Two Hints

Discuss MyInfo and get help here
Fred
Posts: 216
Joined: Wed Jun 23, 2010 8:07 pm

Post by Fred »

Go... up/down / left/right

These commands are on shift-alt-arrow keys. I must say that up to 5.5, I didn't use nor try out these commands, so their behavior might not be new.

GO UP has a bug, since it goes to the item1 line up, and selects the current item, in the way that nothing but the screen "1 document is selected" is displayed, or even "there are 2 documents selected", 3... (= even when I do the command just once; I suppose the "shift" in the keyboard assignment does something to it? But since it's by default = your choice? And in fact, I never ever understood the difference between this command and the up arrow key (except for the fact that the arrow key alone is working fine), hence my not using it up to now.

GO LEFT has a bug (?) or at least a weird functionality, too: When you trigger it when the current item has sub-items, which are expanded, instead of going to the parent item of the current item, it closes its own sub-items instead, so this is the behavior that is expected from left-arrow. Thus, again, I do not understand the difference between left arrow and "Go Left".

And so on, possibly, for Go Down and Go Right?

In fact, the arrow commands being there, this is perhaps not an urgent subject, but new users would be intrigued by their non-understanding of these commands (and Go Up indeed has a bug), whereas current users never bother again with those four commands that have no sense to them? Or did their sense escape me? Keyboard assignements to freely-to-be-chosen key (combination)s, for the arrow keys? But since these commands do NOT function 1:1 as the arrow keys? What are they meant to do, then?
Fred
Posts: 216
Joined: Wed Jun 23, 2010 8:07 pm

Post by Fred »

We NEED history toggles (coding time 1 h)

The history commands seem to work "normally" in a weird way, but it's a pain to use them, not knowing where the navigation will put you. In the absence of both displayed lists and toggles, their use is so erratic and cumbersome that most of the time, I revert to mouse - which is certainly NOT what I had hoped for.

Since toggles are even necessary if displayed lists are there, one day, and since toggles are much easier to implement, please give us those toggles, as soon as possible.

In fact, the history commands are really weird, since if I am at item A, then go to item B, the command "last viewed item" brings me back to item A (from B), but if I then want to go to item B again, and as said before, I have now to trigger the command "forward in history", whereas in fact, seen from current item a, item B is now the LAST viewed item, and thus should be made available, in first place = on first key pressing, by the command "backwards".

I know that back / forth are valid concepts in a list YOU SEE BEFORE YOUR EYES, but then, back and forth do NOT stand for any chronological order, but for the order items are ordered in the list; if you DON'T SEE ANYTHING, back MUST be reverting to last VIEWED item (= as the name of the command indicates, BTW), and if I go from A to B to A and want go BACK to B, B is then BACKWARDS in the chronological order of viewed items; without a displayed list, the concept of "Go Forward" in such a hidden list doesn't make any sense.

Hence:

- toggles for items and topics, FIRST
- have a look at your list construction, it's current state is beyond belief (see below)
- redo that list construction, and eliminate the commands "forward" for items and topics

- perhaps, THEN, implement displayed lists, and then only, back/forward will indeed make sense

Please let me say that this logical problem is, again, caused, by a programming problem: Doing "back" and "forth", in a hidden (!) list, makes programming very easy and then using such commands totally awful; whereas the same commands, in a displayed list, at least would be useable.... But in order to make using smooth, the programming step must be done a little bit more elaborate than it has been realized here, since, for a HIDDEN list at least, every current item must be put onto the TOP of the list, "replacing" by this the element at the BOTTOM of the list OR "replacing" the same item if it is anywhere in the list*, and any BACK command - forward commands are then totally devoided of any sense, without displaying the list - must go to the current item minus one there.

* = Thus, we must understand that at EVERY display (or, as said by me, display for longer than perhaps 3 seconds, which would indeed exclude any "intermediary" items) of an item, this SEARCH AND REPLACE routine for UPDATING the list must be triggered...

whereas it seems EVIDENT that up to now, in MI there is NO SUCH ROUTINE, hence the awful back-forth "navigation" IN TOTAL DARKNESS. Such questions of "functional design" should be addressed by version 1.0 or 1.5, not have to be explained by length by an amateur who'd like that at least version 6.0 will have resolved them, right? (I did such routines, as a non-professional, 12 years ago, in 2 hours, and even re-useable for other lists (and I could do it now in less than an hour); the PERSISTENCE of the absence of such programming BASICS is really unhappy: We're 2011 now, and even any beginner in programming should know by now how to make USEABLE lists, not only how to make lists that are easy to "program" in 5 minutes but are really not good in the application.

Such a routine would be necessary for items, and for topics also. As we all know by now, the 24h-only character of bitsdujour offers is their secret. If people really KNEW the programs they buy there, bitsdujour would be out of business. That's sad, but that's the truth. When I think that it had been the 32 KB frontier imposed by OpenScript on any text field, that made me abandon my program in 1999, and considering that the marketed version (for 99 dollars, that is) of Zoot, even in 2011, imposes that 32 KB limit on user's texts (while Zoot 6 beta will be somthing other)... There isn't good software out there because people like trash better?

Anyway, this history thing here is not a question of "I like this better, and you like that better" - what I said is to be observed by any serious programmer, the current history commands being almost unuseably trashy; that's a proven fact, and considering that an afternoon's work would do... quelle galère ! You know, I WOULD DO IT FOR YOU if you don't bother.

BTW, the two toggles I spoke of. Let's face it: I would like MI to be a much better program than it is, but I'm always willing to do with the strict minimum. Here, the strict minimum would be those "toggles", and in order to facilitate you any work with that:

Here's how to do me this toggle favor in a little 1 hour's encoding time:

a )

- leave the four history commands unchanged, I won't bother you with them anymore; if ever you have an afternoon to enhance those commands, it'll be not me who'll criticize you for that

b )

(- set TWO system arrays, lastviewedtopic[3] and lastvieweddoc[3], or better:)
- OR set up a system array lastviewed[2][3], with [1][1 and 2] = lastviewedtopic and [2][1 and 2] = lastvieweddoc

c )

- anytime an item ("doc" of whatever nature) is displayed, by whatever triggering means, but in the moment of display (there should be a standard procedure for that, so there won't be but ONE program component that'd be changed),

-- set (= the content of) lastviewed[2][3] to (= the content of) lastviewed[2][2] (array[1 and 2][3] being just a parking place, you can limit your variable to [2][2] and use, for parking use, any handy (normal text variable you use for any such purpose, or even a local text variable, since [1 and 2][3] is not for storage purposes outside the procedure)

-- set (= the content of) lastviewed[2][1] to (= the content of) lastviewed[2][3],

-- and set lastviewed[2][2] to the name of current doc, with its "internal MI path" (i.e. including topic name, but that part should be identical to your procedure there in order to feed your history arrays anyway)

- do the same with lastviewed[1][1 and 2] whenever the current tab is changed; as before, you'll have already got a history feeding procedure from which you can read the content of the variable [1][2] after having set the variable [1][1] to the former content of variable [1][2]

Again, all this should be done in the real display procedure, not already when you browse a tree with your arrow keys held down = at the same time your existing procedure feeds the history commands...

Thus, at any given time (outside these procedures themselves of course), lastviewed[1 and 2][2] contain the CURRENTLY displayed topic / doc, and lastviewed [1 and 2][1] contain the FORMERLY displayed topic / doc.

d )

- Create two commands ToggleLastViewedTopic and ToggleLastViewedDoc; make them available in the "keyboard shortcuts" list

The first command would trigger your procedure you've already got by your own means:

-- Go To Topic contained in (system array) lastviewed[1][2]

The second command would trigger respectively:

-- Go To Doc / Display Doc contained in (system array) lastviewed[2][2]

That's all, since if you trigger these commands, your normal, existing display procedures for topics and docs will be triggered, containing in future the sub procedures detailed in c) which will take care of the rearrangement / new inputs of the contents of the system arrays.

I'd be very obliged to you if you had encoded these as soon as possible; it'd be an hour's work for a great enhancement of MI on which I'd greatly depend.

(I know that in contrast to my programming work 12 years ago, any renaming / deleting / shifting of those items / topics would NOT be taken into account for these commands, but I could live with that.)

EDIT: One very basic example for unwanted intermediary items in the items history:

- You edit item A
- You select a part of the text and cut (or copy) it
- You navigate, as quickly as possible (so as to not create many intermediary items' entries in the history), to a target item*
- You create, beneath the target item, a new item (sibling or child of target item)
- You insert the cut / copied text into this new item
- You want to go back to the original item = source item, e.g. for creating more new items with clippings cut from there

* = You need the target item only in order to have a starting point from which you'll create the new item, other than the source item

Now we have these problems here:

- By going back, you mandatorily go back first to the target item, not to the source item

- If you needed some intermediary items (or did not go to the target item quickly enough, you'll have other intermediary items where your "go to last viewed item" command will get you, unwantedly! And since we don't have any displayed list, you must trigger the command again and again then, one by one, and look each time if you have reached the source item yet your intention is to go to, and not yet: Smooth working? Impossible!

Of course, there is the possibility mentioned by me months ago, to set a timer that only puts any given item into the history if that item has been displayed for at least 3 seconds; this will exclude all unwanted intermediary items from the list (be it displayed or hidden, as it is in MI now) -

And, heureka, this also solves the target item problem: Since you'll trigger the command "insert new child / sibling item" within those 3 seconds, the target item will not be included in the history. Then, after having created the new item, your "go back" command will indeed bring you to your source item.

Instead of doing a timer, you could include an "intelligence routine" saying: "If user created a new item and pasted something into it, chances are that by "Go Back" he doesn't want to go to the target item, but to the source item" - but this only resolves a special problem, leaving all those other intermediate items as a permanent problem cluttering the history, and the timer solution would resolve all those special problems anyway. Once a user KNOWS that every item will be put after 3 seconds' display only, he'll navigate mostly without hesitating at unwanted items, and will create new items within those 3 seconds: Of course, for giving the newly created item a title, he perhaps will hesitate many seconds, but he will first create, within the 3 seconds, the new item, and then he'll have all the time he needs to correctly title it, now hesitating at the NEW item, not at the target item, that will indeed not bother him in the history list, be it hidden or displayable.

These are so basic considerations I DO NOT UNDERSTAND why most creators of outliners indeed seem INCAPABLE of just getting the importance of them, neither by their own, nor when I tell them; it's time MI starts to implement some intelligence into its program, or why INSIST on staying in the me-too position, one of 80 or 100 not-too-bad programs, why not wanting to be the best when you easily can get there?

EDIT 2: The history back commands seem to work fine, except for the fact that you never know in advance how many times you must trigger them. For the history forward commands, that's another question; in fact, I tried the "go last viewed topic" extensively, and the respective forward command. Whilst the goback command goes indeed back, the goforward command only goes forward if I went there before by some commands, not by others; most of the time, I'm NOT able to go back to some topic, nor by goback - which simply doesn't have it in the list since the topic should be in the "forward" part of the list -, nor by goforward: I just get to one or zero topics, then get the auditive error message indicating there isn't anything at that array position.

The only reliable means to go back and forth up to now is, indeed, to just navigate by the goback and goforward buttons / commands, and, as said, you have to remember which one you must press; if you dare go to one of the two by other means, in the meanwhile, i.e. by clicking on a link to that topic somewhere, that stream of back-and-forth is interrupted, and your golasttopic / gonexttopic buttons don't work correctly anymore, especially the forward button / command.

So, please let's have the toggle (1 hour's encoding time) as soon as possible.
Last edited by Fred on Tue Jan 18, 2011 10:27 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Fred
Posts: 216
Joined: Wed Jun 23, 2010 8:07 pm

Post by Fred »

Tree Navigation

In fact, smoothless tree navigation by key(s) is one of the secrets of elegant outliner software, and in this respect, MI has some things to catch up. For example, all those "symmetric" commands like GoTreeBegin / GoTreeEnd, Collapse/Expand All/SubDocs/"Normal"(= direct children only) are not as symmetrical as they seem, since their function on a purely technical level might be symmetrical; on a usage level, it is certainly not.

You wanna example? Collapse/Expand SubDocs. Okay, put it on '^Left and '^tRight, or onto whatever. Now you have a nice symmetry... BEFORE you try to put those commands to work, that is...

What about this one?: Two macros for them (always with the mandatory delays for the processor to cope with netbook speed's limitations):

- for Expand Subs, do GoTree, then '^RightArrow: Not so spectacular yet, I concede that

- for Collapse Subs, do GoTree, then 3 or 4 times LeftArrow, then '^LeftArrow. Why this? Just do it, and then experiment with it, and you'll see that this macro at least is a rapproachement to a symmetrical command. In fact, "expand" is naturally done from the heading = parent, but a "collapse" should be possible from anywhere WITHIN the subtree also, not only be possible after having done a lot of keywork before again getting back to the heading from which you expanded all these subs.

Thus, a perfect information manager should automate such an "intelligent" behavior by programming means - perhaps not adopt my macro, but by storing the last item of each tree, from which an ExpandSubs command has been triggered, into an an array position, and whenever users do the corresponding (= when doing the command in that item's subtree) CollapseSubs command, the program would then automatically do the CollapseSubs command for the original heading.

This is not a criticism regarding MI's corresponding features; knowing too well that almost nobody out there is interested in top-quality programming (= work and results), it's a critique of the profession as a whole (see MS, har har har: so it's proven that money isn't the point, philosophy and love of perfect work is). As said by me long before, in order to allow for easy working, programming is heavy duty; if programmers don't like their work too much and make it easy, it's the user who'll be having a lot of trouble. Easy programming, awful software; hard programming, easy duty. Or something like that, yeah.

It goes without saying that my system supposes, contrary to a tree having a root item, a FLAT LIST in each tree, where those FIRST-LEVEL HEADINGS would normally be called "topics", so let'em call "subjects" or "headings" here; my system then allows for opening up AND CLOSING DOWN every subject EVEN FROM WITHIN...

And if this first level flat list in your tree grows too big... well, you then must split your tree up, at long last! (It goes without saying that additionally, you should NAME your first level headings accordingly, in order to quickly reach out for them, i.e. different first characters of the titles and, when not possible, digits 0-9 before the core title.

And buy a programmable keypad or other additional keyboard, in order to make up for the incredible loss of the F keys to the LEFT of the keyboard, some 20 years ago.

Those people craving for hoisting should be particularly interested in my hints here, since those hints, all together, are an even better replacement for hoisting than the real thing. (And if you do some hoisting the way you did cloning, those people will be glad to have a replacement for (that kind of) hoisting anyway.)
Fred
Posts: 216
Joined: Wed Jun 23, 2010 8:07 pm

Post by Fred »

Tree Movements by Inserting, etc.

I would like to acknowledge that you did a fine work with these. Not only did you get away with the tree movements in the WRONG direction, but you introduced some GOOD movements indeed: Whenever I paste a subtree into another tree, MI tries to show that newly introduced subtree in full, i.e. the tree scrolls up for making this possible, and at the right length.

I did not yet analyze these questions in full, but working with MI's new behavior seems very natural to me now, and up to now, I did not yet stumbled about any bad behavior of these routines, which is a very good sign.

This is something VERY GODD you've done here, and way beyond these (too often encountered in the past) good-enough quality / strict-minimum solution. I'm tremendously pleased with this.
Fred
Posts: 216
Joined: Wed Jun 23, 2010 8:07 pm

Post by Fred »

Projects / IM Again: A PRESENCE TO OUR MIND

I

Most of my efforts here are related, in one way or the other, to overcoming (= not possible) / trying to find intermediary solutions for the old real problem with MI, i.e. not offering yet, in the tree, hyperlinks to ITEMS in other topics, so this feature is of predominant importance within the next months' development, even at good-enough quality level, i.e. without synching when those items are renamed / deleted / shifted; in fact, in order to develop a real better system than I have now, within MI, I NEED such an intermediary solution and could live with it for some time; since those links ARE possible even now, in the TEXT (= not in the tree), and in the CURRENT topic (= not to other topics), it should be possible to make them available in the tree (= as for the "web" hyperlinks that are very well possible there), and to ITEMS, just by a "as they are now" basis when those links are created.

In UR, I discovered a simili-3-pane-outliner ersatz, not really good, but even as it is, a tremendous feature helping in project management (PM) / information management (IM).

In fact, UR allows for displaying the (direct) children (only) by just single-clicking an item in the (main) tree, WITH THE PRESERVATION OF THAT TREE, whereas double-clicking triggers the normal behavior of outliners, expanding the sub-tree if that double-clicked item has children (of any level, = is parent of a subtree, flat or deep).

This behavior, if you put the according children pane between main tree and text field, is at least some ersatz for a 3-pane outliner, and in fact, those 3-pane outliners are almost gone (Zoot is one of them remaining, and does not seem to take real profit of its 3-pane character, cf. for details in my UR posts), since ALL those outliners having implemented the 3-pane design, did not understand very well how to make it WORK.

Here with MI, I'm begging for some weeks now for an additional pane in which to put "project information", i.e. headings for loading predefined sets of topics. Since it hasn't come our way yet, I'm trying to do with according macros, in "normal" MI topics "mis-used" as such "project containers", and it is not the (inexisting) smooth functioning of my trying to make it work anyway - in fact, is does function on a purely technical level, but my workflow quality is bad, bad, bad -, but my constantly being hurt by the limitations I cannot overcome for the time being that drives me into the right way for a real solution.

The above-mentioned UR "solution" isn't a real solution one since in the second pane, it's not any sub-tree that's displayed, but only the direct children are, so you must to have flat lists almost everywhere except for the very first level or level 1 and 2, which will give you 3 levels only all in all: That's a pittance; in fact we don't need a secondary pane, pane 2, beneath a main pane, pane 1, but we need a pane 0 ABOVE pane 1, the main pane.

I want to say, the real work has to be done in pane 1, that pane that now, in UR, can be done only very approximatively, by the "children pane", and thus, pane 1 must allow for DOING the real work - while in pane 0, the pane that is just a minor (but oh so necessary) thing, it's indeed not necessary to have all the whistles and bells that the main pane offers (in any outliner program).

Thus, trying to use UR as a 3-pane outliner wouldn't make any real sense, since pane 1 offers all the functionality you'd need in pane 2, whilst pane 2 doesn't offer almost any functionality, including real display of the sub-tree you'd crave for having a look onto there.

And thus, my real-live experience with UR as a 3-pane outliner has offered me the validation of the utmost importance of my request for a "layer-zero" pane; of course, we all have quite naturally in mind, level 1 = most important, level 2 = of lesser importance, level 3 = of even lesser importance, etc., etc. - so my assertion that indeed LEVEL TWO IS THE MOST IMPORTANT and has to BE SERVED BY LEVEL ONE, is completely new, and especially not really overwhelming for casual users of such programs who do not like to spend any real thought on these matters: Their "common sense" would lie to them, I must be wrong, but then, common sense of the masses brings them to pieces of sh**: millions of flies cannot be wrong, etc., etc. - must make sense in any language. (To indicate the serving character of pane 0 to the main pane 1, I call them pane 0 (= sort of an "overlay pane") and pane 1 (= main pane), and not pane 1 and pane 2... besides, in most programming languages, array do the same, driving crazy programming beginners...)

II

In fact, I'm desperately trying, without any real success, to do a "GTD" system ("Getting Things Done" is by David Allen, as you know, but the need for such a third-dimensional system, "files" and "To-Dos", in their own files, making reference... and making available (!), those "original" files, has always been there, and when I speak of "GTD", it's such a "project management" system I'm speaking of, not of Allen's particularities).

And even if I only do it with links to topics (and with adding specific comments to the links' titles), not to items there (see my posts here-above), there is indeed the crucial point problem I cannot overcome without Petko's delivering some basic feature for this, to begin with:

That "PM" / "GTD" topic VANISHES from my view (= by vanishing from the screen)... and by this, FROM MY MIND ALSO, every time I trigger any such link in it.

In fact, NO "PM" of any kind can be done without having the important elements before your eyes, and just have a look at the graphical representation modes in real PM software: From a technical point of view, they would NOT be necessary, but then, most project managers do print them out all the time, for themselves and for their collaborators,

in order for them to never miss the "big picture".

And that's what non-3-pane outliners do to us:

THEY STEAL THE BIG PICTURE FROM OUR MINDS

at any moment they pretend to help us in our work flow, by "doing better" than just flat-file text processing softwares (= MS Word).

You see, we certainly ain't a community - the most valuable contributions to this forum not even get back a "Also to you, Fred" for New Year's wishes, let alone trigger any real discussion about anything -, but we certainly are the fraction of minority if I dare say, and I have wondered a lot of times why we don't make it into the mainstream, and even MS, with their OneNote, never will make it into sort of of a lesser brother of the mainstream, not even that, not even into a secondary river, to put the picture right... if they neither hire me nor steal my ideas, that is.

I think that these last weeks, in total unresponsiveness from anybody, by just "active dialoguing" (as I would put it, since I'm trying out things, not only put them "on paper" = on screen for you), I've found the solution of this enigma:

Current outliner softwares just don't live up to their promises.

And logically, they are discarded for this reason: They disappoint people, flat or steep learning curves, they just disappoint, and thus, only hard core amateurs in need for the little outliners really give stay; most would-be users turn their back after seeing, in 10 minutes' trial (of any of them) that it's not the real thing, whilst we are clinging to our dreams we cannot explain... hence the need that someone finally dissects the CONCEPTUAL shortcomings of outliners as they are present now; it's certainly not "this weird feature here and that feature missing there" that puts potential customers off; it's simply that the IDEA of outliners has been perverted, by all those goodies that are put into them in order to overcome the missing basics.

Want an example? As said before, I have abandoned tagging, first since it's been so poorly integrated into MI; cf. my very first posts here, seven months ago, where indeed I had tried to help with better integrating them into MI's outlining concept. Second, for being free to abandon MI now that I see that so little is done to really enhance MI's workflow quality... but then, I did so many tree links afterwards that this argument has weakend as soon as I had forwarded it... so I asked myself, why am I doing something (= the ubiquitous linking in the trees) that retains me here when I abandon tags, pretending it's for that very reason to not being trapped?

Well, I could redo my links with macros anytime in any other program into which I'd export (= directly or with intermediary steps) my 100,000 MI items, no problem with that: Any of my links' title is in the form "abcd - RealTitle" (whilst other "-" in titles are without spaces; for the US m dash I use " : ") that can thus be searched for, then a macro catching the "abcd" part of those titles, and making again links out of them; thus, 1,000 links in MI's topics' trees will not make my works unexportable; you see, I protect myself for now that I don't know yet if ever MI will care for my needs (= that are those of all of us; I'm just the avantgarde who expresses them long before most of yours even will be aware of them; remember, I'm after the not-yet outliner users, those 99 p.c. of the market, not after the 500 people "I'm satisfied with MI as it is" crowd here, sorry folks without manners).

And indeed, preserving tags in exporting would be much more demanding than this, very easy, possible links export. But the real question is, what are tags to do in an outliner? If the outliner was well conceived, wouldn't tags be perfectly disposable? Ain't they a totally other way of conceiving IM? Why having them implemented? Just for "serving everyone"? Har har: Okay, if MI was perfect even without tags (and the need to use them if that wasn't your style), I'd be perfectly d'accord with your wanting to have them as an even more perfect addition; since people DEPEND on them for overcoming, in a way, the shortcomings of MI's CORE functions, I'm not impressed.

And thus, now, I'm not astonished any more that so many people like EN, when in fact EN seems to have abandoned a lot of its former core features, concentrating its efforts on tagging, and only tagging (in the cloud, that is): By this, they appeal to the "tagging people" and serve them as perfectly as it gets (I suppose; I personally am not interested in elaborate tagging concepts, I'm an outlining expert), and they do not try to make a disparate offer that's bound to disappoint everyone.

But we are here in the outliner area, so we must depend on outlining's USP's (= that ain't there but when it's perfectly done, hence the current total lack of interest of our concept to the masses) here.

III

MI's in need, thus, of another pane, as fast as it can be done, and without any elaborated goodies for now; let's just have a pane, to start with, that contains a normal tree, that is a normal "topic"... but whose items would be links... as it is now for those "web items"... a tree without display of the corresponding text panes. But then, it should be possible to do some text there, for "stickies", for "text notes", for "reminders"... a MOUSE HOVER would show these notes in a little volatile frame, a mouse click into that frame would make it possible to edit that text...

Any simple click (and a key command, the existing one, for "activate hyperkey") on such an item / link in the "text pane-less" special tree = pane zero would then, IN THE MAIN TREE PANE, show the target topic, in a first step, topics with targeted items, in a second step (= when the hyperlink to items functionality will be there)... and in a third step, afterwards, I'm ON-THE-FLY TOPICS perhaps, I don't know yet, but be assured I KNOW WHAT I'M DOING IN THE OUTLINER BUSINESS, even if currently I do it for others, and I do it for free.

IV

As you can see, my proposition for pane 0 depends on a strict minimum of encoding efforts on your part to realize it, since all its components would rely on EXISTING procedures in your code, just to be adapted minimally. But you must NOT fall into that trap you've fallen many times in: Do something "special", particular, instead of relying upon existing material. Example: The secondary-text pane: terrible, as said. Other example: Reminders. I don't even know what that is, and if they are INTER-topics. If not, they are worthless, but anyway, there is not a word on them in the help file, and again, some new (volatile and thus not helpful, cf. here-above) pane. The same with the new wiki feature: You try to add many new things, from all bouts, to MI, but there is no integration of these features (ok, tags are searchable but evidently, they are not indexed for being searched; if they were, it would not take me more than a minute or two to search 250 topics for a given tag), and even your answer to somebody's question how the wiki function works, I couldn't understand. I took your answer literally, step by step, and NOTHING happened; certainly not what you pretended; evidently, you suppose users KNOW how wikis work, but I do not, e.g.

Thus, Adding to MI tagging, wikiing, coffee cooking: That's all very good, but it will NOT make it an integrated workflow platform, it will not make it a good, let alone splendid outliner. In short, you are accumulating those errors that EN has thrived to abandon.

Concentrate MI's value upon perfect outlining, not on doing this and that and that encore, each so so only. Some people want tagging, but then, they want perfect tagging, and EN will serve them. Other people want wikis, they are perfectly served by ConnectedText then, they don't need MI's (certainly much weaker?) wiki function for this.

And then, many people would buy a perfect outliner; they are without a product to buy, up to now: It's all more or less crap, out there, since I abandoned my work 12 years ago, not knowing how to integrate the web (= I was aware of necessary web integration, that is), and how to transpose my code to a "real" programming language... and because people who HAVE those programming means I didn't have, refuse to lend me a kind ear when I've got something worthy to say.

First, the two history toggles, please; without them, MI is getting unbearable for me; at 1 hour's programming time, I think you could do this.

Second, do some "zero pane", as simple as possible to begin with, and let's learn together, then, from real use, in which ways it could be enhanced to make MI real good software. Without a "pane zero", all goodies you could add to MI won't make it a good program, promised. You'll see by the MS Word users who WON'T come to us.

Third, in order to make MI a good program, the zero pane (and any other topic) needs, afterwards - but for trying out the zero pane, it won't be necessary that this third feature is yet in place -, links not only to topics, but to items, too, and to topic groups, and to groups of topics and items of other topics, integrated into those groups.

I'll be there to continue my work, and judging from my work up to now, you're entitled to take your chances I'll make the right observations with regards to the special design problems then.

In fact, I need intermediary results in order to make work my macros / scripts on them, and trying out how to constitute / manage those groups is impossible for me if even the links-containing resident pane I need for this is missing. Currently, I try to do a lot - too much! - in the respective topics, in a desperate effort to hold the things I need to consider, together in a non-volatile frame, whereas in fact the leap forward will only come when I'll be given that additional pane in which putting things together, trying them out, WITHOUT losing sight of that list / tree whenever I dare go into specifics = trigger details FROM there, instead of being forced, as I'm now, to LEAVE it everytime I'm going into details.

That's the idea behind it all a programmer must first understand: Users' need to have, onscreen, SEVERAL LEVELS of information CONCURRENTLY. If a programmer / IM software designer DOESN'T understand that need, all his programming efforts will be vain.

Bad outliner, bad tagging, bad searching and bad wikiing, all put together into a badly conceived ugly-looking workframe (= all bad to various degrees, that is, but any with heavy conceptional faults that make them bad, each of them), DON'T make a good program, not in 20 years' more development (that won't happen then, BTW). Let's make some co-working to overcome this. After all, my contributions are FREE, mind you.
Fred
Posts: 216
Joined: Wed Jun 23, 2010 8:07 pm

Post by Fred »

Personal Brain and Other Third Party .mio Launchers

I

I once said here that the free PB version didn't allow for triggering files, and that I wasn't prepared to lay out about 150 dollars for a task launcher (= PB Core). Then, I read in forums that PB Free did not allow for more than one file attachements to each PB item, and this intrigued me.

II

Today, I'm looking for ways to simulate the missing zero pane functionality in MI, and thus, I tried sticky softwares, about 15 or so of them. Sticker takes hyperlinks, but is unreliable; often you have to click a second time on the link to open the MI file ( all hyperlinks in all those programs are in the form of file://c:\mi\a.mio ); furthermore, you cannot rezise the font which is much too big:

Understood that my plan is to have MI full height, but not full screen anymore but with a 5- or 6-cm "ribbon" left to it on the screen, where some launching program would be present in order to take my task list = pane zero; of course, all this is more than just ugly, it's outright awful, but in order to try out PM ways that'd work WITHIN MI, I'm willing to simulate third-party ways working WITH MI.

Thus, in Sticker, you cannot have but some 20 or so tasks on a 15,4" screen, and since triggering doesn't work reliably, it's out of the question.

Most sticky softwares are simply awful, and don't allow for launching hyperlinks, so they fall out.

Visually the most neat and pleasant sticky program I know now, is STICKY. Heureka, I thought, since even my links (see above) were immediately identified as such and automatically formatted as such. But unfortunately, it was Sticky that did format my links impeccably, but didn't launch them! The help file didn't work either, and nor single / double / triple clicks nor right clicks did anything for me... Thus, and unlike MI, those web hyperlinks in Sticky seem to work only for what they had been intended; if this had been the same with MI, I wouldn't have been in this forum for months (which would rejoice some of my readers, I know that, but it wouldn't be good for MI nor for the Industry...)

So sticky softwares were something of an idea, but fall out. (Except for some good hint by my readers.)

III

Anyway, those softwares have some fault in common: They do not display a note for the link by hovering the mouse on the link: You'd had to do your comments beneath (or above) the link, by this doing away with the so-much needed neat link list to the left of MI missing this link list in-house for the time being.

(Thus, I even tried Pigeon Hole, a weird program where the idea is good and the realization crazy: no way.)

So, I tried editors, but not in-depth yet. Even the MS Windows Editor is able to take a list - not a link list, that's right -, and I wrote a macro that just put the "a - ", "cim - ", etc. parts of my "links" into a routine launching MI (= going to MI already launched, that is), and opening / going to the file in question there.

Mind you, that's not as crazy as it seems - yeah, there must be tiny editors that allow real links, and I'll find them, by searching for them -, since my ultimate aim, as explained in my posts here, is NOT launching just ONE file by such links, but perhaps complete links GROUPS, and thus, a link-allowing third party applic just facilitates me the very first steps, whilst in the end I'll have to write the according procedures anyway (including the pop-up infos for each entry in the list).

Thus, for the time being, having a link-allowing editor or an editor for just plain text, no real difference in the end, but always the same problem, no hover texts that would be really handy - making that external pane to the left broader than just a few cm, would sharply cut into my screen real estate for MI, so I'd not be too happy with anything that would offer columns or other...

My idea with Pigeon Hole had been to just show the first row of its cages, but the problem is, the hover text field cannot be bound to a decent place on the left side of the screen; at least I couldn't do it, and having my commentaries, for "links" - Pigeon Hole does NOT do links, it seems, not even for URL's - at the far LEFT of the screen, put to the far RIGHT of the screen, by the sole will of Pigeon Hole developer? I'll find another third party applic with a hover text field and will work from there...

V

Next idea: Why not use a ONE-pane outliner, just as the zero pane for our 2-pane outliner, making it up for a simili 3-pane outliner? Thus, I tried UV Outliner (20 dollars). It's "pretty" in a "Mac for poor people" way: I hated it from start on, and I did not succeed in having links there. My initial idea had been, of course, a 1-pane outliner would have my projects "comments" (= the to do notes before "opening the projects") on a lesser level in the same pane, so it could be squeezed into some 6 cm width, and some double-clicking or other would then display those notes if needed and then hiding them again, leaving me with a neat first-level list of items except for these recurrent but intermittent viewings of my "production notes"; it goes without saying that these considerations also apply to any zero pane in MI itself, since viewing (and editing, in the first place) of such notes MUST be possible, WITHOUT interfering with the "rest of the screen"... finally, I opt for hover panes, as big as the notes ask for, and automatically resized when editing those notes (and with a max. size of course, then presenting a scrollbar if needed)).

So that paid UV outliner is out for me, but there are some other one-page outliners out there, and I'll see if one of those might be better suited; many of them are free, on top of that, and thus, I won't risk to put some 150 dollars into NoteMap, the legal affairs marketed one, just for having an intermediate solution (but I dare speak of it here since in their publicity, they speak indeed of NoteMap's capabilities to have links and hover texts; I tried NoteMap years ago and wasn't searching for those special features then).

VI

There are a lot of application launchers out there, of task management software; as stated before, they all have that inherent problem that they just let you have an overview, but without you getting to the often tons of data you need for your projects; they are always an add-on... or something like MI / UR / etc. - but then, this task management part must be as good as the data storage part is, and that's the weak spot, of those programs, for the time being...

So I fear that most task management softwares have much too many functions for my zero pane means, but perhaps some applications launchers will do... but then, many application launchers just present links, without hover texts, and then, perhaps columns for comments, etc. - but on our screens, populated to 90 p.c. by MI, there's no room to make for any application launchers' columns or other bells and whistles...

VII

Except for PB, perhaps? (I adore these loops.) I had been intrigued by these contradictory information: no linking according to my "experience" in the free version, and not more than one link for each item in the free version, according to others? Thus, I tried again, and I immediately saw what had put me off some months ago:

You rightclick an item in PB, you get a dialogue: "Add Attachment". You click on it. You'll get: "Enter the URL to attach. You must upgrade to PB Core in order to add file attachments." Underneath, the entry field contains some "http://".

Huhhh? That's unequivocal, no? I read this as: "In this free version, you're only allowed to attach URL's" (= hence the entry field with the "http://") "but in order to attach files on your computer, you must buy core (150 dollars)."

So, I hadn't even tried. Today, I did. And heureka, it had indeed been their bad English only that had put me off, since, what they meant, was: "You must buy at least Core (or Prof, again 100 dollars more) in order to add MORE THAN ONE file attachment (of any sort) to any item in PB."

Thus, contrary to what I'd claimed some time ago here (cf. PB for Free), PB Free is indeed and perfectly able to act as your zero pane to any outliner or other IM you like to command with it! (And the hover function in PB is the best you'll see anywhere; FreeMind has such a hover function also, but to the difference that there, the text field vanishes every time you hover an item without text: ugly, ugly, ugly! But again, PB's hover function teaches you how elegant it is just to hover, not being forced to click.

And this means, all that beauty of PB could indeed be made fruitful for people like us, and that's what I had always alleged: For the very first level (and perhaps the very upper levels, not only the very first one only), PB is perhaps the best software out there, at this time... whilst, when they pretend to be a real good database for storage of tons of documentation or other, it just makes me laugh. I had said it before, they so much love their graphic concept that they apply it to everything, down to the depths deep-down in your possible mountains of data: for a hammer, all's a nail, I said...

Well, PB Free's willingness to allow for just ONE link to every item (and I wouldn't need two to them) makes it possible to the current state-of-the-art graphics ENTRY into any text / reference database, as I had hinted at months ago.

Thus, I'll certainly experiment with this, understood that for day-to-day purposes, we need a classical zero pane, more rooted to the soil, a list, a flat tree, with hover texts, not taking more than some fiths of our screen real estate (plus the volatile hover text)...

but as said before, doing some THINKING with PB, INTEGRATED into PB, would perhaps be a good idea here and there, all the more so since in these RATHER FLAT thinking layers, not delving deep, graphical represention could almost certainly help - so try out some work with MI and PB, on a DUAL SCREEN system mandatorily (since if you have to switch forth and back on the same screen, that's so awkward it'll kill any possible positive effect of your elaborate arrangement) -

it'd be another real PRESENCE OF YOUR MIND: by which I understand an enhancement of our poor capability to have only 3, 4, 5... for geniuses, perhaps even 7 or 8... items in our direct thinking machine concurrently. I never denied that at that (rather) flat level, PB could be of great help... I always said, they go bonkers in trying to bring all your reference material to your disposal that SAME way... but as an OVERLAY to any MI system, they've possibly hit the bull's eye.

Affaire à suivre, décidément !

(Which is not a reason to withdraw from introducing a zero pane in list form into MI ASAP.)

EDIT: An intermediate solution would indeed be TkOutline; it's free, and can display your very first level (and even high sub-level) items / projects (and the according comments, etc., in hidden sub-levels) of MI, and by this you can indeed organize some PM in MI with it: Links to topics work fine; links to groups of topics would have to be realized by (simple) macros.

You can download it here:

http://sourceforge.net/projects/tkoutli ... e/download

EDIT 2: Perhaps I'll buy ListPro instead (20 dollars), has notes field beneath the list field, and especially, is a 2-pane outliner in itself (or if you insist, a 3-pane one, taking into account the notes field), but of the minimal kind, 1 projects list in the left pane, 1 project FILES list in the right pane; links are done in a special column for links, even without the path but all with the ".mio" suffix; only real problem is, if you squeeze it to 1/4 of your screen width, the (unnecessary) toolbar will take not 1, not 2, but (including an empty one), FOUR lines of your screen's height. So I contacted them in order to see if they are willing to make the toolbar optional; then, it'd be a perfect program launcher in general and a perfect PM add-on for MI in particular.

In any case, Petko'd had the utmost interest in studying LP's architecture since, without knowing LP, what I had been describing, had indeed been something like LP, including the text / commentary field, and those TWO levels, coming naturally, within this "pane zero", they'd have to be implemented in MI, for making MI a real fine program; from then onwards, MI files would not have to be mis-used to contain project links, those project links would all be done within those levels ON TOP of MI topics.

But using LP - I'm using it already (= trial), when TkOutline I'm not - makes one thing clear as day: Without linking to ITEMS within MI topics, MI will always force us to overcome this "missing link" by far too laborious sideways: Those links are necessary in the long run.

By the way: You could also use LP as a PM utility to gather VARIOUS files of DIFFERENT types, i.e. projects containing images, pdf's, etc., etc. - thus, detailed analysis of LP (and other program launchers as good as LP) is really worthwile in general. (Of course, LP, like XPlorer2, does NOT synch shifted files, and not even synch renamed or deleted files (Xplorer2 does); but at least, LP allows for searching, so you can rename manually, and remember, renaming within such a rather tiny add-on data set should be a little bit less demanding than in 250 physical MI files - remember, MI's overall search feature isn't but a search, not a replace routine - that's why I insist that in the end at least, MI must have an in-built synching component, by a centralized array doing the synching, not trying to synch data dispersed onto hundreds of different MI files...)

And for our fiction writers and strategy vice presidents, PB as front-end, just for the fun of it. Petko, do you realize that for the time being, even this board is much neater to the eye and much less ugly than MI itself? Just look at the thin lines here and those broad sticks betweens panes in MI; read my comments, try to do it according to them, let's modernize it. It's time. Technically, MI's much better than (first editions of) Scrivener will be...

But potential buyers will not see this when they compare these products by comparing the screenshots... and that the depth 90 p.c. of potential buyers will delve into, before de-selecting old-fashioned looking software from their selection. So it's time for a redesign, graphical and functionally. Did I make my points clear?
Fred
Posts: 216
Joined: Wed Jun 23, 2010 8:07 pm

Post by Fred »

Big Bug

When topics are displayed, and tabs are displayed, and you then dare do the option "No tabs", you won't believe your eyes, the spectacle in front of you will make you cut the power to your comp in order to not having possibly stored that absolute incredible state of affairs.

In fact, it's not that the tab line vanishes in a whole, but every tab vanishes, one by one, and when that's finished, you'll see that all trees have vanished with them, all's left from every single topic is the current item's text, nothing more.

If you cannot replicate this bug, try and dare display the favorites toolbar unbound to MI's frame. My 500 fellow users here seem to have incredible luck since for them, MI always works smoothly, then? Har, har.

EDIT:

Similar bug (but not as frightening) when you change something in the options:
- I changed from "load current files with startup" to "load THESE files with startup"
- I did "use current files for this option" (= puts current files in the "these files" field)
- I deleted a lot of files from that "these" list
- I finally did the "OK", in order to have only about 15 files in the "these files" list to open for startup, instead of about 40 before

This ok then triggered a short displaying of all those (40?) files / text fields with the current content of these files, in about 5 seconds, thus about 100 ms for each file or something, but afterwards, all those about 40 files were always there (as is normal, since I only eliminated them from the starters list), seemingly with their trees and (hopefully) unchanged (?) - this taking place without tabs being visible from MI's start on, this time.

EDIT 2:

Not at all so, I've been left with all those MI files without their trees, so I had to switch off the power cable manually again, in order to not loose data perhaps.

And at next start - the options / settings file had been stored all the same! - I discovered that I had put one file in my "start with these files list" that didn't exist, so I elmininated it manually from the list, did "ok"... you got it, same behavior, by just eliminating an inexistend (!) file from the start-up list: all my remaining 15 files had lost their trees, and just had left 1 item of text. So I pulled the plug again.

Next start, all files seemed (?) ok (and my "ok" had again saved the options / settings file, so the inexistant file didn't bother me again) - but I think that your encoder, Petko, should do some work 72 hours in a row, and then you owe us a new intermediate beta, before the end of the week.

I wouldn't have thought I'd be going to take so many risks with my data here; this current encoding work is sub-standard.

And don't say I'm trying the betas at my own risk: I certainly don't have time to try them out with dummy data, so I must do my real work in them, and without my trying out... well, do you want that 90 p.c. of these bugs make it into the final 5.5 and beyond, since my fellow users don't do lots of debugging work here? Thus, please, hurry up the next beta; this one is unreasonable.
Petko
MyInfo Support
Posts: 2921
Joined: Sun Jul 25, 2004 4:33 pm
Contact:

Post by Petko »

Fred, these bugs will be fixed certainly for the next beta.

I only can't reproduce the vanishing of the trees at this time, but I will try to find what is causing it.
wsp
Posts: 515
Joined: Thu Aug 07, 2008 8:54 am
Location: Washington, DC

Post by wsp »

Fred, I agree with you that this forum is rather quiet. I assume there are many others like me who read all the posts, including yours, with much interest but are prepared to jump into the discussion only when some particular issue arises that catches their attention.

So, in that spirit, let me respond briefly to your earlier comment about tags. I agree that tags alone are inadequate as a system of organization without outlining tools. That's why I have largely abandoned Evernote after several years of heavy use of it. (I still use EN as a repository for archived material, but that's a different matter.)

When I'm organizing ideas and information, I find MI's tree panel absolutely indispensable, but there are certainly times when I need to supplement it with tags. As I explained in an earlier note, I have one large topic (among others) entitled "Bibliography," which holds some three thousand bibliographical citations (one document for each) for writing projects past, present, and future. The documents, I should add, are all arranged in a single alphabetical sequence. At first I tried to put them into some kind of thematic arrangement in the tree panel, but eventually I discovered that, for various reasons, it was easier to have just a flat, single-level sequence. Then from time to time I simply bring the alphabetization up to date with the "Sort ascending" command.

But I still feel the need for some thematic organization, and that is where the tags come into play. If, for example, I want to look at everything I have about the history of publishing (a subject I'm much interested in), I simply type "tag:publishing" in the search box, and I instantly come up with some 200 references about that subject. If I modify the search with a second tag (e.g. "tag:publishing tag: UK"), I can refine the results further.

This, to my mind, works much better than trying to create a hierarchical tree with a node called "publishing" -- if only because many of the articles and books about the history of publishing also touch on other subjects, and soon I would find myself wandering in a maze of clones in the tree panel. It's much easier to apply multiple tags to each document.

One of the great strengths of MyInfo is that allows us to organize and get at our information in various, sometimes overlapping, ways. If I were to offer any suggestion about the tags, it would be to make them slightly more accessible. I would much prefer to have them in an optional panel at the left of the screen, rather in the style of Evernote (if only because I sometimes forget the names of all my tags when I'm constructing queries), but obviously that panel should not replace the tree panel -- merely supplement it.
Bill
Fred
Posts: 216
Joined: Wed Jun 23, 2010 8:07 pm

Post by Fred »

Tagging, Favorites

Hi wsp!

I abandoned tags because of their inability to be filtered over several topics; since there would be some programming effort in this, I couldn't believe anymore that this subject will be addressed.

Your use of tags is, indeed, that kind of use where tags are (especially in MI) are rather perfect: One big file...

But then, we must see something very clearly: Your stuff, 3,000 items, is HOMOGENIC, and thus, you are perfectly well-advised to hold them together in one file; as soon as your stuff is heterogenic, it's one alternative indeed to hold it together, whereas I tried to put it into a lots a databases since I'm also interested in all this for "academic" reasons - of course, I stumble then on MI's current inability to really well proceed concurrent stuff in several databases / topics.

Just read my very first posts: I was the first user to really develop a better kind of doing tags, but it lives and dies with the ability to put on a "zero" component, a component into MI (= not into the respective topics), centralized, and continuously checking out all things occurring anywhere when MI is on; that would make a big array of some MB, but then, even the indexes for single topics are of that size...

If MI gets such a superstructure from which MI components can control topics and goings-on there, there is tremendous potential, but if not, there's not; as said, even searching for tags is not centralized since the corresponding component in MI's code then searches every topic / every topic's index (?) one by one, in fact, even for tags, there is NO centralized index. I'm positive about this, since how could it be that searching for a given tag in my 250 or so topics takes 1 minute or 2?

Thus, there is an architectural problem in MI, discussed by my for 7 months now, and indeed, be it tagging, be it hyperlinks to other topics, let alone items in other topics, or many other issues, there will never be a real solution for all this as long as no superstructure to MI's topics will be implemented (and loaded everytime with the MI core file).

If you want to say, wsp, that (when well done by good programming, and again, cf. my posts of summer 2010 here) tagging is preferable to cloning, in the end, well, that had indeed been my initial thought about this matter... but then, taggin is (up to now) not well enough implemented into MI, whereas cloning is tremendously well implemented into UR, so I'm considering top-notch cloning there and sub-standard tagging here, and hence some considerations that might indeed give a false impression about my real preferences if I had to choose from two concepts realized both in a state-of-the-art way.

All this being said, I had totally lost from my view that there are favorites, where links to topics anywhere and even items in those can be done (without synching, that's right) - but hence, it's quite clear that the most basic form of superstructure has indeed been implemented: references to items in topics, as they are at the time of referencing to them, in a sort of list / text file / whatever, and from which MI then READS those (not-updated) "links" - this is you cannot do more basic than this, but conception-wise, it's a centralized MI procedure, whereas all tagging is INTRA-TOPIC only.

I understand that you want better tagging than there is now; it had been I who developed a lot of possible enhancements about tagging; I also understand that your wish to enhance tagging concentrates of those enhancements that have nothing to do with inter-topic problems / availability of tagging over all (let alone a determined sub-set of) topics; I'm not going into another race "what is to be done first" since after all, the speed of MI's development is not that fast, and thus, we'll be disappointed anyway, all of us, and independently of any precedence.

But again, the (awfully realized) "Favorites" functionality is there, and since I'm most interested in strict minima, I think that some TINY enhancements of the favorites function, without any synching first, but with better grouping of elements there (= indented grouping, not, as it is, one-level grouping only), and with better / more easy access to the elements there, in order to "mis-" use the tagging, waiting for better things to come, for the "current affairs" / "things to do currently"...

Whilst "Favorites" is another word for "Standards", right? And hence my problem with those favorites. I did NOT implement ListPro in my workflow in the end but I discovered MI's favorites, and thus I got some 50 or 60 "Standards" = important topics into them = into a pane to the left of MI, the favorites pane

(= unbound, that's what I beg for, for the search term pane) taking about 20 p.c. of my screen space, MI the core program = main frame taking the other about 80 p.c. - that's incredibly ugly (since that way, the favorites frame = "toolbar" is NOT realized in the same visual style as the other MI frames, nor - and that's weird - as the same "toolbar" when it's not sized into frame form),

where it's not difficult to display way over 50 topics if your topics' names just are 1, 2 or 3 characters long...

and beneath those topic groups (= in a way, I'm doing here, approximatively, what I'd explained during the last weeks, with the moyens du bord, with the means available to me), I even have a list of ITEMS, for things I must currently do.

But here, the problems begin: As you can see from my description, I mandatorily mix up "Standards" and "Current Affairs", when in fact these two categories ONLY SOMETIMES are identical (since "Current Affairs" have a tendancy to belong to "Standards" in a way -

but as said, I've got some 50 or 60 "Standards", in about 15 groups, and since there are no "comments" possible whatsoever, and not even color encoding of such "Favorites" is possible, for my "Current Affairs", it's totally impossible to go, again and again, over those 60 topic entries there, in order to check if they contain some "Affairs to do today or tomorrow" or not - hence my additional "declaring as favorites" of my current affair items (in various topics).

Don't let me be misunderstood: In direct comparison with what I did up to this week, it's a BIG, BIG step forward, it's an incredible jump! But then, MANAGING all these things is as awkward and time-consuming as it can be:

- my current affairs only can be added, by the command, to the END of the "list", whilst logically, they should be on top of the list, preceding my "Standards" = real favorites

- they could be manually re-ordered to the top of the list, but do that, with a long list, for many items (and, worse, items that will only stay there for a day or two): it's more than just awful!

- the items = real current affairs are just items, then, when in fact, most of the time, I'd prefer the TOPICS to be there, even for my ToDo's - since my topics are neat (= question of overcoming the non-existent hoist function, but as said before, now I'm quitte happy with that)... and if I only make reference to an item there (remember, we're speaking here of the "zero pane", not of inter-topic references, which would be quite another thing!)

- but to do those "links" to my current affairs as topics, is, the most of the time, not possible, since, as said just a minute ago, most of those ToDo's are with regards to favorite topics... and it's NOT possible to enter a topic or an item more than just once into this frame / toolbar: But since I said, this toolbar mixes up a) the real favorites (in groups, be them topic-only groups or some that even contain standard items) and b) the current affairs, such a DOUBLE entering possibility would indeed by very handy!

- what I miss most in this "frame" = technically, a toolbar, is a way to "special-click" on those entries, in order to perform more commands on them; single-click only is possible and displays the item / topic; why not have a right-click menu, and there, to begin with, the possibility to COLOR-CODE the entry (or code them by formatting bold / underlined / italic) ? For me, it would be the perfect solution to my problem of mixing-up: All real "standards" would be "regular" or black, and all things to do today would be in red (or in bold), and all things to do as soon as possible would be in just another color (or would be underlined / italic), or even, standards to be checked out weekly would be bold instead of regular (as would be the other standards), and current affairs for today would be underlined, those for tomorrow being in italics.

- it goes without saying, a combination of formatting and color (= text color, but especially background color - again, we're speaking here of, in my case, 1-2-3 digit entries!) encoding would be perfect! Thus, if a "Standard" is / contains a "DoToday!", I'd make its background yellow, for today, orange, and only if I have a ToDo not being contained in a Standard, I'd make it a special "Favorite" for that day, in full text, e.g. - and upon having done those things, I can redo the regular formatting and / or re-blacken the item.

- Perfect would be, here: To have the possibility, by right-click menu command, to insert any new (=standard or ToDo) item in those "Favorites" directly "after" (= beneath / to the right of) the current item; this way, when a ToDo belongs in a standard category, you could then insert the topic or the item "link" in direct vicinity of the standard entry there to which it belongs, or then, into the GROUP into which logically belongs: Try this today, with the list that is given to us up to now for those shiftings of entries there:... awful, you get it.

- As we can see from this short development, MIXING UP standards and todos, as I do here, "for technical reasons", is NOT a bad thing at all, in any workflow, IF it's done intelligently: grouping of the todos "within" the "corresponding" standards, AND, in order to DE-MIX it, COLOR ENCODING in order to know every minute of your work day, which standards do I have to bother with immediately?!

- And if I go into such length with the awkward managing interface of those "Favorites", you see at which point it's important to have these "lists" of standards, and of things to do, before your eyes, in whatever topic you might work currently! (Since I go to these lengths only because my "topic zero" vanished, all the time, when I worked onto something anywhere else, and stucking your real work into your "zero topic" - as I tried to some length - is totally aberrant: this "zero topic" has to be as neat as possible (hence the importance of grouping, even of current tasks, to their "natural subjects" there), AND has to be visible as such at any moment.

- I very much hope that some color encoding, etc., in this "favorites pane" (= when it's formatted as a pane, not as a ribbon), might technically be possible, since as it is, it's not really elegant even if better that not having any "work to do" list maintained before your eyes. All this proves how much we need a "zero pane", since I even adopted the "Favorites", as they are, to simulate as best as I could, such a pane. But indeed, in such a pane, there should be several levels, links NOT identical with the text you see, etc. (= as said, just a tree like they are in MI, without the corresponding text panes).

- Oh yes, I forgot: With this "Standards and To Do Pane" on the left of my screen, I abandoned all tabbing = I hide tabs now. Of course, this way, I cannot maintain synchronicity between my zero pane and my loaded topics, all the less so since even I do not wish to load 60 files at once. But my groups in this zero/super/"above-it-all" pane are such that when I work on something particular, most of the time all of those groups' topics are then of interest, and easily to be loaded by just a click; possible additionally needed files I load then, from those files in which they are referenced to, for my work session... and all the worse - or perhaps, all the better! - if next time they are not automatically loaded again with them; if they should indeed be loaded with them again, there are entries there to remember me, and as said, a simple macro can load a file group by just pasting a line _"a" "syp" "tol", "rpz"_ into the "open" dialog.
Fred
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Post by Fred »

The Tree Bug / Tree Formatting

I confirm the described bug, and confirm that it occures similarly in many situations. Just now, it occurred in this situation:

There is a problem inherent in the tree's formatting. Whenever you want to do thinking in MI, i.e. do some quick (but perhaps broad) outlining in the tree, without texts, you must either live with greyed-out items in the tree, or you must do the option for ALL topics. But then, even in "normal", concent-loaden topics, you'll have all your entries in black, even when empty, whilst there and anywhere, EXCEPT for "thinking by outlining" = a special topic, so it's 301 instead of 300 or so, this greying-out is really useful.

Thus, again, we have that problem that some things that should be done individually for each topic, are just a general option, and vice versa. Perhaps, you could implement a thing such "In this topic, overrule the general 'special color for empty items' setting".

Anyway, I dared reset the global setting, since for MI helping me to think, it was important for me to have it all in black (the problem with global setting is, even when you can reset the global setting, as long as you want, alternatively, work on your "thinking outline", even all your other topics' trees are all in black, empty texts or not, so it's really not handy), and here again, it was the flashing of all loaded files (about 20), and they were emptied of their trees, i.e. I went to other open topics, and they also were stripped of their respective trees!

I did not want to loose my "thoughts tree" by pulling the plug again, so I saved it under a new titel = AFTER that bug, just to see what the bug might have done; then, I went from text to tree, by the command, immediately receiving an exception fault message. Then only, I pulled the plug this time.

I reloaded the files: All seemed to be in fine state, and even the "thoughts tree topic" (under new name) had regained its tree (first version hadn't been saved up to then). So it does not seem to be a problem that destroys data (or then, by your possible panicking), but indeed, after the flashing, the trees are not re-established, except when re-loading / re-opening.

Since it's a similar bug for several similar commands, it's to be found at the commun trigger level of these commands, or in a common routine that is called upon from these. I suppose now there will be other options, etc., perhaps all with graphical background, that will trigger the bug then.
wsp
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Post by wsp »

Fred, I have done a simple experiment, and it appears to me that it is possible -- in a rough-and-ready sort of way -- to use a shared set of tags across two or more topics.

This is what I did. I opened two topics in which I knew that I had used the same tag ("LC"). Then in the search box I searched for "tag:LC," selecting "Open Topics." It found all documents in both topics using that tag. It works the same way for custom attributes, by the way.

Of course this means that you have to remember to create the tags in exactly the same way in two or more documents.

But perhaps I misunderstood your comments. You're a programmer, and I'm just a struggling user of MI, so I often find your remarks intriguing but way over my head.
Bill
Fred
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Post by Fred »

Filtering vs. Searching

Hi wsp!

I

I'd got more and more aggressive because of the missing of any constructive contribution of my fellow users; thus, I'm absolutely glad we found together in a constructive way; for the personal reasons to the absence of good manners on my side I beg your pardon; you see, I've been, all my life, extremely underpaid and under-estimated, thus I tend to say that well-paid people ain't worth their pay, whilst the real problem is that I'm not paid my worth; that's very well two different things, and I know this; I've been stolen of my credentials at a time (and I'm not speaking of the bombing of my software then, but of German authorities (which is not to say the Belgian authorities, or authorities anywhere in the world are a notch better, probable not by an ounce, nada)), but that doesn't mean that others don't merit theirs: I'm really sorry.

Since I write extensively, indeed you misunderstood me, but I don't put that against you, since, indeed, people tend to get lost in my details (whilst for programming and other exact work, that obsession with detail is a real strong point... but not in communication: I know this).

And I'm not a programmer - I wouldn't have committed such an extreme error in choosing an inadequate programming language for my software then if I were -, I just was so much interested in information management / processing / hyperspace and all that that I decided to program the information manager I didn't had at my disposal, MS Word (and similar) not having a decent outlining and / or hyperlinking feature,

and askSam not having an outlining feature either (remember it was 1997/98, and AS' on-the-fly outlining had years to come yet; if I'm so angry about AS, that's because they had tremendous potential, AND that on-the-fly outlining thing, in about 2004 or 2005 (= with 6.1 if I remember well), was, ideas-wise, state of the art, just poorly done, and never ever did it occur to them they had a real gem in their hands: AS with all (often serious) bugs gone, and with that outlining feature perfectly working even for big files (= where it'd have its perfect raison d'être), would've been the best information manager in the 3-digit range, and perhaps even the 4-digit range, independently of its poor import (let alone export) capabilities: From that point on (= bugs gone, outliner really useful), it would have been easy to develop it further, even into mass appeal (whilst I don't need this MI Explorer / other browser import functions; as I said, I do a first triage in (macro-) downloading clippings),

and perhaps there being some other information managers but that I didn't know of (as I said, in those years, I was "netblind"), I thus programmed what I thought I needed, and more, integrating even rudimentary networking features - on the item level, not on the file level (but I don't want to lie about it, those features were constructed, not encoded yet), and from this, I learned by doing, i.e. I saw, in using my program, what the faults were, and I really optimized - and then, selling by bookstores, 4 "lite" versions (= I deliberately confined the items' number in those lite versions; trial versions hadn't become the regular way yet). Thus, I know now many details of programming, by force... and, more importantly, I cannot but see the useability issues, including how to make it MUCH better, in any program whatever's user interface - in MI, staring at the ugly screen has indeed become my foremost problem with that fine software...

II

I explained in depth - but there are now some 177 posts of mine here - that there is an inherent contrast between filtering and searching, AND I said that indeed, tags CAN be found by search, if standardized (= without, not chance, since at the being, you cannot search something like "tag not void", but the OUTPUT of a search is not comparable to the output of a filtering; I even spoke on numerous occasions about this, but again, with 177 posts here for a single man in just 7 months, it couldn't be considered reproachable that my lines regarding specifics ain't remembered (this site has a search function, but then, even then, search results not being presented in the way AS does is... and then, even AS did not had any semantic intelligence built in, a thing that formidably helpful, and formidably insightful, Flo there had, in vain, criticized for TEN YEARS... before, indeed, vanishing to 100 p.c. from 1 day to the next - an extraordinary waste btw).

So, indeed, you are right, at least the search can be done for attribuates, but, hélas, search output is inexistent; I said, make tags "filterable" over several topics; I said, enhance the filtering output; I said, of course you could do some search output, but then, wouldn't it be better to enhance filtering output AND consolidate searching and filtering? = Even more work to do, but to quite another outcome, than doing some programming work here, and some programming work there, and always have clutter of disparate features?

My writings assume readers having read what I'd written before, but again, it's technically impossible to assume this, thus, I'll do as before, but without being offended at having to remind of the facts. What I'll NOT do, though, is to restart details. In fact, I went into some depth (= as usual), to explain, and on several occasion, why at the current state of affairs, filtering is much more handy than searching, and why both need enhancing; if I digged up those developments, some readers here could go screaming with pain - remember, Petko "has" (= is well advised) to read me in full, and then imagine him add my considerations, again and again, in his data collection "to be done asap" up to "to be done in 2035"... and, more so, to distinguish any new ideas from old ones...

I'm a pain in the a** as it is; thus I try to add NEW ideas each time, instead of just spew up the old ones, again and again. ;-)

But again, I know it's my fault in the end to splatter those ideas as they come; that's why, to a certain extent, I've even passed on making EDITS, instead of new posts, whenever I remember where the inital idea had been put...
Petko
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Post by Petko »

Fred wrote:But again, I know it's my fault in the end to splatter those ideas as they come; that's why, to a certain extent, I've even passed on making EDITS, instead of new posts, whenever I remember where the inital idea had been put...
Fred, just keep in mind that any edits on this board are not reported to my in any way (this is the way this board works), so please indicate if something is edited, so I can follow.
Fred
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Post by Fred »

Petko, a free viewer, perhaps ?

In AO, I often exported topics to MS Word, since the latter program is ubiquitous, whereas AO and MI and all other outliners are confidential.

Sometimes, though, and with people I knew, I distributed topics in the free AO viewer and asked those people kindly to install it: In fact, if you have some elaborate writings (but that are not going to be published, hence no exporting into a DTP program taken into consideration), and if they are voluminous, so as to not being suitable to be printed (in no-official situations that is: friends, not jucidial institutions...), it's been (= in the past at least, with MS Word's sub-standard outlining feature then; lately, it seems they enhanced it?) important to preserve the outline structure, and thus, AO's viewer was really handy; I even think that it allowed for printing.

Let me be honest with you: Nobody told me, oh, that's great, I'll buy AO! Thus, promising you that doing a free viewer will enlarge your customer base, would probably be a lie. And then, I touted AO, but they said, well, I'm not too much into outliners, I keep it simple (and then again, those same people told me that they couldn't find things they were searching for; I laughed at then them, and they responded, yeah, but the tremendous work to put all these things (= thousands of MS Word files, etc.) I have, into such an outlining program...

But indeed, a free MI viewer is missing in a way; sometimes, I'd prefer to give out a 200-pages topic by file, instead of printing it out (= at my cost), and I cannot; so it's MS Word again...

One thing is sure: "Making" an MI viewer wouldn't cost you but an afternoon of programming, AND would be a good thing marketing-wise, not for people coming to MI after having installed the viewer, but for people considering buying MI and then saying to themselves, oh, it even has a viewer, that's a professional business!

You'd be well advised to just taking out creation of new topics and of new items, a question of still luring some potential customers to MI. If you strip a viewer from all those goodies the original program offers, people = readers would not be tempted to try things out, and by then discover the quality of the main / parent program; you could even do a combination of trial and viewer: First 30 days, no limitation whatsoever, and after 30 days, as a viewer only (and allow for export even after 30 days, and make it clear to people they don't risk their work by not buying then...).

And since we are at it: Why not do exactly this, not as a special viewer version, but make the trial this way! That would indeed be the perfect trap for people who got MI's "viewer" just for reading: Being able to play around with it in every way, being able to adjoin comments (in the comments field - to be enhanced, please, like in UR, make it visible by option!), and even to adjoin comment ITEMS, at their will, and even able to create new topics with their own stuff...

Would they go back to MS Word? Not probable! You see, the trick is, the AO viewer just made people read - and wasn't so bad at this -, but in order to "get the fixing" (?), to fix people on (= accrocher en français), you must allow them, apart from reading, to do some of their own work in it, and then they will give it a chance... e.g. because they see that work there is smooth, easy, well-organized... in a word, better done than in their usual word processor.

Thus, for the casual reader, give Fred a subject to do some thinking on, and heureka, he'll get something totally (?) new (and certainly valuable) for you; here: Make a viewer... and make the trial that viewer (perhaps that was done before, but I honestly don't remember any precursor)... AND (but this I read somewhere), allow trial users to have an extension of the trial for some 15 days more, but by them contacting you only... And you think people having done some items - or a lot more (= don't exclude the import function!) than that - in MI, will then read only their content, after 45 days? Course not.

And, yeah, I forgot: AO (= viewer and the parent program, in the current version 3.2, I went and checked this minute yet, in order to not being pursued) has NO import function whatsoever): So you see, I did the importing to AO by macros, by hand... people are not willing to do this, so AO having a viewer or not, I remember now that indeed I could NOT say to my friends, but you can import all your stuff easily, and start to work in AO almost exclusively tomorrow! With MI, that would perhaps be possible:

Most people come from MS Word, so it would be best to have an import function that'll import all MS Word files, even in various sub-folders, into, optionally

a ) all files of a given sub-folder into one MI topic, but automatically, all sub-folders one after another, into several / multiple MI topics, then (with saving the topic before addressing the next one),

b ) all files of that directory into ONE BIG MI topic, but making the different sub-folders headings in that MI topic, under which the MS files are then imported.

I seriously think that making MS Word import the most easy possible, would indeed resolve that problem of MS Word stubbornness of a lot of potential MI buyers.

It goes without saying that this import must preserve the .rtf format. Marketing-wise, being MS-Word-friendly, is perhaps the utmost feature of them all...

EDIT: ;-)

Hi Petko,

oh my! So I'll have to make a list! Please search this thread for "EDIT" (and additionally, if necessary, for "EDIT:", there are a lots of them here, and important ones; any time I adjoined something, I began my add-on text with "EDIT:" or EDIT 2", etc. - Some edits here in these pages are even more important than the original posts, you'll happily see! ;-)
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