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  #1  
Old 09-30-2012, 03:22 PM
mikeg mikeg is online now
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Why I Upgraded to UR 5.0

I'll try to keep this short. There's at least one other thread on this topic, but it's closed and I have a different take from many of those posted (with some notable exceptions).
  • Ultra Recall Pro has remained my repository of choice for storing and organizing all kinds of information.
  • I've yet to find a similar product I like better (and I've tried many).
  • For software I depend on every day, ~$16/year ($50 roughly once every 3 years) is very reasonable.
  • The generous licensing that allows installation on multiple computers used by the same person makes the above cost even more reasonable and especially paltry compared to what I spend on stuff I use only once or rarely.
  • There's also no extra charge for support after nn days like many vendors nowadays.

My sense is that UR has a relatively small community of discerning enthusiasts fortunate to have a talented developer keeping the product going--even if it's not bringing in the profits it truly deserves. For all we know, it may not even provide a full-time income for one person or a small team--or just barely enough. These are not things any consummate professional or proud developer would discuss publicly. This speculation could even be way off base, but it's something to contemplate. I remember at one time new development for UR was suspended indefinitely. We were all relieved to see it start up again.

From this perspective, one might understand making Windows 8 compatibility a priority as one of the best potential lifelines for expanding the UR user base. It's an entry into the rapidly growing world of tablets and other mobile devices.

Sure, we didn't get everything we wanted in in 4.x and some items have been on the road-map longer than we'd like. Yet I was happy to see the new readonly flag and some other enhancements. With the readonly flag, I can safely access and sync home, work and mobile (laptop for now) databases. Someday I believe we'll be able to search across them all, but I suspect this is not as easy to implement as it might seem. Sure cross-database links/joins are common, but how to make it infinitely flexible as well as robust?

OK, since I completely overstepped the promise to make this short, I'll summarize my feelings with a single, brief statement: GO 5.0!
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  #2  
Old 10-01-2012, 05:40 PM
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quant quant is online now
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I haven't upgraded, yet, almost feel bad about it

The most disappointing thing for me is that Kinook doesn't say anything about the updates/upgrades, no reply to customers, closing threads where this is discussed etc. I wouldn't be surprised if this post/thread is deleted as well
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  #3  
Old 10-02-2012, 11:59 PM
mikeg mikeg is online now
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quant, I don't think anyone--especially long time UR supporters and advocates should feel bad or obligated one way or the other. If the fate of UR comes down to whether a handful of the faithful purchase 5.0 it's already too late.

The imaginary scenarios above are based partly on taking the view of someone running a software business. While non-profits have more leeway to reveal their financial condition and make emotional appeals for support, it could be counterproductive for a business to do so. Can you imagine XYZ Enterprises announcing, "friends, unless we get 50000 new customers in the next 60 days, you can forget about the fancy new widgets we promised--it's curtains for our business!"

I would also contrast times when inquiries hit a stone wall to the more frequent occasions when Kinook jumps in with quick, concise answers--again at no additional cost and no time-limit regardless of what version you purchased. We can all think of companies that charge for support after xx days or only offer it to premium license holders, etc. Customers often get upset when new fees are introduced later in a product's life cycle. But many times it's strictly a matter of survival in the face of rising costs and decreasing revenues. There's a reason more companies are going the paid support and/or annual subscription route...

From this perspective, one can also be a little more understanding about shutting down a few threads when they start turning negative. Can you imagine digging deep into your own pockets (possibly even working a job somewhere else) to keep a business afloat and keep a forum running--only to see forum chatter turn negative against you?

Again this is imaginative speculation on my part, but I'm just sayin'... there are different ways to look at any situation and some are more worthy of the benefit of the doubt.

Last edited by mikeg; 10-03-2012 at 12:20 AM.
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  #4  
Old 10-10-2012, 12:07 PM
schferk schferk is online now
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Some years ago, we all craved for (real, "major") updates. Then came the MS "ribbon", and many of us were less eager to update our sw's since we realized a new digit before the dot did not necessarily mean new (useful) features, but in many cases, cosmetic changes only (and often in a way few people were fond of), but, of course, fresh money for the developer(s).

Which is to say, there has been a point in time where users's eagerness (!) to pay for updates, and developers' wish for update money, spread apart, and that was precisely that point in time where developers realized that in delivering good stuff in their majors updates did not bring them the money they expected and hence did not continue to deliver real good new stuff in their updates anymore, and so we've had a sort of a wage-price spiral, downwards, in sw quality, in sw prices (60 p.c. off on bitsdujour twice a year, with 50 p.c. of the remaining 40 p.c. going to bits), and, yes, in our willigness to pay "decent" prices for sw, when - I said it - before, we had been really EAGER to pay, in order to get all those new things and goodies and sweets:

From children (with lots of pocket money that today goes elsewhere) eager to spend our dimes on sw (updates) that were able to enchant us, we've become cynics who coldly look at so-so sw, judging that yes, it's worth 20 p.c. of the regular price going to the developer, especially in view that we pay double that price.

Just have a look at the demise of a once interesting sw, InfoSelect (versions 8 good, 9 nothing new, 10 catastrophical and a real affront to the users - search for IS in the donationcoder forum to learn the details).

Here, with UR, there have been offerings from enchanted users to help with a comprehensive help file, but from enchanted users who wanted some "consideration" in return, that meaning the developer starting development on real enhancements that would have made "worthwile" the engaging of such users into the marketing AND development process. Such offers were received with cold silence (and once there was a further affront by the developer, proposing 100 bucks for the winner of a "contest" for a better help file).

I came rather late to this, and I quickly discovered that splendid ideas (e.g. alternative views in the tree, Bonsai - development brought to a halt - being the only outliner of my knowledge to this day offering such alternative views) had been discussed within this forum many years ago, to no reaction whatsoever from the developer who obviously considered his work done, i.e. his offering good enough.

Today, I'm deeply frustrated: I've got so many good sw's on which development came to a (real or virtual) standstill years ago; I'm EAGER to spend my money for sweet new functions I'd crave for... and then I hold my money back since, yeah, I could buy updates, but I'd get the same sw for my money I already own!

So, in some instances, I updated, in pure frustration, by wishful thinking, by magical thinking, i.e. I somewhere hoped, in vain of course, that by my spending bucks, the sw in question would somehow become more "valuable" to me. Since these experiences of unnecessary spending only enhanced my frustration, I quickly gave up on such foolishness, and today, I'm spending new money for new (useful) features that enhance my sw experience; if there are none, I hold my money. As you can imagine, I'm spending almost nothing on sw nowadays, given my new criteria.

I've explained it elsewhere in this forum: UR must first do its "homework", and I mentioned four problems that deeply affect the usability of this otherwise heavyweight program:

- do away with that awful response times anytime you've edited an item, i.e. have the updating of the index delayed (by option at least) when you switch forth and back between some items, in order to do editing work; cf. MyInfo where there is an index (or multiple indexes, or, I think, one big index but also intermediate indexes in order to alleviate the charge), but no such response problem

- have a better editor to begin with, i.e. the absence of functioning of the mouse wheel within the editor is absolutely unforgivable; any cheap crap program does this right, while UR, one of those "heavyweights", just can't do it, after all those years; problem is, you scroll with the mouse wheel everywhere, so you "try" it in UR as well, only to "discover", again and again and again, that here, it's not possible; this detail works as a crippling interference to your workflow, it's not only non-intuitive, it constantly gets you off from what you're working on; as said, there are better editor components like this that a developer can buy for 500 to 800 bucks, one-time payment

- allow for formatting of tree entries. I lost all these formattings (bold, underline, italics) when importing my stuff into UR; I've been so happy ever since after re-exporting my stuff into that minor contender: anytime I need to look again into an item, have it as a temporary reference or whatever, I do a quick control-b, and it's extremely helpful and "natural" for me to have such "natural" immediate-access items, within their normal context, where creating a clone in some special "category" would be totally over the top, most of the time. It goes without saying that most of the contenders except for the most basic ones offer such formatting within the tree as a matter of course; these three details deeply affect the usefulness for new users, as does the fourth one:

- a better help file (but if UR's developer did fulfill some of our wishes, there would be more than just one benevolent contributor to a better help file, we all know this)

- whilst a real pm functionality would be preferable, as a first step it would be extremely helpful to have the very first tab in the row contain (by option in order to not constitute an offence to any legit user, but what user would not be happy to use that option from day 1 on it would be made available?) left unchanged in its expansion / collapsing state you have brought it into, by your manipulations there, unchanged by any manipulation you do to trees / subtrees / hoisted trees in any other tab (= by this making available a "super tree" for pm, not in a (preferable) special pane, but as an alternative view of your normal, big tree (users could then open this tree in tab 1, open an equally big = complete (but "living") tree in tab 2, and do their work in tabs 3...n); this missing functionality is not similar to the others mentioned above, i.e. most newbies to UR will not miss it instantly from trial day 1, but as soon as you'll have put "all your stuff" into UR, such an "unchaotic tree one" would quickly become the most important detail in UR for every current (and future) user, more important than user attributes, more important than tagging/keywords, more important than cloning, more important than everything else; the current, unavoidable synchronicity between the complete tree and any sub-trees displayed in alternative tabs, is catastrophical to UR's claim as an info manager for big data and renders that use impossible

If UltraRecall does not address the points mentioned here, it will fall into oblivion. And have a second look at MyInfo: It once was the inferior sw to UR, but with UR having been determined to be left trailing for some years now - or how are we supposed to interpret the non-introduction of features we'd be EAGER to spend our bucks on? -, the day will soon come where for every but very special uses, MI will have to be considered the superior program.

It'd be an offence to the user base to pretend that anyway, users nowadays ain't willing to spend good money. We've long been fed up with spending our good money for programs that don't fascinate us anymore, SO we want it all for cheap. If the whistles were there again - and if we didn't have to live with annoyances like those enumerated above for ten years or more in a row -, we'd happily spend our bucks again. We're EAGER to spend our bucks, but we ask for a little bit of excitement:

We wanna smooth user experience. And then we'll pay. Easy.
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  #5  
Old 10-11-2012, 10:19 PM
mikeg mikeg is online now
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By now it's obvious that key features/enhancements we'd like to see didn't make it into the last major version upgrade. I just don't think re-posting complaints, lengthy diatribes about the decline of software development, threats to leave UR, predictions of it's demise if expectations aren't met, etc. are tactics that will get us anywhere regardless of how valid or heartfelt they may be.

It's not that I disagree with everything you and others are saying. In fact, I used Info Select years ago, got tired of all my requests being ignored/rejected and dumped it as soon as I discovered Ultra Recall. In my view there were/are important differences with Ultra Recall. First, not just a few, but many of our requests have been implemented over the years. Other suggestions were at least noted and, in some cases, discussed and added to the road map. Last, but not least, there's still nothing better out there that I've found.

That's why I've tried to start a different kind of discussion. Not another invitation to complain, but an effort to reconcile how UR could arrive at another major version with more attention on Windows 8 compatibility than some of the most anticipated enhancements. My assessment is that UR is a great product in search of a sustainable market and expanded user base. From this perspective, kinook may be fighting for all of us by first waging a longer term strategic battle for profitability.

Customers sometimes engage in magical thinking that unseen elves should be working day and night for free or less than a livable income for years on end to satisfy their every wish and demand. With products that are relatively simple to develop and support, the labor of love model actually works sometimes--adding fuel to the fantasy. However, as product complexity and support demands scale up, a steady revenue stream is increasingly essential to keep teams (large and small) going and the electricity on.

We don't want to see UR go the way of Info Select and similar products. But what can any individual do about it? Probably not much, but I do believe strongly that piling on and going negative won't help at all. If nothing else, a little more understanding and patience is helpful and warranted IMO.

BTW, I'm predicting greater success for Windows 8 than some seem to expect. As for the painful desktop paradigm shift, I think there will be compromises/accommodations. In any case, the real show is mobile and Windows 8 will be a bridge for greater app integration across desktop and mobile platforms. Getting on a bridge to the biggest growth sector is a smart move. Maybe someday we'll have some form of UR on all our devices. At least the idea cheers me up. Go 5.0!
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  #6  
Old 10-13-2012, 10:28 AM
schferk schferk is online now
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Mikeg, I don't have the slightest intention to argue with you, I just want to clarify.


First, we must distinguish between "features" and "homework", "homework" being demands that should go without saying since they are met by almost all contenders, but not by UR. Here, any sustaining need for catching up becomes "unforgivable" in the long run,

which means UR has - as TheBrain has, it seems - extraordinary features like indexing of external (!) pdf's or - as has got MyInfo, too, lately - really good (or in the case of UR, outstanding) cloning / hoisting (whilst cloning or tagging could also be considered traps since you'll never get your material out of such a splendid application once you'll have heavily relied upon these features there) -

and then such "primitive" annoyances (like the one I mentioned) that you won't find in most contenders, even the most minor (and sometimes even free) ones: Such inconsistency in quality within one program - from supreme to ridiculously poor - is laughable to put it mildly... AND puts off many otherwise would-be new (paying) users, too, whilst being a constant means of deception and irritation for the existing customer base.

Thus, from a commercial pov, leaving things as they are, on such "homework to do" field, might be qualified as sheer ignorance (if not arrogance).


Then, we must clearly see, "where UR is really great?", and that's undeniably in its robustness in handling real big data, i.e. piles of (not thousands, but) many thousands of items, often with .jpg's or with millions of characters - but then, the absence of a stable (instead of an ever-expanding-recollapsing) main tree makes it almost impossible to safely (let alone smoothly) manage such amounts of data, from a customer / user pov (hence my - necessary - going back to much lesser sw, relying on the Windows file system (incl. clones of whole parts, big or tiny) in order to get such a stable main tree / "super tree" of which I was and am in ABSOLUTE need.

Which is to say, UR, with its technical strength, "lures" us into this theoretically splendid system, but then leaves us alone with the "rising unmanagability" of our phletoric stuff once the number of our items isn't 10k or 30k anymore, but exceeds the 100k (and by far, in my case). Which is to say, there where UR could be, theoretically, outstanding, unparalleled, it literally betrays us in the seamy side of everyday use, for those of us who really depend on the strength of such an extraordinary system (whilst in MyInfo, e.g., I never dared putting all my things in one big database to begin with, as I then indeed did, in UR).

And, if one entity / developer is ABLE to code such a thing

(the difficulty laying in the DISPLAYED super tree being left UN-changed by any other "purely cosmetic" changes in subtrees (= expanding, collapsing, further hoisting), BUT showing technical changes there (= renames, moves, new creations, deletions), and, of course, any "manual" changes within the super tree itself (= cosmetic or technical), AND, at the same time, indeed reflecting all these changes within the underlying REAL super tree - and from a coding difficulty pov, it doesn't make any difference if that "stable super tree" is shown in tab 1 of many, or within an extra pane, of course),

it's Kinook (or perhaps the men behind TheBrain but who employ their sw mastering on other interests), so it's all the more so disappointing that Kinook don't do anything about this where their coding excellence would produce a product that would be unequalled, from a technical pov AND from the user experience - 130,000 items of knowledge or interest, anyone, AND a perfect system to handle that all in one place?

(And of course, I acknowledge that the charm of "all in one place" is big enough in order for me to put back my stuff into such a splendid system, since here, any renamings / dividings-ups / movings / different-re-clusterings of parts of such a system would be incomparably easier than they are in my current system with its cutting up of my data in diffferent physical files then re-combined by file system means.)


Then, we have Kinook's two-pier business, the programming environment for programmers, AND UltraRecall, and yes, of course I think they could do like thpse publishing houses do, cross-subventioning - we speak of 2 to 3 man-weeks (!) here - ok, make it a month, will all the debugging -, for such outstanding programmers as Kinooks' that is = Kyle himself I presume.

And again, the very first such IM sw on the market being able to SUCCESSFULLY handle big data, and for a - low! - 3-digit price, that would be quickly known by LOTSA people who are in need of such a system - but which has never ever been delivered, now that pc's have been around for some 30 years now (which is sheer incredible but has to do with the intellectual demands of such a groundbreaking feature).

(TheBrain is particularly bad with this; they show you monster maps, but try to manager such a map, let alone USE it - no wonder they heavily rely upon their search functionality... which, more than a decennium after the demise of Folio, does NOT offer the underlying semantic assistance system necessary though if you make people rely on searching.)


Just since you mention Win8 and "Winslates", please allow for my briefly re-mentioning the importance of response times on rather weak systems, optimized for long battery run (and minimized for heat), which constitutes another argument for my wanting better index (updating) management; and let me very briefly remind the importance of future stylus support.


It has never been my intention to "draw off" users from this superior but heavily neglected (whilst not abandoned) program, but in the end, financial and utilitarian considerations alone - "will any pampering measure create sufficient return satisfying me?" - decidedly can't be it.

Just have a look at a splendid feature of Treepad. Whilst any other (?) such program, at the very most, offers a static tree for web export, Treepad offers a living one, i.e. one that, in the web, you can freely operate, reading-wise, as you do with outliner trees on your desktop, i.e. you expand, re-collapse... It's a JOY to see, and to operate, such a superior toy that can become an equally superior attraction of your site, just by the joy visitors of your site feel when they manipulate your extraordinary tree - few of them will ever have experienced such a thing anywhere else.

Which means, excellence in programming also is question of honor: Show your programming excellence to the world, have your "products" / "children" splendent, even when for biological reproduction purposes (= here, for maintaining business), it'd be sufficient that they were ugly and dumb.


And as for our "patience" = willingness to pay for future goodies and joys, that would be greatly enhanced by a revised roadmap, with approximative dates within an added-on timeline.
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  #7  
Old 11-09-2012, 11:28 AM
schferk schferk is online now
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Allow for some more musings about UltraRecall and the competition.

I

a)

One aspect is, UR allows for "putting all your stuff into one main applic, or reference it from there", which means, you search for pdf's and such - but which stay external instead of blowing up your UR database endlessly - from within UR, which means, from exactly that context within your UR "tree" where those external file "belong", let's call this "from their most natural context" - it's all about "having your stuff grouped together", of course, the basic problem of any IM.

b)

The other alternative has been described by me here, working from the file system, and having your "trees" there, as well as your "external" stuff; you group your stuff within your folder / subfolder system, including your "working machine" prime applic, and you'll have (an) external search tool(s) in order to find things, in your "external" stuff (pdf, Word, Excel, MindManager files, whatever), as well as in the files - multiple here, not one big one - of your main applic.

The disadvantage here is that your external search tools don't give you your search results fine-grained to the "item" as do the internal search facilities within alternative a, which can be cumbersome. On the other hand, with my current inferior main applic AO, I get, from one external (and free) search tool any search item within its respective context, even with accented characters (if I bother to input them in the 4 special chars form that the tool demands for such special chars - a little bit ridiculous but can be automated by a tiny AHK scriipt), and there are even two file managers (both German, both paid, both I own anyway) that allow for finding search terms with special chars by entering them the strict normal way (but they only give the file name, not the context). The first-mentioned special tool even allows for Boolean search (limited in the free version, anything you like in the paid version).

The same facts apply for external searching within UR files, but of course, here you don't need external search tools except for searching different UR files at the same time, but given that UR searches are index-driven, you better employ an AHK script for doing consecutive internal UR searches within your different UR files, instead of waiting a minute or so for the results of your external tools. So, the instant-avalability of your UR search results is another advantage of a system like UR over an IM file system set-up relying on external search tools that often don't deliver immediate search results for the special files of your main applic - for your "external" files like pdf, Excel, etc., the problem is much lesser since the standard (indexing) search tools index these files with no problems.

c)

Within both above-mentioned systems - reference your external files within your main applic or cut up even your main applic into multiple files -, you'll get problem where to store the external files, i.e. all in one big folder, or fine-grained within a folder-substructure, perhaps with several levels of subordination. The "one big folder" quickly becomes un-manageable from itself, and any occurence of not immediate referencing of such a file within your main application will result in a more or less "LOST" such file, i.e. accessible, by chance, by searching, but not accessible anymore by taxonomic means, i.e. by browsing a file structure or by browsing the corresponding context within your main applic.

d)

So many users, at some time, get away from the "one big folder" for external / referenced files, and try to double a structure of subordination within their main applic (big outliner file or multiple outliner files) AND in their file system. Both solutions amount to almost incredible sync problems, since in your main applic, you always shuffle around things, and rightly so, it's MEANT FOR BEING PLASTIC, that's why it enhances your thinking.

Thus, I don't have to tell you that any 1.1 doubling effort between your "storage machine" and your file structure for referenced files is bound to fail within minutes, if you ever try to establish such a duplicity, and any effort in trying to automate this is bound to fail, too, not for technical reasons, i.e. because your scripting capabilities perhaps are stretched to their limits, but for the simple reason that even if you try to sync these structures, more or less automatized, you won't overcome the problem that your external files, most of the time, will span MORE than just one fine-grained item / group of items within your main applic - because these external files are RESULTS of your work, so automatically spanning several such "think / detail / material" clusters in your main applic = "work machine", or because they are IMPORTS, and of course, the respective authors of these had thought and written in other contexts and context clusters, as you do, within your "writing machine".

e)

Thus, do NOT try do store such external files in multiple instances in order to overcome the problem detailed above, since having TEN OR MORE such .lnk files or whatever (the Windows system offering more than one technical solutions to the cloning problem) of an external file would be as mad, as having 10 or so clones of an item of a subtree within your main applic (the seemingly ONLY exception to this statement would be to clone specific subtrees of legal material or previous projects, to NEW "cases" or projects, in order to serve as a a QUARRY there, within your main applic, and your external files, but even then, you would not use clones, but COPIES!). And as for the synching of external files or clones or copies of them whenever you move an item or regroup a bunch of items within your "workspace", don't even think of it: Technically, of course, all this would be possible, but it would take 90 p.c. of your time to sync your things, there wouldn't be any time left in order to PRODUCE, or even to gather, some material.

From this point of view, it's simply dumb to ask for better means of synching on a fine-grained level, and the solution lies within manual synching, but on an intermediate level, and to have indicators there which say, "attention, if you move this, have a look into the respective file folder structure".

...
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Old 11-09-2012, 11:29 AM
schferk schferk is online now
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...

f)

Hence my short description what I do here, or better, what I've done here, lately, in order to get these things straight. It was two long working days hard labour, but it was well worth the effort, and I'm positive to have found the definite answer to this problem, independently of your choice of a big-file system as UR is, or of a distributed system as I'm using at this very moment.

1. Have a global inbox, but without any try of structure, just an inbox from which you export things as soon as possible.

2. Don't export, from there, by scripting, to hundreds of target files of hundreds of sub-structures - technically, UR would allow for this, but you would get response time problems. Have intermediate sub-structures (which in my case are intermediate files that are always loaded and open, and which in your case (UR) would be LIGHT first-level subtrees, within the very first positions of your global tree, and that "only" serve for holding intermediate structures that double the highest levels of your "real", fine-grained structure.

3. Have macros / scripts in order to access the respective "other" item / tree heading (i.e. from your intermediate structure to the "real" sub-tree and vice versa) by just ONE F-key (or by shift-enter or whatever suits you).

4. Do your thinking and actual conceptual work within this "unnecessary", super-imposed intermediate structure. Access your "real", fine-grained structure only if you must look up details, or for real editing work, etc. - Try to "EXTRACT / DIGEST" any intermediate result / thought / aspect / whatever from your "bunch of material" into this doubled intermediate structure - which also means have the least possible direct access means = links, clones, etc., from your intermediate = working space into those "depths" of your material: Except in special cases, don't clone detailed items from there here, but write a sentence or two here, summarizing those details from there.

Of course, what I'm trying to convey here, is a means of avoiding / minimizing the "lost in hyperspace" phenomenon which will quickly get you even within your own parallel system (which is no hyperspace in the scrict sense of the term, but just a tree grown much too big - and the same applies to distributed systems like mine, the technical details of the possible cutting up of the too big a tree doesn't mean anything on the conceptual described level).

5. In fact, what I'm also trying to establish here, is not only "a better view", "a better point of view" in order to not get lost within the details (but only access them for what they are for: referencing, usually, and only in exceptional situations, development WITHIN those details), but especially and in the very first place, AN INTERMEDIATE LEVEL OF RESULTS - FROM WHICH TO WORK FURTHER ON. (People who will have followed my writings in the askSam, MyInfo, outlinersoftware, and UltraRecall fori, know that I'm after both aspects, the organizational, AND the thinking-enhancement one.)

6. Now coming back to our external files (be they self-produced or imported stuff): Synch your folder structure by the applyable (!) main items within your intermediate = working structure. There is another aspect: Since for working on your stuff, and for adapting stuff to YOUR way of organizing, of thinking, of doing things, you split external things into different context as they are presented by those above-mentioned external "authors", just have external things grouped into the "common denominator", which are hopefully represented by your main headings within this intermediate structure.

For important things, even go so far, if needed, to adapt your main headings to enclose such material, i.e. don't be too "original" here, but follow the ways "your" material is commonly being presented by third parties, in order to have a viable main structure; this advice coming from somebody like me, be sure this is good advice - I'm perfectly conscious of the outrage of this coming from me.

7. Also, don't be afraid of some "comment" items there: Why not have an otherwise empty item but which title says, "for this aspect of the subject, also see item xyz" - this will bring an immediate solution to all these problems "car insurance under car or under insurance?" - in all my system with over 100k of items, I only get perhaps about 200 such "SEE items", all sub-structures together (and I spoke about the exportability problem, set up by technical cloning which hence I avoid).

8. As said before, you do NOT need a corresponding sub-folder (i.e. for external files) for ANY main entry in YOUR system, BUT vice versa it's not: For any external folder, create such an item, even if it doesn't contain much - if there is nothing for you to have about it, in your "internal" system, you will have badly created your external-stuff folder in the first place.

9. So, what IS your intermediate, and your external folder structure? In my case, it's about 10 files (business 1, business 2, private stuff, law, tax, social security, "general stuff" including organizational things with scope over several of my prime groups, and more), with each about 6 to 25 sub-files (which in the "private" group, would be spouse, girlfriend 1, girlfriend 2 (yes, that was a joke), health, sports, literature, music, other pastimes, recipies, drinks, our pet (see the following!) - so, in my "big folder", I got 10 corresponding sub-folders, with each about 5 to 22 sub-folders on that further level: As said before, I do NOT create empty sub-folders, just for the "pleasure" of there being a 1:1 synchronicity even when there will never be any external file within the corresponding sub-folder: I just create those file-system sub-folders whenever the very first file to be stuffed into there comes up, or whenever I think there might be files to be put into there some day.

10. As for the "pet" example, I'll have a folder "allmystuff/private/pet" - but, you see, I will NOT go so far as to have sub-folders there, for pet's health, pet's rise, pet's vaccinations, and so on, no sir, I'm perfectly happy with "pet", and then, there are some perhaps 15 external files, pdf's, invoices as pdf's, whatever, and whenever I want to access some of those files, I do NOT do an "enter" within my "private" file when the selected line there is ".Pet" - this "enter" there would immediately open my AO file (= your UR sub-tree) "pet" (by scripting - any "enter" when a line beginning with a dot is selected, opens the according file, would "open" - why not automatically in a new tab? - your corresponding UR sub-tree), BUT I do a SHIFT-"enter" (i.e. on such a line beginning with a dot), and my system "knows" I want to open, in my preferred file manager, the "pet" subfolder - and it does it for me (I even have got a rather elaborate script that's able to just OPEN that folder / tab in my file manager whenever it's already on a tab there, or to create a NEW tab there in order to show the contents of that "pet" sub-folder, if up to now I did not yet open that sub-folder on any tab there - all's fully automatized. And yes, lately I got a second, identical screen, and thus, I get my AO stuff in front of me, and the respective "external", additional files listed on my secondary screen, and while I'm writing this, it comes to my mind that of course, a simple ENTER on a line with a dot should do BOTH, open the corresponding AO file, AND open the corresponding sub-folder for any additional stuff. (Or do it by control-enter in order to not automatically replace any such additional stuff on your second screen when you don't need it.)

11. So you see, the fact that my "pet" sub-folder does contain some 15 perhaps rather disparate external files, doesn't bother me in the slightest, and this way, by doing the synching on that intermediate level (i.e. my AO file level only, i.e. NOT WITHIN my further sub-grouping within these separate AO files), I don't have any such problems by external files spanning several of my subjects there, since I do NOT have the ambition to fine-grain external files beyond reason. In your (UR) case, you would deliberately refrain from creating sub-folders BEYOND your SECOND-LEVEL MAIN HEADINGS: d:\allmystufforwhatever\private\pet, and not beyond this.

...
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Old 11-09-2012, 11:30 AM
schferk schferk is online now
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...

12. If really an external file spans two such second-level main headings of your stuff, put it into it's "natural" context = sub-folder, and create a copy or clone in its secondary context - but also, if the file is called "afile.pdf", rename it "afile(inPetsAndAssurances).pdf", so that on any further moving / changes in grouping will easily remember if you do must do anything about your current storing of this file or not; the same goes for any file names that you want to preserve in their original, but that ain't "speaking" enough: just rename them "originalfilename(RealContent).extension", and you have your cake and eat it though: Preservation of the original name AND knowing what the file is about, without having to open it, a week, a month, or years later.

13. So, in your intermediate UR structure (= within your UR "private" structure, you must KNOW which entries there are links to "specific" (not files in your case, but) detailed substructes, and which entries are just items there, in order to remind you of something, or substructures of current work there, or anything else. My solution, as said, is that "initial dot" encoding, which is checked by any , macro I might trigger, and processed accordingly. For other special entries, you could use initial semicoli, or whatever char you will not use as leading char in normal contexts.

(In my case, it's not only the leading dot, but also, since I use my very special encoding system, not "Pet.ao", but "pp.ao", for "Private - Pet", my macros also check for the very first SPACE in such special "dot leading" entries, i.e. my entries here would not be ".pp.ao", but would be ".pp.ao - Pet" in order to remind me of the meaning of such entries whenever I don't access them but rarely. - But the opened file would be "pp.ao", and the opened sub-folder would be "allmythings\p\p" - that's one of the beauties of my system: The very first char (after the dot) "tells" my script which is the name of the intermediate folder...)

14. Also, you should know which such entry is "just" a special file / subtree, and which are the ones where you also have got external stuff, i.e. which ones also correspond to a sub-folder. In my system, I simply use bold formatting of these last entries (and indeed, most of these ARE bold-formatted, rare are my AO files without a corresponding sub-folder for external material); since UR does not allow for formatting entries, just use special flags.

15. You will certainly not be astonished if I say that of course, UR should allow for such an intermediate structure, e.g. in tab 1, that does OPEN such "." items in further tabs, but that does NOT FOLLOW any expansion / collapsing you'll do within these further tabs, and which it unfortunately currently always DOES.

II

a)

UR pretends, the search of the ultimate IM system has come to an end, with your coming across UR; that's wrong: UR will indeed be the ultimate such system the day it'll integrate such an intermediate system as described here, including the demand set up in I f) 15 (AND when the "homework" as defined by me in my posts above will have been done, that is). It's simply necessary that an IM systems offer a superstructure, and it's worthwile to have EXPLAINED its use to you, finally.

b)

UR is the ONLY such system (within this group of systems that don't cost many thousands of dollars) of my knowledge that offers a viable transition from "just one lone single user" to effective group work. That's why I hope UR will come to see that the fulfilling of my demands will push UR into a class of its own, justifying any development work I'm asking for.

That's why I'm writing here, and not in an MI forum, e.g. As for the competition, there's IQ, which lately, in the outlinersoftware forum, got exactly that kind of negative impression that I'd got without first buying, and that always had put me off from that sw not living up to its promises. NO such promise is fulfilled anywhere, for the time being, and certainly not by TheBrain, far from it.

UR is closest, and with some efforts, could become what a program like AS had been in the Nineties, something really great.

That's a challenge kinook would be very well advised to take up.

I'm willing to give advice, contacting me is easy:

frjansen@yahoo.de (fr is for Fred).

And if it's worthwile, I'm willing to share my scripts and to develop further ones.

Getting my stuff back into UR would be a thing of some minutes (getting it back into AO was the problem, not the other way round) - but as it currently is, I'm not updating to version 5, even though I'd be more than pleased to do so in the future, when UR becomes as outstanding as it should have been a long time ago.
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Old 11-09-2012, 12:02 PM
schferk schferk is online now
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16. Whenever you get too many external files in such a sub-folder, consider dividing your UR subtree as well, to get another sub-folder, too. Or, if these files are rather similar, just numerous, consider getting "divider files", empty .txt files that you name "ez_____.txt", etc., to make separator lines for your files, grouping your files by renaming not by "originalname(content/coding).suffix", but by content/coding.originalname.suffix. And yes, why not doing sub-folders of an additional sub-level in SOME cases, if too many similar files splatter around.

Just avoid, really avoid, a deep file structure mimicking your item structure. Have a rather "high" item level down to which you "synch" your AO / UR / similar material and your external files, and then do NOT try to synch any further down.

(To be continued with other initial omissions or YOUR ideas, ok?!)
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Old 11-09-2012, 12:52 PM
schferk schferk is online now
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17. The inbox thing. As said, you have a simple inbox, no subdivision. Then - and I totally missed this in the above description, any dot item within my about 10 main files, i.e. that "second level", but "second level" not as files, but as special entries within those about 10 first-level groups, also act, not only as triggers for the respective AO files / UR sub-structures, and for the respective sub-folders for external files, but also as TARGETS for my distribution of any item from the inbox, which means, I press one key, then I get 1500 msec in order to enter the target (in our above example: pp for pet), then my system puts the current item (together with any sub-items it might have), from my inbox or from any other place within my system, as a sub-item of such a dot item (and re-collapses the according dot item, of course), and goes back to where focus where before this move - the whole process doesn't even take one sec.

This way, I have one general inbox, my file "0.ao", and about 150 specific inboxes, those dot entries within my about 10 first-level "group" files / your respective dot entries being sub-entries of your about 10 or so first-level main / grouping items; it goes without saying that whenever I get many similar new things / web clippings / whatever, to be set up as new items in similar places of my AO system, I directly put them under such a dot item, instead of putting them into the general inbox. And, in order to not only have the general inbox, and the rather specific dot items like ".pp.ao", I not only have got, within my "p.ao" file, all these ".pa.ao", ".pb.ao", ".pp.ao" entries as described, but I also have there a ".p.ao" entry, which obviously does NOT serve to trigger the display of the "p.ao" file since it is the p.ao. file itself (but which serves to trigger the corresponding "p" sub-folder, of course), but which serves as a perfect TARGET for any item I want to file away not yet under the specific sub-group (= into "pp.ao", in our example), but just under the more general "private" group, in this example. The purpose of this intermediate "default" target is, of course, to put many similar things into the right "super group" group at least, when I don't have the time to reflect upon the according specific group into which it belongs. As an example, I've got a super group "c" for "computing" (incl. programming, net, and many things, and of course, ci = information management, cf = file management, etc.), and whenever I don't have time to decide if some items goes into cf or into ci, I put it into just c. Afterwards, when there are too many sub-items within c, that are awaiting finer sorting, I then remember which details go into cf, which one go into ci, and I sort these items beneath ".c.ao" within my file "c.ao", into those more specific file groups ".cf.ao" and "ci.ao", with the same sort command which I use from my "0.ao" file to sort items from there, be it in a specific or in a more "default" way, depending on my time "to do it right" or just in an approximative way: In ANY case, this system allows for emptying the general inbox in speed time, and since I WORK within these about 10 intermediate structures, most of the time, and not within the specific "pp.ao" files, any new items being sorted into these ".p.ao" or more specific ".pp.ao" grouping items, are at my fingertips when working, which entitles me to effectively work, with an empty general empty inbox anytime, but with having any new material at my immediate disposal whenever I do real work, even when I didn't have had the time to really sort out my new material, into the various really specific files ("pp.ao" / UR substructures (= the real UR "pp" substructure, instead of the ".pp" context within your UR "p" substructure)).

Remember, just one F-key brings me from this ".pp" context right to the "pp" file / tab, and vice versa, and you'd do the same within UR. Also, this way of working - working not only / not predominantly within the specific "pp" context, but within the broader "p" context, does greatly improve your work results, since the utmost specific are at your fingertips, and at the same time, any OTHER material you'd be well advised to use for your writing / drawing up, is at your fingertips, too.

Unfortunately, with the current state of affairs with UR, it is NOT possible to have these advantages to their fullest, because the ever-waving expanding and re-collapsing of your intermediate sub-tree, whenever diving into details of your specific details sub-tree, will create chaos in your intermediate part ( in my examples, the "c" or the "p" part) of your UR system. Hence the necessity, for me, to flee the UR system in its current state of development, into a system where the division of these different levels of specificity - the "c" vs. the "ci" or "cf" level - into different files AVOIDS chaos in the "c" tree when you work upon your "ci" or your "cf" tree.

Hence, the absolute necessity for UR to amend this problem of "waves" created by display movements on deeper levels, in order for UR to become a professional IM system.
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Old 11-09-2012, 01:55 PM
schferk schferk is online now
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II c)

And yes, there is another feature that's ABSOLUTELY needed, and which over-over-overdue: For any use in your business, you need an IMS that allows for a certain kind of form / item to be INVARIABLE after your saying so, which means, for tax purposes, you need a kind of item where your "document" remains unchanged, and unchangeable, after being printed out, being sent by mail, being declared by a special button, or whatever, and in fact, for most little enterprises, this kind of item would be predominate over your usual UR items in number, where you freely change and edit and revise ad libitum for years, or after years.

Thus, for most little enterprises, a sw like UR in its current state is NOT taken into consideration, since it doesn't fulfill the legal requirements you must obey to, and sw like ELO is an absolutely terrible thing, but takes virtually 100 p.c. of the market. If sw like UR just put this required functionality on top of its current and traditional functionality of being an "information manager", this combination would be an absolute killer, if rightly marketed, since here in 2012, 2013, any little enterprise (be it one man, one man with a secretary, or a little group of staff) dearly needs a max of IM, on top of its tax-imposed "document archiving duties", in order to succeed.

And I don't need to develop that most "tax docs" may become "info docs" or even are both at the same time, right from the beginning - not speaking of invoices here, but of amounts of project data, so interaction between two systems, or, much much better, just ONE such system but being tax-compliant, beyond its information value it generates, is highly desirable - and could easily be provided by a better version of UltraRecall.

EDIT : On a technical level, this "archiving function" should perhaps be realized by copying an invariable copy from an otherwise editable item into a special folder structure in which every folder would be invariable in that way that any deletion would be impossible, any move out of it would be impossible, too, but any move within this special structure would be allowed (but perhaps registered), idem for renames of folders in this structure, etc. - and the original item would bear a code "this or previous version archived into xyz on date", and even better, several such codes would be added to such items, and whenever the item is edited the very first time, after archiving, the message would switch from "this version..." to "a previous version...".

It goes without saying that such a feature could be combined with a "versioning feature" for programmers, etc., whilst the real, big market for such a system would indeed be the tax-compliance for tiny enterprises. Such a market is many times more viable than this, our, very specific "outlining folly".

EDIT 2 : The next natural step being, of course, individual access regulation for the individual members of the work team. But again, remember, UR offers that network access / locking down to the individual item, which is way beyond the competition - all the more a pity the fact that for real, for business use, UR cannot be taken into consideration up to now, so that'd be due for a change!

Last edited by schferk; 11-09-2012 at 02:13 PM.
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Old 11-09-2012, 03:07 PM
schferk schferk is online now
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18. Re "dot entries": I not only have such entries for the more specific files "pp" in "p", but also for any external files that I need again and again, in such a context, i.e. a .pdf with reference data, an Excel table with important data, etc.

I.e., I not only have all those external files within my p/pp sub-folders, but external files to which I need regular access, are referenced in these first / "p" level .ao files, my macro checking for the leading dot, then for the very first possible space, as said, and all the rest is the file name and the suffix, so the same macro will process every possible file I put into my "p" level .ao files.

I also could do "real" links, since AO offers those, as does almost any outliner, but I don't see any sense in doing so since my "preceding dot" encoding is exportable and re-importable from and to any such IMS, whilst those "links" any such outliner offers, would not be that easily exportable / importable into any other such system of my possible ulterior choice. Thus, individual coding of things is transferrable to competing sw in case, whilst in-built functionality is possibly not. And on top of this, as detailed above, my system allows for (permanent or just temporary, "To-Do"-) comments, whilst almost any inbuilt reference system only allows for the strict filename in question.

19. There is another aspect of my putting particular files (only) into my main system (= the AO system): I only put such "links" into that very first level, the "working / overview" level, of my system, i.e. NOT into the detailed files: in the "c" file yes, into the "ci" or the "cf" file, no! As said before, my about 10 such first-level files are always open, always readily available, whilst most particular .ao files are only loaded when needed. So, in order to prevent chaos or problems or just too much fuss, I simply refrain from referencing external files from particular, "detail" files, and whenever I rename such an external file, or even move it, I simply check within the according "c" file (which is open anyway and can be checked immediately, and this could even be automatted), instead of running my external search tools in order to know if perhaps I had referenced this external file in some of my remote detail files I don't remember of.

I know that for your global UR system, these considerations don't apply in theory, because of your internal, global, indexed UR search, but in practice, when using UR last year, I often had "words" and such that weren't indexed by UR, so I doubt that an expression as ".pp123.xml" would correctly be indexed within UR - but perhaps that's possible with some tweaking. If this is the case, you don't need to refrain from referencing external files even from the depths of your system, of course, but again, an IMS where you wouldn't have perfect order - as described above - within your file system, too, but in which you'd rely solely on your external file entries within your big UR file, doesn't seem easily manageable to me, so the above-mentioned system of synchronicity down to level 2 (but not beneath) between UR and your file system seems preferable to me, even when in theory, you could entirely rely upon your entries within UR - but are you really, really sure you immediately update these entries in UR EVERY time you add any new external file to your folder structure, and that you update them EVERY time you move or rename (let alone delete, sometimes) any such external file?

Thus, my system of synching the file structure down to a level, but then relying ON that file structure, for external files, instead of relying on entries in UR (that may be present or not, up-to-date or not), seems much more reliable - and for any external file you need again and again, just reference it into your UR structure, on top of that (and perhaps encode the file name, what about "filename,.suffix" or such, for such entries, in order to know you must update them whenever you "touch" these files within your folder structure). Remember, it's all about the ONE-KEY access, by macro, from any UR ".c" or ".ci" entry, to the corresponding folder: As soon as you get such one-key access, you'll HAVE those at your fingertips, so there is no need, for access considerations, for doubling any such individual external files within UR - except, perhaps, for searching, which is another aspect here and in which UR excels.

Of course, this is a "philosophical" question, as is, "do you really want another web browser, WITHIN your main system?" Again, as soon as you use two screens, you answer would tend to be NO, I presume... And as for searching, do you really want hits from external files like .pdf's interwoven with your internal hits, from UR? My system MUST rely on external search tools, so my judgment is biased, but I suppose that if I ever come back to UR, I would continue to search external files by external tools altogether... supposing is not taking the oath, though.
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  #14  
Old 11-10-2012, 03:41 AM
tfjern tfjern is online now
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You are getting sleepy...

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!
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  #15  
Old 11-10-2012, 06:22 AM
schferk schferk is online now
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tfjern, I've been detailing the utmost details for the power user of any IMS who's in need of not getting lost within his stuff comprising a 6-digit number of "items" / nodes - I didn't try to give unwanted advice to people who dream of a slick, light Apple thing in their sleep. On the other hand, if any power user has got advice for fellow power users, i.e. how to better manager giga of data, it'd be very welcomed by many readers, I presume, to have a detailed description of a viable alternative to what I discovered as a viable work space. But that would ask for some thinking about your approach, and for some redactional effort from yours, it's not done by a single line multiplying a single char.

Any sw product with a forum has its lapdogs pretending the sw is good enough as it currently is, but here we've got a high-standard product that obviously doesn't meet the sales expectations of its developer(s), hence its lack of serious development complained about many loyal and devoted users, so CONSTRUCTIVE criticism seems to be needed, especially including some marketing ideas, i.e. thoughts about new features able to multiply the market (and not only the market SHARE in the tiny traditional market) of the product in question, and that's what I did here.

Thus, people like you, tjfern, who are happy with the product as it is, should be deeply thankful for the efforts of others who try to assure that your beloved-as-it-is product will be there "tomorrow", by their ideas how to make it a) really oustand from the competition and b) a viable offering in a much bigger market that will create big revenue.

Sorry for being blunt, but your comment is destructive for this product, whilst my developments, even while dull reading, are highly constructive, and you should be smart enough to have seen this without me clarifying this for you.
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