, yes, is proprietary but also is easily accessible between computers and on the web) and normal file structure for my documents.

However, I am reconsidering using PB as I feel the need to reconnected information in a visible way as well as having a simple structure for all my information.  It seems like chaos and bloat easily becomes a problem no matter what software you use. 

So here are some questions for you....

1.  I love the idea of keeping all documents in one or 2 files (with links in PB) and having the ability to tag them.  Is there any Windows equivalent to what you have on the Mac side (Leap, Spotlight, etc...)?

2.  How do you keep down the bloat in PB?  Another challenge is having a hundred thoughts come up when you type in a word in the instant search, making it difficult to find or attach the correct file quickly.  How do you deal with that?

3.  Are there any other tips that you picked up on the way in these past 6 months?

Thanks!


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zenrain
Hi,
I'm not aware of any Windows software that offers the same tagging capability as what's available for the Mac. Mainly because most of the grunt work is handled by the OS indexing. However,  I'm still using XP so perhaps someone on the forum has some information with regards to Win 7. 

Hmmm, bloat. As you said, I think it can be a problem with any PIM tool you use with any frequency. At least that's my experience with them. I'm mainly a visual person, and while PBs search capability does have room for improvement, i found the visual linking more than makes up for it. To cope with a large database I use a combination of:
Context sensitive naming (the comma trick). I find if I use it for related sub-topics it's invaluable for quickly finding information in quicksearch. I don't always keep the grandparent or parent name, just whichever term I'd search for most. 
Tags and types. I started implementing a category type when my brain got over a certain size. I also started assigning colors to my types, supertypes and tags so I can easily distinguish them in quicksearch or reports. I also use a "currently" and "frequent" tag combined with "work" and "home". 
Reporting. With the new report filtering capabilities in 5.5 I've been using reports much more now. With creative tagging and types, you can use inverse filters and target sections of your brain. 

On the attachment side of things I have three categories, work only files, home only files, and files I need at both places. I'm a huge fan of Dropbox, it has singlehandedly made using one database at work and home not only possible, but easy. 
Over the past five months or so, I moved all of my work only files out of PB and into one folder. This makes things very simple as if I move to another machine, I just have to put that folder in the same location, and all my shortcuts are still valid. It makes backing things up easy also. Finally it reduces Brainzip size, and the Dropbox space requirements.
Several things Ive learned. When you copy a shortcut attachment in PB, it copies a shortcut, not the actual file. This can be a bit annoying. When I need to copy the actual file I either open the containg file and use best-fit typing to find, or right-click and send by email. This attaches a copy of the actual file, not the shortcut to the email and you can then drag it out of the email and place wherever.
My usage for files I only use at home is generally cleaner as I use a combination of Leap and PB, depending on what I'm doing. 

Files I need at work and home I add as PB internal attachments. Dropbox syncs them in both places, so they are readily available. Since these files are generally things I'm currently working on, they are usually tagged as "current" and I can decide to move the files out when I remove the tag.
This helps keep things lean as possible. 
For searching I generally start with quicksearch, and with multiple word fragments to narrow the thought name returns quickly. If necessary I go to extended search. When I find the thought I sometimes adjust the thoughtname, add verbiage to the label or the notes as appropriate.  I almost never need to access extended search. 

Sorry about the great wall 'o text. I hope this at least gives you some further ideas or direction.         
Windows 7
J-1.6.0_22
--
OSX 10.6.3
Java SE 6
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JonnyB
Excellent insights, Zenrain.  Your posts are always insightful.

I am really debating whether to put everything in one folder as you have or to put things in separate folders.  Having all files internally in PB is not an option as I share files with my wife and I need them accessible when I travel.  A combination of Dropbox and LiveMesh is what I have been using to sync our files to each other's computer. 

My wife wouldn't have an easy time finding things on PB nor in a one folder system unless I can embed tags as you have in my various files (PDF, doc, excel, journal, mmp, etc...)  and search for it.  We are getting Windows 7 in a couple of weeks and as far as I understand is that one can tag all Microsoft files and jpeg but nothing else (PDF, mmp etc..).  Having our various files in separate folders according to categories is great for my wife and organizing the links via PB would work for me ...but when files are moved periodically and folder names get changed of course  our poor PB would get confused and lose the link. 

Any suggestions about this situation?



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zenrain
You could always use one folder and create subcategories (subfolders) for your wife. This saves half the work, giving you one folder that you have to back up if necessary, and still makes it easy to migrate to a different machine. However, if the files are moved from one subfolder to another, PB will lose the link. This may not be a problem if you don't use the same files. In that case you would just have a subfolder for your use only.

Another suggestion is have one folder for all your files, and then different folders for your wife. You can keep shortcuts to the files in your wife's subfolders, while keeping everything centrally located. This stops the move file issue in the first suggestion, at the expense of more maintenance.

Hope that helps, and thanks.

Windows 7
J-1.6.0_22
--
OSX 10.6.3
Java SE 6
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JonnyB
Thanks Zenrain.  I think I might try the second option.  I really appreciate your insights.  As you can see, you are my mentor in this area.  Thanks again.

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zenrain
No problem. If you come across any new ideas or insights after trying it, please come back and share.
Windows 7
J-1.6.0_22
--
OSX 10.6.3
Java SE 6
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JonnyB
Will do.  I won't be able to experiment for another week as I will need to upgrade then to Windows 7 then.  I will write about progress made after the upgrade. 

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zenrain
Sorry, just realized as I went through my workflow I forgot to mention some other things.

I keep a shortcut to my file folder on the desktop. It's actually located in My Documents, but it's easier to access.
When I add a file, first I open the folder, and then I drag the file in. This places it on the bottom of the list (I organize by name but at least in XP it always waits to sort until you close the view).
Then I drag the file (still highlighted) into PB. Then I close the folder.
For me this is the quickest and easiest way to get files in PB and not lose track of them in the single folder.

Windows 7
J-1.6.0_22
--
OSX 10.6.3
Java SE 6
Quote
JonnyB
Well, I made the switch to Windows 7 and am really enjoying it.

So here is my set up that I have settled on.

All documents are external of my PB and going into various folders within My Documents, categorized according to subject.  Folders will have only one or two levels and no more.  Each file/document is named with date if needed (2009 12 13 for instance), then subject, then person (if needed). 

Then I use virtual folders and/or links to attach these documents to PB.  I have noticed that the new update has the ability to automatically find documents and files that have moved.  Also it has the ability to find and replace link names if you happen to change computers, etc...  So this gives me the security of being able to easily find things with or without PB and for my wife to do the same.  But at the same time not having to do a lot of maintenance to keep PB up to date. 

So far so good.  Thank, Zenrain, for your help

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zenrain
You're welcome. Thanks for coming back and letting us know what you implemented. I'm glad you found a solution that works well for both you and your wife.
Windows 7
J-1.6.0_22
--
OSX 10.6.3
Java SE 6
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asexymind
ZR, thanks for the details. helpful as always!
--
Mark Michael Lewis | The Profitability Coach
http://GameOfThriving.com | Mark@TheThriveCoach.com
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