Curio Review

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I have to admit I’m pretty plugged in when it comes to Mac applications. That is why it is always fun to discover a gem I’ve never heard of. That happened recently with an application from Zengobi software, called Curio.

curio 1.png

Curio really doesn’t fit into any easy categories. I guess you could call it a project organization and data collection tool. I’ve come to think of it as a playground for my brain. It has several modules including outlines, notes, mind maps, “to do” lists, PDF annotation, images, and embedded web pages. I’ve used a lot of data collection applications and this one is truly unique. In a lot of ways it reminds me of a wall in my apartment I used in college. I’d tape on notecards, pictures, and ideas. It was very liberating being able to move things around and make new connections. Using Curio, I can now do this on my Mac. You can add and layout pages with whatever modules fit your needs. For instance on one project I have a page with a mind map, another page has a chronological outline, and a third page has images of relevant web pages. You really are limited only by your imagination.

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My biggest problem with Curio was getting my arms around it. Everytime I thought I had it figured out, I’d push another button and find another useful tool. You can even add voice annotations and draw with a pen tablet. One of the most recent updates ties Curio to your Evernote database. Now I can see my entire Evernote library from inside Curio and drag Evernote assets straight into my Curio projects. This makes both applications much more useful.

Curio gives you the ability to combine nearly unlimited capture with nearly unlimited format. Put simply, you can throw just about anything at it and organize it according to your own personal wiring. It is definitely the most flexible data organization tool in my bag of tricks.

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While Curio has a lot of tools, it does not match the functionality of exclusive use applications. For instance, OmniOutliner is a more powerful outliner than Curio’s. Likewise, the mind map function isn’t as robust as an exclusive mind mapper. I still use my more powerful single use tools for big jobs. However, the Curio tools are usually enough.

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Curio comes in two flavors, a standard edition for $99 and a professional version for $149. The pro version includes a additional tools including a status shelf, pre-built templates, a presentation mode, a dossier feature that helps you start new projects, and encryption. For students, there is a $69 academic license. You can download a free trial from the Zengobi.com. This one that is definitely worth checking out.

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You can listen to the above review on the Mac ReviewCast #202.

50 Comments Curio Review

  1. tenex@tesco.net

    How does this compare to DevonThink? As the new version is shipping soon I’m wondering whether to upgrade or not.

    Reply
  2. tenex@tesco.net

    How does this compare to DevonThink? As the new version is shipping soon I’m wondering whether to upgrade or not.

    Reply
  3. tenex@tesco.net

    How does this compare to DevonThink? As the new version is shipping soon I’m wondering whether to upgrade or not.

    Reply
  4. tenex@tesco.net

    How does this compare to DevonThink? As the new version is shipping soon I’m wondering whether to upgrade or not.

    Reply
  5. tenex@tesco.net

    How does this compare to DevonThink? As the new version is shipping soon I’m wondering whether to upgrade or not.

    Reply
  6. david@macsparky.com

    Max,

    I haven’t spent much time with DevonThink. In your shoes I’d try the free trial with Curio (and Circus Ponies Notebook) and see how they compare to your experience with DevonThink.

    Reply
  7. david@macsparky.com

    Max,

    I haven’t spent much time with DevonThink. In your shoes I’d try the free trial with Curio (and Circus Ponies Notebook) and see how they compare to your experience with DevonThink.

    Reply
  8. david@macsparky.com

    Max,

    I haven’t spent much time with DevonThink. In your shoes I’d try the free trial with Curio (and Circus Ponies Notebook) and see how they compare to your experience with DevonThink.

    Reply
  9. david@macsparky.com

    Max,

    I haven’t spent much time with DevonThink. In your shoes I’d try the free trial with Curio (and Circus Ponies Notebook) and see how they compare to your experience with DevonThink.

    Reply
  10. david@macsparky.com

    Max,

    I haven’t spent much time with DevonThink. In your shoes I’d try the free trial with Curio (and Circus Ponies Notebook) and see how they compare to your experience with DevonThink.

    Reply
  11. jam1488@mac.com

    Thanks for turning me on to Curio. I have been using Microsoft OneNote on the PC for several years and have found it to be a tool I just can not work with out. I have not been able to find a Mac replacement. I have tried Notebook from Circus Ponies and Evernote. Neither came close to the functionality I was looking for. I downloaded the trial version of Curio and played with it for a day. I bought the Pro version and am now migrating from OneNote. Thanks for the review and keep up the could work. I follow you on Twitter and listen to you on the Mac Roundtable and Mac Reviewcast. Thanks for the recommendation.

    Reply
  12. jam1488@mac.com

    Thanks for turning me on to Curio. I have been using Microsoft OneNote on the PC for several years and have found it to be a tool I just can not work with out. I have not been able to find a Mac replacement. I have tried Notebook from Circus Ponies and Evernote. Neither came close to the functionality I was looking for. I downloaded the trial version of Curio and played with it for a day. I bought the Pro version and am now migrating from OneNote. Thanks for the review and keep up the could work. I follow you on Twitter and listen to you on the Mac Roundtable and Mac Reviewcast. Thanks for the recommendation.

    Reply
  13. jam1488@mac.com

    Thanks for turning me on to Curio. I have been using Microsoft OneNote on the PC for several years and have found it to be a tool I just can not work with out. I have not been able to find a Mac replacement. I have tried Notebook from Circus Ponies and Evernote. Neither came close to the functionality I was looking for. I downloaded the trial version of Curio and played with it for a day. I bought the Pro version and am now migrating from OneNote. Thanks for the review and keep up the could work. I follow you on Twitter and listen to you on the Mac Roundtable and Mac Reviewcast. Thanks for the recommendation.

    Reply
  14. jam1488@mac.com

    Thanks for turning me on to Curio. I have been using Microsoft OneNote on the PC for several years and have found it to be a tool I just can not work with out. I have not been able to find a Mac replacement. I have tried Notebook from Circus Ponies and Evernote. Neither came close to the functionality I was looking for. I downloaded the trial version of Curio and played with it for a day. I bought the Pro version and am now migrating from OneNote. Thanks for the review and keep up the could work. I follow you on Twitter and listen to you on the Mac Roundtable and Mac Reviewcast. Thanks for the recommendation.

    Reply
  15. jam1488@mac.com

    Thanks for turning me on to Curio. I have been using Microsoft OneNote on the PC for several years and have found it to be a tool I just can not work with out. I have not been able to find a Mac replacement. I have tried Notebook from Circus Ponies and Evernote. Neither came close to the functionality I was looking for. I downloaded the trial version of Curio and played with it for a day. I bought the Pro version and am now migrating from OneNote. Thanks for the review and keep up the could work. I follow you on Twitter and listen to you on the Mac Roundtable and Mac Reviewcast. Thanks for the recommendation.

    Reply
  16. rrlist@mac.com

    I’m not sure how much sense it makes to compare Curio and DevonThink. They are both similar in the sense that they can bring lots of different kinds of files into one “space” and I guess if you drew up a list of “features” and did a comparison you’d probably find the number of boxes you could check off for both applications would be quite large. But the look and feel are totally different, Curio focused on providing a creative “space” to work in, while DevonThink’s marquee feature is its automatic text analysis (and I don’t think DevonThink makes any sense if you’re not interested in that). You can’t mind map in DT, and while you could project plan I don’t think you’d want to. Conversely, if you have 800 PDFs in your field of research containing millions of words, and you have identified one key passage and need to find other passages that support it — then DT is probably your best choice.

    Reply
  17. rrlist@mac.com

    I’m not sure how much sense it makes to compare Curio and DevonThink. They are both similar in the sense that they can bring lots of different kinds of files into one “space” and I guess if you drew up a list of “features” and did a comparison you’d probably find the number of boxes you could check off for both applications would be quite large. But the look and feel are totally different, Curio focused on providing a creative “space” to work in, while DevonThink’s marquee feature is its automatic text analysis (and I don’t think DevonThink makes any sense if you’re not interested in that). You can’t mind map in DT, and while you could project plan I don’t think you’d want to. Conversely, if you have 800 PDFs in your field of research containing millions of words, and you have identified one key passage and need to find other passages that support it — then DT is probably your best choice.

    Reply
  18. rrlist@mac.com

    I’m not sure how much sense it makes to compare Curio and DevonThink. They are both similar in the sense that they can bring lots of different kinds of files into one “space” and I guess if you drew up a list of “features” and did a comparison you’d probably find the number of boxes you could check off for both applications would be quite large. But the look and feel are totally different, Curio focused on providing a creative “space” to work in, while DevonThink’s marquee feature is its automatic text analysis (and I don’t think DevonThink makes any sense if you’re not interested in that). You can’t mind map in DT, and while you could project plan I don’t think you’d want to. Conversely, if you have 800 PDFs in your field of research containing millions of words, and you have identified one key passage and need to find other passages that support it — then DT is probably your best choice.

    Reply
  19. rrlist@mac.com

    I’m not sure how much sense it makes to compare Curio and DevonThink. They are both similar in the sense that they can bring lots of different kinds of files into one “space” and I guess if you drew up a list of “features” and did a comparison you’d probably find the number of boxes you could check off for both applications would be quite large. But the look and feel are totally different, Curio focused on providing a creative “space” to work in, while DevonThink’s marquee feature is its automatic text analysis (and I don’t think DevonThink makes any sense if you’re not interested in that). You can’t mind map in DT, and while you could project plan I don’t think you’d want to. Conversely, if you have 800 PDFs in your field of research containing millions of words, and you have identified one key passage and need to find other passages that support it — then DT is probably your best choice.

    Reply
  20. rrlist@mac.com

    I’m not sure how much sense it makes to compare Curio and DevonThink. They are both similar in the sense that they can bring lots of different kinds of files into one “space” and I guess if you drew up a list of “features” and did a comparison you’d probably find the number of boxes you could check off for both applications would be quite large. But the look and feel are totally different, Curio focused on providing a creative “space” to work in, while DevonThink’s marquee feature is its automatic text analysis (and I don’t think DevonThink makes any sense if you’re not interested in that). You can’t mind map in DT, and while you could project plan I don’t think you’d want to. Conversely, if you have 800 PDFs in your field of research containing millions of words, and you have identified one key passage and need to find other passages that support it — then DT is probably your best choice.

    Reply
  21. war@ipwars.com

    Just wondering how (if at all) Curio is different to The Personal Brain?

    http://www.thebrain.com/

    One difference that strikes me is the Curio interface seems more Mac-like while the Brain’s is obviously Windows-based.

    Reply
  22. war@ipwars.com

    Just wondering how (if at all) Curio is different to The Personal Brain?

    http://www.thebrain.com/

    One difference that strikes me is the Curio interface seems more Mac-like while the Brain’s is obviously Windows-based.

    Reply
  23. war@ipwars.com

    Just wondering how (if at all) Curio is different to The Personal Brain?

    http://www.thebrain.com/

    One difference that strikes me is the Curio interface seems more Mac-like while the Brain’s is obviously Windows-based.

    Reply
  24. war@ipwars.com

    Just wondering how (if at all) Curio is different to The Personal Brain?

    http://www.thebrain.com/

    One difference that strikes me is the Curio interface seems more Mac-like while the Brain’s is obviously Windows-based.

    Reply
  25. war@ipwars.com

    Just wondering how (if at all) Curio is different to The Personal Brain?

    http://www.thebrain.com/

    One difference that strikes me is the Curio interface seems more Mac-like while the Brain’s is obviously Windows-based.

    Reply
  26. bible007@comcast.net

    The Personal Brain is very very different from Curio. They are NOTHING alike. And the Brain very expensive. Be careful…get thru the honeymoon before buying it. It’s fun but…. Curio is great!

    Reply
  27. bible007@comcast.net

    The Personal Brain is very very different from Curio. They are NOTHING alike. And the Brain very expensive. Be careful…get thru the honeymoon before buying it. It’s fun but…. Curio is great!

    Reply
  28. bible007@comcast.net

    The Personal Brain is very very different from Curio. They are NOTHING alike. And the Brain very expensive. Be careful…get thru the honeymoon before buying it. It’s fun but…. Curio is great!

    Reply
  29. bible007@comcast.net

    The Personal Brain is very very different from Curio. They are NOTHING alike. And the Brain very expensive. Be careful…get thru the honeymoon before buying it. It’s fun but…. Curio is great!

    Reply
  30. bible007@comcast.net

    The Personal Brain is very very different from Curio. They are NOTHING alike. And the Brain very expensive. Be careful…get thru the honeymoon before buying it. It’s fun but…. Curio is great!

    Reply
  31. war@ipwars.com

    Thanks, Jane.

    I’ll keep exploring Curio.

    There’s not that much different in price, but one thing I was impressed with in Personal Brain was the ability to draw links between things and have links appear automatically if a new cell had associated with it something already associated with another cell. E.G If a project 1 had a person X associated with it and person X was subsequently added to, say, project 3.

    Reply
  32. war@ipwars.com

    Thanks, Jane.

    I’ll keep exploring Curio.

    There’s not that much different in price, but one thing I was impressed with in Personal Brain was the ability to draw links between things and have links appear automatically if a new cell had associated with it something already associated with another cell. E.G If a project 1 had a person X associated with it and person X was subsequently added to, say, project 3.

    Reply
  33. war@ipwars.com

    Thanks, Jane.

    I’ll keep exploring Curio.

    There’s not that much different in price, but one thing I was impressed with in Personal Brain was the ability to draw links between things and have links appear automatically if a new cell had associated with it something already associated with another cell. E.G If a project 1 had a person X associated with it and person X was subsequently added to, say, project 3.

    Reply
  34. war@ipwars.com

    Thanks, Jane.

    I’ll keep exploring Curio.

    There’s not that much different in price, but one thing I was impressed with in Personal Brain was the ability to draw links between things and have links appear automatically if a new cell had associated with it something already associated with another cell. E.G If a project 1 had a person X associated with it and person X was subsequently added to, say, project 3.

    Reply
  35. war@ipwars.com

    Thanks, Jane.

    I’ll keep exploring Curio.

    There’s not that much different in price, but one thing I was impressed with in Personal Brain was the ability to draw links between things and have links appear automatically if a new cell had associated with it something already associated with another cell. E.G If a project 1 had a person X associated with it and person X was subsequently added to, say, project 3.

    Reply
  36. Starvinglion@gmail.com

    The Personal brain honeymoon trial proved it to be a bit too cumbersome. I can visualize curio quite well. It would be great if you could connect the lists to databases

    Reply
  37. Starvinglion@gmail.com

    The Personal brain honeymoon trial proved it to be a bit too cumbersome. I can visualize curio quite well. It would be great if you could connect the lists to databases

    Reply
  38. Starvinglion@gmail.com

    The Personal brain honeymoon trial proved it to be a bit too cumbersome. I can visualize curio quite well. It would be great if you could connect the lists to databases

    Reply
  39. Starvinglion@gmail.com

    The Personal brain honeymoon trial proved it to be a bit too cumbersome. I can visualize curio quite well. It would be great if you could connect the lists to databases

    Reply
  40. Starvinglion@gmail.com

    The Personal brain honeymoon trial proved it to be a bit too cumbersome. I can visualize curio quite well. It would be great if you could connect the lists to databases

    Reply
  41. bible007@comcast.net

    Yes, the Brain has a good linking system. And you have to admit, it’s a lot of fun. Handy too. I’m going to get Curio when I can afford it….

    Reply
  42. bible007@comcast.net

    Yes, the Brain has a good linking system. And you have to admit, it’s a lot of fun. Handy too. I’m going to get Curio when I can afford it….

    Reply
  43. bible007@comcast.net

    Yes, the Brain has a good linking system. And you have to admit, it’s a lot of fun. Handy too. I’m going to get Curio when I can afford it….

    Reply
  44. bible007@comcast.net

    Yes, the Brain has a good linking system. And you have to admit, it’s a lot of fun. Handy too. I’m going to get Curio when I can afford it….

    Reply
  45. bible007@comcast.net

    Yes, the Brain has a good linking system. And you have to admit, it’s a lot of fun. Handy too. I’m going to get Curio when I can afford it….

    Reply

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