Curiota: a replacement for nvALT

nvALT has been one of the most useful productivity apps around. I have been using it for the last couple of years. I totally love how it works; and started to use Markdown because of it. It is the best pieces of software to capture flying ideas fast. As time goes by, Brett, the developer who imported it from Notational Velocity, said that nvALT will be not updated, and promised to develop a replacement application. He promised a year earlier; but never released the application yet. In the mean time, as the number of notes I have grew exponentially, I have trouble to manage them in a single folder (which is how nvALT stores the files). Since nvALT has no other  means of organising notes except the tags, organising the notes has been very cumbersome.

I then started to look around a number of other tools. I ultimately get hooked into Tinderbox. But, TB is not the easiest, best application to catch small ideas as they pop-up in my mind. I usually get confused where to put the notes in TB; since my notes are usually organised into Containers (folders). I also tried three other cool applications which are great for the task:

  1. Unclutter
  2. MiniNote Pro
  3. and, finally, Curiota

Curiota, I slowly learned, is the true replacement for nvALT; if you can live with RTF, rather than Markdown. It is a little sister of the well known Curio, mind-mapping and note taking application. I am not that much a fan of Curio. But, I find its little sister very useful. Curiota has all the things nvALT has and more. It also has a means of grouping files; unlike nvALT’s flat filing system. Like nvALT, it transparently puts the files in Dropbox folder, something I highly appreciate. It also has a global shortcut which is used for a snappy note taking. The “stay on top” feature is another little touch, still extremely useful for somebody like who takes notes all day.

How to handle images in (Multi)Markdown text

Markdown is a language built for plain texts. The biggest weakness of plain texts is they can not hold images in them. To complement this fundamental weakness of plain texts, I have developed a system that works between Hazel, Dropbox and Keyboard maestro. The idea is simple. Create a permanent folder in Dropbox that you will maintain for the rest of your life. Whatever text you are writing in, whatever application you are using, always save and point to that specific folder. My folder lives in Dropbox. I call it simply Images. All of the pictures (images) that are part of my text notes are stored in this folder. Most of these images are made by snapshotting from the pdf files and online sources. For that matter, I made my mac to save all the screen-shoots  to automatically save in that folder. ok, let me write it like in steps:

  1. Make a folder in Dropbox: call it Images
  2. Make your mac to save the screen-shots in Images. Follow the steps in here to accomplish it

  3. Make a hazel rule to rename the screen-shots to a sequence of numbers (or some other pattern you like)

  4. Embed an applescript inside Hazel that will copy the file name of the image to clipboard

Look at the rule I made in Hazel: first only the rule;


then with the script:



Finally, use a Keyboard maestro macro to get the location of the image as well as the file name.


That is it. What you need is just to snap the image from the PDF then, write “ppic” in your plaintext file. A link to your image will be inserted; and any markdown previewer (Marked for example) include the image in the preview.