Hand-sketched symbols

This morning an interesting post appeared in The Mind Mapping Software Blog:
Want to add some hand-drawn elements to your mind maps? Then check out this new collection of over 700 hand-drawn symbols...
The article references a collection of icons which look like hand-sketched graphics instead of the high-gloss images you normally see. Adding them to a mind map makes it look less formal and more appropriate for a project notebook environment like Curio.

Curio supports extensible tags with associated images so adding these icons to Curio is incredibly quick and easy:
  1. Download the icons from http://doodlekit.imagiag.com/. You can choose either the free 32x32 PNG files (the link is at the top-right corner of their page) or purchase the vector versions which would produce nicer high resolution images.
  2. In Curio, choose the Curio > Preferences menu item then click the Tags icon.
  3. Type in a new tag set name, like Doodle, and click Add to create it. Your new Doodle tag set should be automatically selected.
  4. Go back to the Finder and select all the images in the downloaded image folder. Drag all of them to the right-pane of the Tags window in Curio and drop them.
  5. All the images will be instantly snarfed into Curio. Each tag name is simply the image's file name, but you can rename the ones you like and optionally give them keyboard shortcuts for easy tagging. You can also remove the ones you don't think you'll use via the Delete key.
You can now use these new tags anywhere in Curio: mind maps, lists, tables, or even your standalone figures. Enjoy!

More Dropbox tips

Every couple of days I get an email from a customer about Curio and Dropbox. The ability to share Curio projects between machines or between other users is a very cool feature. And I recently discussed some tips here on this blog to make the process easier and more robust.

Last night, David Pogue of the NY Times posted a new article describing how he used Dropbox to send Word documents for the chapters of his new book between himself, his copy editor, his technical editor, his graphic designer, and the various proofreaders. He includes this wonderful tip:
After editing, she’d add her initials to the file’s name; its name changed in my First Drafts folder, too, so I knew she was finished with it.
Renaming the document title is a very clever idea that gets around the "is anyone editing this document?" problem. It doesn't allow for simultaneous editing of course but it's an easy solution for one-editor-at-a-time workflows.

I can imagine a similar renaming technique with a shared Curio project.

For example, if I want to work on a shared project I can rename it to "Group Project-gb.curio". I make sure that sync goes up to Dropbox by watching the Dropbox icon in the menu bar. As the sync goes out to the team they all see a Dropbox notification that the project has been renamed. Then I can edit the project, even offline on a plane.

When I finish with my edits I can rename it back to "Group Project.curio". Everyone on the team gets another Dropbox notification letting them know I'm done and they can view the project to see my changes. Then someone else can edit the project if they'd like.

It's not a perfect solution — it'd be cool if Curio could do this automatically — but it is a pretty slick technique that might work for lots of Curio users out there. Feel free to share more tips here in the blog or via email.


As a kid, I learned to program on Apple II's in elementary school. In 1984, at the age of 16, I used my summer job savings (plus some extra from my Dad) to purchase my first computer: a 128k Mac. In 2002, Mac OS X inspired me to start Zengobi. Later that year my 5GB iPod re-awakened my interest in music. Today, my iPhone manages my incredibly hectic life and our iPads entertain and enlighten our kids.

Thank you Steve for making my life so wonderful.

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