[sociate] In which I respond to David Allen's great post

  • From: "Jerry Michalski" <jerry@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <sociate@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 4 Oct 2005 22:49:22 -0400

Blogger doesn't have  <http://www.movabletype.org/trackback/> Trackback, so
I'm doing the next-best thing, which is to repost my comment on David's blog
here. To wit:

Thanks for the nice
post, David. It was a pleasure meeting you.

My Brain's back on the Web, so you can see what it's like to live with the
tool for a decade. Head  <http://sociate.thebrain.com/> here and login as
guest/guest, or follow the updated link I put on my
<http://www.sociate.com/> blog (beware, the link in the sidebar doesn't
work). It's been some three years since my data was available, so I'm
thrilled it's back up.

Let me touch the comments more or less in order:

Luca, I principally use Firefox. What didn't work for you?

Guy,  <http://www.mindmanager.com/> MindManager and
<http://www.inspiration.com/> Inspiration have a two-dimensional, paper
metaphor. When you get to the edges of the "paper," you're kind of out of
luck. TheBrain is 2.25-D. You're not flying through a 3-D space, which I
find disorienting, but you're in a multi-directional, non-hierarchical space
that is both huge and locally comfortable -- at least to me. That's a start.

Karl (and Mike, and Nathan), sorry you found TheBrain's personal info
queries irritating. It's not much more than your name, rank and serial #, is

Jim, I find TheBrain scales wonderfully. For ten years I've been putting all
my thoughts in the same Brain file. I thought for sure I'd have some part of
my Brain feel like the "lost forest," but that hasn't happened. There are
parts that are untidy or have dead links, but I'm always gardening and the
dead links turn into live history with the  <http://www.archive.org/>
Wayback Machine, so I don't mind. I now find all hierarchical organizers
(and therefore all outliners, though I use  <http://www.natara.com/Bonsai/>
Natara Bonsai on occasion, because it works with my Palm) somehow very

Anyone use
DevonThink, the program Steven Johnson loves?

Randy, I hear what you're saying about forgetting. We do need to let things
go from our memory... a lot.

Nevertheless, one of the things I've realized is that there are precious few
tools to help us remember things and make sense of the world. TheBrain is my
favorite, and it's not for everyone, but I'm constantly thrilled at the
depth of things I find I've put in it, and seldom irritated that I put crap
in. Maybe I'm filtering well before I add things.

sawtoothbarbie (great name!), thanks for the pointer to
<http://www.dogmelon.com.au/ns/index.shtml> NoteStudio, which seems very

I've been thinking quite a bit about the relationship between TheBrain,
wikis and tag spaces (
mies.html> folksonomies, if you like). I don't have any great answers, but I
see these as complementary, not duplicative. They each seem to offer a
different kind of power, and I like them all.

Jack, I agree that at close quarters (lots of emails and documents about
some specific item or project) TheBrain gets cluttered or cumbersome. At
some point, I keep things out of it to keep the name space clean. Like you,
I use TheBrain instead of the Windows Explorer (the Finder equivalent, not
IE), making it easier to find files.

Isn't it ridiculous that Microsoft is still selling an operating system that
doesn't have lightning-fast search built in? And that they're torn about
whether it'll be in Vista? And that Google can spin one out,
<http://desktop.google.com/> just like that? It amazes me.

Brian, the WebBrain isn't supported the TheBrain folks anymore. They've been
busy selling the enterprise version of TheBrain, the EKP (enterprise
knowledge platform), which lets groups share a Brain. Frankly, I'm a fan of
PersonalBrain and wish the company had opened it up and put a little more
marketing thinking behind it.

Beirne, sounds like you're on that wiki/Brain borderline like me. I put very
little text in the Notes section of my Brain. Mostly, I think of my Brain as
a web of links, a super-context that ties together everything else in useful

The Palm sync function is key, too, though I find I'm using my Palm less and
less. Wish my Sidekick ran Palm software.

Zsolt, I'm glad you're captivated by TheBrain. I recommend you be thoughtful
and slow in what you add to it. Throwing lots of things in automatically or
thoughtlessly will bite you later on.

posted by Jerry at
5906> 10:42 PM

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  • » [sociate] In which I respond to David Allen's great post