In one way or other I’ve been working on BrainTool my whole life. It’s an evolution of how I organize and manage my own information space. After a long career as a software developer and longer one as an architect and engineering manager I recognized that the time was right to build it as a product for general use.
These days knowledge workers spend most of their time in a browser. Today’s browsers are amazing tools, but they don’t provide support for organizing and managing all of your online stuff. BrainTool provides that support.
The posts and essays below give more details and background.
- You have hundreds of sites and pages and apps that you visit regularly in a browser.
- You keep dozens of tabs open and can’t find the one you want.
- You’re afraid to close a tab because you won’t be able to find it again.
- You have no good way to track all your online stuff.
- Most of my efforts to publicize BrainTool did not move the needle at all. But a single positive review in a well-respected publication like ZDNet gave me all the early adopters I could handle.
BrainTool Search and Keyboard Controls
The latest version of BrainTool added the ability to search across all your topics, pages and notes....
Managing your Browser with BrainTool
Bookmarks just don’t cut it. Pinned tabs, tab groups and vertical tabs only help a little.
BrainTool gives you a better way to work in your browser....
Organizing your life with a Topic Manager
We’re all overburdened with information sources. We spend too much time trying to keep track of things and how to get back to them, and just leaving those 45 browser tabs open because we don’t know what to do with them. Having all these open loops and loose ends leads to a heavy psychic burden. Much has been written about the value of an empty mind to enable focus, productivity and flow. ‘Mind like water’ is the pleasant phrase David Allen uses in his Getting Things Done classic. A key aspect of GTD is getting things out of your mind, but safely stored and retrievable. BrainTool is a new type of tool designed to be a key part of how you do that. It’s a browser-based Topic Manager that revives and evolves the idea of a Topic Map - a supercharged index of all your information sources....
Adding BrainTool into an emacs & org-mode workflow
I’m an ascii-text note taker. Over the years I’ve experimented with a paper notebook per topic, then a single big notebook for everything, then smart pens and clipboards, then scannable paper notebooks, then an iPad with Pencil or the Galaxy Note. I’ve played with mindmap tools and EverNote. But I’ve always based my development environment around emacs, so inevitably I drift back to a text buffer in emacs - I type faster than I write, my handwriting is hard to read, its easy to cut and paste and organize text, and I can search or grep to find things fast even in the middle of a conversation....
Observations on the initial BrainTool launch
The First Two Thousand BrainTool Users
BrainTool 0.6.3 just hit the Chrome Store, so it seems like a good time to record some observations.
My whole life I’ve been looking for, and thinking of building, the perfect note-taking and personal information management tool. But it was always too complicated, with too many things to track, in too many places. Revisiting my personal process with a clean slate and some time to invest in early 2019 I realized that these days almost everything I refer to is in my browser and that an MVP-for-me tool was within my ability to prototype over a Summer sabbatical....