Monday, January 13, 2003
works like a search engine for small offices, home offices,
workgroups, or individuals.
- Prethink doesn't poke around your network looking for
documents. Instead you feed it documents that you want available for
- You can send Prethink email. It will index your email and make it
available for searches.
- Prethink can listen to weblogs (RSS feeds). It will index posts and
make them part of its search database.
- You can import entire directories of files.
- Prethink does not run in a browser. It is a regular Windows
- You can drag and drop files onto Prethink's client window and they
will be added to the search database.
- Prethink saves you time, energy, and a few brain cells every time you
don't have to hunt around your network or your hard drive looking for
a document that "you know you have here somewhere".
- When you don't have to remember where you saved things, you can
remember much more important stuff.
- By freeing up room in your head and preserving brain cells, Prethink
can make you smarter.1
- If you have Microsoft Word installed on your computer, Prethink can
understand Word documents. It will index the contents of these just
like any other file.
- Prethink consists of a server and clients. A server running on one
machine on your network stores all the documents, handles the
indexing, and processes search requests from the clients.
- Even though Prethink has a server and clients, it is very easy to set
up. You can get it running in fifteen minutes or less.
- The underlying architecture (called Arsenal) is designed to be open
and extensible. We haven't published the SOAP or Python interfaces yet
because they haven't been sufficiently frozen. Look for this sometime
- Prethink is not open source, but you will have a significant portion
of the source available. It is written in Python and the interface
between client and server is SOAP, so many people will be able to
customize its behavior without much trouble.
- Prethink only costs $50
per user. Volume discounts are available: talk to us.
- $50 gets you a year of support and upgrades. Support is through our
website. Upgrades will be automatic beginning with v1.1. If, after a
year, you no longer wish to get support and upgrades, you can still
use the software.
- We host our bug
database online, out in front of everyone. We've tried to make it
easy for you to report bugs and make feature requests.
- You aren't locked in. Files are stored (unmangled) on the server. Data
is stored unencrypted in a standard database format. Although we don't
recommend it, you could extract all of your data with a simple Python
program. (We don't recommend it because, while it is trivial to
reverse-engineer, the database schema is unpublished and subject to
- Backing up your Prethink database is a piece of cake.
1 Note: this statement has not been evaluated by the FDA
and is not a guarantee. Prethink may not actually raise your IQ. But
at least people will think you're smarter, and that doesn't hurt,
I just uploaded a free demo for those who want to try Prethink before they make a purchase. If you have any questions while you're testing it, please email me (brian at silverback-software.com).
Monday, January 06, 2003
Prethink will make its public debut on
Wednesday, 1/15/03 .
Tuesday, December 17, 2002
Morgan Wilson points to
an interesting article on the ethical tight-rope Google tries to walk. I found the following snippet more interesting:
In September, at the height of the China controversy, Google legal eagle Drummond spotted an article about the prospect of a Google IPO, which, the story said, might be the spark to ignite the dormant public offerings market. Drummond forwarded the story with some sardonic comments. In his office, Brin tries to find the email for me but can't. He notes the irony in that, and goes on to paraphrase the note...
Hmm. Google needs a search engine for their email? The full article is here.
Sunday, December 15, 2002
One of the questions I want to pose, though, is this: how can we change the way we interact with the operating system, so that we land up creating more implicit and explicit links via our authoring? I suspect the answer there lies with storage allowing multiple characterization by the user and agents and by defining a Radio like shortcut notion which can be used in other documents. But, until we stop using hierarchical storage, this will be hard.
There's an exciting idea: kill the hierarchical file system and instead turn everything into a soup of interlinked documents. It will probably never completely happen, but you can see certainly see a shift coming from CMSs, weblogs, and the like. What would you call it? A "linked file system"? Does a document disappear if there's nothing linking to it? It would effectively become invisible in the absence of a search engine!
Hmm. I guess a weblog implements a sort of "chronological file system": each post is a file, they are sorted, presented, and typically stored chronologically.
I do know that, with a search engine on my desktop (<shameless_plug>e.g. prethink</shameless_plug>), I wouldn't need to remember where all my stuff is saved...
Friday, December 13, 2002
Rahul Dave points to David Galbraith on Google's Command Line Control.
The question of-course is, whats the equivalence to a link and link popularity on the local drive? Google is not just about full text searching, its about the relative importance of documents. So google wont do anything. Whats needed is filesystems to associate more metadata with a file, such as number of reads and writes, to serve as implicit links, and an explicit model for making linking useful in the context of the local system, something like a radio inteface to the whole system!
The strategy that we're using with Prethink is to not attempt to index and make the entire local disk searchable. We'll settle for a subset: those documents, emails, etc. that have been flagged by the user as needing to be searchable. In my experience, it's often only a small-ish subset of your entire local disk that needs to be searched. So we're pursuing the ability to search that subset of documents for an entire workgroup or entire company.
Saturday, December 07, 2002
Jennifer Klyse on KM in law firms:
In IT is All About Relationships, Alastair Trower examines the implications of customer relationship management for law firms.
I took a look at the underlying article and was struck, as usual, by this sentence:
CRM is a complex dynamic that relies equally on people, processes and technology. Like a three-legged stool, if more emphasis is placed on technology than people or processes, the solution is bound to fail.
Exactly. I like the three-legged stool analogy. I keep saying that have the KM battle is social. The processes piece is important too. Must remember this.
Thursday, December 05, 2002
© Copyright 2003 Brian St. Pierre.
Last update: 1/13/2003; 9:47:03 PM.