When I switched to Mac from years as a Windows user the two applications I missed the most were Microsoft Money, (although the UK version has ceased to be updated) and Microsoft OneNote. I loved OneNote and actually took part in a large educational initiative by Intel and Microsoft looking at its use in schools.
I have tried of a number of note taking and mind mapping applications on Mac, there are some great applications available but nothing quite catered for my needs at once in the way OneNote could. That was until I started using the brilliant Curio.
Curio brings together, mind mapping, brain storming, mind dumping, idea managing and project development into one central application. I can think of a dozen instant applications where Curio will make life easier from our network planning, right through to website design.
Curio works on a free form notebook concept in to which you can drag any number of assets. Curio can cope with most file types so assets can include images (such as screen captures) right through to quotes from websites. If you copy and paste text from a website into Curio it will intelligently add a reference link so you know exactly where the quote came from.
In my opinion Curio is actually better than OneNote as it features a number of brilliant features alien to Microsoft’s note taking application. For me the most powerful is the Mind Mapping utility.
Quite often when I use dedicated Mind Mapping software I feel limited by the amount of information I can actually add to a map. In Curio, mind managing is a single aspect of the software from which you move from mind map concept right through to final design. Mind Maps can be freely moved around like any other asset featured in the main window.
Audio and Video
Curio is also capable of handling multimedia (video and audio) assets. The ability to pull together a vast array of file types makes Curio my perfect brain storming application. This really is a unique selling point that avoids creating a mind map that references a dozen files elsewhere on your Mac.
The screenshot below shows a video playing directly from the Curio interface and you can also record notes directly to Curio from your iSight camera.
Even if you don’t have images, text or media related to your project readily available Curio’s web sleuth system will search the internet for appropriate content for your current brain storming session. Basically Curio takes the administration and work out of brain storming and allows you to focus on being creative.
Just when you were sold on the whole idea of Curio it gets even better. I have previously covered my love for the brilliant Evernote application, well Curio can integrates directly with Evernote pulling all your notes directly in the Curio interface.
The screenshot to the right shows my array of weird and wonderful notes any of which can be dragged into my Curio project.
The Evernote integration therefore means you can take notes on your iPhone that are then accessible in your Curio install. It might even be worth considering gathering up your ideas and assets using Evernote and then map and present them altogether in Curio.
On our test computer we didn’t have the Evernote application installed and instead Curio was able to pull our notes and photos directly from our Evernote in the cloud.
We have a review of the brilliant Evernote here.
Getting Things Done : The Curio Way
Curio’s ‘Project Management’ features are a really brilliant tool for ‘task based getting things done ‘ GTD is a big part of today’s approach but it can get complicated for larger scaled projects. Curio makes it easy. Mind map your ideas and objects and then create appropriates tasks and Curio will enable you to track the project through to completion
I am a massive fan of Things for Mac but I can see a real advantage managing a complete project using Curio’s tracking interface.
With Curio you can instantly see the state of a project and you can track tasks that have to be completed on a particular day or view a complete project overview.
Standard Versus Pro
Curio comes in two version a Standard version which comes with a full compliment of brain storming features and a Pro version that includes the addition of, Figure Stencils, Status shelve, Idea Space Templates, Presentation Mode, Dossier and Project Encryption.
Curio 6 Standard costs $99 and Curio 6 Professional comes in slightly more expensive at $149.
Exporting your ideas
Curio offers a wide range of output formats from publishing directly on MobileMe through to the ability to produce PDF, Html, iPhoto album and image files of your creations.
As I mentioned at the start of the review I was involved in a OneNote Education project a few years ago and I really feel Curio is an outstanding educational planning and learning tool.
Curio is a visual learning tool that allows students to take their note taking to a whole new level with audio, video and image. If you are in education that you can also take advantage of the generous educational discounts. (Store Link). $69 !
Curio is the ultimate creativity and ideas software package for Mac. It enables users to quickly visualise and document your ideas in a format that is easily shared with others or presented. I really can’t think of a single industry where Curio wouldn’t add significant value to ideas, design or communication development. If OneNote is the application that is holding you back on a Mac purchase, the solution is here.