When I first looked at Curio I thought is was a note taking application on steroids. It reminded me of something like Ever-note. But after I started to dig into it I figured out it is so much more than that. Curio is a note taking application, a task manager, a mind mapping tool and more. Curio is a project management tool like no other.
To many the apparent lack of structure and totally blank canvas (not to mention the millions of buttons) may be a scary thing. But to me it was a thing of beauty. A place that I could completely make my own. The blank canvas is something that allows you to have your own structure, rules, and way of doing things. You can add multiple items on a single whiteboard, include pictures, link files, and customise is to your liking.
Curio makes setting up a task list so easy. You can rename any field and add new tasks or children tasks simply by using the keyboard returns, and tabs to go back up a level shift tab will do the trick for you. You can add check boxes and even track your progress by using a percentage to see how far you are. Adding a start and end date is very easy as well. All you have to do is click the check next to start date and then end date. Each level automatically gets one extra day then the last one. Another neat feature is that you can add resources to your task list. You just drag and drop names from your address book and then when you add then to a list there picture or avatar will show up next to the item.
It is very easy to add a background color or photo to your work you don’t have to keep the white desktop. You can have one workspace or many it all depends on how you work and what you want to see at the time. Curio is completely customisable to your liking.
I use a white board during when preparing to create presentations. It frees me up and gets me away from the computer a little. One problem with this is that if i am on the road or in another room working then I cannot look at the white board. Curio allows you to create a mind map and it is very easy. With the click of a button the map starts hitting enter creates a child, tab a subchild. you can change the way each looks using the inspector you can have a traditional look or one like a cloud. Once you get the hang of it, adding a mind-map is as quick as you can think it. You can change the color of each level of child as well, or have each child with it’s own color.
Along with all this mind mapping you have a range of drawing tools for quick annotations. The tools can also be linked, so that if you draw a line from Box A to Box B, in future if you move Box B, the link will stay active and the line will redraw. This allows a lot of flexibility in changing your projects later on in time.
Taking notes is as easy as anything else in this program, a click of a button and you can insert typed text, an audio recording or a video from your iSight camera. One thing that was missing for me, well that is until today (Feb. 12, 2009) was some sort of integration with other note programs. I have been using Evernote as my notes app on my iPhone lately and was very pleased to find that Curio now supports sync with Evernote! This means that I can be out and about and take a photo, record and audio note, or type a note and be able to access it back in Curio.
There’s a lot to discover!
I could only possibly have covered about 5% of what Curio is. There are so many features and controls to go through. There’s spotlight integration, media libraries to dump any file related to that project for reference, and you can even embed a fully functional web page to see what’s happening in real time. The best part is doing all of this is generally requires no more than two steps.
The Pro version features an innovative Shelf feature which gives you an at a glance view of all your projects so you can prioritize tasks, and see what needs to be pushed back. You can see a list of tasks for the day, tomorrow and in future. This itself could replace your task manager. Pro also comes with a presentation mode so you can go right from your project to full screen view. Sure it’s no keynote, but each project page does have some sliding animation. For a full run down of what the Pro adds, check out this page.
Curio is a very powerful program (took me quite a while to understand it) and one I am still learning and will be learning for a while. It does take some getting used to going back and forth between the inspector and the work space, and tool bar. But it becomes almost second nature the more you work with Curio. My biggest request as I said was answered today with the integration of evernote. The inspector is a little imposing and there is a lot of information and buttons there but after a while you will figure it all out. Thankfully, Curio ships with some demo projects so you can quickly see what Curio is capable of doing and get started. Support is also very good.
That said, Curio is not for everyone. For general purpose task managing, Curio would be overkill. On the other hand if you’re line of work involves managing large projects, brainstorming new ideas, or perhaps even discovering other energy sources, Curio will fit right in. At $99 for the standard version and $150 for the Pro version (only $69 for academics), you better try out Curio before you hit the store. They offer a 30 day trial, and are willing to extend it to 60 days on request. If you’re serious about sealing the deal, you might want to make use of promo code “EVERNOTE” to get a 20% discount off the total.
Let us know what you think of this app.