Your Brain on
By Leslie Ayers, PC Computing
The Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz wanted a brain more than
anything. But all he got from the Wizard was a symbolic but
worthless certificate and a bit of encouragement.
The Scarecrow was out of luck, but you're not, thanks to
Natrificial Software Technologies' new user interface for Windows
95, 98, and NT. It's called The Brain and it gives you a new and
entirely intuitive way to work with files, applications, and the
Web. For $50, The Brain lets you break free from Windows'
hierarchical structure and work with multiple file formats from one
command center. Organization is easy because you structure The Brain
the way you think: by association.
Gray Matters Of course, there are files and folders behind
it all, but the idea is to forget about that and go with the flow.
The Brain consists of thoughts, each of which can be a parent,
sibling, or child to other thoughts. A thought can be anything--a
file, an application, a Web page, or even a word or phrase. In our
usability tests, The Brain beat Windows' Favorites handily.
Further exploration of The Brain finds that it's easy to enhance
a thought by clicking on Properties or Notes. In Properties, you can
link a thought with a file or a Web site address, or type in
keywords for that thought; in Notes, you type in free-form
information or drag and drop files into the blank area to view. A
window into The Brain shows a diagram with the active thought in the
center surrounded by links to its parent thought, its siblings, and
Think Fast One of The Brain's best features lets you
associate different file formats and applications within the same
group of thoughts, which means that a parent thought can include any
number of types of child thoughts within it. For example, if you
want to keep all your financial information at your fingertips,
simply link Web sites for investment news and brokerage houses,
earnings and projection spreadsheets, and your personal finance
software under one thought. And if you forget where you stashed
something, just click on Search to see an alphabetized list of all
The Brain makes life easier for most of us, especially if
thought-by-association appeals to you. It won't work well in
businesses or workgroups that rely on files being saved in specific
folders and directories. But for use on a home PC, or to keep track
of files and Web pages on your office system, The Brain is a smart,
sleek, easy-to-use alternative to Windows' structure.
Rating = Four out of Five Stars
Verdict: Work the way you think with this graceful
alternative to Windows' hierarchical file structure.
Pros: Puts Web sites, documents, apps, and more at your
fingertips; simple to set up because there's no wrong way to do
Cons: Not practical for workgroups that rely on directory
hierarchies to get the job done, especially on shared network
System Requirements: Windows 95, 98, or NT 4.0; Pentium;
16MB of RAM; 2MB of hard disk space.$50 est. street price,
Natrificial Software Technologies, (888) 652-7529, (310) 656-8494
Feed Your Head: Or at least stop banging it on your desk
because you can't find what you're looking for in Windows.
Natrificial Software Technologies' $50 The Brain, an alternative
interface for Windows 95, 98, or NT, lets you link thoughts together
as a collection of files, Web sites, apps, and projects. A.
The Braincontains it all--your files, apps, Web addresses,
and empty thoughts. B. From the active thought, you
can drag files to create parents, children, and jumps to open a
file. C. Click on Search to peruse a sortable list of
thoughts. It's Personal: The Brain lets you organize and link
your information by association, and you can customize it as you
would your Windows desktop.