Crashes saving from Agent to Think or viewing PDFs in Agent


I like Devon Think Pro Office, specifically the combinaton of Devon Agent and Devon Think, a lot, but perhaps I like it almost too much in that I am using it as a workspace to hold things that I need, not just the notes about them.

I have a number of problems which may be fixable.

The most urgent one is stability of this combination. Both applications unexpectedly quit on me more than I would prefer.

the newest Devon Agent quits often when I am viewing PDFs, zap… And when I relaunch it, there doesn’t seem to be any web history log still visible, anywhere.

Also, once my databases pass around 15000 files in them I start having stability issues in most, but not all of the list views. For some reason, it does not crash in icon view- but there I am missing the ability to see all the columns about my files, as I need. (the comments and tags are important)

This just happened with DA as it opened a PDF. So I now have lost a number of tabs and I have to figure out where I was in my work. Is there a persistent web history log hidden somewhere? I need that.

This time it will be easier than most times, because I have notes in another app, often I am just out of luck. It is often really difficult to get back to where I was before it happened. It seems to me that the old version of Agent was better in that respect, I don’t know. But it seems so.

I don’t want to be too negative, these two apps are extremely useful for me because of their unstructured nature.

But I need to fix this problem. Or find a workaround.

One thing that would help me a lot would be better logging of everything- every event. Is there a way I could externally record a parallel record of (maybe via Growl?) all the metadata of each web page I visited, along with the time, as well as the path, group, comment and tag info of any files I save?

Another problem I still have with Agent to Think workflow, in which I save a lot of web clippings… is that - invariably when I have a lot of tabs open, it will sometimes just refuse to “Take Rich Note” until I reboot the whole machine.

This is a major pain because its next to impossible sometimes to save ALL my tabs, (writing down where I was and why I was following that thread) quit and reboot and re-open everything. Sometimes, it just dies… and I have no notes, or not enough notes, When I’m on a framed site - then I lose the places that I was.

Is there a chance you could add some hooks to log everything to PostgreSQL, or support exporting or storage in Postgres, MySQL or sqlite?

That would be the best of both worlds… if we could use DevonThink and DevonAgent normally but have them be able to use a local or better yet, any (jdbc or odbc-compliant) database as an alternative data store.

Re stability issue: Check the size of your database in File > Database Properties. The most important measure for memory usage is the total number of words.

My own rule of thumb to allow running at full speed without slowdowns or memory issues on my MacBook Air with 4 GB RAM is to size individual databases (or the set of open databases) to 40 million total words or less. I design modular databases that meet specific interests or needs, and treat them like information “Lego blocks” that I open or close as needed.

I monitor the amount of free physical RAM and keep headroom of free RAM at 750 MB or more, to avoid creation of and heavy use of Virtual Memory swap files.

The more windows in DEVONthink, especially windows containing multiple open documents in multiple tabs, the more memory will be required. I use tabs frequently, but to keep a set of multiple document permanently associated, a less memory intensive approach is to replicate.them into a new group.

Moving a large set of search results from DEVONagent to DEVONthink involves a temporary increase in memory requirements, which could threaten stability if memory is already on the ragged edge. If that is happening, moving smaller blocks of files from DEVONagent can prevent problems.

There’s still another potential for causing stability problems. It’s very important not to run low on free disk space. Applications and the operating system may at times require substantial disk space for temporary files (including Virtual Memory swap files). If free disk space gets too low, those temporary files don’t have enough room, and of course the DEVONthink database itself doesn’t have expansion room. In the worst case, the operating system can start overwriting existing data, causing data loss or damage.

We’ve gotten used to larger and larger hard drives. I love the speed of the SSD drive on my Air, but it doesn’t have the storage space of my older Macs, so disk space can be a real consideration.

Apple engineers recommend keeping 15% or more of the rated capacity of a hard drive free, as space for temporary files required by apps and OS X. Sometimes that may not be enough. For example, the temporary files created during OCR of a large scan can soak up many gigabytes of disk space.

If a database has stability problems, think about the above comments. Locate a recent DEVONthink crash report and copy or attach it to a messag to Support.

Thank you, your advice is very useful.

I can see several areas there where I could improve my situation.

Christian, please watch out with SSDs. Although they have improved tremendously, they still are not as reliable as hard drives.

In my experience, at least. I am sure they will be soon, but not yet.

I will try to rearrange my databases. Ive had some bad experiences in the past when splitting databases, so Ive avoided it since then as much as possible.

What is the best way to preserve all the metadata?

One means of splitting a database is to select content for export by File > Export > Files & Folder, then choose a new Finder folder for saving the exported material.

Create a new, empty database and import into it (File > Import > Files & Folders) the content of the folder holding the previously exported material. Metadata will be preserved.