Mac's 30th birthday and Dropbox

Friday, January 24, 2014

Couple of notes this morning.

First, Happy Birthday to the Mac which turns 30 today. I vividly remember the rollout of the original 128k Mac. As a teenager, I eagerly collected magazines and any information I could on this new, amazing machine. I worked over the summer to save up money to purchase my first Mac the following spring.  I love how 30 years later I'm making my living creating Mac software.

Watch this new video from Apple to learn more about how the Mac revolution got started.

Next, I noticed that Dropbox is currently on version 2.6.2. Hovering my mouse over the Dropbox icon in my menu bar I see I'm still on 2.4.11 so their auto-update routine leaves much to be desired. Many of our customers use Dropbox to sync their Curio projects so, if you find you're still running an out-of-date version of Dropbox, I encourage you to manually download and install the latest release.

Zengobi's 2013 and beyond!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 was an amazing year!

Curio 8 was a mega-huge hit and our most successful upgrade ever. The emails from everyone around the world have been wonderful. Thank you for your feedback, letters of encouragement, and for spreading the word. It sincerely means a lot.

Curio 8 also appears to be one of our most stable releases. Very, very few Support emails which means more time for coding Curio 9. :-)

Speaking of Curio 9, I've received quite a few emails asking about its progress. It's looking really good but it is still several months out as there are a number of big features I'm eager to add so that Curio remains the best app for brainstorming and note-taking.

I hope everyone had a great 2013 and a very happy holiday season. Northern hemisphere: stay warm and cozy! Southern: stay cool on the beach!

Here's to everyone for an even more incredible 2014!

Mavericks, Evernote, and Curio

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

OS X Mavericks (aka 10.9) has been released from Apple and Curio 8 is ready for it. With the latest release, Curio 8.6.3, we're not aware of any compatibility issues with Mavericks.

Here are some notes regarding some of the more recent changes made to Curio to get it ready for Mavericks.

Mavericks and PDF Views
Back in July, when Mavericks was first released as a beta, we noticed that Apple made a change to PDF Views in Mavericks which impacts Curio when you annotate a PDF figure directly on an idea space. While the PDF View works perfectly if the idea space is zoomed to 100% actual size, if you zoom in or out then the PDF View will not scale and the area is littered with graphical garbage artifacts.

Note that zooming in/out when not in annotation mode works perfectly since that's a dynamically rendered PDF image and not a live PDF View.

We contacted Apple (radar #14244334) and this is due to a scrolling optimization change they are making to PDF View which is incompatible with Curio's view hierarchy.

If you attempt to annotate a PDF figure in a zoomed idea space Curio on Mavericks will now ask if you'd like to either zoom to actual size and then annotate or open the PDF to annotate it within Preview. When you close Preview the PDF image within Curio will automatically update itself to reflect the new annotations.

Mavericks and Curio's Evernote Shelf
We also fixed a minor issue that prevented Curio's Evernote OAuth authentication from working correctly on Mavericks. With Curio 8.6.3 it now works with no problems.

Evernote's 3rd Party App Rate Limits
On a related note, we had to make an important change to our Evernote integration.

Evernote has announced that they're imposing rate limits on all 3rd party apps starting November 1st. These new restrictions will limit the number of calls a 3rd party app can make to the Evernote cloud within a 1-hour period. Therefore several changes were made to Curio's Evernote shelf so we greatly reduce the number of calls made to the Evernote cloud.
  1. Curio will no longer automatically download all notes in the selected notebook to the local cache.
  2. Instead we will only auto-download the first 5 notes in the result list. There is now an advanced setting if you wish to increase this value, although don't make it too high or you could hit the rate limit.
  3. When you select any note in the result list, if it isn't already local, Curio will then immediately download it from the cloud, as shown below.

  4. A note will now clearly indicate if it is on the Evernote cloud, is being downloaded, or is in the local cache.
  5. Instead of downloading the note's resources and recognition data as separate calls to the cloud the entire note is grabbed with a single call which is much more efficient.
  6. Once a note is local you can hit spacebar to preview it, double-click to open it, or drag it to an idea space to embed a copy of the note in your project.
Evernote hasn't provided any specifics so we don't know exactly what these limits are or if the limits are the same for regular vs. premium users. However, with these changes we have optimized Curio's Evernote integration as much as possible to greatly reduce the chance that you'll hit the limit within 1-hour periods.

It's almost time for NaNoWriMo!

Monday, October 14, 2013

As this recent customer post reminded me, we're coming up on National Novel Writing Month otherwise known as NaNoWriMo.

We have many customers that use the super-fantastic Scrivener app for writing their novels along with Curio for their brainstorming needs.

With Curio you can create mind maps and free flow connected diagrams to quickly generate and connect ideas together. You can also manage and organize all your thoughts, character photo collages, and associated files and weblinks all in a single handy project.

To all writers entering the NaNoWriMo competition beginning November 1st, we wish you the best of success and hope you find inspiration everywhere around you!

Back to school!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Okay, students, faculty, and staff: it's time to get back to school! To celebrate (or commiserate?) we're announcing a back to school sale!

Enter the coupon code BACKTOSCHOOL at our online store to get 20% off a new, single-user Curio 8 license (upgrades are not eligible). This means our full-featured Curio 8 is available for an amazingly low price of just $79.99 USD, so jump on this offer before it expires on Saturday, August 31st, 2013.

Students and instructors make up one of the largest audiences for Curio. We have thousands of academic customers around the world that use Curio for their note-taking, research, and brainstorming needs. Download a trial and check it out today!

Working, working...

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Several have wondered whether Curio 9 is imminent. The answer is unequivocally "no". Curio 9 is a long, long way off and will probably come out sometime in mid-2014, although no firm date has been set.

This is, personally speaking, the fun part: adding super-cool features that everyone will love. As always, feel free to send feedback, comments, and suggestions for what you'd like to see in a future Curio.

Okay, back to work!

ColoRotate color palette creation site

Monday, July 22, 2013

Over the weekend, I stumbled across an interesting tweet from @asymco regarding a new iPad app called ColoRotate. It allows you to create beautiful palettes of colors either manually or from an image.
Colors that make sense. Fast and intuitive 3D color editing for pros and enthusiasts. The ColoRotate app for iPad is an intersection of art and science. Unleash your creativity for any design project. Create color themes with up to 15 colors. Many ways to share. You can edit colors in 3-D, extract from an image, blend colors together, precisely edit in different color spaces, or generate harmonized color palettes using color theory.
ColoRotate also has a web version of their app which you can try out here.

The best part is your palette can be downloaded as an Adobe Swatch Exchange (.ase) file which can then be imported into Curio and spread across mind maps. Very cool!

This is also the first time I've seen an ASE file with more than 5 colors which is the usual size of a palette when coming from other popular color sites such as Adobe Kuler and ColourLovers. I've imported palettes from ColoRotate with over a dozen colors and it works perfectly in Curio. Nice!

Distraction-free full screen mode

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

I forgot to mention this earlier but Curio 8 now supports some new advanced settings specifically for full-screen mode.

By default when entering into full screen mode (via View > Enter Full Screen) Curio leaves auxiliary views such as the inspector, toolbar, Organizer, and Shelf as-is. However, with these new options, Curio can automatically hide any or all these views automatically. Of course, these same views are restored for you when you exit full screen mode.

I personally really love this new feature since I can now have zero distractions and simply lose myself in my brainstorming, planning, and prototyping. This system also works well with one or two detached inspector popovers.

To try them out check out the "Full Screen Auto-Hide Options" in the Curio 8 Advanced Power-User Settings. Have fun!

RSS feed

Thursday, July 11, 2013

As previously discussed, we have now disabled our Google Feedburner account for our blog's RSS handling. Please update your feed reader so the link to Zengobi's blog feed is this instead:

Thanks everyone!

Mavericks and modern look

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Curio 8.6.2 was released this morning to address all reported issues since May's 8.6.1 rollout. Lots of great fixes in here for better mind map handling, WebView handling, and numerous robustness tweaks.

It also includes fixes required for better Mavericks compatibility. Mavericks changes the way PDF's are rendered which necessitated some changes within Curio.

All the details are documented here in the release notes which I encourage you to check out.

Speaking of Mavericks, after hearing the news coming from the Apple WWDC, I'm very excited about the future of the Mac. It's clear that the Mac is incredibly important to Apple and they see a long future with continued growth and development. This is awesome news.

The new iOS 7 looks amazing and of course I'm excited about its future, as well. As the current Curio Mac popover interface is inspired by iOS 6 I thought it'd be fun to try out an iOS 7-based look. You can enable an advanced setting and Curio 8.6.2 will use the new interface, as shown below. Enjoy!

Kuler news

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Adobe has released a slick, new version of their Kuler website. Kuler is a fantastic way to generate palettes of colors and the Kuler community gives you a way to share and search for palettes used by others.

In addition, Adobe has released a new Kuler iPhone app for capturing color palettes on the go, even using the iPhone's built-in camera to grab colors from the real world.

Through the Kuler website you can download these palettes as Adobe Swatch Exchange (ASE) files which can be dragged into Curio's mind map inspector popover for instant branch coloring. It's a slick way to produce amazing looking mind maps.

Curio 8.6 with Panic Status Board support

Monday, May 06, 2013

Curio 8.6 is out with one major new feature for you power-users out there: support for Panic's incredibly cool Status Board application. For more information see the latest release notes.

Once running, you will see a Status Board chart showing your starting and due tasks:

And a Status Board table showing your action items, which are tasks that need to be started or are coming due:

Exporting to PowerPoint

Thursday, May 02, 2013

While Curio doesn't support a direct export to PowerPoint, it does support image exporting where each produced image has a sequential, numerical prefix so the resulting images mirror the ordering in the Organizer. We can use this feature, introduced in Curio 8.3, to produce our PowerPoint presentation.

First we start with this handy tip from Microsoft on how to import photos into PowerPoint. Using that tip you can quickly create the 2-step Automator application described in the article. I called mine CurioToPowerPoint.

With that helper app ready, simply follow these steps:
  1. In Curio, click the Share toolbar button then choose Export As > Image. Choose to export JPG images and also create a new folder for the output. This is also where you might want to specify a scaled size for each exported image. Then click the Export button to fill your new folder with image versions of your idea spaces.
  2. Launch PowerPoint and close any windows that appear when it launches.
  3. Launch the CurioToPowerPoint Automator application and then, in the dialog that appears, select all of those exported images and click the Choose button.
  4. PowerPoint will create a new slideshow and import each image, in order, to create the presentation.
Ta da! You now have a PowerPoint presentation of your Curio project. Enjoy!

Curio 8.5.1 important fix!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

I'm terribly sorry to report that there was a bug in yesterday's Curio 8.5 release that may move Scrapbook asset items to your Trash.

If you're currently running 8.5 then just do a Curio > Check for Updates to grab the latest 8.5.1 release which fixes this issue. Otherwise you can download Curio 8.5.1 directly from here.

You can recover any Scrapbook assets out of the Trash and drag them back to the 8.5.1's Scrapbook. Again, I'm sincerely very sorry for this issue.

If you use Time Machine or another backup system then you can also recover your Scrapbook file more directly, as follows.
  1. Go into the Finder.
  2. Hold the Option key down and click the Go menu then choose the Library menu item.
  3. Within the window that appears go into the Application Support folder, then Curio, then Repository, then Libraries.
  4. Select the Scrapbook.curio project and activate Time Machine to grab a version of that file from Sunday (i.e. before you installed 8.5).
  5. Click Restore within Time Machine to bring back that older version of Scrapbook.curio.

Curio 8.5

Monday, April 22, 2013

Curio 8.5 just tiptoed out the door. While it has a handful of new features the main thing is a huge list of robustness tweaks and fixes. Basically every bug or stability issue reported to Zengobi has been addressed in this release.

On the feature front, table fanatics will really enjoy Curio 8.5's incredibly cool support for new drop options when dragging items into Curio tables. Curio can now place the dropped items in a single column (adding rows as needed), a single row (adding columns as needed), or spread across and down (adding rows as needed).

Also, if you use standard OS X text lists (via the Lists popup on the ruler) within table cells you're going to enjoy Curio 8.5's smarter support for the tab key. If you are editing a list then tab and shift-tab will indent or outdent the current text list item. Otherwise, if a non-list cell is being edited then tab and shift-tab will move to the next or previous cell, as expected.

Lastly, something I've been meaning to add for ages, is support for moving files directly into Curio.

Normally when you insert a file into Curio, a copy of the original file is made and stored within the Curio project package. By holding down the Option key you have been able to store an alias to the original file instead.

Now you can move a file directly into Curio by holding the Command key while dragging a file into the idea space, the project library, or the Scrapbook library. The Insert > File dialog has also been updated to support moving in addition to copying and aliasing. Slick stuff.

The oft-forgotten Help menu is now a lot more useful. It now includes links to the video tutorials on YouTube, to the Zengobi Forums, and to the Curio 8 Advanced Settings page. As well as a handy "Ask Support" item to quickly send questions to Zengobi Support.

Check out the incredibly complete release notes for all the details and enjoy!

Request: Your project statistics

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

I have an open request to all Curio 8 customers out there who really love Curio and want to help me understand how you use Curio in your own projects.

Take two or three of your best, most representative projects and choose the File > Mail As > Project Statistics menu item for each of those projects and send those stats to me (I think everyone knows my email address).

You can preview the email before sending it but, don't worry, the stats don't include any private data from your projects. It just lists things like how many sections, idea spaces, videos, PDF's, and mind maps you have, the common sizes of your idea spaces, if you use scribbles and Calendar syncing, etc.

I really appreciate it as it will give me a good idea about how everyone uses Curio which, in turn, helps me determine future directions and feature sets.

Getting the latest Dropbox app

Thursday, April 11, 2013

After reading another review of the overhauled Dropbox 2.0 I became perplexed why my Dropbox hadn't updated yet. I was still back on an older 1.6.x version with the older interface, even though Dropbox is supposed to auto-update.

To determine what version you're running:
  • With 1.x, click on the Dropbox icon in your menu bar and choose Preferences > Account. 
  • With 2.x, hold down the Option key and click on the Dropbox icon in your menu bar and choose Preferences > Account.
I went to Dropbox's download site and manually downloaded and installed the latest which is 2.0.6, at the time of this writing.

I know many Curio customers use Dropbox and it looks like lots of bugs have been fixed recently, so if you're not on 2.0.6 then make sure to grab the latest version.

On a related note, Curio 8.4.1 and above support a new, much easier technique for syncing your Curio application support folder across multiple machines using Dropbox.

Curio 8 mind map tips video

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Check out this new video tutorial which goes over some useful mind map tips in Curio 8.

One thing I forgot to point out regarding Manual Child Coloring versus Automatic Child Coloring is that manual is a one-time operation. It copies the colors of the parent down to its children just that one time. If you change the parent's colors the children won't update themselves. However, with automatic coloring the children will dynamically update themselves any time the parent's coloring changes in any way.


Updating your Zengobi RSS feed

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Since Google Feedburner may not last for long, given Google's treatment of the Google Reader service, I've set up a new URL for our blog feed.

Update your feed reader so the link to the Zengobi's blog feed is this:
Currently it simply redirects to Feedburner but with this in place we can redirect it to a different URL when the time comes.

By the way, in Google Reader you can't actually change the feed. Instead you have to remove the old and add the above link as a new feed.

Thanks everyone!

Curio 8 and Evernote Business

Friday, March 15, 2013

Curio 8's integrated Evernote shelf works wonderfully with Evernote free and premium accounts. We've heard from many customers that it's one of the biggest features they love about Curio and is incredibly useful for accessing notes collected while on-the-run with Evernote's various mobile clients.

However, Curio 8 does not currently work with Evernote's new Evernote Business, which was announced in December.

A user with an Evernote Business account essentially has two note stores accessible via the same login: a personal store of notebooks and notes, and a business store of shared notebooks and notes. Currently Curio 8 will only show those items in your personal store.

There are a number of additional code changes we would need to make to support Evernote Business accounts including separately authenticating the user with their business store and separately retrieving their business notebooks.

More importantly, while your personal authentication is valid for 1 year, the business authentication automatically expires after just 1 hour which means you would need to be re-authenticated pretty frequently.

From a security and privacy standpoint, allowing a 3rd party app to access a corporation's shared Evernote Business repository also raises some issues and concerns.

While I investigate this further, please continue to use Curio's Evernote shelf to access all your normal Evernote notes but use Evernote's native clients to access your Evernote Business notes.

Curio 8.4 - relationship lines!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The #1 requested mind mapping feature is now in the just-released Curio 8.4: mind map relationship lines.

Select two figures in your mind map, right-click then choose Add Relationship Line, and a curved line with midpoint will be added to your mind map pointing from the first figure to the second figure.

It's important to note that this relationship line is a real Curio line figure and thus supports all the normal line attributes such as labels, coloring, width, arrowheads, scaling, dash patterns, etc. Style it any way you wish using the Shape inspector. Add additional midpoints. Add one or more line labels. Make it curved, straight, or orthogonal.

Here's another new feature in Curio 8.4 that will make lots of customers happy. Normally when re-arranging nodes in your mind map or list, Curio maintains the styling of those figures. This way you aren't surprised by Curio suddenly changing your carefully tweaked figure styles. However, now if you press and hold the Shift key right before dropping the figures then they will adopt the style of the branch they are being dropped to.

You can read all the details here in our Curio 8.4 release notes. Enjoy! :-)

Curio will automatically alert you that the new update is available. Or choose the Curio > Check for Updates menu item to grab it now.

Lastly, I should note that Curio 8 has just received 4 out of 5 stars from Macworld UK! Fantastic!

Listen to George on Systematic

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

I was the guest this week on the Systematic podcast hosted by Brett Terpstra. I had a great time discussing Curio 8, brainstorming, and keeping your mind open to new ideas. I had a blast doing the show and sincerely enjoyed talking with Brett about something I care so much about, both personally and professionally.

Quick flowcharting / concept maps

Monday, March 04, 2013

A customer wrote last week asking about concept mapping in Curio. The main difference between a concept map and a mind map is that the latter has a requirement that a child can only have one parent. With concept maps, a child can have any number of parents. The resulting map looks more like a freeform diagram or flowchart with figures connected to each other using directionless, unidirectional (a single arrowhead at one end), or bidirectional (arrowheads at both ends) lines.

Curio has a true mind map collection figure but we don't currently offer a general concept map container. However, they can be easily constructed using Curio's attached text functionality which we added back in Curio 6.4.

Simply by holding down special modify keys (Command, Option, Shift) and clicking you can expand your map with connected figures. This is a fast and fun way to brainstorm in a freeform way, without the formality of a mind map, directly within Curio.

And attached text was recently improved in Curio 8.2:
If a selected figure is a freeform-sized figure, then when creating an attached figure (by holding Command or Command-Option or Command-Shift and clicking), Curio will now make the new attached figure a freeform-sized figure of the same size.
After creating an attached figure we no longer auto-remove the figure if you don't type something into it at that time.
This makes certain types of freeform thinking maps, such as bubble and double-bubble maps, much easier to produce. Curio now includes examples of both as bundled figure stencils.

Happy brainstorming!

Curio 8.3

Thursday, February 28, 2013

True, it hasn't been that long since 8.2 but I've been coding like crazy and there are some great new features in this release that I couldn't wait to get out the door.
  1. Now you can drag any document into the Organizer and we'll use Quick Look's viewer for any files where we can't use an RTF, WebView, or PDFView. This is a great new feature as you can add iWork documents directly into the Organizer and fully browse their contents all from within Curio.
  2. The Organizer Filter text search will now look into Organizer document contents instead of just at the document titles. Wicked cool.
  3. The ever popular Spread PDF feature is now even more useful. Read the release notes for the full details.
  4. You'll love this one: when you use the Search shelf to search for text that appears in a spread PDF'ed document, Curio will now only highlight those figures which show the pages that the term appears instead of all of the pages of the PDF. Students around the world, rejoice!
  5. Bookmarks have been improved.
  6. Double-tap (aka Smart Zoom) support to quickly show you all your current figures.
  7. New Scribble detachable popover color palette for easier sketching.
  8. The Status shelf now has a splitter so you can change the size of the Projects vs. Tasks area.
  9. Line labels are now easier to position using the arrow keys.
  10. New sort by alias option in the project Library.
  11. Lastly, an export image change where each exported file now has a sequential numerical prefix that keeps all exported files in the same order as they appear in the Organizer.
You can read all the details here in our Curio 8.3 release notes. This really is a pretty nifty release. :-)

Curio will automatically alert you that the new update is available. Or choose the Curio > Check for Updates menu item to grab it now.

Back to school promotion

Monday, February 25, 2013

Thanks to a student from beautiful New Zealand, I was reminded that schools are beginning in the lands down under. To make going back to school a bit easier we're announcing a back to school sale!

Just enter the coupon code BACKTOSCHOOL at our online store to get 20% off a new, single-user Curio 8 license (upgrades are not eligible). This brings the price of our full-featured Curio 8 edition down to just $79.99 USD, which is one of our lowest prices ever, so jump on this offer before it expires on Friday, March 8th, 2013.

Professors, teachers, and students make up one of the largest audiences for Curio. We have thousands of academic customers around the world that use Curio for their note-taking, research, and brainstorming needs. Download a trial and check it out today!