Charity update

After one month of Curio 9 sales I thought I'd provide a quick update on how the charity selections have been going.

As you may recall, when you make a Curio 9 new or upgrade purchase you can select up to 10 charities that you think are deserving of a contribution from Zengobi. We're simply using your selections as a guide in our eventual distribution -- mainly because we're curious as to what you consider important in this grand world of ours. :-)

Only about 50% of all the purchases have a charity selected. This is somewhat surprising but perhaps those individuals dislike the charity choices or don't care to share their opinions, which is fine of course.

Of those that do select at least one charity, here are the results. As a note, to keep it fair each purchase is casting a single vote divided between that purchaser's chosen charities.

The leading charity by far is Doctors Without Borders with about 30% of the total. Then the following are the remaining charities in decreasing popularity: Cancer Research Institute, Save The Children, Environmental Defense Fund, American Red Cross, Animal Welfare Institute, Sierra Club Foundation, Pet Smart Charities, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and Conservation International.

So far this has been wonderfully insightful so I do appreciate the feedback.

Yosemite

It sounds like the OS X Yosemite beta is getting released to the general public tomorrow. The final release is still on for fall sometime, but no specific date has been announced (although an October date is rumored).

Technically this is the 4th beta of Yosemite, the earlier beta releases going to developers only, but the public will be able to grab the latest beta on Thursday.

Macworld has a fantastic FAQ regarding the public Yosemite beta release that everyone should read if you're interested in obtaining this preview.

The key point in the FAQ is...wait for it... this is a beta of an OS. Ideally you should try this on a secondary machine and not your the main Mac. As Macworld states it:
More important, we strongly recommend against installing the Yosemite beta on your primary Mac. Ideally, you’ll want a separate Mac you can dedicate to running the beta, so that if you have any serious problems, you won’t be stuck without a working Mac—and you can erase the test Mac’s drive and start over if things go completely south.
You will encounter bugs and problems in the OS, Apple's apps, and other apps. The whole point of a beta period is to find and fix problems before the general release so don't be surprised if you find some snafus.

I've also personally noticed that not only does OS X get more stable but it gets faster as beta updates continue towards the general release. So don't be surprised if the Yosemite beta is a bit slower than what you expected.

Curio and Yosemite
As detailed in this forum post, I've been getting Curio 9 going with Yosemite since the initial beta release in the spring and it's looking very good.

Earlier versions of Curio prior to version 9 are not supported on Yosemite. For example, while Curio 8 runs on Lion (10.7), Mountain Lion (10.8), and Mavericks (10.9), it does not run on Yosemite (10.10).

Curio 9's codebase has been completely updated to work with both Mavericks and Yosemite. In fact it requires Mavericks at a minimum and the code has been cleaned up and modernized considerably. On top of all of those updates, getting Curio 9 going with Yosemite required a number of additional code modifications, and this is an ongoing process as each beta release seems to require more code tweaks within Curio 9. Yosemite is definitely a major OS X release.

Beyond the internal changes, the Curio 9 user interface has also been updated to look more natural especially within Yosemite's new environment.

Please see the Curio 9 release notes for all the details, including many, many screenshots.

While working with Curio 9 and the Yosemite public beta, please send feedback and comments to Zengobi either via the forum thread or our support email.

Curio 9.1

A bunch of cool features and tweaks are in today's Curio 9.1 release:

  • MindNode import/export support.
  • Very cool connected figures enhancements (see video below).
  • Much nicer looking mind maps with underlines (you have to see the before and after).
  • New Sleuth sites: Google Scholar, Pixabay, Stockvault, Wikimedia Commons Images.
  • Added Show Checkmark to the text figure context menu.
  • Plus lots of bug fixes and minor tweaks...

Check out the detailed release notes for more information.

Enjoy!

Curio 9 promo with Adobe Voice

I've been playing around with Adobe Voice for the past couple of days. What an amazing iPad app!

Here's a quick video I put together as a promo for Curio, it was very easy to do and the results look fantastic:

New features discussion

I've recently started a New Features topic in the forums where we can discuss some of the new features added to Curio in detail.

I'm marching down the list of the latest features added to Curio 9 and have covered pinboards, albums, preview captions, and text figure file attachments. I'll keep adding more over the next few days.

I thought this would be an improvement over static references such as the bundled Getting Started project or Curio User Manual as you can ask questions, make comments, discuss how you use a particular feature, and perhaps brainstorm ways it can be improved or refined.

Feel free to join in!

New website, too!

In addition to our brand new Curio 9 release you'll also notice we have a brand new website!

It has been completely rewritten to be "responsive", meaning that it adapts itself to the viewer's screen on-the-fly. Therefore looking natural when viewing on a large desktop or laptop screen, a smaller tablet screen, or an even smaller phone screen. Mobile users no longer have to pinch and zoom around to view the website. Ironically the styles and html behind this change actually made the website more manageable, so everyone wins. :-)

In addition, the main Curio page now includes several slideshows demonstrating what you can do with Curio separated into five key use cases: note-taking, brainstorming, flowcharting & sketching, task tracking, and PDF annotation. These groupings accurately reflect how we position Curio in the market and how our customers actually use the product. In essence, it demonstrates that Curio is much more than just a note-taking product or a mind mapping product. It's this integrated collection of functionality in a clean, intuitive interface that makes Curio so powerful and unique.

As noted earlier, we have also rolled out a brand new Zengobi Forums powered by Discourse. Many of the brilliant programmers behind StackExchange are behind Discourse and this is reflected in its features and usability, including mobile platform compatibility. This should make it much easier for everyone to participate in discussions regarding existing and requested features and improvements. I'd also love to see more topics where customers discuss how they use Curio in their day-to-day activities.

Feel free to tweet or send us an email if you have any comments or feedback regarding the new website. Enjoy!

Curio 9 is here!

I'm proud to announce the release of Curio 9!

This is an absolutely huge release with dozens and dozens of new features. At almost 33 printed pages, the detailed release notes qualify Curio 9 as our biggest release, ever. ;-)

Let's start with the basics. Internally Curio 9's code has been scrubbed and polished for Mavericks and Yosemite compatibility. Externally, Curio 9's new user interface looks great on Mavericks and even more fantastic on Yosemite. The Curio 9 interface now closely follows the look-and-feel of Apple's long-awaited major update to Pages, Keynote, and Numbers, and is a perfect complement to that suite of apps.

Plus, by popular demand, two big changes:
  1. The toolbar is back on top and is customizable once again.
  2. The inspector shelf is back with most popular inspector panels.
How about new features? Oh, yes, there are plenty.

Curio 9 now supports photo album collections, pinboard collections, image captions, text figure file attachments, 36 new flowcharting shapes, new shape clipping options, lots of meta enhancements, new top-down and bottom-up mind map arrangements, iThoughts file compatibility, tons of Status shelf enhancements, an incredible new PDF mirroring feature, project lock files for better Dropbox collaborations, a vastly modernized HTML export, plus much, much more!

Check out the new website and read through the release notes. You're going to love the new Curio 9!

New hosting service

I spent the past few days moving Zengobi to a new host: a screamingly-fast server on Linode. If you notice any quirks or problems please ping us via our Support email or via Twitter. Thanks!

Oh, the Zengobi Forums is still running off the new server. The plan is to move to Discourse as soon as possible. More news later...

Mac's 30th birthday and Dropbox

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!

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

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!

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!

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...

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

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

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

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:

http://www.zengobi.com/feed

Thanks everyone!

Mavericks and modern look

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

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

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

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!

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.

Update
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

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

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

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.

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