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"Ahh...but see there's where you are mistaken.

You don't have to write the guts anymore. That's out there, what you lack is the boobs (of the concept) to attract the right mix of contributors to your vision.

It's crass but it's true."

Paul, that's why I said, in the other thread, that you're my friend (I'm yours, in any case.). We both seem to have big probs in style, but we both have to "GIVE something" to this world, and are often mistreated, bec/of our style that hampers our message. You're perfectly right here (again), and I know this. We all have to live with our limitations, haven't we? But that's no reason for not trying to overcome some of them, I suppose. You defended tags over "hierarchies" / trees, and I have been a little bit mean over this in the UR forum: It's you that were mistaken here, but I beg your pardon for the style I answered you in. Further comments will follow, but let me say here that people who try to change this world for the better often end up crucified, human nature doing this, and it's the tragedy of this world that will eventually bury it, hence my love with excellence, passion and real suberb, and I perfectly know about the missing "market value" of these criteria, hence my search for people who are like those I cited in my intro post here: People who're in search for excellence, notwithstanding the financial outcome. Here and then, I try to be a cynic, as I've got to know that being cynic is the way of the world, but then, I cherish the gifted heroes who do put their heart in what they do, and thus, it's not a coincidence that almost all of those artists I cited are young or very young: The drama of human existence being that for adult life, financial considerations MUST take over since without shifting your priorities, you won't be able to take care of your family: Society makes whores, and there's nothing that could ever be done about it, cf. these "free love" communities of "1968" that failed because of the "big shots" attracting the females, as in any traditional society formation, and the "neglected" men jumping out from an idea of "equal society" ( I don't bring links to sources here, but there's plenty of them).

I fact and to tell everybody (who didn't already get it), I'm one of these "romantic fools" who seriously think that human nature, applying the right argumentation, is able to be changed for good, when in real life, we all know this is impossible, genes preventing every possible change to a better human nature.

I conceived and propammed "Manuscript" in a way of endless improvement, implementing lots of high-brow features totally unknown at the time (and some of them, even today), and then, I got 5 "sales", for the crippled (I limited the number of possible items there) versions, and I thought by myself, "are these people buying my light version in order to steal my ideas, to do "re-engineering"? Which is to say, I didn't take the smallest "satisfaction" from these 5 sales, but they made me fearful, more fearful that I'd had ever been. (Thus my current emphesis on "legal" questions, since I'm fearing that some of my ideas in "Manuscript" could be - or have already been, without my knowlege? - could be patented by the U.S. Patent Office, so that in my own future pim prog, I would be a "criminal" to use my own ideas from 1995.)

Unfortunately, I choose another subject in university, beyond "IT" / programming, and I'm too old now in order to really learn programming from scratch. I've to admit that I feel some envy on being informed, by somebody like Neville, by his editor's price, and the number he claims to have sold this editor, when then making my multiplication. But then, I've never envied, in my whole life, people who did something really good, something really "completed": I CHERISH mastering, but I've got lots a probs with cold reasoning.

My "music" examples were about people who "went the extra mile", and who didn't mind if the financial outcome was on par - hence my departure with Vidgen in that competition and the same Vidgen later on, trying to "collect". Some months ago, I tried to convince "kinook", the people / man behind Ultra Recall, that "doing better" was to give him real financial benefits, when in fact, I don't really know about this.

Truths is, the "financial returns" aspect in programming doesn't interst me that much: As soon as you can make your living / survive with programming, you've got all your chances


And that's my subject. Conceiving "solutions" that will survive you, creating programs that will make you a "name" in the history of this civilisation: Doing perfect sw, as is "Guernica" a perfect painting.

Hence my suffering, any day, that my own, personal programming facilities are not on par with what I'd create, had I got this technical expertise. And hence my "hate", better, my scorn, for these delevopers who're striving after the "bucks", instead of trying to get their name printed into the IT "hall of fame".

And yes, I would make "my coder", here and there, code some irrelevant lines which on further thinking of mine, will have to be dumped, but then, there won't be so many of them: Trust me, as a sw conceptionalist, I'm not devoid of some gift: I'm far from sadist who'd make you code futil: It's not about becoming millionaires, it's about delivering a first-class piece of art to these humans, and then, with a little chance (but which wouldn't be our target), we didn't loose our money in this venture.

And Paul, you're of my kind: We're some some people who try to be helpful to this world. We're one of a kind, when most people deciced to be nourrish their family. I can't even blame them, but then, I've got the right to be deeply disappointed with the way of this world I so much would like to improve. And to hell with cynics on

Trying to get a coder, a brilliant one: One well assorted to my ideas.

And yes, I'm speaking about endless, hard work. And yes, I'm speaking of immortality, and of contemporaries still standing to us. Your programming language: Python, or such? Let's conceive big, notwithstanding the fact that whatever we'll do together, we'll never attain that mastering level of an Al Kooper.

And people who place some symbols in sole response to what a Paul Keith has to say, aint' but idiots, sorry for being being blunt again, and I say this not in order to attack, let alone to hurt, but in order to make you think again.

IT, in its current state, is a shame. Thus, I beg you, some excellent coders coming my way: I'd treat you well, i.e. with duly respect: All the more so since I got early aware of my limitations in coding.

Paul, as always, there is much truth in what you say. In there, they do endless discussions about the perfect outliner, but then, nobody anywhere does any real work in order to attain it, and I wrote so much on this subject in the past, I simply don't have the guts anymore to do it again. It's right what you say, clipping and outliners drift apart - that's because most outliners ain't suited to proper clipping (hence those millions of people going to Evercrap). And yes, some day I should search for a programmer for good! (I didn't even polish my post above yet, you know...) Of course, I suppose that people should know about Zoot, and all these outliners, in order to be interested in my post re sw - for people not particularly fond of outliners, the links will do, and indeed they link to some of the most pleasant (and largely unknown) music available today - unfortunately, all these magazines like Time, L'Espresso, Nouvel Observateur, etc., etc. do NOT hint their readers to splendid, "unknown" music, thus ensuring things remain as they are for such wunderful artists, and so I took the liberty here of presenting some obscure artists who largely deserve to be much better known than they are, as illustrations of my point that without passion, there is no excellence and no superior quality - which is, as I also tried to express, a question of "design", not of technique - all of these artists, even Gene Harris, show technical flaws, but the overall performance is simply magnificent, in every case I cited here.

My music examples were meant as counter-examples to what's going on in the sw industry: Utmost quality is possible, but of course only when your heart is brought to the venue, and that's not the case with progs like UR that are indeed rather "good", but that simply stop at this point of diminishing financial returns, and thus will never be really good. (As said, all the ugly details, and my ideas, in all these innumerable posts in these fori - I decidedly have to create a blog, in which I must bring together all these.)

EDIT : "Remember nowadays notes can be voice notes" - Zoot introduced some voice recognition, but in fact, DNS has got the monopoly on this. It would lead nowhere to develop special functionality, poorly executed, when there is a brilliant market leader as in this case. On the other hand, it'd be smart to introduce, for ordinary-DNS users, much DNS functionality into your program, i.e. DNS has got a very expensive "professional" version normally needed for macros and such, whilst it would be of high interest to have the normal (and accessibly-priced) DNS version do lots a things within your specific program - could perhaps be done by paying them 20 bucks for each prog you sell with this inbuilt functionality (I mean you sell two versions, the normal one and the one that for people having got normal DNS, then offer lots of additional command triggering that in normal DNS isn't available as such - so your customers would have DNS Prof functionality within your prog by just owning the regular DNS version). Whilst Zoot, if I understand well, has some proprietary "voice command" functionality, but if the user wants to dictate contents, he's to rely on that external DNS then. Such a mixture is exactly that kind of hybrid chaos I'd never accept in a decent workflow.


I've said it in another thread here: helmut85 is clean. It had never been my intention to make trouble or bother people, it just had been a very unfortunate mishap that my two introductory posts here, more than a year ago, had been mistaken for "spam" when it was totally evident that they couldn't be considered as such, hence my anger that threatened to bias my judgement further on, hence my choice to write some 50 further posts as helmut85, in order to perfectly calm down things. Of course, I cannot totally deny my nature, so things tend to run high, under whichever pseudonym I could ever post (cf. hits for "On data storage and applications going cloud" from which this thread's a spin-off).

In fact, I'm a little bit ordealed in a way: I'm an amateur programmer who in the late Nineties, did a very fine pim, "Manuscript", flawed by the use of an inferior programming language, the one in "ToolBook" (= Paul Allen, from MS), with a 32 KB field limit and, especially, lack of stability by lack of proper memory M, so that any way of sophisticated programming didn't do anything to overcome the programming language's inherent instability (I have "proof" of this by numerous complaints of third parties in these times; the 32 KB limit seems to persist even today).

The name of "Manuscript" was daring, but then, the original Lotus "Manuscript" trademark hadn't been used for 5 years, so I didn't name my product in any illegal way (btw, the text processing sw of my choice then hadn't been Lotus Manuscript, but XyWrite, an incredibly sophisticated prog marketed by North American SW, that company that also marketed askSam in Europe at the time). From a conceptional pov, it was outstanding, i.e. it was a cascade of indentations, instead of a tree, since my programming capabilities always fell short of my my conceptional  mastery, and thus my work produced some very original solutions to common problems: I wasn't able to properly program the standard solution, so I had to look out for alternative ones, and often I found rather smart ones.

Anybody interested in a description of this outstanding and obscure sw, or in further ideas of mine, is invited to refer to the defunct askSam forum, searching under "fred", to the MyInfo forum ("fred"), to the forum ("fredy", "fred" was taken), and to the Ultra Recall forum, under "schferk".

You bet that, when designing and programming "Manuscript", I delved deep into theory, hyperspace and all that, all the early research on information technology; later then, Yourdon, Warnier, etc., and, being a stranger to programming, I did "Manuscript" in object-oriented programming style notwithstanding, and applying at least some sw engineering standards to my work.

Then, I sold 4 or 5 "light" versions of this prog (= before (my introduction to) the net, by bookstores - some bookstores, at the time, sold sw beyond books and women's devotionalia, like greeting cards, candles...).

But you bet that with not even 300 bucks for more than 1 year of hard work, I left this field...


And then, I hoped that superior programmers would deliver some superior pim, perhaps not as good as mine had been, by conception, but something decent and technically superior.

Well, we're more than 15 years later now, and nothing really good has been done (except, perhaps, in Zoot).

These last days, I had the incredible chance to stumble upon some "Got Talent" and such posts on YT.

There's no doubt that YT is an International Treasure (pun intended to "National Treasure", of course), not because it gives free access to classic performers you otherwise had to pay for, but because it gives access to obscure performances that are world-class, and which otherwise, you'd never had a chance to even know of, let alone appreciate and fall in love with.

I'm not going here to invite you into obscure French Art Cinema, knowing that sw-affiliated guys (and the one Lady here) are much more rooted to the soil, which in itself hasn't to be something bad. But then, I need to explain something. It's the nature of passion.

Have a look at this YT vid,

It's about Jack Vidgen, 14 years old winner of Australia's Got Talent 2011, a compilation of his 3 great songs in that competition, especially the first one, "I Have Nothing", brought to fame by Whitney Houston, written by David Foster and Linda Thompson and without no doubt one of the utmost works in the history of pop music. Now watch 14-year-old Jack delivering this song: From a shy beginning to incredible mastering, and you literally see him "thinking", sensing:

This is possible! And this, encore! And just a pitch higher: Everything is possible here!

It's an incredible crescendo into utmost mastering and one of those reasons YT must survive at all cost (and yes, I'm in love with the accent of this boy, as I had been in love, many years ago, with the accent of a young Irish girl singing) - "at all cost" meaning, I'm certainly prepared to pay 20 or more bucks a month for YT whenever this will become necessary to have continuing access to it.

Now look what our young Vidgen did then, after winning this contest and the 250,000 australian dollars that came with it. Well, he's an adolescent, don't blame him - blame his managers, his entourage. In this Australia's Got Talent performance, watch Brian McFadden (the judge on the left): He's falling in love, and rightly so, splendour is a thing so rare you HAVE to immediately react. And afterwards, it's "marketing", it's about making money, it's about maximizing profit - the spell's long gone.

It's of no interest to discuss if the passing of Whitney Houston, or the passing of Amy Winehouse, was that utmost loss in music these last months (and yes, Nickolas Ashford passed away, too), but there's no doubt "Whitney Houston songs" are among the treasures of today's music (and I cite the composers expressly since some dumb people out there really think these songs are written by the singers, and that actors write the scripts of films they starr in). Have another look at YT: Here comes Aliyah Kolf, 11 years old and the future definite Soul Queen:

It's the same song - ok, the voice isn't there yet, but this voice leading and this timbre is world class (and I'm deeply in love with this accent, too: this "look" here, shortly after the beginning, I haven't heard anything as cute in my life, except in Vidgen's interpretation of the same song) - again, a screscendo into pure joy, into sheer heaven.

In quite another range of music, there's Emily Elbert, whose performances are very uneven, whose voice is sub-standard most of the time, and whose highs very easily can get on your nerves. But then, two of her songs she wrote herself, at her very young age, Dialed In & Opened Up,

where nobody could claim it hadn't got the right groove in it, and then, her masterpiece so far, Michelangelo, which, had it been written by Joni Mitchell, everybody'd call world class, and since it's written by some young Emily Elbert, only some cognoscienti know and appreciate:

Don't be mistaken, this is some of the very best of music that has been written in this century, and in the last one combined (I said it, her peaks are ugly, don't let you be mislead by such irrelevancies).

And it hasn't got anything to do with looks: Of course, I've fallen head over heals for this gal, some time ago yet, and I wouldn't hesitate to make a dozen of children to such a splendour if she ever was consenting, but then there's some Azerbaijanian jazz pianist called Isfar Sarabski who settled down to some more traditional jazz / "ethnic jazz" now, but his beginnings are filled with some false notes, and lots of passion which enabled him to do some of the most extraordinary piano solos I've ever heard in my lifetime (and from my youth, I cherish, and up to my deathbed, recitals from masters like Wilhelm Kempff, Emil Gilels or Sviatoslav Richter): Just search for "Isfar Sarabski Barnsdall" or "Isfar Sarabski Vibrato", especially the part 2 where pure joy easily overrides those wrong keys he presses here and then:

Or then, Isfar Sarabski at the Baku Jazz Festival 2010, from minute 56:00 and for the next seven and a half minutes, very sweet and to be classified Art, with a big A:

Or in a more traditional range, what about (George Gershwin's) "Summertime" by the Ray Brown Trio, i.e. the late Gene Harris on piano?

All these do NOT do it for the money, they are in LOVE with what they are doing, and it shows. (And no, I'm not bothering you with Schubert and Schumann (Kreisleriana, anyone?) here - there dead and forgotten by the plebs.) But have a look at this guy: Danny McClain's interpretation of "I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know" (which is from 2004, he should be an international superstar by now, and he isn't: see my point?):

(And no, it's not by Donny Hathaway, nor by Gary Moore, but by Al Kooper from Blood, Sweat & Tears.)


Now back to sw. We now see, by direct comparison, that most programmers are NOT driven by passion, and that they stop whenever they ain't paid enough anymore for their work (my case being extreme and thus not representative here).

And this brings me to a conclusion since the French have a saying, which is,

Ne demande à chacun ce qu'il peut donner.

Meaning, don't ask people what they ain't able to deliver.

The other way round: I didn't stop "Manuscript" because of these 4 or 5 sales-only, but because I would have to do it all again within a decent programming language, and not being a programmer, and not knowing of the existence of programming components at the time, I simply gave up, facing my missing programming capabilities and not knowing where to start anew, and on the other hand, I don't think anymore, today, that most programmers are perfect sw designers, and thus one-man shows in the sw field do have a big problem: Technical brilliance is sometimes there, but then, design quality is often lacking, and worse, they don't even listen to you when you explain to them how to do it instead - ok, as a naked assertion, this must sound incredibly pompous, but then, proof's plenty in those aforementioned fori, and when, in a rather sophisticated outliner like UR, there isn't even formatting within the tree, and for many, many years, stinginess and shortsightedness of the developers become apparent (= such trees are components, at different prices, you know... - same for the edit fields, etc., and most developers prefer them to be free...)

But this standstill of the industry (cf. UR and many more, e.g. Surfulater and his creator, Neville Franks, who anytime returns fall under his "acceptable" level, does something else) revolts me.


So, I'm looking out for a top-notch programmer now. There's some money I can invest, and be sure that man that will take the other 50 % of proceeds, only 50 % of proceeds going to you, is one of the best sw architects out there when it comes to IM (cf. AS, MI,, UR fori) - and yes, the "Manuscript" source code is available for people with credits. Contact me by private message.

It's time we all get a decent outliner, 35 years after the intro of the pc. And that means development up to state of the art level, and not the Neville Franks / Ultra Recall / Mindjet / Controllers Rule way. Without love, in art and in programming, there's no excellence to be found.

And yes, the best female composer of all time is Carole King - or then, is it Laura Nyro? You got my point, hein? Money isn't everything, especially after you'll be dead. And yes, I consider Robert Carr's Framework, conceptionally-wise, the best sw of all time. "Better" sw's, then, built up on that masterpiece. Today, they serve us crap, mainly.

J-Mac, I'm aghast !

In fact, I always assumed UR was rock-solid since for me, it was, but I only put lots of data into it, never having been fond of importing web sites into anything: If you must web sites for legal reasons, you must do it differently anyway, and for collecting data, I've got plenty of macros (explained in the UR forum and formerly in outlinerswcom) to preserve just the text clippings I'm interested in, together with the url's and any picture I need with the text: Thus, my reference system is outstandingly neat, clean (pun intended, no, my avatar isn't about ex-alcoolism or such) and standardized: hence, I never found anything attractive in Surfulator, e.g.

This explains why I simply never encountered any of these problems of importing raw data into UR, myself only having imported cleaned data into it; btw, in my time (AS forum, MI forum, outlinerswcom, UR forum), I made a lot of advertizing for this style (which implies, directly after importing or afterwards, clip any left clutter out and bold passages important for you), but had to realize that nobody followed me here: They all want the original data preserved to a max, with all the clutter it brings to your system.

My system also included links to folders, i.e. from my PIM to my file system, but in most cases, as said, to folders, not to individual files: Instead of having to maintain 5,000 links or more, I maintain some 120 or 200 of them (plus, ok, some 150 links to individual files I use for referencing, again and again) - and they are simili-links, i.e. coded entried in the tree and processed by my macros, so they're perfectly exportable from one PIM to any other. (I will not replicate detailed descriptions here, but of course, beginning tree entries with dots, commata, semicoli or other special chars with which otherwise entries would not begin, can "mean" lots of different things for your system, especially when your macros then also analyze the further "architectecture" of your entry: e.g. which suffix, or even which special chars within the "comment", the "comment" part of such referential, "link" entries being everything after the first space within such lines; even my "enter" and other keys do completely different things according to this analysis, and on top, there are key combinations, e.g. show a folder within a specific pane of a specific file manager, open a file in its original prog, and so on - as soon as you begin scripting in AHK, you'll never stop - and you don't rely as much on the inherent functionality of your respective PIM anymore, which will by that factor alone become much more "expendable", "interchangeable" - only prob here: there isn't one really decent such PIM out there, any one of them is ridden with big probs.

Sideline: Susi on outlinerswcom wasn't even dissuaded from importing tons of ("stolen"?) pictures into MI, which will make her system more than just unstable (she says she has an art history blog, but let's assume she's smart enough to NOT re-publish all these downloaded pictures but just stores them for her own reference purposes, then all is legal and safe, from a non-technical pov), and nobody told her that her fear that links (instead of importing all this stuff) would be of too much fuss, was unfounded: There are relative links, you know (= YOU know, she didn't), and in case, there's also the subst command if ever really necessary. The same goes for any such db: Don't import, just link, but in the smartest way possible of course, and that implies even cloned links, links to links, etc. - there are lots of possibitilies, no need for blowing up your db up to unmanageability!

So I had just "normal things" in my MI db(s), and it was buggy like hell, and it's getting worse, for every bug exterminated, there seems to be a new one, or several new ones, here and there (this lone developer obviously does without sw engineering, and it shows) - whilst in my - limited, as I must admit - use of UR 4.2b (= latest 4 version), even with much, much bigger files, UR was rock-solid (but not as fast as I would have it liked to be).

In the UR forum, I'm the most poignant critic of UR, so if you want my advice on UR, read my criticism there, and I'm rather angry that kinook doesn't do anything valid about UR's not being as outstanding as it should have been for a very long time now.

And then, extensively explained by me in the MI and the UR forum respectively, neither of these progs have real PM, when UR in fact isn't far from it but simply doesn't invest those 3 weeks of hard programming labour in order to create something unparalleled: They simply don't see it, when technically, they are so near such functionality. (Ample backing of my assertion in their forum.)

So :

You're right, J-Mac, I cannot continue to praise UR everywhere for its rock-solidity when in fact, by "normal" use (my limited use not being representative of what most PIM users want from their PIM), UR shows its real flaws - that's even worse than the current PIM market as I saw it before reading you (we all know development on the "big players" has been more or less stalled).

If it were only for web pages, I'd preach, do them my way, and thus avoid any such problem that internal processing of web pages, in any such PIM, is necessarily sub-standard compared with dedicated browsers, but even if you do it my way, thus avoiding these additional problems, not a single PIM today is a little bit satisfying: All of them are really, really bad in many ways, and most of which you could amend by doing one afternoon of programming, meaning  20 or 30 such afternoons invested by a programmer (of a current heavyweight, that is), and he'd get an outstanding, brilliant piece of sw that would sell much better than what he's offering today.

On the other hand, this web site problem, well, even doing abstraction from my very different way of doing this: Is it reasonable, sensible to block such amounts of programming efforts of the respective developers, by asking them to follow the newest - endless - developments in site programming, when even long-standing browsers like IE, FF, etc. have got more and more probs to follow here, and to get by?

In my experience, even stored .mht's don't work necessarily without fault; saving as a webpage (.html) seems best, and as soon as users accepted that even very serious PIM's do NOT offer internal processing of web pages anymore, but just technically store the respective elements to be processed again then by their respective browser, lots of "man months" each year, on the developers' side, would be freed up for more constructive, real development work.

Of course, we're in a situation where in fact most developers (MI, UR, many more) try to get their components for free, instead of paying, for a good tree component, 2,000 dollars, or for a good editor component, 800 dollars, hence our never-ending discontentment with what they deliver.

Thus, I'm personally more and more interested in specialised sw, case M sw and such, where you often pay 500 if not 800 dollars a year, but where there is much more "intelligence", i.e. smart help with your work, built into the prog, than in today's PIM's.

Of course, you can try to implement such additional intelligence / smoothness by external scripting (and that's what I try to do with my stuff and with the help of AHK), but this is only possible to a degree.

A perfect example, both for the possible degree of sophistication, AND for the limits of such external efforts, is ResultsManager for MindManager (now "MindJet") - I discussed the possibilities here in length in my thread "UR and MM" or something in the UR forum (it's easily to be found under the "Suggestions" rubrum there and only gets really instructive towards the end) - the executive summary here: Yes, you can add lots of functionality to such progs, BUT: instead of having instant, real time results, - and no, this is NOT a joke! -, settle for stacks, that will be worked off early in the morning, before work begins, and then again during lunch (calculate 45 minutes).

And all this, more than 30 years after the intro of personal computing - and with progs that get multi-million dollar results every year. Btw., the developer of that program (RM) recently told me that his add-on doesn't even function with the latest MM / MJ versions anymore, i.e. instead of introducing trans-map clones (they don't even have clones within a given map, when FreeMind has got these at least, lately), they change their program in a way that even a highly elaborate add-on that provided much enhancement to their core product in a corporate environement (and hence big return for MM / MJ in such environments: by making MM/MJ useful not just for 3 strategists but perhaps for a workgroup of 25 people, making it 25 MM/MJ licenses instead of 3), will not work anymore.

The prob behind all this, as I see it, is simply that most developers out there don't strive enough for ultimate programming excellence, but just see the "numbers", the dollar number, that is, and even here their vision is short-termed.

EDIT : And I think the definite word on TB has been uttered some weeks ago by Superboyac here:

Re: thebrain
Reply #3 on: November 21, 2012, 06:18:51 PM

I've tried this one out 3 times over the years, the most intensive workout I gave it was a few months ago.  It's a unique product with a fantastic interface and pretty productive.  I don't know what to say about it, though.  It's the end, it doesn't matter.  I've spent a decade trying to wrangle in my own personal information management system.  I'd put it this way, if your JOB requires you to know a lot of random bits of information and you are required to keep track of it, etc...then it's a good thing to get.  It would also be good for professional collaboration in information collection and analysis is the goal.

But for personal use and if you think it's going to help you keep track of things, i think you will quickly find yourself using it less and less.  But this is not unique to the Brain.  This has been my experience with all PIMs.  Also, no matter how nifty things get, I can't ever break myself away from the old school tree structured PIMs.  I use RightNote now almost exclusively, not because it's amazing...just because.

40hz, my recommendation is to continue using whatever hodge pdoge of information is currently working for you.  I use rightnote for serious notetaking.  I use everything to search my files.  Archivarius to search inside files.  And for organization, I use file naming and folder structuring techniques.  This is all I need.  I keep trying to add niftier tools like the Brain into the mix, but they don't stick.  If you were to use the brain seriously, it would interfere with your file/folder organization because I think you'd feel the need to duplicate that effort inside the brain.  And then you will get tired of it.  And then you will find out that it's not as good/flexible/easy as file/folder organization.  I have never been able to sustain "virtual" organization such as tagging systems and fancy PIM interfaces nearly as long and comfortably as file/folder organization.  Too much work and too virtual.

Steven: "I could not find much in the way of lauding or criticism on the Net." - Well, that was before the cnet review which says it all: You couldn't be more comprehensive in stating the problems with such kind of sw.

At the end of the day, there's two features which would constitute a strict minimum in such sw:

- A hit table. Meaning, not having to jump from one find to the next, perhaps 60 times before you finally get what you need, but have sort of a table, a list, possibly with attributes but not necessarily so, but with the context of your finds. You can replicate this feature wherever it's missing, with a good external search program (for AO, this would be File Locator / File Locator Light = Agent Ransack, and even for European characters if you don't mind entering them as 4 special chars instead of your ä or é), and you'd even get the context of your finds. Problem is, back from such an external hit table, you can't jump back to the corresponding line within the item in question, but you'll then have to go back to your PIM (here: AO) first, go to the file in question there, press control-f, enter your search term again (and presumably with its immediate context, in order to avoid false finds)... So an internal hit table, be it multi-file (as in MI) or just for the current file (as in UR), is absolutely necessary, from there, with a mouse click, you'll be in the line you need to work on.

- Boolean search. Less necessary than point one, but also extremely important. Why? Because of all these false hits you'll get with Boolean search missing. Most general searches (= will be different when you search for customer names or such, e.g.) will be about rather general terms, with some other probable terms within their vicinity, but with the control-f in AO and such progs, you'll never ever find them - or you'll have 60 or 180 "hits". Hence the interest of external progs like File Locator above, in spite of the incredible fuss to then get to your real hits, manually: They not only give hit tables, but hit tables of finds in the form of "abc [AND] xyz [OR] jkl [NOT] mno" - you will not appreciate this functionality enough before having to search, one by one, 200 or more finds in the form "abc" only, in programs like AO and without having a knowledge of the existence of progs like File Locator.

So, as explained above, external search progs can help you out from sheer madness when using progs like AO, but I think it will have become evident that you should avoid any prog that doesn't offer both of the aforementioned features.

Any other elaborate feature should be considered "nice to have" in comparison, but unproper search is dealbreaking.

And then, we've got all these annoyances with otherwise sophisticated sw, e.g. the continuous absence of formatting in the tree of (rock-solid) UR (whilst MI offers this feature but isn't stable enough) - etc., etc., etc. - there isn't any one decent of such progs. But AO and such might work for people who've got 1,000 or so different items - in many weeks, that'd be my weekly output.

Anyway, if ever you've got your stuff in such progs like AO, have a very close look on tools like FL that could save your day, and many days in a row.

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