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schferk 08-23-2011 09:19 AM

UR and mind map software
 
Please allow me to re-publish here a post of mine in mind-mapping.org, and please consider the considerations within.

http://www.mind-mapping.org/blog/200.../#comment-5168

Hi Phil,

"It’s a win-win situation for all the vendors", you say. Well, that's what I thought for many years, but in fact, there are very few developers that share our view.

If you contact the makers of ActionOutline (= a very basic but extremely handy outliner with state-of-the-art GUI tweaks) on the subject of any import facility, you don't even get an answer.

The same if you contact Personal Brain staff, in length, about some import facilities beyond just node titles (i.e. for importing a bunch of outliner items, WITH the contents of the text fields (= going into PB's notes fields), not just the tree without any content) : they don't even bother to give you an answer. (The interesting thing here being that PB isn't but the "individual" variety of their "The Brain" corporate software being priced within the 5- and 6-digit ranges as people say - no prices available -, and where seem to be complete import facilities indeed.)

Those last days, I tried in vain to find a way to make the transition of outliner material (Ultra Recall) into any mind map software, and being willing to use third party software as intermediate formats ; all I got was being able to import the UR (or any other outliner) tree into (and I'm speaking of the "professional" version everywhere, WITH all the given import / export formats, of course) into many mind map software programs indeed, with various reformatting in editors, e.g. replacing two spaces by one tab.

But as to the contents of the outliner items going into the notes fields of the mind map softwares, no way, and I tried hard with all those XML / OPML / whatever formats.

As for EXPORTING, it's even worse; in Visual Mind e.g., I very well im-ported my UR tree, but as for ex-porting the map (= again, just the items' titles, no content whatsoever) in such a tree format, nada. (cf. below)

VM being a good example of developers' possible REAL interests : They offer individualized data transfer services for corporations, similar to PB where there's a black market, on a 1 to 1 basis, of transposition routines, for (big) money.

When I would like to have import and export at least for the items' titles, it's because heavy duty outliners are the real stuff for extensive data storage - or would you like to store 1 GB of data, or much more, in ONE mind map ? (In ONE mind map because all those in-built features and pricey add-ons that allow for "3-dimensional data access", e.g. PowerMarkers within Mind Manager, just work on ONE mind map, not on a collection of multiple mind maps, for the time being, to my knowledge.)

Thus, when it comes to THINKING ENHANCEMENT, for many people, including myself, mind maps work really well, possibly not because of the vectors between the (in a mind map always hierarchical) nodes, but, as I see it, by their graphical de-clustering of all those items : Whilst in an outline, all's in crumped lists of texts, the mind map stretches those packages out into white space, which for many a people's a real relief, empowering to "see" things now they don't saw yet when their considerations were displayed in list form.

Since I use the expression "mind map" a lot here, I expressively acknowledge Tony Buzan's (and his various corporations') trademarks and other rights to that denomination, but I DOUBT Buzan's the inventor of such graphical representations, he just gave them a name and made his fortune with it. Possibly he might have been the first one to just do an outline in this way, but I myself, and many other people, in the seventies, were doing scribbles on paper where we wrote many different aspects of subjects in various clusters spilled upon a piece of paper, i.e. grouping things belonging together, in the same time differenciating them from others, in other parts of the same sheet of paper, and we even used colors, for some, different font sizes, and even vectors to indicate that any particular aspect we worked upon in one part of the sheet, also belonged in a way or another onto another aspect / groups of details in a part far away.

So nobody "invented" this ; perhaps it was indeed Buzan's "work" to SIMPLIFY these un-structed graphical representations into structured, PRIMITIVE ones, just graphically outlined outlines.

If I, among many others, would like to use a mind map program in order to enhance my thinking, instead of using a graphical program, it's precisely because I need exporting into an outliner after that, and also because SOME of those mind map programs allow for real smart entering of information : in VM, it's Enter for a sibling (I asked them for adding the space bar for entering a sibling onto that), and JUST TYPING for adding a child (of course, this supposes that at any given moment, there is at least ONE item that has focus, which is the case in VM) - this is a tremendous way to put your thoughts on paper, almost as quick as by handwriting, BUT with the goodie that afterwards, export will be possible (whereas for people with a secretary, the Montblanc Meisterstück fountain pen probably is the best thinking enhancement tool out there).

So, why would I need export AND import, then ? Very simple. I'd like to make my first drafts in VM, e.g. Then export to UR, e.g. Then do "information processing work" in the outliner, i.e. integrating contents from various sources into my material.

And then, with much more info that I've had before, I would like to be able to do my visual thinking AGAIN - and since ex- and import of contents into notes fields (be it in the mind map programs, be it in the outliner programs) is almost impossible, I would like to ex- and import at least the trees, freely hence and forth from map to outline, back to map, and back to outline, etc.

It goes without saying that I'm speaking of SUB-trees, now you need this subtree of your outliner for further exploration back in the map program, another time you'll need another subtree, or other sub-trees there.

Thus, we have the additional program that not only that tree im-port, in VM at least, isn't possible - so that for the time being, in VM you only could do your very first mapping out of your material, before ex-porting it into your outliner, and then any way back will not be possible ; on top of that, a mind map program that would work in the sense described above would need to rely upon an outliner being able to import a tree (= from an intermediate textfile) into an existing tree, just superposing the unchanged items in the tree, shuffling around, in the outliner, those items having been shuffled around in the mind map program, and adding the new ones where they belong, and perhaps even x-out (= but not automatically delete) those deleted in the mind map, and all this without affecting the contents in your outliner !

And there's more than that to it : Some items you will possibly have renamed, within the mind map program - the outliner program would need to know ! Which is to say that the intermediate text file would need to have codes like this

a [b]
c [e]
d

indicating that item a and c are "item a formerly b" and "item c formerly e", respectively ; of course, the mind map program's internal processing would need to maintain such internal codes, in order to be able to put them out into its export lists upon request.

All this is to say, such a "process it as mind map then re-integrate it into the outliner" function would be so difficult in any respect, that finally, for practical reasons, there isn't but ONE solution to this :

SOME mind map program developers should get into contact with SOME outliner program developers, in order to develop real TWO-WAY XML integration, together, and including the contents !

So, Mind Manger will not do this, I suppose, since they try to became sort of an integrated information storage system of their own kind. But there are lighter mind map programs out there, e.g. VM that's perhaps not as good as an information manager, but that very well suited as a thinking enhancement machine indeed, and that should rely upon a rock stable outliner being able to process information of any size, e.g. UR.

And to complicate things even further, UR, e.g. allows for clones, i.e. identical items being stored within separate parts of an outline ; if possible, the OPML / XML transposition should insert additional "relationship vectors" then or should translate those vectors into clones, respectively.

In the corporate environment, VM is not too strong yet (and then, it allows for collaboration work indeed !) whilst Mind Manager is supposed to sell 20 or 25,000 packs a MONTH ; UR isn't too strong in the corporate world either (and then, in collaboration work, it allows for item-based locking up where competitors allow for file-based locking up if at all) - make it a COMBO, and sales will rocket for both individual components.

This post in www.mind-mapping.org goes to VM and to UR in copy.

schferk 11-11-2012 10:11 AM

This post above got 600 reads in 15 months and no reaction whatsoever.

Two things:

1)

I had VisualMind in mind because I thought MindManager had other priorities, whilst VM could be interested in some pushing of its rather remote market position - also, VM, as UR does, offers a network version of its "mind-mapping" sw, and as regular readers of my posts here will have understood, I consider "networkability" a very strong point in otherwise "individual" sw fields.

Also, I thought - and think - that VM "mind-maps" are visually rather clean, when Tony Buzan's (= the "inventor" and holder of the legal rights to the falsely generic term) own sw (or the sw he just "enobles" with his name - there might be Chanel watches, you know...) has an outright crazy graphical style imo (NovaMind is very ugly, too, as I see it).

But foremost, VM's way of creating children (by Enter) and siblings (just type) is the most intuitive way I've ever found.

On the other hand, it was really buggy 15 months ago, and perhaps it's a little less buggy today - I had told them about all these numerous bugs at the time, but only got a "we can't reproduce this, neither that, and so on" - of course, I had thought that with a little bit of pushing their remote business, I'd create motivation on their behalf to attack these bugs; since they never replied, no need to look back, all the less so since some months later, I had been able to get a free version of MM 8.2.

So personally I'm served for a long time, and my only problem here is that I cannot recommend any "mind-map" sw at this time since I tried them all and wasn't so pleased with any of them, except for my free MM (but not when considering the regular asking price), and which in the meantime has changed from desktop to cloud philosophy, which I consider catastrophical; perhaps, the also very expensive MindView is best now.

2)

Why 1), to begin with? Because I seriously think, after having tried to avoid "mind-map" sw for years, i.e. using it only intermittently, then abandoning it again, in vue of lack of interoperability between outlining sw (on which I depend, as we all do here) and such applics, i.e. I tried to avoid "mind-mapping" since I couldn't integrate it into my "workflow" as they say, and even after getting and installing MM 8.2 free, I hesitated for another 6 or 8 months or so to really do real work within it.

Now, I seriously presume that perhaps for all of us, or for the very big majority of us, finding ideas, creating concepts, with a "mind-map" applic, is indispensable, since it produces much better results in this field of "targeted creative thinking" than any try to do the same with any outliner (or other means), be it our traditional 2-pane kind or something ostensible "1-pane" like Bonsai.

In fact, the results "mind-mapping" produces are so much superior that they easily justify your additional fiddling and efforts and organizational problems this rupture in your workflow necessitates - they partly appear because in your "mind-map", except for the "source item" and the very first indented level, with items further down, you should NOT limit yourself to short descriptions = doing "headings", but you should develop these ideas / elements there by complete sentences or even by paragraphs of about 50, 100, up to 200 chars; of course, if such elements then get to contain more than a single idea, you'll cut up further, and ditto with your maps:

As soon as they contain more than one idea on the very first level (below the source item that is), AND you cannot read them on your screen anymore, without collapsing branches (= same problem with printing), you should cut up into separate maps - in the end, you'd do similarly as you work in your outliner. Perhaps of interest here: Yes, crossway interrelations ARE interesting, but let this aspect NOT make you fall into the trap of trying to put too much stuff into a single map - this would considerably harm the quality of your output there. (In fact this is the big advantage of clean "mind-maps" over concept maps, TheBrain and such - it's no coincidence that applics like MM are to be found in almost any big corporation, AND that they are in regular use there - and not only for graphic output purposes (which might indeed be their main use in some corporations) -, whilst concept maps and such remain of rather exotic, remote importance.

In the outliner forum, some months ago, I mused about the possible reasons for this superiority of "mind-maps" over outlining in conceptual work, and I mentioned especially the presumably thought-triggering white space and such, but in the end, I think that the spatial distribution of the different elements such sw provides (and that you can, and should, re-arrange in the process: MM e.g. offers many keyboard shortcuts for all sorts of moves that allow for very quick editing of such a map), produces a spatial REPRESENTATION of elements which, I suppose, does the "new-ideas" triggering work.

This means, the graphical straightening out of separate elements (which cannot be realized within an outliner where there's always blocks of text, any way these blocks may be constituted) seems to "CLIP", do "DOCK" these elements to neighbouring areas of your brain cell nets, whilst blocks of text dock them into the same area of brain cell nets, i.e. I seriously suppose the "white space" within your "mind-maps" is in some way physically (and not only conceptually) REPLICATED within your brain when you muse about your map (instead of staring at lists / blocks of text (be they espaced by blank lines, leading dashes or whatever).

So it all seems to be about "AIRING" (French: aérer, German: entzerren), DE-COMPACTING what normally is held too compact in your brain as well, in the very physical organization of your physiology there (I'm not an expert but you get what I mean).

Whatever! Integrate "mind-mapping" into your thinking and conceptualization process if you haven't done that yet, even if the integration of the "results" into your outlining-based main system isn't evident. And the quotation marks around "results" are there because I don't think that for important, long-lasting issues, there is a definite "result" point, "everything important is iterative" if I dare say. Which means that in my workflow, for the last months, I've begun to fully profit from my "mind-mapping" since I've STOPPED to import "results" from there into my outlines - which is simply too much fuss and impossible to realize both-ways anyway (see my post above). I've began to work "double-screen", and on my secondary screen, I display the respective external files folder for the outline (part) I'm working (see my development of just days ago within this forum), any such external file (pdf, Excel table), or any MM map that's supposed to inspire me in my work... and often enough tthe sheer presence of such a map inspires me to add new elements to that particular map, even when in my main screen I'm working on different things.

Btw, strictly one-directional graphic representations (like you can opt for in MM when needed, etc., perhaps for programming / Warnier-Orr set-ups), do NOT have this "aeration effect" on your thinking, they are only very slightly better in effect than text blocks / sub-trees in your outliners has. Thus, a program like B-liner cannot replace a real "mind-map" applic; that as well makes me think that the secret lies in graphically "aering" the hierarchical tree (remember, a "mind-map" going seemingly into every direction very well STAYS nothing but an outline tree!) into an all-directional "carpet" so that your physical "carpet" working in your brain can "overtake", which seems not to be possible as well - and far from that - for most people. It goes without saying that your "physics" in your brain ain't a "carpet", but a 3-dimensional web of cells working together, but the 2-dimensional graphic representation, as a "carpet", seems to be sufficient to trigger the 3-dimensional "networking" (= interactive collaboration) of your real physics, whilst lists and even graphic representations in the form of rugs instead of carpets do NOT have this trigger effect.

Btw, it's interesting that a wiki like ConnectedText has found so much appraisal within the outliner forum lately, even though it does NOT have any serious outlining function (cf. two blogs by regular posters there that tout CT but clearly show the absence of practical outlining of that applic) - what CT has got indeed, is an in-built graphical representation function, and I'm musing if that's the real reason behind those people's folly for CT when in fact they write so much about CT, but rarely mention its graphic capabilities.

Anyway! Consider "mind-mapping" on top of your outlining, in spite of the missing technical integration of both concepts for the time being.

quant 11-11-2012 12:24 PM

i won't start mind-mapping until "Data explorer" in UR has an alternative "attribute customisable skyrail" view ;)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I2d312_dXEs

schferk 11-11-2012 02:12 PM

quant, I perfectly understand your stance which had been mine for years - but in my case at least, it had been a more or less theoretical one, whilst on the other hand, I even pested (well, that was 2 or 3 years ago, not lately) in the outlinerforum against "flat" "mind-maps" - I thought, from a theoretical pov, that such graphic representations should, as much as possible, be faithful mimicries of what might be going on in your head, hence my being electrified by concept maps, the more complicated the better, and I tried, for a long time, to put a thing like TheBrain ("PersonalBrain" at the time) into effect for me.

In my case, this thinking was a dead-end, perhaps because I hadn't been able to MAINTAIN SCOPE of all that, but then, the majority of people can't get to this working for them - you own a doctorate in mathematics if I'm not mistaken, so I assume your natural capacity to maintain that scope even when its elements get rather numerous, is way beyond average, but for us "average people" (in this respect at least), a flattened-out thing like "mind-maps" seems to be of much better use, and that's not only my own experience, but that of any people whom I spoke to, and which had used "mind-maps": their character of "not too complicated", i.e. "not integrating it all" is seen as an advantage, whilst, as said, years before, I had been sure of the contrary, without delving into these advantages with real-life "mind-maps" of real interest to me though: just "playing around" with such maps isn't sufficient to become aware of their real value, it seems.

Hence my explanations in my post above: This "minor" graphical representation, which also forces you to cut off many aspects into adjacent maps, whilst your intuition - mine at least, at the time -, says, "more integration would be preferable", hence the attraction of 3D-representations, in realiter it seems to be the other way round, those "simplifying" 2D-representations, cut up, on top of that, into numerous separate parts, instead of trying to contain a max of elements, seem to do much better thinking-triggering work than the more complicated solutions, but which seem to over-complicate the task for the ordinary mind as well, and my post is about this phenomenon, this paradox; as said, brains that are interconnected in a superior way (and there is no irony here whatsoever) might function otherwise, with higher quality, not only with higher speed.

Btw, for years, I had used flowcharters (from Micrografx (from buggy version 3 that cost me a fortune at the time), and the unavoidable Visio (from 5 up to 2002), in order to avoid that "mind-map" "disadvantage" of being "nothing more but a graphical tree", when in fact, accepting this limitation of "mind-maps" full-heartedly, you quickly become aware that it's more idea-generating than flowcharts are: It seems there's also a "convergence effect" playing here, i.e. "multiple satellite thinking" around the "source" item AND around multiple "further down items" (when technically speaking, these ain't but children and grand-children of various degrees) - whilst in many flowcharts, there might work a "disparational / divergence effect" against you, as does in 3D's.

I know I'm presenting paradoxical stuff here, but that's what makes such musings fascinating. As said, my experience with "high-brow" solutions is rather negative, my experience with "low-brow" solutions like "mind-maps" is very positive, and so I'm correcting my former stance on these matters and I'm trying to explain these phenomena to myself and to others, to get new ideas by this, from fellow posters as from myself.

And again, it might be that people with an IQ of 130 or higher might be much more apt to process, and hence to profit from, 3D-representations than our brains working at about 120 speed; we all know that one of the more important elements of the IQ is the capacity to process more elements simultaneously; brains that are capable of processing e.g. 7 elements might not only function more quickly, but also in another quality range than minds that only process, let's say, 4 elements at the same time - so it's important to find the best ways to make even "standard" brains working better than they would without getting any such external help.

As for the missing integration with UR or other outliners, we have to live with it for the time being, and thus, don't try to synch manually, don't try to replicate content (which especially means, not even downwards), have your (e.g.) MM and your (e.g.) UR systems as COMPLIMENTARY systems: You'd get lost by trying to establish a sort of coherence.

But since UR allows for deep links, i.e. single items as external link targets, it could be interesting to do such deep links, within your (e.g.) MM maps, not only to pdf's or Excel tables or such, but also to details within such UR items.

Beware, though: The more you do within your maps, the less you do within "texts", the better your output will probably be, and this means, when in doubt, don't put a deep link to a UR item into your map, but add some other child items (or a child map) to your branch within the map itself.

(Edit for typos and such.)

quant 11-11-2012 05:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by schferk (Post 20026)
But since UR allows for deep links, i.e. single items as external link targets, it could be interesting to do such deep links, within your (e.g.) MM maps, not only to pdf's or Excel tables or such, but also to details within such UR items.

I tried that some time ago with TheBrain, the only mind-mapping software I know of that is sort of 3d, but as you also mentioned, I started duplicating things, it just didn't work, I had to decide to go either completelly TheBrain way or stay UR ... clear choice there

schferk 11-15-2012 11:03 AM

I

Yes, quant, there's a real, and double problem here.

I am aware that it must appear really lame (all the more so coming from me) when I say (above), make it complementary, so allow for my trying to distinguish problems.

a)

It seems to me that organizational use of a "mind-map" does interfere with its "idea-triggering" use, i.e. you use it as a file / item launcher, and in your mind, this function shadows your wanting the map to trigger new ideas.

But I also think problem b) is at least partly responsible for this, and I think, even with problem b) not being resolved, just SOME external linking maps ("external" viewed from those maps, i.e. not including links to detailed "children" / "siblings" maps within your maps collection) in the map might be acceptable, let's say 30 or 40 items in your map, with 3 or 4 items as links.

That being said, I suppose that even with problem b) solved, big attention must be paid to not multiply links then.

b)

As stated in my first post here, some synching would be more than welcome, AND it would be need to be both-ways:

1. (partial = a particular sub-tree) tree export from UR (or another outliner) to MM (or another "mind-mapping applic) - but with UR and MM, this is possible, so let's stay with these for the moment -, in order to freely think about those things.

This is possible, and then you re-arrange, and add, perhaps partially delete, perhaps do some move into siblings maps (!)...

All these changes must then be synched manually, which is strictly impossible. It's a hellova hell of work, and it'll produce lotsa mistakes, be it yourself or being a your possible secretary who's supposed to to this. The only way to do it with not TOO many error-producing is to not work work within MM but to work on MM print-outs, then your sec doing the sync work not between MM and UR but within UR, from the MM print-outs.

The problem is, synching back from MM to UR will overwrite the original UR items with another tree, since there is no functionality whatsoever to identify the unique identifiers of the UR items (which are there!), to dock them onto the according MM items, and then, by re-import, to identify these, and new ones, in order to re-arrange and complement the UR tree,

all this together with the respective contents, for one...

2. But we must be aware that the problem arises even if we leave contents out!

Which means, in order to simplify things a little bit, the developers of both coupled programs could decide to not have exported, then re-imported the notes for the nodes (in any case or better, by option), but simply to process the tree.

This will shuffle around much less text and other content, but the programming difficulty will be exactly as it will be in alternative 1.

3. You begin your work within MM, then export "down" to UR. This is perfectly possible, but rather useless, since, as said for 1. and 2., any reasonable way to go back to the "musing stage" will be impossible, so at which point would be the point in your workflow where you deliberately interdict yourself further "musing within the map" but make the decision, "from further on, I'll limit myself to only think about it within UR".

Or, of course, you say to yourself, "from this point on, I'll try to synch back manually then (to UR, after exporting the tree "up" to MM), since now, changes / additions / etc. will be rather sparse".

Technically, that's possible and even maybe viable, but then, think a sec: Your attention that not much new will come your way, and your knowing what a fuss it will be to re-arrange the UR tree then, after any such deletion, rename, move and add-on, all by hand, will seriously hamper any further idea-finding within the MM map, so at at this time, have it complementary, as lame as this advice my appear.

And, if I dare say this, since quant convenes with my experience, be sure my advice here is good advice.

II

Which implies, there SHOULD be a technical solution, from UR or such and MM or such, where two developer together create a USP for BOTH of them! (Or, as with CT, an in-built graphical representation of your data within your IMS, but I don't think that would be really the best solution: Too much work for UR or any other, and yet not enough functionality within the "mind-map" part of the program.

On the other hand, there's cost. At this time, the price of UR is about 100 bucks, the price of MM, VM and such is 250 or 300 bucks or more, so the cost of the "add-on" (= some hundreds of items within your maps, tens of thousand of items within your IMS) and your main system is far from being within equilibrium; UR in its current state isn't worth 300 bucks or more, etc., etc., etc.

Which all means UR should go corporate, have commercial functionality in order replace 1-5 seat commercial sw, and should go to be optimized within this range of use, THEN (only) apply a price of some 250, 300 bucks per seat, and of course do a student version for 100 bucks (remember, all this is NOT identical to my once speaking of 1,000 bucks sw).

I'm NOT aggressing current UR users here, by asking for tripling the price of the current sw, but within UR's and its competitors' current price range (cf. TheBrain for a start...), NOBODY will EVER get you that splendid sw we're finally asking for, AND that finally we'd be willing to pay for, as soon as our demands are met.

Hence this "slow death" of UR we're all complaining about, and which must not necessarily happen.

As for askSam, yes, the price was 300 bucks, AND it was a tremendous good thing for tasks like qualitative anaylisis, etc., BUT: Serious "little businesses" was impossible with AS, since it was buggy like hell, incl. data loss, which is not the case with UR, so most little businesses were afraid to use it for this simple reason yet, AND AS hadn't any functionality in order to be used for tax-compliant main use of your things going out (not speaking of things coming in), so its only possible use was as additional sw besides your main doc processing sw - unfortunately, this is the same with current UR, and in SPITE of UR's much better mail handling than AS' mail handling - and then, UR's outgoing mail handling isn't that sophisticated if I dare say.

So, I'm speaking of elaborate functionality, but also of another business model. I think that in the threads I've been writing in lately here, I succeede in explaining a little why NOT ONE of these applics succeed in finding a viable business model by offering just IM only - they are simply not of much enough use for any little business, all the less so since all of these must look elsewhere for their main needs - for their "just IM", then, they use all sorts of offerings, incl., for some of them, some of those dozens of outliners that altogether share that tiny market - and, let's put it bluntly, for most of them, UR might not be their most natural choice since the "first ten minutes accessibility" of the UR approach is rather sub-par.

There's some interest in the observation of TheBrain since their main business - above the overpriced offering for indiduals - is said to be corporate use (with sophisticated sw that is not identical at all to the crippled sw for individuals), while NOT offering document processing if I'm well informed. So it seems there might be an IM market for rather big corporations, that is not identical with their "everyday-for-everybody" sw needs, but where perhaps, in a corporate of 1,000, some 30 people within the strategy department get a 50,000 bucks sw with 30 seats, in order to do what we do with UR, be it TB or something else.

But it's clear as day that current outliners today will remain exotic - or even die, for lack of cloud functionality -, or become really useful for some-seats-businesses. And NONE of them IS, at this time. But then, kinook is one of the strongest offerings, and one of the strongest developers, so they could do much better than they do now, as soon as they got the motivation to do so.

Or anybody else might step in and do it from scratch...

Or from what they are doing now - again, I mention CRM and case management / lawyers' sw here. Up to now, they are all just addressing their respective traditional markets, they did not yet see that broad tiny-biz market yet.

But if ever something comes that we can be pleased with, it'll be such tiny-biz sw, from UR or from anywhere else.

The lack of developmentt in traditional outliners and such is heartbreaking, all the more so since, from my own, rather complete, programming experience back how MUCH kinook COULD have done these last year to make their sw outstanding in every respect, when in fact there is almost "nothing" - implementing new features into existing sw does NOT asks for "man years", or the other way round, with just ONE "man year" of kinook quality, ALL COULD HAVE BEEN ALREADY THERE.

I refrain from saying, "shame on you, kinook", but I dare to say that it's an incredible pity as it is today.

schferk 11-17-2012 08:22 AM

I

Here, where it belongs, a bit from another thread:

"Which reminds me of a problem mentioned in the other, the "mind-map", thread: Using two instances or multiple maps, for deep-linking / launching OR for "thinking", i.e. separating those functions from each other, even using the same graphic program, should be perfectly possible, without the mental interference problems described there."

Then, the English term that would apply best to what a "mind-map" does, would perhaps be "DE-COMPACTING", in the sense that in an outline, these
different items are too "near" together, and too "rectiligned" together -

AND in another sense, also:

Of course, within a "mind-map", as within an outline, you work top-down and bottom-up, simultaneously: You add new maps for (sub-) subjects where you expect some details to be added, and you add details in the (partial) map or into the branch where they belong.

Now what's highly interesting here, and what's NOT available in an outline, is the limitation of screen and of paper. Yes, you COULD print-out a monster-map into 12, 16 or dozens of sheets of paper, but you'll be very well advised to NOT try to do such a thing.

On the contrary, whenever your screen map (with perhaps 40 or so details, all minor details included) gets too complicated, = whenever the "adjust map to screen" command will get you too tiny font sizes, and / or the white space isn't really there anymore, you'll know that you'll need to BREAK UP your map into two or more maps, and perhaps again, and again, for some subjects.

This is, one, a very natural way of working, and two, it seems to be one of the BIG advantages of "mind-maps" for planning, strategy, etc.: These "not too complicated" PARTIAL maps, for partial, sub-problems, and every one of these strictly observing the "not too complicated, just some dozens of items, not more, and whenever it becomes convoluted, separate it",

seem indeed be PERFECT for thinking about.

So it's not only the "how many items can your mind process simultaneously", but also, "introduce a certain limitation character to what you think about" which will enable your mind to better think about what you're staring at.

So this is in CONTRADICTION to what "idea-maps", TheBrain, 3D-representations, etc. try to accomplish, since they try to INCLUDE "anything else", but in the end, it's not the theoretical conception of what might trigger better thinking, it's the actual results that should lead your choice of such sw, and that sw of choice seems indeed and for most people to be the (technically "primitive", in comparison, and "flat") "mind-map", if used in a smart way.

II

"Mind Manager 11" is the successor of "Mind Manager 2012" (!), and I just saw an ad, "from 349 dollar p.a." - this is outrageous. It should be possible to buy a COMBINATION of IMS like (an optimized) UR and a professional "mind-map" sw that integrates with the former, for a total of 500 dollar, one-time payment, and then regular combined updates should perhaps be 200 dollar every 18 months or so.

By "professional" I mean,

- good, NEAT graphics (important for presentation means, AND for your own eyes staring hours and hours at the screen)

- bug-free (no problem whatsoever with UR or with MM, whilst with VM, I can make crash the prog anytime by just re-arranging some little branches within the same map)

- lotsa shortkeys for re-arranging branches, etc. (as im MM, whilst in VM, there are only a few; if freely assignable or not (in MM they are not, but the point is that there ARE shortkeys, and then you re-assign them by AHK or such))

- this also means, the respective commands must be there, in order to re-arrange lotsa things, so that these commands can be addressed by shortcuts then (MM is really good in this respect)

- ribbon or (preferably) not, but if a ribbon there is, no need to display it in order to trigger commands (have a shortkey for every command, and hide the ribbon)

- etc., etc.

We're almost 2013, which makes 30 years of pc, and nobody offers such a system yet. It would be time to do it. (And no, it's NOT possible to replace your IMS by outliner, by an IMS by "mind-map": No such program does seem robust enough in order to manager real big stuff - people who tried tell it'll get too slow, too cumbersome. And then, "mind-map" is not a GUI for managing 100 k of items of more to begin with. Hence the interest of a combi.

EDIT :

Oh yes, I forgot: Integration could be done in 3 different quality levels:

- to begin with, acceptable, but not satisfying long-term: export-import both ways

- as before, but with a command, available in both applications, to synch instantly; that would also mean (see below), if that "part" is not currently open in the other program, that applic would (open, in case, and then) open and display that part, too

- as before, but an option, too, that would synch both-ways anytime you do any change within one of the programs, provided that both programs are open and the part of the tree / the file ( in the "mind-map" program, or if, in UR, you got several files, not just one big file) you're working on, is currently open within the other program

quant 11-17-2012 11:12 AM

I suppose all that's needed is to incorporate some chart/map representation as an alternative to Data explorer pane in UR, should not be that difficult, there must be many companies offering ready made visual representation of charts/maps/ etc, for example
http://www.thebrain.com/products/brainsdk/

schferk 11-17-2012 04:51 PM

Right!

There are components even for this (as better editors e.g.), that could be integrated in any software. As long as such a components is not only a graphical representation of data, but allows for manipulating the data from this GUI, such an integrated solution would avoid lotsa potential difficulties that might arise by the otherwise necessary balancing of not necessarily convergent interest of two different developing companies - not speaking of the problems arising for the user by concurrent update needs.

Of course, this again shows, as with UR's current editor, that here, the choice of a cheap / free component then produces annoyance for the user, over many years, or, the other way round, prof. sw should incorporate the very best such components. (Formatting within the tree, anyone? = another example of a component (or an original development by kinook?) that's not as good as it should be, at this moment.)

But in fact, quant, your idea would avoid lotsa problems, no clash of two sw corporations and their respective policies "needed" at all here.

I'm more and more inclined to do a second IMS in some years, with top-notch components and with a good programmer doing the coding, if really no current developer will have taken this path until then.

EDIT :

Some minutes ago, I deliberately avoided any comment re TheBrain SDK vs. some more traditional "mind-map" component, in view of my preference to the latter (detailed above), but not wanting to artificially divide a consensus on the means to apply. But of course, these divergences must be treated if a developer wants to satisfy his users.

So, it occured to me that needs and preferences of different users do vary, of course, hence our traditional asking of delivering in-built functions "both" / multiple ways, i.e. to let the USER decide how he wants to do his work, whenever possible, instead of forcing upon him a precise way of doing things which might not please him at all - the apotheosis of such a system being, of course, SAP which every corporation puts into exactly that use that customer has in mind - it's an extreme case, for the asking price as well as for the needed amount (and hence the high price) of necessary adaptation.

So back to components. Let's assume a developer buys a highbrow component for 50 dollar apiece (standard components are rather 300 to 1200 dollar one-time payment), i.e. for every license he sells of his product, he pays 50 dollar to the component vendor (and why not if his price is 250 dollar). Now imagine he'll get TWO such, similar components, one costing him 50 dollar apiece, the other (not necessarily better) one 80 dollar apiece.

Why not offer his sw at a price of 200 dollar without any of these components, at 250 dollar with component one and at 280 or 300 dollar with component two, leaving the choice to his customers?

The additional (!) "man time" for adjustments to not one, but both components might be a week since most of the functionality is very similar - in extreme cases (and I'm speaking of professional coders here) it might be 2 weeks - perhaps it's 4 weeks to integrate one, but 6 weeks to integrate both.

At this price, the developer would make all his users happy, not forcing 50 p.c. of them into a new way of working they only accept for lack of any alternatives; it would propulse his prof. image, it would generate good press coverage, and so on.

The same could be done for other add-ons, add-ins, e.g. those "little corporation" features I spoke of lately: tax-compliant archiving incl. scanning / OCR, mail functionality, and so on: prof. software as a construction kit where users chose the components they want or need. Such a paradigm is way beyond "cheaper crippled versions" and a viable business model.

Meet people's needs, and you'll have happy customers willing to pay your price (as long as it's not beyond reason).

schferk 11-25-2012 11:28 AM

Additional problems:

I

One of the big advantages in my experience of "mind-map" sw

- IN THE FUTURE, I'LL DO "mm" for "mind-map" (rights to "mind-map": Tony Buzan) and "MM" for "Mind Manager" (commercial product by Mindjet) -

is the consistent graphical representation of the material, i.e. you add branches, you manually move branches, but apart from that, every time you re-open a map, the branches will be at the same location they were when you last had worked / mused upon your map.

TheBrain does NOT seem to have such a consistent graphical representation of branches and their sub-branches, or at least, there is much fiddling with several "views" in order to at least have ALL sub-branches of a given branch / node displayed together, to begin with, and about re-arranging branches as in MM, well, I never got to it, and it seems impossible (must say that my last thorough trials with TB were with the last major version).

II

See I, and additional prob: I can NOT work with (meaning: all the advantages of mm's I have liste do NOT work for me if I accept) the "original" distribution of branches, in mm's, clockwise, i.e. those progs do the branches 1 h, 3 h, 6 h (here, most progs fill up the right side first, then go "after" 6 h - I'm not speaking of the order, which is always preserved by your doing the sibling for a given item, but the graphical distribution on the screen, order preserved, I'm speaking here), 9 h, with additional sibling branches being put between.

So, I in my MM, I manually rearrange my nodes by the system 11 h, 9 h, 7 h, 1 h, then 3 h, 5 h, meaning I go down on the left side, then I go down on the right side, just as if I would fill up two pages, left, right, one after the other, by writing.

Now, I didn't search yet for a mm prog where I could do this by option, automatically, but that's not the real prob here, because of the consistency of the graphical representation in MM and in most / all mm's.

But as soon as you get to automatic transfer / "traduction" of your data between IMS and mm, or if you get to a mm component within your IMS, this "how the data is automatically distributed on the screen (and on paper)" prob will enter the scene and probably make useless any such automatic "dual data representation" worthless for more than one, either because it does it "the usual way" - I'd be out, then, or because it does it my way, which could mean many traditional user of mm's will find it unusable, them having always left the graphical representation of their data within their mm on default = clockwise.

Hence, the necessity to do some "research" first in order to know HOW mm users do it - it could be that many of them would like to do it as I do, once they will have started to manually re-arrange their branches, but without having done so up to know, and perhaps my assumption is wishful thinking only.

So, this uncertainty is another big obstacle to any such implementation (be it interconnection, be it implementing an internal component).

III

Clones. The more I work with mm's (in MM 8.2, as said), the more I miss clones, i.e. items / branches being on several maps simultaneously, and updated from anywhere - of course, we have got here the same problem as with UR and every other IMS: The updating must affect even clones being situated in NON-OPEN maps or databases, which means that in every (?) current IMS, there isn't but cloning of items / sub-trees within the CURRENT db, at best.

Sideline: Why do I need clones in my maps, when otherwise defending use of clones, within the IMS, just for special branches / db's there, i.e. prospects by area, by potential, etc., or (for an author) the personnel of his drama, by themes and by scenes, and such uses?

Because I started to get get out all my things related to planning, to todoing, to deciding, etc., from the depths of my IMS and into the mm map system, and of course, within THIS frame of thinking, clones are an absolute necessity.

In other words, the traditional problem "car assurance in car or in assurance" isn't a real problem, since a simple link will do here, from the side the car ass. is not, to the side where you put the car ass., so there would probably be car, with a link to ass., and ass, incl. car ass. - the same applies to any such "reference data" prob, and even less so, not even links would be necessary, most of the time, just item "car", then first child "assurance SEE assurance" (as link or not) (and other such), then a divider line, and elsewhere the item "assurance", then first child "incl. car assurance", then a divider line, and the "car assurance" further down anywhere within this block of perhaps dozens of children for various assurances.

But as said, within your "planning world", it's totally otherwise: there, multiple cloning is a necessity - but today's mm sw's do NOT offer them, it seems.

A citation from MM:

https://community.mindjet.com/mindje...parents-1bk5vg

"Because the current maps are just hierarchical constructs, it is impossible to represent situations, where a child branch has many parents. Of course we can create additional relations, but this is definitely not the same." = seems to be an official statement from Mindjet.

Then the poster goes on with asking for clones, and he gets a "3 people like this idea", for a post 10 months old and tagged "MM 2012".

Which means that not even MM does have clones, with a 6- or 7-digit number of users (= in many corporations, and because of cheap university licenses) - this is a disaster.

And then, OF COURSE it is perfectly possible to have clones, inter-db-wise, inter-file-wise, as it is possible to have search over multiple db's (UR's missing inter-db-search, anyone?): You just maintain a little db with references, and containing the respective data, and for any opening of such a map, this db is checked for any changes that might have occured within this map = within the cloned branches in this map, in the meanwhile; then, these changes are worked into the map in question, before its being displayed.

The alternative solution would be to update any such map with clones being altered within a current map, by the prog opening the other map in the background, without displaying it, and doing the necessary change immediately, then save the other map again; the information which other maps contain which clones of clones within the current map, would be present in any such map containing clones, anyway.

Sorry for being rather technical, but currently, there seems to be NOT ONE really perfect IMS, so my "work" of imagining such a system must rely, in big parts, upon just imagination even of the intermediate steps to get to such perfect sw - I'd greatly prefer to have existing sw available that came nearer the desirable "end result", instead of constantly even having to imagine the necessary intermediate solutions - that would greatly enhance the precision of what I could say.

Hence my constant begging for realizing at least some intermediate steps to a perfect IMS, for my imagining further enhancements to become more focused.

Anyway, my next step will be to have a further look at mm sw and probably get the one that first will come out with clones, even if these clones are only possible in some "grouped maps" environment where all these maps must be opened together, each time. My MM maps just are about 35 kb each, so there would not be any problem to open even 100 such maps at the same time (but I hope that they could be grouped within a tree structure, since having 100 tabs wouldn't be a realistic solution here).

As smart readers will have understood, my dual way, MM plus IMS, being just another try to have get to that "super level" that is absent from any existing IMS, in order to work within that "super level", and NOT work within my referential data bulk.

This is a problem we ALL have, all the more so my astonishment that so few people see the prob here.

There have been some books, from a German woman, who has been defending strict discrimination of "work files" and "reference files", between your physical lever files and so on, some years ago. The problem, of course, being, that much stuff is reference AND working material at the same time, and additional prob is, this intersection is plastic, and moving all the time. In theory, computer power should / MUST finally bring a viable solution to this permanent problem THAT EATS UP, for everyone, for every corporation, lotsa working time and effort that could both be much better deployed on real tasks bringing "revenue" (be it commercial or scientific)), so it's revolting that there is no solution yet. And worse, that there is no developer out there who's available for doing some good work here, in order to leave the pack and become vanguard for a time, then get BIG revenue.

The first IMS that will really work, would grasp big markets, very big ones. It's a pity.

schferk 11-25-2012 12:26 PM

(Edit of the above impossible since > 10k chars.)

EDIT [of the above] : Screaming Idiocy

In FreeMind / sourcefourge, there are two discussion on clones,

http://sourceforge.net/projects/free.../topic/1051440

and especially

http://sourceforge.net/projects/free.../topic/1022954

Both are from 2004 (!!!). In the latter one, the developer wishes to distinguish between natural and adoptive parents (see the other thread here), calling them fathers and unclues, in order to avoid recurson problems (see the other thread here). "Of course", nothing has been done about it in 8 years, but now see this thread:

http://freemind.sourceforge.net/wiki...r_enhancements

In fact, while FreeMind almost does nothing, re further development, these "Requests_for_enhancements" are virtually endless: That's blatant idiocy, and of course, it reminds me of my own asking for enhancements in sw fori where in fact active development's having come to a standstill, more or less, is the matter, not possible high-brow enhancements.

So I'm questioning myself if I'm not as much an idiot as those FM users going into lengths for backing up their FM wishes, when in fact, even many years later, FM is certainly one of the WORST mm sw out there.

Sideline: While I criticised the pcworld "reviewer" for the blatant primitiveness in his "reviews" yesterday, please look here, for an example of a virtual perfect intro into a subject many of yours will be interested in (judging by the views of this thread here):

http://truongnghiem.wordpress.com/20...-vs-outlining/

EDIT [of this post here] :

What I'm asking for is technically possible, and has been realized many ago ago, in another environment. I own Visio 2002, and there, there ARE clones, to other maps, but only within the "organigramme" template (= those kind of Warnier/Orr diagrams, not from left to right, but turned 90 degrees to the right, which makes them floating top-down).

Unfortunately, these templates are good for nothing else, and I tried! (Then I searched books about Visio, later version, in order to see if this functionality had been applied to other templates, but it seems it has not. Problem with trialling Visio (which I have avoided) is, as with other MS sw, that once you trialed it once, you will never be able to trial it again, even if you restitute your image which you had made anterior to your MS sw trialling - I have no idea how they succeed at this exploit, but in kicking the user in the you know what, MS has always been very strong. Hence my reliance on books and googling, for the respective current Visio capabilities-or-not.)

EDIT 2 :

Here - a mostly Mac-site not updated anymore, but being a gold mine for deeply detailed and highly developed info,

http://www.atpm.com/10.08/atpo.shtml

says (the Mac-only sw) Tinderbox does all what I'd need, technically speaking. But I started this thread in order to explain my need for DE-COMPACTING "working-info", whilst the Tinderbox concept COMPACTS everything in a way that I'd prefer working on paper only if ever they might be left the last working computer sw. Your experience might differ, but then, Tinderbox is presented as the technical non-plus-ultra almost everywhere, when in fact rather few people use it on a daily basis, so I dare say we've got another example here for highest-brow sw where the gui mastering doesn't follow the technical expertise. (Whenever I see a Tinderbox map, the term "sw for blockheads" appears in my field of vision - "blockhead" literally speaking, of course: sw not for simpletons, but for people with square brains - prob is, there ain't any such people, out there.)

Jon Polish 11-25-2012 01:35 PM

I'm pretty sure that Freemind implemented clones a few betas ago. They are currently on Beta 8 (Sept 2012).

Jon

schferk 11-25-2012 02:03 PM

Jon, thank you a lot, by googling, this info doesn't become evident (EDIT: I meant by "mind map cloned item" and such, "freemind clone" will find it immediately! Introduced in May, 2012). If that's working, it'd turn the mm world upside down: A(n even last year) rather primitive freeware has the key function missing from any known commercial sw. Will report back.

EDIT : The user guide is for v. 0.8.0, and the info I found about cloning in FM:

http://freemind.sourceforge.net/wiki...e_New_Features

seems to indicate that cloning is possible within the same map only (I've become a cynic and think that they would tout it if was otherwise, AND overall functionality last time I trialled FM was so bad that I come to the same conclusion from this pov. And there is, "This should work after saving and loading later on, too.", which seems to indicate even cloning within a given map is stable. AND you get what you pay for (e.g. DNS Legal: 949 euro, about 1250 bucks), so re sourceforge... I said I'm a cynic.). And yes, I've ceased to download all sort of crap just for trialling, I'm not believing in Santa Claus anymore. (Cf. GiveAwayOfTheDay with all that crap, crippled versions and so on. Most sw out there is only time-consuming rubbish.)

In a positive mood: The above-mentioned FM wish list is a good point of departure if you like to construct perfect mm sw (i.e. sometimes, collaboration is very helpful).

schferk 11-26-2012 04:40 PM

More details

I - Visio

I fear I mixed up my real experience with retroactive wishful thinking. In fact, within the organigramme template only, there is a rectangle stencil / symbol that can indeed be cloned, but I think now that's only possible within the same drawing. Anyway, both ways for the technical implementation of multi-map symbol cloning are valid and could be realized by whomever willing to do it.

II - Another advantage of mm

In an IMS like UR, you'd have multiple items, each with a (rather short) title and then real content OR rather short details, explanations, etc. So, in analysis / projecting / planning / etc., you'd have lots of items, with their titles BEING displayed, and with lots of minor details, perhaps some words, perhaps 3 lines within the content / editor pane, and which would NOT be visible.

Now here comes, perhaps, the idea to get a 1-pane outliner, in order to have these short details visible, which in UR and such are invisible. That's perfectly possible, of course, but remember, a 1-pane outliner will not solve your problem of too-much-compactness of your "musing data".

Hence the interest of a mm prog: Here, you'd have a central topic (level 0 - bear this in mind, please, and if you consider the source item being level 1, add 1 to any number that follows), the name of the map in question, then, around this, some specific topics (level 1), and then, each of these have their respective sub-tree, with the specific subjects / ideas / etc. (level 2), and then, further down, they often have some details (level 3).

If you don't do lots of single maps, but only one very-big-map or just several rather-big-maps, you could be here at level 4 or level 5, instead of level 3, and that's as well as the system I detail here, given the fact that most mm progs (= don't buy any other / any crippled, "Personal" = not-"Business" version that can't do it) allow for switching from "big picture" to "display this branch only", and back again. Anyway, let's consider the level 3 as the "put descriptive details here" level and go back to our example.

In the following, then, you might look after levels 6 and 7, when I mention levels 2 and 3, no problem. The important is, I want to speak of those 2 levels where (in my case) 2 in UR would be single items titles, and the next level (in my case 3) would be the content of that same item.

So, again, we have level 1 containing what in UR would be headings (= not individual item titles, but the titles of "items" that in fact are parents to a group / subgroup".

And we have level 2, the UR item title. Now for level 3, i.e. the content of that same item.

It goes without saying that whenever you've got real detail here, a mm is NOT the right place to put that in, and you should perhaps put it into the NOTE field of that mm item, but perhaps not, since those note fields they are often bad, often worse, from their capabilities, and especially since they would constitue a FORTH separate entity for your things: You'll have the file system, the mm maps, UR or another IMS, so things in a forth body would not be a good idea imo, in most cases (there might be special cases where all SPECIFIC data go into a mm map system, and the notes there, and nothing else contained elsewhere - that would seem to be ok with me).

So, if there is real content, preferably do a link (from the mm item on level 2) to a UR item, or anything along those lines; anyway, such "real content" backgrounds of planning items should rather be the exception: In most cases, you'll get nothing, just two words, or perhaps even 2 or 3 lines of text.

Now, what to do with that "mini content"? Very simply, it'll become your mm level 3, and if it's too long for being visually ok within one level 3 item "under" the corresponding level 2 item, just split it up into 2 or 3 or 4 different such level 3 siblings - this cutting up will also force you to bring a max. of order / neatness into these bits. In exceptional cases, you could also split this level 3 then further up into level 4 bits, but my thinking is that whenever you must do this, you'd be far better off by thinking about it again and doing more level 2 items instead, with their details then in level 3 siblings.

This way, "EVERYTHING IS VISIBLE" (AND DE-COMPACTED, which isn't possible in 1-pane outliners), and that's a hefty advantage of mm over other techniques whenever you do planning or analysing work.

And, mm is a perfect means to "teach you" my motto (I have mentioned elsewhere): Make it hierarchical, yes, in order to get a first and main systematic framework for your material, BUT HOLD THAT HIERARCHY AS FLAT AS POSSIBLE:

And when I say, mm maps are perfect teachers for that motto to be adhered to, it's totally simple: When your mm map looks convoluted, you did NOT adhere to my motto, and when you re-arrange things as long as it gets to become a much better-looking map, heureka, it will be one considerably flattened-out!

Hence, mm maps are a PROOF for the validity of my "hold it flat" tenet, hence the multiplication of maps OR big maps, that in their big-map version necessarily convoluted, but that will - if you follow my maxim "more siblings, less grand-grand-grand-children" on the deepest levels - be as neat as the multiple maps, once you go down to the sub-branches that would constitute separate maps within the first model (= items level 0 in multiple maps, so items 1 in a big-map, here levels 1, 2, 3, 4 becoming levels 2, 3, 4, 5), and trigger "display current branch only".

III - Power Markers 1, 2, 3

I've been too late. In fact, there has been a work-around for clones, not over several maps - "of course" not, given the fact that nobody out there's willing to get into real coding troube but then present overwhelming results -, but over one map at least, which is the reason for my detailing the acceptability of the big-map paradigm above in Part II.

In fact, if you analyse a very big project, you would not split it up into many connected separate maps, but you would do a big map for that project, but work only on these level 1-entities (= which are equivalent to the level 0-source-items in multiple maps), by doing bookmarks or such for these level-1 items, go to them by shortkeys or mouse clicks in a list (as you would do with multiple maps in order to display them), and then, after triggering (best: by macro = 1 step: "show "virtual map 4 within a 20-map "big-map" AND ONLY show that "map 4" there"), and then work on that virtual sub-map, as you'd work onto map 4 of 20 different maps.

But now comes Power Marker (Poma, PM is Project Management, let's not create chaos) - ok, we're in Poma, und thus, MM country here. Even without Poma, you can put various "markers" onto your items, and then, you can "filter" for such markers, and even for combinations of them, but this will give weird graphical presentations. So back to Poma: It creates a second outline view (the main outline view being implemented in native MM), but here, the tree is by the marker(s) of your choice.

You got it, Poma for MM creates alternative trees, on-the-fly (cf. askSam)!

Now you wouldn't expect to have this even in the graphics, but then, you don't have clones, so you'll assign categories to items, with markers, and then, you'll get that tree showing these "marked" items only. That's far from perfect, but it's far more than you'll get anywhere else, except perhaps for clones in FM maps whenever they might be debugged.

Now, Poma 1 was 40 bucks (I suppose), Poma 2 was 40 bucks. Should have known about it then.

Well, then Mindjet get aware that Poma was a feature MM should have got by native implementation - and they are perfectly right about that. Now, what they did, is this: They bought Poma (hence non-availabilty from both sources for Poma 2 from then on), and they quickly brought out Poma version 3, with (if I dare trust the web, some Mindjet blablah about Poma, and minor debugging) - and they sold it for 2 times the price, which made that 80 bucks.

Should have bought then, anyway. (but wasn't aware of it of course)

Now, MM 2012, with integrated Poma! And the same is also integrated into version 11 (again, attention please, "11" comes AFTER "2012" - you cannot repeat this enough since at this very moment, the web is saturated with offers like "MM 2012, ONLY 430 euro / 600 bucks" - well, not even the current version 11 is even more expensive than that).

So, in my case, I'm stuck with a free version 8.2, without the chance to get Poma for that, and the total unwillingness to buy version 11, with Poma integrated, but at a price of more than 400 euro.

But then, I got an old trial version of Poma on my hdd (downloaded when I hadn't got MM yet, then forgot about it), so I'll can at least trial now (14 days only, I fear).

SO, I'm looking forward to buying, from someone having bought / updated to MM 2012 or MM 11, his unused Poma 2 (version 1 seems to have been buggy) or 3. (Look out for it in the web, on ebay worldwide or such: nada.)

Fact is: MM 11 is expensive and not outstanding, but it has got very good and highly needed features, so as for the competition.

Sideline: There are some PM offerings for MM that rely on synching back and forth with MS Outlook, i.e. relying heavily on Outlook's corresponding features in order to make them available for MM. I got both progs, but I'm not a fan of that integration. The MM-inherent graphic capabilities should be enhanced, not some info features from elsewhere brought within MM maps instead: That's good in its own way, but it's not a good replacement for all that's missing.

I'm looking forward to reconstitute my c: image every 30, 28, 21...14 (OMG!) days in the future, before being able to afford MM 12 or 13, at last.

Which shows that even third-rate solutions get much addiction (if not love), when first-rate solutions ain't available at any price.

schferk 11-26-2012 05:36 PM

I

EDIT (above >10k) :

Have got 1 (14 days) and 3 (30 days), and the user guide for 3 - almost 80 pages! - lotsa detail for a third-class work-around...

II

Oh, and there's also a VERY smart (and successful) little gem: GyroQ (gyronix.com). I don't see the necessity to buy the 50 bucks prof version, but even the 30 bucks standard version has a very neat feature.

First, let me explain. You trigger GyroQ from wherever, you enter "must get milk from the grocer", you enter "enter", and you go on with your work, i.e. you gather, in the neatest possible way, ideas, things to do, etc., etc.

At the end of the day - or whenever you like -, you open MM and will have got all these little things into a special MM map, and from which you then will distribute all this to the right target locations.

So much for version 1.

Version 2 (= the one you now buy for 30 bucks) goes way beyond this:

You trigger GyroQ (let's say by F12 or whatever), then you enter "gr must get milk", and the "must get milk" thing will be put as a child to the branch "grocer" within that special map!

You'll do the same with 19 more possible such codes (separated by a space, as you will have understood by your own means, I'm sure), and there are even some very special codes that trigger more elaborate macros, e.g. a swot analysis (I doubt if this is really needed from an external mini tool, instead of from within the map, preferably).

Of course, I know, this is all rather rudimentary since it would also be possible - but isn't with the current version of GyroQ - to put such clippings to the "inboxes" of the maps in question, or of the level 1 virtual maps within a "big-map", by according codes.

But that code thing is really smart, and I say this all the more so since I have discovered such coding for my own needs, years ago in a macro tool, since being replaced by even more elaborate macros in AHK.

Whenever I put a clipping into a new item, in my IMS, from let's say IE8, I do F7, then I enter (in a pop-up dialog) the title of the new item = sibling I want to create where the focus is at the time in my IMS, then press "enter".

Now, if I want to create a child instead of a sibling, I dont do
F7TitleEnter, but

F7.TitleEnter

And if I am in a siblings range that all constitute children of an item I want the new item to be created as a sibling to, i.e. when I want to create an uncle of the current focus item, I do
F7,TitleEnter

(on my kb, the keys being "bnm,.-", so it's partly mnemonic)

And when I want to create the new item within my general inbox, since the current item is not suitable as a sibling or parent of the new item, I do
F7;TitleEnter

Since I got about 10 intermediate files (as I explained in length), with 10 more specific inboxes, I can also do, for the new item to be created within the "m" inbox (all these are 1-character):
F7-mTitleEnter

And since I got, in every one of these 10 intermediate files, a list of all the respective more specific files (all these would be sub-branches of your big tree in UR), and all these entries there function as "most-specific" inboxes, I can also do:
F7-mg-TitleEnter

in order to create the new item as a child of the mg entry within the m file - the second "-" being necessary because these "mg" and such can be 2 or 3 chars long, but an "m" before the "mg" isn't necessary because the "mg" might be in several such 1-char files, but only the one "mg" being in the "m" file should be served as an inbox; and how to target that "mg" entry within the "m" file? In going to the m file, then making sure focus is in the tree, then "home", then just entering not the "mg", but an ".mg", and this isn't search but the normal way to go to items in trees, just be sure there isn't another "mg" before, and in order to be always sure of this, file names in my files begin with a ".", that's only there as a coding sign, in order to jump to ".mg", by entering ".mg", or to OPEN the mg file when I press "enter" on such a ".mg" entry.

So you see, there is a lot of coding and code-checking going on behind the scenes, and a lot of working on strings, but on the surface, it's more than easy, SLICK TO THE EXTREME.

And in fact, I just decided to NOT buy GyroQ, in view of the fact that there's isn't but 20 such codes you can do there. By AHK, I can do the same, not as pretty, but with much more functionality, much more codes to be processed, as I detailed above.

Up to know, I had just elaborate creating-new-items-exactly-where-I-want macros for importing clippings from IE8, but it's more than easy to do just the same for ideas to be imported into multiple MM maps - or into your various UR sub-branches.

III

Oh, and for that, YOU SHOULD UPDATE TO UR VERSION 5 !

Because with this update, you'll get 200 favorites instead of just some, and if I were you, to write the according UR macros, I'd do it with jumping to favorites! 100 inboxes, 100 favorites left for other purposes.

WARNING, though: Once you'll create AHK macros, YOU'LL NEVER STOP !


EDIT : Oh, important detail, I forgot: Of course, in II, when the entry dialog is displayed, the screen will have changed to my IMS (it will revert to IE8 later on), so that I can SEE which one is the current file, and the current item there, when I do my entry (perhaps coded accordingly, or not), so I never must decide on these in the dark!

AND : You will have got that the interest of "coding" (those leading ".", ",", etc.) is to avoid those amateurishly-designed dialogs that force the user to click on several checkboxes, buttons, and so on: Worse, if it's checkboxes, you don't even know beforehand at which state they are at any given moment, so the user has to check, to act his mouse, perhaps on 2 or 3 elements within the box - all this is amateurish rubbish - and the GyroQ people HAVE GOT THIS, and do it a much better way, as I do. Just their SCOPE is too limited, 20 codes for similar level-1 target items within only ONE pre-selected map isn't enough, when you could have various targets in multiple maps, for the same "price" (meaning, there isn't any additional coding difficulty for the developer, but it would make a big enhancement for the user: hence my, again, doing it by AHK).

AND : It seems that Poma 2, and hence Poma 3 (not speaking of Poma1), in spite of the 78 pages of User Manual, only can extract attributes lists for ONE attribute in a row, not for a combination of 2 or 3. But again, even that, having things together by one attribute, in a clickable (and I hope, exportable??? YES YES YES!!!) list, that might be graphically spread over (remember, you need the big-map, since no assembling over different maps!) 1,200 or 2,000 items, is a treat, comparing to what the competition delivers.

schferk 11-26-2012 10:43 PM

Miscellanea

I

In order to make this perfectly clear, I do NOT advocate putting your reference material into any mm sw (you can read such crazy advice in the web); remember they say "if all you have got is a hammer, all your problems appear to be nails" (or something like that); the problem is twofold: mm sw is unsuited for reference material; on the other hand, IMS' are not exactly unsuited for planning, idea finding, etc., but there might be better tools to do that.

II

That Gyronix do NOT allow you downloading any (15 day) trial sw with a disposable mail account but manually check for the validity of your data - the reason why I never trialled that thing. But now, I found a download address that functions direct, without giving them your info first:

http://www.gyronix.com/fulldownloads.php

The "Results Manager" there is expensive and does NOT seem to do what I want (?), it manages multiple pages, but it seems to be sorts of a data-pushing tool for serving a "dashboard" - will perhaps have a look, but it seems more to be a PM thing (and an ugly one for that) - as said above, and as with MM as a depository for stored data, many people out there try to convince you to use MM for just everything, and of course for PM, and the RM seems to be the thing that would help you in doing that (badly).

As for the "DecisionMill 3", well, version 2 seems to have been at 50 bucks, whilst v. 3 is 290 bucks or such... (but since I know now how to download all this stuff, why not trialling?)

Whilst I'm positive of scripting for my IMS, to tell the truth, I don't know at this point how to do the respective macros for MM (should search for the MM "programming" reference or such) - so after all, I'll perhaps run GyroQ in parallel with my similar AHK macros for the IMS. And here's the good new:

At this time, you can buy (standard = "essential") GyroQ for about about 16 bucks (9 English pounds plus vat, to be precise, which is a steal), incl. vat (instead of 29 bucks plus vat), here:

http://www.murge.com/products/mindMa...oq/pricing.asp

The only quirk here is, payment by google (!) is mandatory (so I will have to create a google account just for that, then forget about that account and delete all possible cookies and such).

III

And finally, there also is "Mind Map Navigator", for about 50 bucks (for MM 7 and 8 which don't have a native outline, but for just 9 or 11 bucks for MM 9 and later, which DO have these native outlines), and which does an outline... but from ALL open MM maps - could become convoluted? If I want 1,800 items in a row, I use my IMS, right?

But then, it also searches over all open MM maps, and gives a result table - which makes me wonder if there is a viable possibility to have neat and quick results with this when you do a global search for "tags" within the items (meaning at the end of the "title" or of the "text" which, remember, is technically the same here in MM items), perhaps in the form .ap .xt or #2 #tp or whatever.

Remember here that you need an external search tool like dtsearch if you want to do the same with several db's in UR, e.g., so this way of pseudo-3-dimensionality would perhaps be acceptable, especially in light of the fact that here you could have such functionality with multiple maps, whereas Power Markers (external or now native in MM) will always force you to build up a monster map and then handle that; connected, multiple maps are so much neater, and so I have high hopes in "MMNforMM" before having trialled it at least (and no need for illegal continuous use of defunct trial sw either).

P.S. Looking forward to use GyroQ, will be a joy I'm sure! And will result in even lower fuss in your way of putting down your ideas, meaning that you'll put it there even when, for the fuss of switching to your IMS and back, you would probably not save an idea "too little to justify the effort" - which means, the barrier is lowered, and hence your "flow" is increased... even for the better ideas. What I mean is, the more it is easy to store even minor ideas, i.e. EVERY possible idea, the more likely it will become that even the better ideas will come much more easy.

schferk 11-27-2012 12:37 PM

SORRY for having mislead you (and new insight into TheBrain).

Forget my musings about mm "big-maps", about Power Markers, and about MM 11 being worth its price in view of it having Poma integrated; as I already said, any "real clone" solution that's not going trans-maps is worthless, too.

In fact, I didn't try big-maps, I only imagined them, in order to become Poma (or MM 11's integrated Poma) a workable work-around - forget it.

When you imagine big-maps containing 1, 2, 3 dozen of "virtual maps", don't fall into my misconception to imagine them as big concept maps / cognitive maps, with their perhaps 1, 2, 3 dozen of planitary sub-system: I had those pictures in my mind, also PB/TB, so my mistake to explain to you that your level 1 items could replace my level 0 items - in the mm tools I know, they can NOT.

In fact, in an mm (correct me if I'm wrong), only the one 0 level item then gets radial children, whilst any level from 1 down gets children not in the carpet, but in the rug direction, i.e. you'll get the W/O kind of descendants, left-to right or right-to left, there's NO multiple sun systems.

But we convened, if I dare say, that mm's idea / main advantage is RADIAL representation of factors, points, details (and I said that this works so well, might be so because such graphics trigger similar "physically working maps" in our brain tissue), hence of NOT representing them in a false sequence, as in sequential text or in W/O diagrams ("false" not meaning that for programmational top-down developments (but form them only), W/O would be wrong) -

and then, if it were otherwise, millions of people out there would use b-liner, whilst in fact (or from what Mindjet say), millions of people out there use MM alone (as said, they have numerous advantageous university licenses, making MM free for such students, and that greatly helps in creating the real big numers - but fact is, plenty of corporations use MM alone, whilst b-liner doesn't even has got the necessary money to debug for the bugs you bring to their attention).

This meaning, no way to do a big-map in MM or elsewhere, since your poor sw (Poma, Poma integrated into MM 2012 and 11) will then be able to list those items sharing this attribute, but you won't have virtual mm maps to work in, it's just 20 or so of W/O diagrams, not 20 or so mm maps.

This meaning, very clearly, MJ bought the WRONG add-in: Yes, the prettier one, but not a functional one - any mm map becoming big enough to make "necessary" such (one-map-only) add-ins as Poma, are misconceptions in themselves, to begin with!

In other words, BREAK DOWN mm maps, again and again and again, and THEN they will become most useful for you!

...

schferk 11-27-2012 12:38 PM

(...)

Sideline: PB, now TB, PRESERVES the "multiple suns" with their respective orbital systems (whilst the mm big-map does NOT do that, as we've come to see). I'm very sure now that it's THIS factor which is behind the not-neglectable interest that TB has met with the general public - so I'm all the more so astonished that this usp does not seem to have been communicated before, neither by them, not by their followers (I've read much of their material and much of what has in been said in their forum, but preservation of (more or less) radial representation when looking at virtual sub-maps there has never come by - did I miss the corresponding parts?).

But it occurs to me that the free version of TB doesn't offer some graphic representationional alternatives on the micro level that the pro version offers indeed, which seems to strongly indicate that the developers of TB know exactly where their usp is, even though they don't to seem be eager to communicate it - as for their propaganda, they do their monster maps, again and again, in full, i.e. present you with chaos, when in fact, it's the cutting down (and what you see then) that might be the real - potential - advantage of their product.

In fact, TB is NOT that good, in my experience, at separating those "virtual micro maps", AND at displaying them in a really good way (and stable, i.e. next time you show that micro-map, it should look exactly the same, without your needing to do manual tweaking for that: the other big advantage of mm tools!). I must say that in my past trialling TB, I had not turned my attention to this - also because I never had a big-map there to trial on (!), since unfortunately, they are clearly NOT interested in getting new customers (that would of course need bring their existing material with them, i.e. would need to import it into their future TB monster-map) - even their reactions to askings for better import facilitites clearly show this.

My overall impression with TB is, they did NOT yet resolve the problem how to do interconnections (no, not even in TB 7, where they made another try at this), and they did NOT resolve the problem how to "list" those "micro-maps" for immediate access of them: Of course, TB allows for having ANY item as the level-0 item of such a micro-map, but it's exactly this "too much plasticicity" that makes TB a PERMANENTLY UNSTABLE representation of your material and of your problems to solve.

A better TB way would be to have (why not by a "PM" tree?!) standard "lists of views" (that must remain stable!), and into which you could enter any such item, becoming such a "view" = a stable micro-map.

These micro-maps must show links to other parts / other micro-maps / or simply to the TB "cloud" (meaning "somewhere" within the TB monster-map), as non-introding nodes working as links, but without everything "behind" those, and it would be a very good idea to have those links automatically showing, near them and in a minor font, their (perhaps multiple) "parents" (and why not making those clickable, too?) - but beware, it would be ONE such item, visible on the screen, and then any additional info of that "out-link" (= out of the current stable micro-map) as (rather minuscule) info as you'd have in "commentaries" and such in mm tools, i.e. further possible link "offers" by TB should be non-intrusive (whilst, if I'm not mistaken, TB currently shows such "further links" as additional, normal items, together with the respective connect lines, and this, of course, unacceptably bloats your present "stable micro-map".

In other words, as long as such "micro-maps" are not automatically graphically rendered in order to emulate their counterparts in mm, i.e. separate micro-maps there, but are just raw subsets of a monster-map, with "out-links going anywhere", users are well advised to stay with their collection of mm maps instead - and problably with their collection of MM maps, MM allowing for MNforMM, whilst most other mm sw don't have such integration as a work-around for not having native trans-map listing by attributes (let alone trans-map cloning).

(I know TB has rather good searching, but that cannot help, they're not allowed to rely on search, in order to do better conceptual work. It goes without saying that what I've got in mind, is perfect 3-dimensionality, too: Why not have such "stable micro-maps" with DIFFERENT sets of items, belonging there, in one scenario, and with some items considered as "outlinks-only", whilst in another map, and with the same "paren", what was "outlink-only" in the first map, becomes the legitimate content of the micro-map in question, whilst other items / sub-branches are cut out, not leaving but the outlink alone. Automation of such functionality (= by attributes, etc.) would be more than difficult, but that's not even necessary here:

For the time being, just make the TB developers introduce semi-automated functionality for "clipping" such branches, and for "pulling-up" others, in order to first (manually, but quickly) "make" your respective micro-map, AND then, for "storing" these, so that whenever you go to such a map, it will be presented in the form you've shaped it into - and that would also imply a durable spatial representation. Then, whenever you add something "possibly relevant" to such "solid micro-maps", rather easy, technically: Every new element that's a child of a "legitimate element" in the respective map, it'll be shown, and every new child of something that's represented as an outlink only, in a given map, it'll not shown here, of course.)

People who will really have followed what I've presented here, will know by now that I consider all those "collapsing ways" (= cutting at the bottom = "hiding the details") of "presenting things in manageable sets" as a minor way that's only useful for some uses, whilst I advocate, for real working, the opposite way, which is "clipping above", i.e. showing all detail (except when they get too lengthy and might be put into external files, external "items", or just "note fields"), but then, have multiple, easily accessible, and easily "creatable" sets of such detailed views - and I advocate much better semi-automatics for your assembling disparate items into new such sub-sets (and then, their quick manual trimming (or even enlarging in order to pull in more items)). As I said elsewhere, TB is at least trying a litttle bit, but not trying enough here, and worse, they don't seem to be "open" for advice / collaboration. And as said elsewhere, there is AI, for one, but also, we should try to enhance not only artifical enhancement of HUMAN intelligence. TB as it is would be a good start, but there's a lot work to be done.

And remember, all what I've said here, is about the planning / synthesizing and the analyzing work: I do NOT consider TB a possible total-reference-and-archive db, just as I don't consider mm tools such a thing: UR is perfect for this.

(Also, allow a short clarification: that German organization advisor I spoke of, in reality, she advocates THREE sets of data (I'm pastiching here): that "thinking data" above, then "reference data" by what she understands something like data which has often to be looked up", and then, the bulk, the archive(d) data (I'm writing from memory so cannot claim to portray her system correctly here). I never was fond of such 3-part systems since at any moment, a lot of "archive" data is - or should be!!! - reference material, hence the 2-data-set system I'm after: "Work" - and then links to "material", be it material that you consult three times an hour, or just once in two years - of course, there would be differences in accessibility... besides, which could be half-automatted, the system bringing material you often need, "nearer" to you, whilst withdrawing, step by step, accessibility-wise, material you don't need as often (any more) - but this a totally new subject, complicating things another time.)

Off-topic: Another new info for me: Copernicus wasn't first, a certain "Aristarchus of Samos" being the man (or even somebody else, gone with History) - cf. wikipedia unter "heliocentrism": tremendously fascinating article there!).

TB users are invited to link here, from their forum.

As for me, I now will try to make that "MNforMM" working for me, since my intuition to preserve my multiple micro-maps was right, as I've shown here. MJ would be well-advised to have some thinking in the directions broached above.

MM users are thus invited to link here, from their forum, too.




EDIT : Re GyroQ
Sorry, I had made a mistake in my reading the Essential vs. Prof. comparison table. My wishful thinking misleading my vision: Creating your own codes being the last of the "essential" checks. Now, checking again before buying, I see it's the first of the "prof." checks. In view of the numerous deficiencies of this tool (cf. above), the most important being that 20-codes limit for either version, I think I better do it within AHK, incl. instant access to my about 40 or so different maps from anywhere (impossible by GyroQ means anyway), at this time (and fast getting more). Even 29 pounds plus vat would have been a steal if it did what I want it to do, but not with only half of that, and then that risible 20-targets-only limit. Whilst AHK has accustomed me to not having any more limits to accept in what I'm doing, scripting-wise, and since MM allows for external scripting, the respective commands for docking new elements onto given level-1 items within one map must be listed somewhere, and then why not having a standard level-1 item "Inbox" in EVERY one of my MM maps, and send new ideas directly to those (provided they're not immediate-action ToDo's, of course).

schferk 11-29-2012 10:39 AM

GyroQ Update :

For non-programmers, it's impossible to access internal MM commands (whilst for programmers, there are ways). On the other hand, GyroQ (Prof only, "Essential" is worthless, so we speak about 49 bucks plus VAT here, but it's more than worth it) opens up a whole ecosystem around MM, by its integrated GyroActivator which is nothing other than a little macro language giving access to many internal MM commands you otherwise couldn't access by your own non-programming means, and which then can be triggered by the GryroQ dialog, or, in a much smoother way, by any (commercial or free) external macro / scripting tool (that you use for all your things anyway) that is able (that's the only, easy condition there) to do "launch program" commands.

In other words, you launch the little GyroQ scripts by your macro tool, e.g. AHK (or even text expander tools), where you assign kb shortcuts or special trigger words to commands like

PathOfGyroQ.exe "NameOfYourGyroQScript"

That's all. So you buy GyroQ Prof in order to get the underlying GyroActivator macro language, and then, you'll be able to do anything of what I said I'd like to do above, and much more, and it's up to you if you additionally use the "native" use of GyroQ, i.e. its above-described dialog on a regular basis, here and there, or even not at all.

You can download an about 90-page pdf that explains it all:

https://gyronix.zendesk.com/attachme...2-Help-Eng.pdf

But then, even better, under the url

http://www.activityowner.com

you'll get a splendid collection of scripts, tools, advice and help for that whole ecosystem that the developer has constructed around his GyroQ, and his ResultsManager (that costs a whopping 285 bucks plus VAT), but then, even what you'll find here around GyroQ, i.e. without having to buy the RM, is outstanding, incl. the (free) Outlinker tool, for connecting MM to MS Outlook, see also

www.outlinker.com

(Btw, I see there that armsys (who's also very active in this forum these days) has been knowning this GyroQ MM ecosystem for years, but then, I admit that it's only up to any person and his own decision, if he's going to share his knowledge that's clearly in the general interest, like I do, or if he's prefers to withheld any knowledge to himself, participating in fori in order to get even more info for himself, and more or less exclusively so. As said, I don't dare say the latter stance is criticizable in any way, even when I obviously have never shared it.)

So, it seems that MM, with the help of GyroQ Prof., could perhaps be made into a very smart DOUBLE use of being dashboard-AND-idea-collection system for UR, the former by means of UR's outstanding feature (in fact, there ain't so much competitors that make this available to you) of allowing deep links, and even for the latter, UR's deep linking feature would be very helpful it seems to me, whenever you just collect ideas within MM (i.e. avoid mixing-up of idea collection and dashboarding, with multiple linking), but have systematically a link from the source item of these MM idea maps to the corresponding (and mostly rather high-or intermediate-level there) UR items.

I'll certainly share my findings about smart interconnection between MM and UR, as I will have possibly found them in some weeks or some months, and this independently from the fact that there obviously are long-time MM-GyroQ-UR users (neither of which I am) who technically could have shared their respective smart hints, from their thorough experience with such a combination, years ago.

Anyway, it seems to me that a smartly devised MM-UR-Outlook (with a little help by Gyronix, thru 49 bucks) interactive workflow, being it within a small network or being it single-user only, clearly must have the utmost potential for your productivity; it would then be time that UR did a little homework to be on par within such an extraordinary combi.

(In theory, the same could be done with other such mm tools, but then, the missing link would be a tool like GyroQ - which clearly shows the exceptional benefits of a (marketing-leader) sw around which there has been developed an ecosystem of its own (similar to Word, Excel, Outlook, Access, sql db's, etc.).

schferk 11-29-2012 02:16 PM

On ResultsManager and integration in general

In some post above, I think I said that RM was "ugly". That's not really true. The really ugly screenshots are right on their introductory page for RM, but squeeze too many different things / several real screenshots into just some "screen" there, and that doesn't seem to be a realistic representation of the thing (see below where in 70 minutes I did not see ANY such cramped & divided screen), so they harm their own marketing interests by seemingly "false representation". (EDIT : In fact I had been mislead by too a tiny and not enlargeable screenshot of theirs, that showed a screen cluttered with FIVE minuscule windows each representing another part of what RM is able of.)

Another thing is that RM makes ample use of the MM subbranch borders which I don't find pretty and which always remind my of ugly address tags for your luggage.

I have visioned a 70 min. "webinar" on RM here

http://www.gyronix.com/webinars/box/gtdsg0210/

and can now say that RM is far from being as "technical" as I had thought (= pulling up number and such), but does "real" PM within MM, but in a very "macro" way, i.e. the developer himself recommends doing the "global update" just two times a day, in the morning and then after lunch, because then, a bunch of macros start, needing their time to complete, and doing a lot of "gathering anew, again and again" and "re-creating all your consolidation stuff from scratch every time" (= I suppose this, no diffamation intended if I'm totally wrong here), so if I'm right (and I seem to be, from the above), MM (and with its lack of native clones, hence the necessity to build up "virtual clones" by just copying and building up the same things, again and again and again, while you wait for this crazy "external macros doing their duty" to come to an end) is, technically-wise, certainly not the PM tool of your choice if doing heavy PM work.

On the other hand, that MM-and-RM combi is able (with the above limitations) to deploy PM even to little groups, let'ts say 5 or 8 people, in a more or less interactive way, with personnalized views for the different group members (but as for real-time updating of consolidations of gathered data, I maintain my doubts, for the time being). So, let's remember UR's network capabilities here, and envision, as I said before, possible MM-UR integration, even for groups / little networks!

As said before, the whole RM tool seems to be a triggered-macro system, but an incredibly sophisticated one, and as such it seems to be no "real native sw" if I dare say, but an enormous (and very complicated and very smart) work-around - but then, you'd wish, at any moment, that all this elaborate functionality it provides, should be natively come from somewhere, meaning the real-time updating of every little bit that should be updated, instead of the seemingly building-up from scratch of the needed dashboards and such, two times a day, and not really knowing the state of your system when it comes to the details, in-between, and it's evident that these probs get worse with every collaborator who's joining the network.

AND, of course, RM is for MM-PM integration only, and there does not seem to be any connectivity to further needs, e.g. having the 100,000 or so data items within your UR db - also made available to anyone in the network, by UR's means, but then, how to administered within that MM PM system? Meaning, there would be a lot of further scripting be needed to be done, by the GyroQ functionality and on top of what RM delivers, with lots of possible problems from the interaction of such threads being triggered from several such external tools, all the more so within a network.

On the other hand, much of the RM functionality could be "mirrored" / replicated by GyroQ scripts, i.e. if there are things that RM does, and you would like your integrated system to do these, GyroQ scripts or a set of such scripts could do this (cf. the incredible MindReader tool constructed from such scripts, and also available for free at the above-mentioned activityowner site - I had just inadvertently left out the mention of their MR above; and another detail: that "how to get out a max of Gyronix products" site is maintained by sombody else, not by Gyronix, well, that's it's an absolutely outstanding resource, I said that before!).

I would have liked to tell you here, even RM is well worth it, but besides from the considerations above, there's another factor that makes me neither wanting to promote it, nor do I have the intention to buy it, at this time. Gyronix has made a formidable effort there, and for what it does, RM (not to be mixed-up with MR) should normally be "worth" the price. BUT: In the cited webinar, the developer 2 or 3 times (i.e. at least at about 48'45" and 55'00") shows and comments functionality in HIS version of RM, which are NOT included in the version he sells!

In fact, he mentions that these are available only to his customers who pay for his consulting services, and on their site, I must read that the consulting services (of the developer himself at least, don't know if there are also less expensive ones) are 700 bucks for 2 hours, see for yourself:

https://gyronix.infusionsoft.com/app...l?productId=59

What would you see if kinook told us that yes, there IS the intermediate consolidation level (that I've been asking for in this forum) in a special version of UR, as is trans-UR-db search and other goodies, but that's special version available only to kinook's consulting biz customers? Well, we all would have left the product, I suppose, and this forum would be dead, right? (For clarification: There is a standard, and a prof. RM, but the developer in the webinar mentions the price, 285 bucks, so this is NOT a misunderstanding on my side, the prof. RM having these features when only the standard version does not: No, he clearly states these feature are for those high-value customers only, and you bet I'd be very unhappy with that if I ever layed out 285 bucks plus vat for the crippled "prof." version.)

So, I think I'll do lots of GyroQ scripting instead, but interactively MM-MM, for - light (and, at this time, 1-person) - "PM", and for MM-UR and such (while having a close eye on the functional point of intersection, i.e. the "distribution" of "what should be done in MM, and what better be done within the UR / bulk info material part of the overall system?". The webinar doesn't address the question of where and how to stock the "material" and how to address it from that RM system, but then, we wouldn't be here in the UR forum if that wasn't the core question in our workflow.

Anyway, there's another aspect to this: Their product "DecisionMill" (297 bucks plus vat) should have been integrated into RM, instead of being sold separately, or, more precisely:

I strongly advocate integration of PM into decision making and vice versa, meaning both should be an integrated, iterative process.

E.g., you often must dive into a lot of detail, i.e. into a lot of "PM" style planning, in order to assez the financial (= inherent costs) and / or technical feasibility of parts of your projects, and so, your decision making depends on the realization = "PM" part, and vice versa: within the PM, there will be lots of alternatives, viable or not, and it's advisable to trigger decision-making techniques re the more important of them at least, since it could save lots of ressources (manpower, money, etc.).

In fact, the absence of both integrated decision-making features and "stuff storage" (or sophisticated linking functionality for the latter) in traditional PM tools is a predominant reason many people do PM in outliners and such, instead of trying to organize themselves within the (more specific, but otherwise twofold insufficiant) functionality of PM or PM-related sw.

schferk 11-30-2012 09:23 PM

armsys asks me in another thread : "Have you actually ever exercised due diligence in experimenting with products before publishing your magnificent manifestos here? For example, for RM, have you actually tested your RM dashboard(s) with topics/tasks embedded in 30 or more respective mission-critical mindmaps?"

I did not even install the trial, and I never pretended to have done so, but I'm VERY interested in replicating that part of its functionality that'd be sensible to have available in order to overcome the problem that no MM prog has got multi-map clones - as has no outlining prog either, btw.

And from what I see, it's perfectly possible to have such rather simple macros, for rather simple functionality, i.e. you might have 50 maps, where many items are "ToDo's", of different kinds. So what to do, in this simple scenario? You work on your topic maps, but you mark items that should be "shuffled up" into the different dashboards - 1 dashboard for 1 kind of "ToDo's", to begin with; also, combinations could be processed, later, with just a little bit additional scripting.

You "mark" them, I say. Well, this has to be done, and undone, fast. MM provides, among many more (but not so simply accessible) ways of marking, two ranges of symbol markers, "priority" 1 to 9, by shift-control-1...9 (the '^0 deleting a marker 1-8 that's there) - but you could use 1,2,3 for priority, and 4 to 9 for any other classification, e.g. Then, there are many more symbol markers that ain't prefigured, but that you assign yourself to ^1...^9 (the ^0 deleting, again) before using them - that gives you 18 such markers for a start, and if that's not enough, you then would add text markers, background colors, or other.

Sideline: As I said before, it's all about macro-driven, external "up-shuffling", i.e. copying these items into your dashboards that will be re-built again and again; in the web, people say that they wait for 45 min. for this being done - which means to me, it's all nothing but a technically primitive (even when highly-complicated, from the programmer's pov) work-around, so I doubt that such a system is really ready to fulfill the task armsys would like it to fulfill; I think real PM should not rely on outdated data the updating of which demands 45 min., with the system closed down for any use during this wait while rebuilding "everything further up" from scratch.

But I seriously think that before we get real clones - updated in real-time -, for less demanding, not too complicated 1-person uses, a macro system integrating multiple MM maps into dashboards could be viable, by lack of a better solution here; as explained, the use of an external applic building up, trans-maps, lists of such marked items, thus aggregating them into a list, by search, is an alternative - and also not real-time - solution, which does not deliver dashboards, but forces you to do the same searches for these (ToDo- and other) markers, again and again - that's why my preference goes to a very simplified and self-written RM system.

Side-line: Whilst for MM, you need an external add-in in order to build up a tree comprising the respective trees of several / multiple maps, it's VM that has got such a trans-map tree view (visible all the time, by option) in-built - but it does NOT seem to me that it will give you item selections there, by markers (will have to check this since that would make it a ready-for-use system, without dashboards, but with a little scripting...

Back to MM: What I've in mind, then, is simply shuffling up of marked items, by macro, into the respective dashboard, and THE MOMENT I MARK THEM. I.e. I wouldn't do '^4, e.g., for a given item within any of my working maps, but would trigger a macro that would do the '^4, but also copy the item into the "dashboard 4" map - this is perfectly possible under condition that you always load all the dashboard maps, so that they are available in memory, for receiving such operations.

On the other hand, whenever I delete a marker (!) of an item in any map, a macro would delete the copy (!) of that item from the respective dashboard map. And, whenever I delete an item (!) from any of the dashboards, a macro would delete the respective marker (!) of the original of that item in the respective map

- well, it's possible that such two-way processing is too complicated or cannot be realized, from lack of a command which would be necessary for this macro to work, within the macro language that GyroQ makes available. Then, I would indeed be in the same situation as the RM users are who need to let build RM up the dashboards, from scratch, once or twice a day: of course, a script to build these dashboards up in a row

(and not bit by bit, in real time, whenever you change a marker or a marked item

(in fact, another macro would be to change the text of the item in the dashboard, when you change the text of a marked item in a work-map; the other way round, again, there might be probs),

by checking every item, for markers, in a non-dashboard map, and then processing it accordingly, doesn't present any technical problem, but of course is awkward by the waiting time it imposes upon the user.

Sideline: Updating dashboard items from changes in "originals" is easy, since the marker of the "original" would identify the respective dashboard map (abstraction being done here from any possible combis, of course, but that could be processed sequentially, one marker a time); the other way round, there could be a prob since there isn't any marker to identify the "original" 's map (= where to look for the item to be updated "downwards", and so, it would be possible that downward-updating is impossible or asks for too much processing power (i.e. e.g. by searching all maps for that item, by content).

You see here that from a technical pov, it's really pc-stone-age processing of data, so let's hope there will be trans-map clones some day: If you have to do such amounts of external scripting for simple commands (remember, if there were clones, any of these items anywhere could be identified / addressed by unique identifier numbers, to begin with), there simply isn't enough internal code that has been done, and that's not good. What I mean is, from a technical pov, there's a tremendous difference between internal functionality and heavy external scripting: 45 min. wait time for updating your data, e.g.

schferk 12-01-2012 03:22 PM

I

In another thread, armsys states, "Apparently you missed the answer to your oft-mentioned RM vs. UR."
Well, I don't think so, and it's not RM vs. UR, it's MM _A_N_D_ UR, but then, MM plus some scripting, be it provided by RM or by macros or your own, and it's about holding it as simple as possible since this external scripting on MM quickly gets outrageously un-handy for the "end user", by blowing-up all those coffee brakes he's forced to get whenever he wants his data updated.

(Sideline: from github.com: "VimOutliner is an outline processor with many of the same features as Grandview, More, Thinktank, Ecco, etc. Features include tree expand/collapse, tree promotion/demotion, level sensitive colors, INTEROUTLINE LINKING, and body text." (my markup) - UR does it, too, as we know - but what about simplifying the process necessary to do such a link? And what about updating such links when necessary?)

So, from a workflow pov, it's evident that anybody should do a max within a good PIM like UR, and a minimum only within additional sw that lacks even basic features, and where this absence then makes necessary (outstanding but bloated, hence the coffee brake) external scripting.

On the other hand, my new ideas for any given prob / area of a given project (and having their own MM map) have tripled, from what I got when I exclusively relied upon my outliner-only setting some months ago: As said before, it seems to be the compactness of items in lists / trees in list form that in outliners PREVENTS, more or less, new ideas coming to you for such a given subtree,

whereas to the same set of existing items, also technically in tree form (only), but spread in all directions, the "de-compacting" effect of non-bloated mm maps works often wonders.

EDIT: If you permit this allegory: It seems that the compactness of items within grouped lists (lists in textform, in outlines) blocks possible new ideas / elements / your associative thinking that makes you find new elements that'd belong here though, whilst the free space - IF there is enough free, white space that is! - within an mm map virtually attracts these new elements virtually FALLING IN PLACE THERE, just like a magnet would attract bits of iron. In order for this happening, you must see the map, hence my 2-screen set-up: Before me, the IMS, and to the left, any MM map to which I need further ideas or new elements helping to resolve the central problem. Btw, the same thing does NOT function, for me, with print-outs: the map must be backlit and seemingly await your entering data - in direct comparison, a print-out, probably because not appearing "a thing in the making" anymore, seems more or less "dead" and "unwilling" to receive new ideas, just as lists (even on screen) do. So there is certainly a big effect "white, backlit space eager to be filled-up in real-time", that cannot be replicated by a print-out, independantly of the frequence of your entering added handwritten data into the original file and print this out anew.

(EDIT STILL) Sideline: The set-up above isn't invariable: Whenever I grasp lots of clippings from the web, into my IMS, that's switched to the left, and in front of me appears my browser. But that browser, normally, toggles with the MM maps in the screen to my left, i.e. I'm working on something in my IMS, in front of my, and the browser is secondary, for looking up things, here and there (just as my other secondary tools are: file manager, calculator, dictionary) - so, secondary screen: default use, any MM map, or other uses whenever I need a screen for any applic; primal screen: IMS, or, whenever I work some time in my browser, browser and IMS are switched. But to tell you the truth, since my two screens get the browser, the IMS and the "current" MM map to hold, and I make frequent use of these secondary tools above and more... next time, I'll see that I get a mini pc (instead of my numerous notebooks), with a THREE-screen graphics card - there's always space on my right, waiting for the third screen ! (I trigger and switch all these with additional keys; if I had to do it by Alt-F4, oh my!)

Btw, such clones would not only be needed in order to replace the currently necessary (RM-style-of) "shuffling items up into the dashboards", but also in order to have cloned items in several of your "second-level maps", i.e. your working maps, one aspect of your projects playing a role in several (just otherwise more or less self-contained) contexts - for me, this seems to be the most urgent thing to implement in mm sw (and I explained above that intermap item cloning is certainly not a technical problem.

Sideline: People in mm-related fori sometimes complain about their NOT finding solutions to problems, etc., within their mm maps, and whenever they describe their maps a little bit, it becomes evident that they have NOT segregated the "difficult parts" there into new and additional "work maps" (the provisional-only term of "work map" indicating the opposition to any kind of "aggregation map" in my terminology), whilst that is the clue in mm:

You cannot expect an mm producing better-than-outlining results when you leave it cluttered and leave it a mess: One matter, one map, in order for mm to become really benefiary! "One matter" consisting of a bunch of little things / details belonging together, of course, and they even SHOULD be kept together, in a group of not more than 30, 40 items (which works for me, perhaps even 60-items maps will work for you, but then, you'd be well advised to also try not-so-crowded maps and see if those will even work better for you then). But as soon as a sub-branch in your little map will become too big, OR PROBLEMATIC !!!, make it an additional, for heaven's sake! If you don't, mm will NOT help you to get better results from your work, than you'd get from an outline.

schferk 12-01-2012 03:23 PM

II

And armsys says there, ""Order" appears 6 times in your above manifesto. IMHO, on the contrary, UR never promotes order per se. UR is an unstructured database, save some basic attributes."
Wrong again. In fact, outliners have been invented to overcome the unstructured db paradigm (= technical realization of piles of paper), promoted e.g. by askSam (but which introduced virtual trees built up on-the-fly, from 6.0 or 6.1 on, and if development had been continued from there, AS would be THE ONE THING today, besides which everything else would pale), and where there is some sort of "order", by the sequence of the sheets of paper = records in the db, but where it's virtually impossible to get some benefit of this order (but where it's extremely hard work to even maintain that order to get even that minute advantage from it, hence "searching" instead of even bothering with the records' / sheets' order.

Outlining, on the other hand - and I've said all this in another forum or even here -, is the electronic way of a) making lists of your sheets, to help you to order them, of b) providing separator sheets (with lists of which sheets lay under the respective separator sheet, and, thanks to the comp power, these lists don't have to be maintained by hand!) in order to make big groups, in order to make these groups manageable, i.e. it cuts up your list of 10,000 items into 100 lists of 100 items, and c) of multiplying this separator sheets into such of several levels - all this has been done, for centuries, with sheets of paper and separator sheets of several color (or paper vs. cardboard, broad paper slips vs. more narrow ones, etc.), or with paper tabs / slips (positioned in more-or-less index-positions, with notes further indexing, etc. - the paper indexes in those lever files some of us always use, are nothing more than a further development of paper slips of all sorts in order to make 10,000 sheets of paper "manageable" even in those pre-comp and pre-lever-files worlds; don't forget, also, cabinet cupboards, with different compartments there being the first level of sorting, and then the paper slips, i.e. the separator sheets, etc. - all these were in use for centuries, and then only came index cards and indexed lever files (where the splitting up into different lever files and the positioning of these onto different shelves are also higher-level groupings / ordering.

Today, with the pc, all this handling and updating has been extremely simplified, also with the pc-generated possibility of duplicating (ok, Xerox was first, but before photocopying, there was hand-written or no copying (if you permit that I leave out the intermediate carbon paper stage) but only SOME of these progs offer cloning, the next step in doc M since it's automatted updating of the copied items.

Now, to advocate that "UR never promotes order per se" is ridiculous, since if you were right, UR today would appear just like AS 1990, when in fact, the CORE idea behind sw of this kind is to put a GROUPING interface upon a flat db (or upon a monster text file), in order to make things accessible NOT only by search (= the db paradigm), but BY CONTEXT (= by ONE of perhaps several possible contexts, i.e., to begin with, and then only come possibly cloning, attributes / tags, or tree-building on-the-fly as in current AS).

So there is a "db" paradigm, and many different db's all compete with their respective sophisticating of search-based functionality; whereas very specialized db's like AS (from 6 on) or UR (from start on) introduce a whole new paradigm: their db's are the data repository only, whereas

IT'S ALL IN THE TREE

and its respective sophistication (seen this way, even AS today is a hybrid, but UR belongs clearly to the it's-all-in-the-tree kind).

Sideline: There has been a discussion spreading from a famous article "outlines might be harmful" or something like that (and pretending that outline use promotes bad, hierarchical thinking, whereas the real thing, the democratic thing, would be wikis (hahaha, written probably by one of those CT advocates that plaster all possible places these last months)). That's rubbish since it supposes the dumbest possible use of outlines, where the user didn't grasp the idea that outlining is far less for subordination and far more for grouping, and then, for grouping of the groupings. Ok, this appears to be "hierarchical" organisation, but it's all about

holding siblings and nephews together,

and disposing of a technical quick-access overlay that holds it all together - why would I always promote, "hold it all as flat as it gets! And when in doubt, use separator lines, instead of another level down there"?

schferk 12-01-2012 03:24 PM

III

So, UR isn't a "db", UR is a very sophisticated IMS, using a db as its data repository. But as said in I, there is a prob: For thinking, for deciding, for organizing, i.e. in the sense of finding solutions to little and big probs, ANY outline-only sw is substandard vàv mm sw, and on the other hand, mm software doesn't even handle inter-file clones, let alone that no existing mm sw seems to be able to work as a viable front-end to a big-data repository (sideline : In the web, you can find testimonials from TB users who say, even monster maps with TB work rather ok, but whenever you try to make extensive use of TB's (substandard anyhow) note fields, see what your db quickly becomes...).

So we have two situations here which gets us the third (and the fourth) one:

- Even if they get better and better (which is not the case at this moment), UR-like IMS's will never provide a real thinking-enhancement, except by integration of an mm component for displaying real subbranches of your tree, or even virtual subbranches of your tree, i.e. any clone (with his children, etc.) within an mm-displayed subtree must be treated, in the mm display, as if all these items were there, at their native position. Also, it must be possible to WORK upon that graphical representation, and any changes you'll make there, should be re-updated down to the tree device - I suppose that this is high-brow programming, but technically, there is no impossibility -

except for the fact that the mm component that allows for complete both-ways synching, will probably have to constructed first; I very much doubt there might be such a component out there at this time: Just compare MM and VM: In MM, there are shortcuts for "move up/down" (= within the siblings, and I use these commands about 60 times an hour!), and many more, whilst in VM, for moving an item, I'll have to use the mouse (and not speaking of the constant crashes here) - so, it's hardly believable that there might be any really sophisticated mm component anywhere, and if it only allows for the most basic functionality, and without reasonable hope to get ever much more than that, it would impair your inspiration, instead of making it proliferate.

- On the other hand, today, even with add-ons, MM is only so-so, whilst its competitors even don't get such add-ons, and even with interfile clones introduced someday somewhere, there is no real hope that any of these mm progs will ever provide stable "material" M for big-data.

- Hence my original idea, one year ago, to trigger interaction between an elaborate outline-style IMS, and a not-too-primitive (and possibly actively-developed, which is not really the case with VM, but of MM and perhaps others) mm sw, where both developers would make available as much of their respective functionality, to the other, whenever possible and sensible interaction is concerned.

- And since the petty jealousies of both IMS and mm developers seem to prevent such collaboration (in spite of the fact that it would be enormously beneficial for both developers, since it would, for the first, overcome the limitations of IMS's AND of mm sw - not speaking of the benefits for the user), my current musings how much interaction could be implemented into an interactive mm-IMS workflow by macro / scripting, and for a beginning, I muse about the possibilities within MM, whilst bearing in mind that in the end, perhaps some of the interaction MM basic-maps with MM aggregating-maps could / should be transferred to the interaction MM with IMS/UR.

But then, you absolutely NEED those basic, "work" maps in an mm sw, but you perhaps don't absolutely need those aggregation maps within the mm part of your workflow: Why not have your material within UR, then the possibility to export to a map - but then, with currently available means, the re-import into UR will be impossible! -, and then, the aggregation back in UR (on a higher level there)?

As said, this latter realization isn't possible with current UR, with current MM, hence my musing about doing (perhaps MUCH) more things within MM than I had initially planned... But then, deep links to the respective UR subtrees at least.

So:

If you want to generate better, more, even very easy-coming, ideas, you use any mm sw (but as stated above, amply shortkey-endowed sw makes much quicker and much more intuitive working than sw that forces you to over-use your mouse), and since manual synching with your data repository would be too error-prone, even if you can afford to employ an additional secretary for that, you must devise some interoperability between the two.

It could never be slick, with just external macros, but it could make better available, in some way, your data repository to your thinking and planning, as if you had two separate systems running apart.

So you see, it's all about the original topic, not about UR VERSUS mm (or UR vs. MM with RM). In my case, 100,000 items providing "content" would make this impossible to begin with. My theme is the optimized interaction of DATA with thinking, and unfortunately, there is nothing out there that even tries the very first steps of such interaction (except, indeed for that CT I abhor) - the reality is, it's even the opposite, and for which the non-integration of DecisionMill and RM, in order to sell them as two separate products, isn't but one of countless examples.

In a perfect world, it'd be kinook that mused about such things, and then telephoned to some mm sw developers. As for me, I cannot buy any such mm sw (I mean the rights, not a licence), just in order to then integrate an IMS into it, but that would be indeed what any mm sw developer should do in order to catch up with MM: Why not imagine an mm sw developer buying the IMS competence, instead of the other way round?

Anyway, I have to do with what is available for me, today, hence my musing about possible macros within MM at least, and then deep links to UR items or a competitor (no way with AO here, but then, a UR that isn't actively developed, hasn't got that much of attraction for me JUST for its deep links...).

One last word: I'm always speaking about 2-screen scenarii here; switching back and forth between UR and MM on the same screen isn't the thing to do - btw, that's the reason why all these pretty tries to introduce mm maps as navigational devices in web pages have been aborted: Either you got space for the navigation, or for the content, but not both. But we're power users here, hence my advice, buy a second screen (used, 30 bucks), and you'll never ever will do without such a set-up except on the road.

schferk 12-02-2012 04:02 PM

Just a short intermediate "result" (in conception, not in macroing):

We have seen from the above that MM does not present much inherent dashboard functionality or such, no clones, no 2-way links either ! Meaning if you outlink to another map, there isn't a link back or such info, "this map has been linked by...(follows list or something)".

We've also seen that external programming / scripting in order to "overcome" these missing functions, do NOT overcome them in real-time, but by "automatted but basically manual" macro processing building up the same things again and again. Worse, MM's competitors don't even have such add-ons to offer such work-arounds at least, but you strictly do without such functionality. (This last "info" is perhaps partly mistaken, there might be mm progs with better functionality, and I would be eager to hear from them.)

On the other hand, we've got some rare PIM's/IMS's that have much better functionality here, especially UR, or even, when you use some very primitive PIM, like AO, you always get the possibility to do your necessary back-and-forth within that.

Sideline: If your IMS doesn't offer links within the tree - which are absolutely necessary for any serious IM -, just do like I've explained here, use codes like .Filename, and have a (preferably AHK, for its strength and easy use) macro that "understands" ".Filename" is a link when you just press Enter with that tree entry being selected (with control-enter and such being alternative ways of opening such files if necessary or handy). (Sideline: Such "home-made links" are perfect if you even want to leave your current applic: contrary to most "native" links, they travel...!)

So, why considering mm maps as possible "Super level", when in fact, MM and other mm sw's don't offer the inherent native functionality that would make such use smooth and slick? Why not do this "very-first-level" M in your IMS, especially if it offers very smart (and even workgroup) functionality here that by "going mm" you'd be deliberately forego?

Which means that, as I said before for any other link, you should have IMS "dashboards", as my around 10 "a, c, d, i, m..." AO files, or as would be your about 10 UR tabs, each blocked to such an "intermediate", very high in the "hierarchy" positioned "a, c, d, i, m..." UR sub-branches. In fact, you should perhaps have a UR file, then just about 10 such "dashboard" entries in the first level, with anything else of your stuff "under" these headings - this also means, UR needs another pane, in the left top corner of the screen, with just some 20 entries at most (considering you would perhaps have other first-level entries, without them being the top entries for the respective bulk of material underneath), and beneath that first-level pane, you'd have your respective tree, so those a, c, d... or for whatever you might expand within their repective material bulks.

Within these a, c, d... UR dashboards, you'd have listed your respective mm maps, as file links, as for any other file link. You'd work within these level-1 UR parts, and you'd work within your respective mm maps in order to generate better ideas than you'd be able to do with all-UR means only, in the same way you'll certainly have a number of Excel, etc. files listed (and accessible from) there.

So there's certainly room for creating better interactivity between multiple (and in parts, overlapping) mm maps, AND links to UR items (in my current case, just to different AO files, no deep links here) there could be very helpful, in order to bring you further "material" (as said above) at your fingertips when doing "map-thinking", "material" in contrast to "considerations" and "details to consider" that all should be placed within your fine-grained mm maps.

And there is the problem how such mm maps, with all their "actionable" details that then should be "linked" in some way to the correspondent parts within your IMS, should actually be linked.

As said, the technical aspect is without problems, most mm applics offering outlinks, and UR offering to receive deep links (another IMS offering these is IM (also db-based, that's perhaps the technical clue in here, and why ordinary PIM's do NOT offer this function)).

But the prob is on the conceptual level: As said above: If you begin to plaster your "thinking maps" with links, the thinking-enhancing effect of such maps will go down to zero.

The real problem here is with "ToDo" processing: Many items in your mm maps remain "consideration items", but many others become ToDo's of all sorts (see above why I do NOT advocate that considerations / decision-making, and ToDo's should be separated into different maps), and if you do decision-making within your maps (what's highly advisable, for their thinking-enhancing), your ToDo's will be in those maps, whilst on the other hand, all the organization is within your IMS' traditional, it's "outlining" / PIM part (here: UR).

It will be fascinating to detect the sensible interoperational functionality here, interoperability NOT meaning "what macros are needed", to begin with, but it's all about, "how to DO this switching between mm and IMS (if all the necessary technical foundations / macros were there already)", from a smooth-and-minimized-effort workflow ideal pov.

At this time, and just for some provisional ideas: I'm musing about MM markers where one macro would set the marker and switch to UR where it would create a new item, together with a backlink (to the map at least; to the MM wouldn't be possible - but then, in UR, why not have a macro that follows the link to the map, AND would then search, within that map, the according item, in order to select it?), or about another macro that would, if there is a marker within MM, go to UR and open the respective sub-tree (be it for material or for ToDo contexts), and even for collaboration: Why not have a macro in MM (!) that triggers the respective delegation or inquiry within a UR workgroup?

And why not the same, triggering even, within the other person's part of UR, a macro that triggers creation of a new ToDo item within his respective MM map? All this is technically possible, and would share two characteristics: It would NOT be about establishing a new, parallel MM macro net, UR here, MM there, but MM would interact with that same person's UR, and the latter would then, whenever sensible, interact within the UR workgroup, in case even going so far as to trigger MM commands within the MM system of that collegue, and all core functionality would be realized by accessing UR's powerful features when in doubt, whilst the MM system would become (and remain) a "think machine", from which the necessary actions might be triggered, and prhaps, in parts, sort of a message board (bear in mind, thoughts there become ToDo's, so it'd be advisable that new ToDo's find their room within these graphics, and not end up within the UR tree, making your ToDo's splattered between MM maps and UR.

So there is some conceptional thinking to be done, with a little help from extensive trial and error.

But it wouldn't be but after such thorough experimentation that you could dare set up the specifications a possible (one-day integrated) UR mm component (or any other integrational feature set, in a possible collaboration UR - existing mm sw) should met.

So in the end, it's multiple MM "working maps" in order to find ideas, and two parallel dashboard systems, the UR dashboards, and the corresponding MM dashboards, and even those "working maps" have ToDo's, so there's chaos in perspective. (You see now why so many people out there try to make MM their unique M system - even if it's not suited to such a task, people live with the accompanying shortcomings in order to avoid hybrid systems.

Hence the very high interest to have an integrated mm module in UR indeed, since any such macros working hence and forth would otherwise mean, not smooth internal processing of an integrated system, but external macros emulating loads of manual manipulations - error-prone, time-consuming...

Whilst internal such functionality would mean, anything is just processed and synched in real time - could become something really smart.

With macroed manipulations as a means of prototyping only.

schferk 12-02-2012 09:16 PM

And yes, I'm aware that the previous post is inconsistent, dashboards with MM, and then in UR, and then in MM again: I'm in the groping stage.


Another thing: You can do legal case building / analyses (or whatever you might call it, I mean checking the facts, the legal dispositions, and to "synch" both, in a way that you come to the resolution of the case) with any outliner (or with b-liner), but I've never been happy with this, because the outlines went too deep (or when I tried to hold them flat, siblings instead of children got in my navigational way).

Today, I made a try within MM, with - as I had advocated above - the (tiny) details not hidden anymore, as with my legal outlines, but clearly visible within the map(s) - yes, for an a little elaborate case, you'll have to split up the main mm map possibly several times. My first reaction: It's a relief! My second discovery: It's much faster than in outlining, possible because of that visibility of the details, instead of just working with headline as in an outliner. (And, of course, MM's ability to shuffle around items / sub-branches with the keyboard, is enormously helpful in this.)

Sideline: I now understand better why the 1-pane outliner NoteMap (development halted, some bugs, might make you lose data as some people say) is marketed within a legal context, even if I abhor 1-pane outliners: The details (= not the sources, but the "executive summary of the sources) must be visible (and in a 1-pane outliner, they are).

I also have no probs with my "hold it flat" doctrine in an mm map, as I had in too flat an outline.

It's fast, smooth legal working within an mm, so even will "dry stuff", your thinking is greatly enhanced (of course, there are ToDo and strategy branches, and such, besides the ones for dissection your §§, and even in these...)

Very encouraging, will certainly do lots of such work within MM!

So, even with stricly logical stuff, the "left-brained" stuff according to Buzan, mm's work tremendously well, again for their graphical ease:

- It's all there (and not hidden behind just headlines)

- and (and this is not given within an outline, even in the 1-pane variety), it's clearly separated (= big prob in outlines, but divider lines then are of big help, except that then, the outline goes even more unbearably long! Or do you turn your 27" screen into portrait mode?!!!),

- AND it's all sufficiently de-compacted so as to allow for pleasant working (= the opposite ruling outlines, causing their one real prob).


And a last point: I overlooked "direct" collaboration, within my tentative development above: In a little network, it should be possible for anyone / certain people to have at their screen the mm maps (as every other files) of a colleague, their collaborators, or of whomever (i.e. with or without access M), these files being stored on a "server" or in a common folder or such. And then, it should be possible to access these "other" mm maps, in real time, and perhaps even when their "owner" (or any other user in the network) works on them, too. And I think as soon as you include such "map-sharing" within your frame of possible concepts, you'll probably get better solutions for "Individual and Collaborative ToDo M", as if by updating processes, be them by real-time-triggered macros or by "basket macros", triggered here and only to work by batch-processing. Here again, macros would serve for prototyping purposes mainly.

schferk 12-14-2012 01:10 PM

Short update:

Nick Duffill, the man behind ResultsManager, GyroQ and the command list behind GyroQ, GyroActivator, is highly professional, really interested in what he's doing, and a kind guy on top of that (so there's a difference with kinook here, in style at least).

Unfortunately, with GyroQ you are not actually buying a "GyroActivator MM ready-made macro language" or such, since command sequences built with these commands tend to be unreliable: GyroQ is one, handy thing, but don't try to do too much with those macro commands that come with it, you'd lose your time as I did.

This being said, RM is top-notch and not programmed with those (and more) "GA" commands, but it uses the MM API, so here you are to expect reliable, trustworthy functionality - at 295 bucks plus vat it's just too expensive for individual use.

People trying to use MM/MJ for project / administration work... well, I'm not too sure that it's a really good idea here, since the core functionality of any current mm sw is just sub-standard, and so, the overhead of brilliant sw like Duffill's is considerable (as said, update sessions of many minutes 2 times a day, instead of real-time synching of any element in any open map in the network).

But there is that real advantage that mm, for planning and deciding, is unequalled. And then there is the prob that at some time, ideas become "actionables", and within your "actionables", you'll create further ideas, so the alternative of "doing the thinking within the mm sw, and then pouring it all to more PM-suitable sw like UR or such" is not a viable one, since you'd create chaos between your PM elements within the mm sw, and those within the PM sw. (Cf. current MM/MJ - MS Project integration which is strictly one-way!)

As for an intermediate measure, in order to avoid to have spread your "ToDo's" over dozens of maps, you could do a simple AHK (or other external) macro in the form of:

- assign an "action" symbol to the mm topic / element / item (e.g. a symbol for "Phone", for "Today", for "Look up", etc., idem for delegations)

- copy the item

- open your dashboard map (you also can do this with several dashboards, for several main projects; the important point here being, you'll have dozens of maps (each containing a more-or-less "self-contained" micro-subject of your overall project(s)): so don't get a dozen dashboards, on top of these!)

- select the central topic there (here a hint of mine: in MM, this would be the undocumented command control-home!)

- select the respective branch, for "Phone", "Look up", etc. - in MM, this is a real prob (you could do a search, but what a visual fuss that would be!): I solved the problem this way: downarrow (= starting from the selected central topic), then a given amount of "downarrow" repetitions (= the macro "knows", e.g., that the fourth such "downarrow" will reach out for the "Look up" branch (you'll shuffle these main branches around, so that your most frequent target will be only one "downarrow" away))

- do a control-v

- revert back to your original map (by alt-leftarrow, or, unnecessary, by using an AHK variable fed before)

So, this "solution" is far from elegant, and far from being "both-ways", but it solves the main problem of them all: To get all your "actionables" from your dozens of maps into 1, 2 or 3 dashboards to process them from.

From this, you can refine your macro, e.g. by putting the name of the original map into a variable, then by pouring the content of that variable, within the dashboard, into a label attached to that copy (= not clone, unfortunately, as we all know) within the dashboard. Or, much simpler, just add that info to the copy's text: original text: "Blahblahblah", from map "Thisandthat", would become, in the dashboard: "Blahblahblah (from Thisandthat)".

Also, you could refine your macro by changing the original symbol, i.e. the original item would have an icon "x", but that icon would mean, "is to be processed that way, but hasn't yet been processed that way", and the moment you copy it into the dashboard, its icon would be changed to icon "y", meaning the same kind of processing, e.g. "Look up", but also, "has been put into the corresponding dashboard"; this would be a good idea if a map remains within the planning stage for a while, with lots of changes being made, before you then only enter its "actionables" into the respective dashboard.

This is all one-way, meaning when the dashboard "ToDo" has been done, there is no indication of this within the original map, and it goes without saying that technically, a macro backwards would indeed be possible, by going to the respective map (which, remember, we'll have notified with "from Thisandthat" within the copied item in the dashboard), then searching for the corresponding item there (meaning for (unchanged!) text in that item, and then deleting the item, or just changing the symbol, the background color or whatever.

But what a fuss! There isn't any better proof for what I say: Inter-map clones are way overdue! (And I explained above how to realize them on the technical level.)

If it weren't for the superiority of idea finding by mm maps, I would never advocate such a hybrid system; in other words, it's really worth all these unwanted probs... whilst a cloning feature would indeed be tremendously welcome.

If I was allowed just one advice, it'd be:


Separate your thinking / planning / "decisional" (and together with your ToDo) stuff from your "material".


And this would be valid for 100 k of "material" items, or for just 5,000 of them. What you don't bring forward, will be safely buried, most of the time, and any amount of tagging will be of not much help.

Hope we'll get an "integrated hybrid system" instead of all these manual manipulations between incompatible sw's, some day.

schferk 12-15-2012 04:05 AM

A necessary correction of my above macro:

a)

I do all my maps in the all-directional style, but not clockwise (as MM does then automatically), but (by rearranging topics) left from top to down, then right from top to down. Now the arrow keys don't function in any "topic order" way (= creation order, or "re-numbered" order), but just as you see these topics, i.e. if another topic, in the map you see, is beneath your current topic, you'll get to it by pressing the down arrow, etc. The same goes for repeated arrow key pressing when there are (not only main, but) second-level topics: arrow key pressing will get there, instead of just travelling within the main topics.

Now for the dashboards. Here, such an all-directional ordering would create a situation where your macro wouldn't "know" how to get to a specific main topic (that will become the "parent" of your to-be-pasted actionable). So, branch style will be "to the right", and then, any new main topic will be placed under the previous one (with manual rearrangement by control-alt-up/down-arrow).

Now, for selecting your target, you select the central topic (0 level), then do ONE right-arrow, which gets you to the first main topic (1 level), and then, you do the necessary amount of DOWN arrows, in order to get to your target main topic (and then paste as "child").

b)

As said above, most other possible tries to get to your target main topic would cause much more visual and procedural fuss (e.g. opening of the search pane, etc.), but then, you CAN apply another method:

- select the central topic
- control-f
- entry #3
- return
= This will search for #3 within your dashboard map; note you'll get into trouble here if any of your imported copies will also be "coded" with that #3, and note you can't but search for such text codes, not for symbols. On the other hand, "symbol 3" in your "working maps" could be equivalent to "textcode #3" in your dashboard, so technically, it's perfectly possible to have, in your macro, such a transposition table, i.e. not a transposition table "how many down arrow key pressings", but a case structure for what #x to be searched for.
- escape ( to close the find dialog, not to be mixed-up with the search field, for more advanced searching)
- return (in order to revert focus from the text of the target topic back to the target topic itself!)
- control-v

c)

Quite handy in such a scheme is the fact that your copies will bear a symbol, whilst your target main topics will bear the same symbol. So, if any copy has been placed beneath the wrong target main topic, its symbol will clearly show the misplacement of the copied topic - the same as with color coding within a range of lever files and such.

d)

In many cases, you'll probably muse if you are to copy just ONE sub-topic to your dashboard, or if you better copy a whole sub-structure to your dashboard, where there are two or more such "actionables" within the perhaps 3, 4, 5, 6 subtopics there (and where the "parent" topic itself isn't an "actionable").

Do it whenever it makes sense: Do it when these "actionables" within this little structure are similar, i.e. all coded "3" or perhaps 2 "3" and 1 "4", the "4" being similar to the "3" category: The "wrong" symbol here will show that the one "4" subtopic there doesn't really "belong" to the "3" actionables in your dashboard, but it will be near the neighbouring "4" structure, so it seems that this will be absolutely acceptable.

Even with non-neighboring codes, this could be an alternative to not copying the whole sub-structure (= 5 or 6 such sub-topics held together by their common parent / great-parent) but only the 3 or 4 different actionables there, each separately: Especially if your dashboard doesn't get too convoluted: These dashboards are about practicability, not about 100 p.c. correct taxonomy. Of course, the different actionables here should be clearly distinguished by their respective symbols, in order for such a "slightly displaced" actionable not getting "lost" resp. "forgotten".

ad b)

As hinted at above, ONE macro processing a dozen or so different symbols, by checking a repetitive if / else if structure (in AHK, or a "conditions" structure in other scripting languages), would be MUCH more practical than 12 different and very similar macros, for 12 different "action" symbols, and this means your macro would be triggered by F7, e.g., and then you'd press any of your a...z keys once in order to tell the macro which symbol is to be placed within the current topic - and this will also determine the respective target topic in the dashboard.

The same will apply (cf. my post above) when you "distribute" pre-coded topics in your working maps, i.e. when they bear some provisional symbol (= "has to BE copied to ..."): This symbol will be replaced by the definite symbol (= "has BEEN copied to ..."), and further processing as usual. This means, if you work this way, with pre-coding instead of copying at once, early in the planning stage, your macro should contain a first command "delete any existing symbol first" - in MM that would be control-0.

As you see, such an external macro is easy and reliable (your dashboards should always be loaded, of course, but if they are not, AHK provides for the respective wait command in order for them to be loaded first, instead of getting macros running wild), even if it's external, as said, just put upon MM or another mm sw, instead of being "burnt" into it. Advantage here: You only need to know ONE scripting language, for ALL your needs, and you won't have to learn a new macro language for every application you try to domesticate to your needs.

EDIT:

As for the two-key macro triggering, it goes without saying that for copying to action topics you need again and again, you could assign just ONE-key macros to these commands you need more frequently; here, F7 with then a...z, but F8...F12 for one-key copying, and / or why not F7 and F8 for copying with then groups of a...z targets, but just F7 and F8 for frequent, standard target, whenever after the F7 or F8 key pressing, there is NO such a...z key pressing within a second (AHK allows for such time frames without any problem, whilst in AI, that would be much more complicated, but is also possible, with a gui construction). Variant: F7 and F8 with no further key pressing within 600 ms = your must-used target assignments, F7 and F8 two times in a row within 600 ms = two more very frequently used targets, and F7 plus a...z within 600 ms = further targets: This way, at least 4 targets are very handy, and that should be all you need most of the time. It goes without saying, that here, the scope would be within MM, but that on a much more general level, you could have such shortkeys with scope UR, e.g., in order to copy - just an idea - the title, and the very first paragraph of the content, of your current UR item into such an MM (or any other) dashboard. (Also, for pre-determined targets within your UR structure, for clippings, those same F7 / F8 keys working in a similar way when your current scope is your browser. As I said before, the functionally-similar (but technically necessarily totally different) assignment of the same keys, within different scopes, is the key to good macro programming: The same keys, in different applics, will have similar effect.

The AHK command that ensures your macros not running amok, is, here, winwait("Ultra Recall - NameOfYourTargetItem"), so any possible response time from UR will not become a technical problem - it just remains a psychological one. And, as said before, internal macros would possibly be able to work without all these unwanted screen updates, whilst our external macros do lots of screen flashing: they are effective, but they ain't beautiful - and they need much more time than internal macros would ask for: another big argument for better in-built functionality of the applics we buy.

schferk 12-15-2012 06:33 AM

Another idea.

You know CRM sw; you (rather successfully) try to replicate most of its functionality within a system like UR (= you can sort / search by multiple criteria, Boolean search, and hit "tables" (lists, at least), with coding, lots of data interpretations are possible in UR).

Now for the advocates of "Have your customers / prospects handy by mm maps" (One-page methos, etc.) - it's evident that for analysis of your customer / prospects base, mm is near worthless; on the other hand, when in important / decisive contact with a customer / prospect, it's evident that even standardized and more or less "encoded" data isn't that obvious: Within your UR data about him, there'll be lots of text, flurrying in front of your eyes, and after the conversation, chances are you'll have overlooked important details.

Now what about a macro building up a standardized "customer map" for him (= MM in your second screen, UR would remain visible in your main screen), almost in real time

(make it the first 10 or 15 sec. (= slow comp) of an important phone call you receive from him, let alone a biz call on his premises (where the same macro would build up such a map but which you'd then edit / refine manually, and probably print out)),

from your standardized customer data in UR? It'd create a new map, and from your UR paragraphs (= form), beginning with £a=texttexttext, £b=somemoretext, etc., it'd build up main topics, under which it'd put the further paragraphs als children, or even putting further text, within a given £c section, into MM notes, leaving only the very first 150 or so characters within the corresponding sub-topic.

You'd have standard sections, as said, and if a standard section is empty, the correponding MM topic wouldn't even be created, but if there are important elements to consider, they would be literally thrown into your face, with red symbols, yellow background color and whatever, and this is especially useful when it will not have been yourself who took the complaint of this customer, last time, but a collegue of yours: Here, an almost-instantly appearing "red sign" in an MM map would be of tremendous help, instead of getting (or not), within the depths of your text commentswithin UR, to this info only after 60 sec., and after your customer did plenty of rant on you, during which you desparately will have tried to find the corresponding details he's ranting about again.

Getting to the same info, within UR, would mean frantic scrolling (and would suppose perfect, bling-bling formatting anyway that's often not present), or even more frantic shifting back and forth within 3 or 4 sub-items in UR with respect to this customer. (You try to find the details, while your customer checks you don't hear him but with one ear - most of your attention being absorbed by your trying to get to the decisive info in your text.)

And even when there were NO such probs between your company and your customer, even when it's all just trying to satisfy him in the best possible way: As soon as you ain't the only contact for your (possible) customers any more, or just get too many of customers / prospects to deal with, such an INSTANT INFO upon what preoccupies the person on the phone, would not be extremely handy, but would leave a perfect impression on the customer/prospect, re your professionalism - he'll be really impressed (not if you spoke together yesterday, but if your collegue - or even yourself - discussed the matter 3 weeks ago: he'll think, wow, my prob is always present in this guy's mind, it would be advantageous for me to buy from him, instead of some of his competitors! - instant availability of the CORE info means, for your customer, he's constantly in your mind (even when he's not).

And since you know all this, your own stance here will be very easy, no searching around for the core info, you're safe you'll get it instantly... and this will relax you in a spectacular way that will communicate to your caller, again reinforcing his impression of your incomparable competence (btw, the same applies to any other element of your business knowledge: easy access, easy going, perfect proof of competence).

Now for the macro, it could even further this strategy by building up the really important main topics first, i.e. not by the order of standard-encoded text paragraphs in your UR file, but searching first for any non-standard, "currently important" coding, and thus, you will be able to read these current core elements of your customer relationship as soon as your macro starts to build up the corresponding map, even when the completion of this construction effort in front of your eyes will take 15 seconds.

As you see here, the only delay being, how much time will it take to display the "main" item of the customer/prospect in question, within sw like UR, AS or such this will be very quick, and whenever possible, have another routine (also possible by macros) to fetch the phone number of your caller from within your phone system, in order to display the corresponding UR page almost instantly - and then, the building up of the corresponding MM map could even have been automatically started!

Now for some seemingly coding prob: One collegue put the "current prob" code into the UR text, some day, i.e. a ££ anywhere in the corresponding paragraph. Now it's a customer of longer date, so there are let's say 4 or 5 such "££" within the text - what's the "current" one, then? (And remember, trying to force your collaborators, or even to force yourself, to administer such codes, would be a hopeless venture: no time for that, and error-prone as hell on top of that.)

No problem, though: Whenever such codes are put into your UR text, the corresponding little macro will also enter the date of creation of that code. And of course, the map-building macro then would SORT these "current prob" codes, by date, and start to build up the map with the REAL current such prob paragraph, and then only add less recent "current prob" text passages, by creating "child" topics, or even by putting such probs into notes, e.g. when they are older than 6 months and are coded in the normal way, i.e. there would be codes like "prob forever" that wouldn't be buried this way even years after the fact - and if ever they get less important, why not change the triple £££ into the ordinary double ££, in order to make these ancient probs fade with time?

Similarly, your map-building macro would fetch data from your accounting sw, e.g., in order to have the recent command history of this particular customer (without having these numbers to be stored both in your accounting system and in your UR system), and similar for any relevant data concerning your customers and prospects: a certain standardization, by coding ordered paragraphs, but also "free encoding", i.e. codes wherever pleases you, and triggering the building-up of your respective info map (incl. Excel extracts, etc. - it's just about the power of your hardware and about its response times, there are no sw / programming probs whatsoever in all this).

As you can see here, efficient IM is MORE than just creating db's - but on the other hand, solid db's, as UR's, are the best possible way to store your raw data, from which then you'll get your graphical representations for instant - and that implies: pondered - access when your customer calls: data without perfect, instant orientation is not instant-access data, even if it's all on your screen without delay.

So, this post, at the end of the day is just another example of what I advocate above: Separate your "decisional" data from the depths of your raw data - and whenever possible, automate this process: but it's obvious that CRM is a field of predilection for such automatation: it's easy, from the moment on you think about the details applying to your business.

Most people dream of integrated solutions like SAP, but will never have them available; but that makes them overlook what home-made, easily affordable smart hybrid solutions can offer them, and in the field described, it'd be a quantum leap.


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