Lessons Learned!

What is most important to you when using software like ours?

This isn’t a trick question. The answer is YOUR DATA, right?

Your data is your life line. It keeps you up-to-date on Birthdays, Anniversaries (better remember), contacts and your business meetings and appointments. If something happens to that computer, the hard drive fails, or the computer just quits (and at some point it this happens to all of us!), without a backup, our tech support department will be very sympathetic, but unable to offer any assistance.

Backups are easy and quick to make. With a backup, your data is SAFE! It’s a basic insurance policy against all the things that can and will go wrong and it costs you nothing but a little effort.

All of our software programs provide a back up option posted under the FILE ORB or File menu at the top left of the screen. Use this option and your data is safe either on your hard drive or an external drive since you can use a flash drive or memory stick you can store separate from the computer so you know the removable drive will not be affected if the pc goes south. Losing thousands of entries in your software is a punch in the gut and you never want to be in a position where you would have to retype all of that data manually.

It is worth mentioning that our Chaos Data Hosting is a great add-on option in addition to backing up, because, a copy of your data will reside off-site from your, on our servers. ChaosHost.com also gives you an online version of our software to use if you are without a computer for a while due to repairs or replacements.

Please take advantage of the backup options we have in our software and protect your life line, so you don’t have learn this the hard way and have a no-good, horrible, bad day!

Keeping Things Fast

Everybody’s computer is different.  This can lead to sometimes radically different speeds using the same data on different systems.  Intellect is designed to be fast.  Within shared databases here internally, we can search through about fifty thousand messages in a matter of seconds using systems a couple of years old and searching across an average network.

If you are seeing performance issues within Intellect or Time & Chaos, there are a number of optimization steps you can take that may increase the speed considerably.

My first recommendation would be to not keep the data in an online folder such as a Dropbox directory or a folder that syncs the data with another location such as a Sugersync directory.  Though backup files can be kept in one of these online or sync folders, the data files themselves should not be kept in one of these locations and should instead be stored on your local drive or a system immediately on your local network.

For Intellect users, keep your Inbox as lean as possible.  We recommend keeping less than 1500 messages in the Inbox in general but the less messages the better.  Messages that exceed this number can be dragged to a folder under Saved Messages where you can keep as many messages as you like and create several folders and subfolders.  The speed of opening Intellect can be negatively affected by too many folders under Saved Messages.  Go crazy but not too crazy.

If you’ve been using our software for a while or recently made a large number of changes to your data, a reindex may be helpful.  First make a current backup of your data and make sure no one else has this data open.  Then click on Help and DB Tools and repair the Mail Cache.  Step through the rebuild, reindex, and compact processes one by one.  When those complete, repeat these steps with the Appointments, Contacts, and other data.

Keep the number of records in each database reasonable.  Typically under 10,000 records per database.  Mileage may vary depending on your computer hardware performance and network speeds.  This is not a hard set limit but a round number to use as a guideline.

Don’t try to network shared data across a network using wifi.  Wifi is great for web-browsing or streaming audio and video but not that great for databases.

Keep windows up to date.  Yes we know updates install automatically, often there are optional updates that should be considered.  Hardware driver updates are usually in this category as are browser updates.  Intellect uses Internet Explorer to view and create HTML message.  IE does not need to be your default browser of course but does need to be kept up to date along with your other drivers and Windows itself.

Finally, make sure our software is up to date as well.  We do periodically release new versions and these updates will normally add functionality and address previously found issues as well.  Current versions can usually be downloaded by simply clicking on Help and checking for a newer version but can also be found directly on our site.

Moving Back and Forth… and Back

We do have a small number of users who try Intellect 4 for a period of time and then move back to the old Intellect 3 only to again install Intellect 4 at a later date.  What these users encounter is data that existed when they first tried Intellect 4, not the up to date data when they installed Intellect 4 for a second time.

Basically, the data exists as it did when you first converted the information from Intellect 3 to Intellect 4. When you first upgraded, the data was converted up to the newer format. What you are seeing is still that same old converted data.

To address the issue, we need to delete the files that store the newer format data so the old data is reconverted up to the newer format. First create a current backup of all your version 3 data. I would then recommend uninstalling Intellect 3 so it is no longer used in the future.

Then browse to your data directory or, if you are not familiar with this location, within Intellect 4, click on Help, choose Information About My Data, and then simply double click on the path by “Data Home”. Just be sure to close Intellect after doing so.

In the data folders, delete the files beginning with Contacts, the files beginning with Calendar, and also Tasks and Project files as well. Do not delete any file beginning with a ~. The ~ files are your Intellect 3 data and the files we are deleting are your Intellect 4 data. There should be at least three Calendar, Contacts, Tasks, and Projects files each.

Then double click on the Mail folder to enter the mail directory. There, delete the “Mail Cache” and “Mail Address Cache” files. There should be at least three of each of these files as well.

Once all files have been removed, restart Intellect 4. It will take longer to start as the old data is converted up to the new format. Let that process complete without trying to run Intellect 4 again or stop the process midway. It may take some time. Once it finished, all of your current Intellect 3 data should be converted up to Intellect 4.

Name versus Last, First and Company

Our new generation of contact management programs, Intellect 4 and Time & Chaos 8, have a new Name field which provides a consistent list of your contacts everywhere in the program, formatted just like you like it.

The Name field is automatically generated using a combination of Lastname, Firstname and/or Company.  You get to choose how you want this field to appear and your choice will affect this Name column on our main screen, along with everywhere else you find a list of your contacts, such as when you pick Linked Contacts for Appointments, Tasks, Project, or even other Contacts.  For Intellect users, the name choice will also be used when you type-ahead to fill out the TO: email address field.

To set your Name Style preference, go to Options, then under Contact Management, select Contacts. The Name Style field on the top right will provide a dropdown with every possible combination for you to pick from. Save your choice here and you will see it instantly back on the main screen.

Keep in mind that if and when you want to look for contacts by something other than what you specified in the Name field, you don’t need to go back to the program options to change the Name style. The main screen offers your choice of columns when displaying the list of contacts and you can click on any of the other column heading to resort the list by that field instead of the name field.

Our Chaos University has a video guide explaining how and why to use this new Name column and how it compares in use with the Lastname and Company columns of the previous generation: [flowplayer src=’http://www.chaossoftware.com/university/intellect4/Intellect601-Name_vs_Last_First_Company.mp4′ autoplay=false buffering=true]

HTC Syncing With Chaos Host

I just purchased a new Android phone, the HTC one X. No more squinting to see what is on the screen, this one is great!. Ok, now I have reset up my Chaos Host account, believe it or not it took me only 6 minutes. I know the login name and passwords (kept in Intellect) and the setup instructions were perfect, I just followed the setup instructions provided for the HTC, they described what I would see on the phone and what I should type in. Done and now syncing!

I just have to remember to keep my Contact and or Calendar database under 2000 records or I will have issues with syncing more than that amount of data over the air.

Love this syncing style as I don’t have to do anything once it is setup, I set Intellect to sync every 15 minutes and my phone syncs automatically.  Now my host account, my phone, and my Intellect have the exact same data. Love it, all my information is always with me.