Monday, October 01, 2007

EagleFiler and Curio: 6 month update

And it's the Labour Day long weekend here in Sydney, so I have time to catch up a bit on this blog. Outside in the garden, Spring is springing: everything seems to be flowering or putting out new shoots. The macadamia tree at the front of the house has flowered profusely, bringing bees from far and wide. The flowers are now fading (and dropping all over my Prius), and soon the nuts will begin to set. From where I sit, I can see the big magenta and orange flower that one of my bromeliads has produced this week, and beyond that, Percy's pink and white ears sticking up from the long grass under the lilli pilli tree. Now Mungo has turned up to give Percy a wash: shortly there will be inter-cat biffage.

It's now been 6 months since I started using EagleFiler and Curio regularly, and I seem to recall at least one person requesting an update on how I found the products as I became more familiar with them. I have to say that I am still delighted with both. I do have to have a regular filing session for EagleFiler, where I sit down and categorize and tag all the things that have been tossed in randomly, and this is an ideal background task for conference calls and unproductive meetings. But even if documents are still sitting in the Unfiled bucket, they are still locatable. EagleFiler has proved stable: several updates have been released (now on 1.2.5), though I haven't noticed any bugs myself. Verdict: no regrets, I'd buy it again.

Curio has probably made more of an impact on my life. EagleFiler has helped me enforce order, but Curio has actually changed the way I work. I use it constantly, more every day as I find new ways to harness its power. I have stopped taking a notebook to meetings - now I take my Mac with Curio open. It is fantastic for taking notes, because you can draw little diagrams as you go, without needing to open a separate app. A few days back, I was sitting in a training session at HDS. The purpose of the session was for a senior HDS storage engineer to brief a group of us, all consutants working for distributors, on the features and application of a new piece of hardware. I took my notes direct into Curio, copying the diagrams off the white board using Curio's drawing tools. The engineer on my right, using a Windows machine, had to stop and get Visio started to copy the diagrams.

And Curio diagrams look nice: I was at a meeting on Friday, with several senior people from my company, and I was using a Curio diagram to explain the data flows for a particular solutions. They all asked for a copy of the diagram before the end of the meeting. Last week I spent three days in a training course for the ArcSight Enterprise Security Management product (this is of no interest to anyone except the people who have to take care of security in big network - it costs a great deal of money to implement - so I will not be blogging about it). Again, I took my notes straight into Curio, illustrated with screen shots. Being able to "draw" on the screen shots with the pen tool is really helpful for explaining how something on a complex interface is supposed to work.

I have one simple Curio tip to offer: set the idea space to show pages breaks (View -> Show Page Breaks) if you want to be able to print things easily, other wise you may have to move things around to get them within page boundaries.

Verdict: I love it, and I would buy it again.


brab said...

Curio looks very interesting, though a bit expansive. At the moment I'm using VoodooPad for my notes and dumping much data and that work fairly well.

I would be curious to read more about how you use Curio, beyond note taking. Do you have the "pro" or the "standard" version? And where do you draw the line with EagleFiler (if you have an idea about something, would you file a note in EF or create a new Curio document from it)?

Thanks for your insights, I really enjoy reading your posts.

Dana said...

I absolutely love EagleFiler, which I tried on your suggestion way back when. I've been a Beta tester ever since purchasing and I'm more and more thrilled with it every day.

I did eventually end up purchasing a license for Curio. I admit, I did it a bit grudgingly. I had received a free license from somewhere and I was informed that when the next version of the software came out, there would no longer be a "home" version. I got a great deal on the software, purchasing before the upgrade came out. I didn't think I would use it much, but it really has been very useful.

I'm a visual thinker and a lot of times, when I'm dealing with a problem, I'll draw it out. Seeing things linked up and made into a flow chart usually helps immensely.

I would love to make use of the pen tool. I'm curious what you use to draw. Do you use the track pad, or do you have something else? I've tried using the trackpad and I'm just not able to get anything useful out of it.

Keep posting . . . always a good read.

Greg Casey said...

Hi Melodie,

Thanks so much for posting about Curio. A recent customer of ours mentioned your post as his referrer, so it's great to see that the word is spreading.

We're thrilled to hear how much you love Curio. Feel free to send us feedback anytime.

Oh, and Dana, we actually axed the "Basic" version of Curio when version 4 was released. The "Home" version was simply renamed to "Standard".

It turns out that "Pro" and "Standard" were the most popular editions we had and we wanted to simplify the buying experience as much as possible, so getting rid of "Basic" seemed to make the most sense.

Greg @ Zengobi


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