A Workshop for Your Creative Projects

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Fantastic review of Curio on AppStorm and DigitalFUEL which includes a quick Curio 7 update:
How do you like to plan? Do you create a mind map? Make a list? Outline? Shuffle index cards? Pour out your ideas in stream of conscious writing? Stimulate thoughts with pictures? Build diagrams?

If you can answer yes to most or all of these methods of planning and organizing, then you really, really need to take a look at Curio, an application that combines a stunning array of tools for collecting ideas and putting them to work. Today we are going to take a look at one of the most versatile information organizers available anywhere.

Mac App Store and Curio

Monday, October 25, 2010

As I'm sure you've heard by now, Apple is introducing the Mac App Store early next year. You'll be able to download it for Snow Leopard (Mac OS X 10.6) and it will come bundled with Lion (Mac OS X 10.7) when it's released in the summer.

Like the iOS App Store, the Mac App Store will be a huge boon to Mac users. A wonderful showcase of high quality Mac software where, with just a single click, you can purchase, download, and install an application. No license keys to worry about, and easy notification and installation of updates. Ah, bliss.

Zengobi is incredibly, incredibly excited about the Mac App Store.

There are still some questions we have like support for cross-grading (Standard to Pro, for example -- perhaps support for in-app purchasing is the answer?) and for discounted major version upgrades. But I'm sure those will get worked out either before the release or soon thereafter.

We're diving in head-first to see what we need to do to work with Apple's various restrictions for App Store inclusion. This will be an interesting learning experience.

The current system will remain in-place, of course. We'll still maintain our website and Kagi storefront as this is the best way to provide information about our products, and support volume purchases, academic discounts, and trial downloads. And there are millions of Mac users not on Snow Leopard so the Mac App Store isn't available to them anyway.

We'll also need to support two nearly identical sets of distribution binaries since existing customers will need update checks, license keys, etc. It could be that Apple has a plan to migrate an existing install base to App Store binaries but we'll learn that as we move forward. (iTunes promo codes to assist in the migration? Those would only work in the U.S.)

It's certainly a brand new and very exciting development so we're eager to jump in and learn more!

Curio 7! Wow!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

We are so pleased with the success of Curio 7! This is one of the most successful product upgrades we've ever launched and the feedback from everyone has been wonderful. Thank you!

And, we've already had our first review of Curio 7 courtesy of the Macintosh Asheville Computer Society. Curio 7 was awarded 5-Clicks - their highest rating! I love this opening paragraph:
These descriptions don't explain the flexibility and features Curio offers. Basically, if you have text, web pages, designs, photos, movies, audio recordings or any other type of information in your Macintosh, Curio can help you manage and keep track of that information in just about any way you can think of. Yes, there are several programs out there which will organize your notes or remind you of an appointment. I've seen most of them and they all pale in comparison to Curio.
While I have your attention, I thought I'd mention another big feature in this release: super-charged tags. Sure we've had regular tags for years. And we've had flags for years. Tags were just words; flags were just images. In Curio 7 we've combined them and made them even better.


In Curio 7, go into the Tags panel within Curio's Preferences. It lists all global tag sets and all tags within each set. So of course you'll find all your tags there and, well howdy-do, you'll find all your bundled and custom flags imported into there as well.

Each tag can now have not only a phrase associated with it but also an optional image. You can even specify a keyboard shortcut key if you'd like. This means toggling a tag association is incredibly fast: just select a figure and hit the keyboard shortcut.

Creating custom image tags is super easy thanks to the dozens of icon repositories on the web. Check out the hundreds of PNGs and ICNS on IconArchive, or visit one of the many sites listed on this Smashing Buzz collection, or even the 16x16 transparent PNGs from FamFamFam's Silk collection. Download the icons to your Desktop then drag-and-drop them into Curio to add life to your tags.

More Curio 7 news coming soon!

Announcing Curio 7!

Monday, October 18, 2010

I'm extremely happy to announce the release of Curio 7!

Curio 7 has lots and lots of new features of course, but perhaps even more importantly it's now even easier to use.

Over the next few days I'll discuss some of the new features. For now I'll start with some of the biggies...

Project Sections
Oh, we just didn't want plain old tabs. We wanted super flexible ├╝ber sections. Of course, you can divide your project into any number of sections. That's easy. But with Curio your sections can be hierarchically ordered to as many levels as you want. Color-code them. Rearrange or nest sections with a quick drag-and-drop, and easily drag idea spaces into a section to reorganize your project. The Sections pane has a minimal UI footprint (which was a very high priority), yet it's incredibly powerful and easy to use.

Organizer Folders
In many situations you may want a simple folder grouping of idea spaces and Curio 7 now offers that as well. Organizer folders can contain one or more idea spaces and even subfolders.

New Mind Map Arrangements
By very popular demand, we have added left map, right map, and org chart mind map arrangements. Use the inspector or just right-click on the map to change the arrangement, line style, or branch coloring.


Galleries
I'm very excited about this particular feature. Curio 7 introduces a wonderful new way to manage your styles, templates, and stencils: the Gallery.

For example, click the New toolbar button and you are presented with all your personal, bundled, and network idea space styles and templates (templates only if you have Pro). Each item is shown with a full preview. Just double-click a style or template to create a new idea space with that same appearance.


Curio 7 shows galleries for projects, idea spaces, collection figures (lists, mind maps, index cards, tables), and general figures. Via a simple right-click you can manage your personal items in the Gallery window, and drag-and-drop bundled or network items to create personal copies that you can customize.

And, yes, Curio now comes with dozens of bundled styles, templates, and stencils so you can immediately create beautifully-styled projects right out of the box.

Oh, and one more thing: Simply right-click on an idea space background or a figure to apply a new style via the Gallery. Or click the little Gallery button the Inspector Bar to do the same thing.

And Tons More
I'm sure you're going to love this new release of Curio! It's more powerful. It's easier to use. It's more robust. And it's faster than ever.

Check out the main Curio page and learn more today!

MobileMe Calendar Beta

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

We've had some questions about the MobileMe Calendar Beta and how it works with Curio.

Note that if you simply want Curio to iCal syncing and you don't care about MobileMe calendar syncing then you don't need to worry about any of this. This blog posting is only for those that sync their iCal calendars with MobileMe and would like to use the new MobileMe Calendar Beta.

For those that haven't heard the news, Apple's MobileMe service now supports a new, improved Calendar web application. It's quite slick and has lots of very cool features. While the service is still in beta it's a wonderful improvement over the existing MobileMe Calendar.

However, it also adds some problems. Third party developers such as Zengobi, MarkSpace, SpanningSync, BusyCal, and OmniGroup among others were a bit surprised to learn that the iCal sync features in their shipping apps were suddenly not working correctly.

Why?

The big feature of MobileMe Calendar beta is that it's a true CalDAV server. This is an industry standard calendar sharing and syncing protocol. That's the good news.

Unfortunately all of us third party developers use Apple's SyncServices and CalendarStore code frameworks to communicate with iCal and those frameworks are not quite in-tune with this wonderful new CalDAV world.

Everyone has sent in feedback and/or bug reports to Apple requesting framework updates so we can directly create CalDAV hosted calendars. Many of us would prefer that option, in lieu of rolling our own CalDAV clients, as the MobileMe Calendar Beta only works with 10.6.4 and we have applications that support older versions of Mac OS X. Therefore going through a framework like CalendarStore that hides the underlying service would be ideal.

If you want to use the MobileMe Calendar Beta then there's a workaround in Curio but it's a bit of a kludge. When you turn on iCal syncing within a Curio project you will see your calendar appear in iCal within the "On My Mac" group. Next,
  1. Quit Curio.
  2. Go into iCal.
  3. Remember the project's calendar name in iCal. It's always of the form "Curio: ProjectName".
  4. Click on the calendar and choose File > Export > Export and save it to disk with any file name.
  5. Right-click on the calendar and choose Delete.
  6. Choose File > New Calendar > (your MobileMe account). Oddly I have two MobileMe accounts with the same name listed, I simply chose the first one. This will create a new calendar on your MobileMe account.
  7. Give the new calendar the exact same name like Curio: ProjectName. Note the space after the colon.
  8. Choose File > Import > Import, choose the calendar file you exported in step #4 above, then in the dialog that appears choose your newly created MobileMe calendar.
  9. Launch Curio.
Curio finds the calendar based on the name itself, not any underlying ID, so coincidentally we seem to work pretty well with this workaround. Changes saved in Curio will appear in iCal and thus MobileMe and vice versa.

However, if you click Reset Calendar in Curio's Project Properties then you will have to go through this export/import process again since CalendarStore doesn't currently allow us to create a calendar on a CalDAV server.

We have our fingers crossed that Apple will address this issue with updates to the CalendarStore framework. Stay tuned.