Zengobi Curio - Should I purchase it?

I use Devonthink religiously. I have recently started journalling in it after ditching DayOne. It is just a brilliant piece of software that is always open on my Mac.

For me, however it isn’t great at brainstorming. I have been looking at Curio (from Zengobi). It is an excellent piece of software, extremely feature rich and you can view Devonthink data from within it. It is really good for visual brainstorming and planning.

There seems to be some crossover between the two, and I am wondering if it would be overkill for me. What are others experience with this software.

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Curio is an app that I under-utilize. I’m currently using it as a kind of visual record of figures I create for my research. That’s about it lately.

A while back though, when I was recruiting subjects, I set up a really nice workflow / flowchart (workflowchart?) and used it to keep track of subject recruitment. I did a write up on Zengobi’s forum.

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I categorically recommend Curio for anyone looking for a graphical notebook for any purpose. The product is pretty dense with features which can take a long time to discover and make the best use of, but at its heart it is a blank canvas that can handle text, graphical figures, imported files, mind mapping, lists, and numerous other bits and pieces. The developer is among the most trustworthy and open to customer ideas and questions as any I have known. Curio has a trial period that should help you decide if it scratches your itch.

Limited to macOS only — it’s the kind of app that would probably disappoint on iOS/iPadOS without extensive redesign and rearchitecting.

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Curio is great at what it does. But when I’m on the go and want to add a note or node to a list, or think about an edit, there’s no option besides using a different iOS app, writing it down, then transferring what I’ve written back to Curio later on. And if I’m away from my computer and I want to reference something it’s not possible. So as good as Curio is, and I’ve kicked the tires on it for years, for me there’s too much friction in having an app I’m focused on using being stuck just on my Mac.

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Note that the latest version of Curio (v14) has re-established its integration with Devonthink, using Spotlight access to data. Before DT3 it was integrated using the server functionality, which is not included anymore in the DT3 pro version.

(Source:
https://twitter.com/devontech/status/1263358955394183168)

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I use Curio extensively to develop lecture notes, manage projects, and brainstorm. I highly recommend it for applications that require being able to create a visual layout of ideas.

You may be interested to learn that Curio 14 includes an automatic, built-in journaling option.

As noted, Curio is (and will likely always be) a macOS-only app.


JJW

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That has been my stumbling block too.

OneNote isn’t so constrained, but doesn’t integrate with DEVONthink and, the last time I looked at it, the iPad version was limited to storing files on the Microsoft cloud offering which I am not keen to use.

One partial workaround is having Curio export a project as a pdf file upon exit (or as needed). This would at least give access to static information on an iPad while away from macOS.

If one lives inside their Mac and only inside it then Curio could be a must-have app. It’s uniquely featured and has been well-supported for close to two decades. But for anyone who needs to manage their info on any other platform - iOS, Android, Windows, Chrome or even a browser - it’s a no-go and Zengobi has seen the writing on the wall for a long time and ignored it. A read-only PDF really doesn’t fly for most uses when it comes to an app designed for mind maps, lists, tables, index cards, albums, and pinboards that have tags, flags, checkboxes, priorities, ratings, and start/due dates and durations. And if you fully use Curio you’d have to first choose specific types of datasets to manually export to PDF… and then hope those contain the read-only data you’d end up needing while away from the Mac. The hackiest of hacks.

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Is there a way to sync between 2 Macs?? Ive just started to delve into Curio for my course planning. Seems like a great tool so far for that. I agree that having a better mobile friendly solution would be great. But I MAY be ok having it as a workspace I use only when in course planning mode and only at my Mac… but I’d like for it to sync between 2 Macs at least.

I’ve just downloaded the Curio 14 trial and I am an existing DevonThink 3 user. DT3 is used mainly as my repository for PDF assets relating to my work.

I can see that I can search for documents in the Shelf > Library > Local and by selecting Kind=DevonThink, but if I drag a result onto a Space it just creates a link to the asset, unlike finding a PDF stored locally (outside DT3) that can be dropped onto an Idea Space.

Is that the extent of the DT3 integration or am I missing something?

Thank you.

See the Syncing Service tips on:

https://www.zengobi.com/support/articles/CurioTroubleshooting.html

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The DT3 integration is described here:
https://www.zengobi.com/support/articles/AR140000.html#DEVONthink

And indeed, Curio leaves the file in DT3, so that in Curio only a reference is used.

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Zengobi has opened acknowledged the clear limitations of being a one-man development operation.

The limitations not-withstanding and with forethought in mind, some folks do use the export methods to good advantage on other platforms.

I’ve edited to give a better sense of both the limitations and the positives. I might suggest that anything else is a matter of personal opinion and could be flagged as such.


JJW

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To your post specifically but also to others in general, I encourage that you ask support questions directly on the Zengobi support forums. The forum is a treasure in its own right for the depth and promptness of the replies.


JJW

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I’ve been a Zengobi Curio fan for many years now, using it for developing lecture notes and presentations, general brainstorming on topics, and even presentation creation – and I’ve hardly scratched the surface of what it can do in any particular version.

Thursday I used it to organize our school district’s “how to close out the year safely” plan and share it in a hyperlinked PDF with stakeholders.

A few weeks ago I used it for holding research notes for a used car purchase, from comparison of models, to local availability, to pricing and negotiation aspects.

Next week I’m using it to visually plot out the hardware deployment and replacement plan across the next seven years in school district.

Though it is limited to Mac’s, I find it a key software I know I underutilize even though I use it regularly. Further, the developer, George, is extremely responsive to issues/questions. From my perspective, Curio is the model for what a well-done one-man operation can achieve in a sustained manner.

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I gave credit where credit was due. It’s not “going off the rails” to point out that it’s a Mac-only solution that is less and less useful for people who access and edit their info away from their Macs, that Zengobi has no interest or plans in accommodating those needs, or that manually creating PDFs and syncing them after changes is a poor hack. Dismissing my comments, which rightfully praised Curio as a Mac-only app, as a “rant” is insulting and silly.

I’ve modified.

Since you now have re-introduced the “rant”, I note that I was agreeing (respectfully) with the core truths in your introduction but otherwise stating that statements such as “has seen the writing on the wall for a long time and has ignored it” and “hackiest of hacks” border on rants and, in their own right, might be flagged as such.


JJW

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The idea that one could use Curio off-Mac by manually selecting lists/files etc and outputting pdfs each time in order to carry them around with you, without being able to edit or sync back changes, indeed a pretty hacky hack, and not one most people would ever choose to do.

As for Zengobi’s refusal to offer non-masOS connectivity, it’s fair to say they’ve been aware of user requests for well over a decade and have made their stand and intentions clear, despite asking for feedback going back a decade.

I feel comfortable giving my opinions where I please. As I’ve noted, Zengobi has heard from users and potential users about this for many years already and made clear their disregard.

You realize that reply was to chrisa, right?

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