1. Amontillado

    Amontillado Member

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    Zengobi Curio

    Discussion in 'Software' started by Amontillado, Dec 30, 2019.

    Zengobi Curio for Macintosh is an intriguing thing. I didn't see any mention of it here, so I thought I'd post this. I have no association with Zengobi.

    Imagine Scapple, but with a binder organizing a library of Scapple sheets. Curio calls those individual documents "idea spaces."

    I've been having fun with it. Anybody else use it?
     
  2. Ilona Rapp

    Ilona Rapp New Member

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    I just downloaded a trial. The parts that seems exciting are the integrations of mind-maps, outlines, and Evernote. I love being able to see Quick Looks at Evernote Notebooks that I've compiled for my novels. Before this, I had Table of Contents integrated with Scrivener, but it's really great to have my inspiration notebook right beside a project inspiration mind map and to bring in that content. I'd love to hear how you have used it.
     
  3. Amontillado

    Amontillado Member

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    Hey, Ilona - I've got two projects I'm working on right now with Curio. One is non-fiction, about volunteer organization treasurers (google "treasurer indicted" for some real horror stories). The other is a work of fiction I'm pondering.

    Index cards are nice, but by default they are a fixed size. However, there's a way to tell Curio to automatically expand index cards - and for the life of me I can't remember how. The best news is if you write to Curio, their response usually comes fast enough to challenge relativity. If you get the word from George at Zengobi, please post it here so I can properly note how to do that. Mine's set properly, but I can't remember what I did. It was easy, I remember that much.

    Stacks are great tools. You can use them for Kanban style to do lists, but they make nice document links.

    My word processor of choice is Nisus Writer Pro. The native file format is RTF, and like many other tools that will directly edit an RTF file, Curio will scrub what it thinks are unneeded styles. Turns out, this isn't really a problem.

    You can add an RTF file directly to the Organizer, and as long as you don't make any changes - not even a keystroke - the styles are safe. You can also lock the file in Nisus, but my favorite is to use Curio Stacks as document menus.

    A stack is a vertical stack of buttons. Each button has text, can have a note (like just about everything in Curio), or you can drag a file into a Stack.

    Stack items can be dragged between Stacks, so you can retire an active draft to a discarded heap. One Stack for stuff in progress, another Stack for stuff my Mom wouldn't put on the refrigerator.

    You can tag things, and you can also make one thing refer to another. References are bidirectional, which is cool.

    Curio, in my use, is like a control panel for a writing project.

    You can sync via cloud vendors. I prefer to sync by USB thumb drive. I use a utility called Chrono Sync for that.

    I continue to use Devonthink for document libraries. I have a business Devonthink database of several thousand PDF, spreadsheet, and other file types.

    Curio is reported to gracefully handle huge file/idea space libraries, and all files are stored in their native form in regular operating system directories. I think I could use Curio as a replacement, but DT is a different tool with different strengths.

    Besides, you can store a Curio project in Devonthink and sync it via DT. I've been very happy with Mind Node, but the next time I put a mind map in a DT database, I'll probably do it with Curio.

    I'd like to hear how you use Curio - please post your ideas, if you have time.

    Oh, and regarding volunteer treasurers and their misdeeds, my interest comes from being one of them. I view my job as kind of like a sheepdog. I keep careful watch. Nothing out of balance and no misuse of funds is tolerated in my books. Crooked treasurers are loathsome.
     
  4. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Keying off this comment...

    Pro Writing Aid can directly access the RTF files zipped into a .scriv file in Scrivener. Do you know if this application can do the same? I was looking at it the other day when @jannert pointed me to this thread. She knows I'm a Scrivener aficcionado, and the basic layout and and feel of Curio seems to share some genetics with Scrivener.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2020
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  5. Amontillado

    Amontillado Member

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    The last time I looked at a .scriv file on the Mac it was a package (really just a normal, uncompressed folder) and on Windows, just a folder.

    Curio will edit RTF files, but the problem will be finding them in a Scrivener project.

    I think if I wanted to do that, I'd just store the Scrivener project in Curio. I don't have Scrivener installed to test the idea, but other "package" based applications work fine in Curio. I wouldn't hesitate to try it. A Devonthink database can be copied into Curio's Organizer, dropped onto a Kanban Stack, dropped into an Idea Space, anywhere you want to put it. I haven't found any trouble with things like that.

    That way you could outline with your synopses and binder in Scrivener, work on your manuscript there, and have what amounts to Scapples, Mind Maps, to-do lists, and stuff like that in the enclosing Curio project tied up in a nice bundle with your Scrivener manuscript.

    What I like best about Curio is it gives me such a nice canvas to work on, it will distract me from Youtube. :)

    I've found a couple of rough edges, but the development cycle is pretty quick, from what I've seen, and there's no oddity I've found that didn't have an obvious way to get what I needed.

    Some things could be more intuitive, but nothing really bad. For instance, if you add a URL to a figure (a text box, mind map, anything you put in an idea space), there's no context menu option to get rid of the URL. To do that, you go into the inspector, and in the figure's metadata there is an action - change it from "open url" to "default," and the unwanted URL is gone. I think that's the worst non-intuitive thing I've found.

    I'm eager to hear how others use Curio. I'm quite sold on it.
     
  6. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    For me, it would defo have to function under this paradigm. What makes me such a Scrivenerphile is how much it packs under a single hood, no need to go anywhere else, but there are some things I wish Scrivener did better, like having a more dedicated, more invested timeline feature, rather than the way they've attempted to create such a feature by flexing the notecard function. It just doesn't fill the bill as is.
     
  7. Amontillado

    Amontillado Member

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    Aeon Timeline has been useful to me, and it will sync with Scrivener. I find it slightly limiting that the sync will only allow one Aeon entry per binder item, but other than that one very small nag, the syncing is pretty slick.

    I'm pretty sure Curio's "reveal in finder" function would let you tell Aeon where to find a Scrivener project to sync to. Aeon files work fine within Curio, too.

    Another topic is tying outlines and timelines together. I found a couple of tricks, so I'll post that in another topic.
     
  8. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I tried this software for this reason, that it plays well with Scrivener. Sadly, I personally found its interface to be impenetrable.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2020
  9. Amontillado

    Amontillado Member

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    When Aeon Timeline came out in Version 2, there was a lot of teeth-gnashing. I didn't like it at first, then made my peace with it. Characters and Arcs became just entities, for example, and that left some users scratching their heads.

    Timelines are handy for some projects. You can do a lot with a spreadsheet, too, and entering stuff is quicker than with Aeon.

    I once used Timeline Maker. It was hideously overpriced, but worked pretty well. I think it targets lawyers who use it for courtroom presentations. I have a couple of timelines that aren't writing related, for projects I'm working on.
     
  10. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I downloaded it yesterday to give it a spin because it does look interesting, but the creators are cagey with the trial version. It's more of a "look but don't touch" experience. That's a little off-putting.
     
  11. Martin Beerbom

    Martin Beerbom Senior Member

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    It's a rather expensive (for what it offers, based on the description) subscription. Makes me not even want to try.

    I really hate subscription models.
     
  12. Amontillado

    Amontillado Member

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    I hear you on the subscription plan. I don't like them. In the case of Curio, the developer answers personal email quickly and seems to be on a constant upgrade path. For me, and mileage varies for everyone, it is the kind of application I would always buy upgrades for.

    Curio isn't a word processor, and I wouldn't try to write even a short essay in it. I just like the idea of a space where notes and files go.

    I think part of that is a strong doorway syndrome I suffer. Supposedly, when you walk through a doorway, your brain shifts context. I get up in one room to get something and can't remember what it was until I return to where I started.

    There are actually advantages to the problem. I can leverage it, sometimes, to remember things.

    Curio (or Devonthink, or Scrivener, or Storyist, or...) does the same thing. When I open a project in an organizer app, it helps me switch gears into that project.
     

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