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Manage your projects, tasks with Asana

The company started by Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz and programming genius Justin Rosenstein opened to the public last week its productivity product Asana, a web application that allows users to manage teams and projects.

Moskovitz is listed by Forbes as the world’s youngest billionaire, being eight days younger than Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, owing to the success of the social networking site. He was Facebook’s first chief technology officer before becoming vice president of engineering.

Rosenstein, on the other hand, led the team that built Facebook’s Like button, Bloomberg Businessweek said.

Dustin Moskovitz wants the Asana application (above) to serve as “a home screen for work in the same way that Facebook is a home screen for goofing off.” (CLICK ON PHOTO TO VIEW LARGER IMAGE)

Dustin Moskovitz wants the Asana application (above) to serve as “a home screen for work in the same way that Facebook is a home screen for goofing off.” (CLICK ON PHOTO TO VIEW LARGER IMAGE)

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Organize your life with QR codes

Productivity blog Lifehacker links to a great service by Boxmeup, a website that allows you to create virtual containers that you can use to track stuff in boxes and other bulk storage systems. It uses for labels QR codes, bar codes that can be scanned by most smartphones today.

The service is really useful for pack rats like me who can’t seem to let go of things, even 5-year-old notebooks and ancient press releases.

With Boxmeup, you can list the things you place into a container and then generate a QR code that you can use as label for the box. The next time you are looking for something—interview notebooks for a libel case, heavens forbid—you can just use your phone to scan the QR codes of your boxes and containers and you’d know right away what are stored inside these.

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Google Docs on Android in Samsung Galaxy Tab

In the cloud? What if it goes up in smoke?

I wrote this column in Google Docs, the Internet search giant’s free online office suite. I thumb-typed a rough outline on an Android device—a Samsung Galaxy Tab—before I finished the first draft on my favorite desktop, which runs Ubuntu Linux, and edited the final piece in my office PC, which runs Windows XP.

All the time that I worked intermittently on this article during free time from desk work, I did not know precisely the physical location of this digital file nor the number of its copies and iterations. All I knew was that it was in Google’s data centers–precisely where I do not know nor care.

Saving digital office files in the correct location is among the first things you are required to learn on the job, whatever the industry or the size of the company. In our newsroom, file location is something seared into your brain the very first day on the job. Unless you saved your article in the designated folder, editors cannot access your story in the modern-day filing tray called The Local Network.

Google Docs on Android in Samsung Galaxy Tab
Writing using Google Docs on the Samsung Galaxy Tab.

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Old computers cause stress, cost more: Intel

OLD computers not only cost companies more for maintenance and power bills, they also contribute to high levels of stress for users, officials of Intel Philippines said Thursday.

Intel partnered with Harris Interactive to conduct a survey on technology and stress and found that many users feel frustrated “waiting for technology to catch up with them,” said Randy Kanapi, marketing manager of Intel Philippines.

Kanapi said Intel coined the phrase “Hourglass Syndrome,” after that animated icon of a rotating hourglass that denotes a Windows computer is still processing a task, to describe the stress and frustration people have on technology.


JASON TY (right), Intel Philippines channel platform manager, demonstrates how two computers with different processor architecture but the same clock speed and running the same set of applications can have different utilization levels and power consumption. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)

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Microsoft launches Windows Server 2008 Foundation in Cebu

Microsoft Philippines launched this morning in Cebu the Windows Server 2008 Foundation, its server solution for small and medium businesses.

Microsoft Philippines Geo-Expansion Lead Boy Bawal said the product will help small companies grow their businesses and boost their competitiveness.

Windows Server 2008 Foundation is a server solution that allows a company with less than 15 computer users to set up a network with file and print sharing, remote access, security and other general server capabilities. It comes bundled with server hardware that can cost as low as P57,000. Bawal said this is the first time that a server software is offered at this price point.

The product, Microsoft officials say, is targeted at first time server users.

For the first time, Bawal said companies no longer have to pay client access license for each user of the system.

Boy Bawal of Microsoft Philippines
SERVER FOR SMALL COMPANIES. Boy Bawal of Microsoft Philippines says that Windows Server 2008 Foundation is the first time that a server software is offered as a hardware bundle for as low as P57,000. He said the product will help small companies grow their businesses and boost their competitiveness.

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Surfing the mobile Web in Siquijor, Dumaguete

I WAS bewitched by Elaine Page in the middle of the night in enchanting Siquijor Island.

Bothered by the grumbling of my stomach because I skipped dinner to catch up on sleep, I woke up bewildered at midnight.

It took me a minute to realize how I ended up where I was last Friday midnight—on a strange bed in an unfamiliar room at the center of Siquijor town in mystical Siquijor Island. I was invited by Smart to test the High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) network it deployed late last year in Siquijor and Dumaguete City.

There are places where it would be fun to find yourself in at midnight. Siquijor is not one of them.

After a quick bite in what I suspect was the only open store at that time in the island—a Park ‘N Go bakery—I made of to explore the town. But less than a block on, I realized no one was up. And knowing where I was, I wasn’t so sure I’d be excited to see someone up that late.

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Tweak Firefox, hack your mind

Do you believe binaural beats can influence the state of your mind in such a way that you are able to relax, focus, meditate, or boost your brain power?

I have a nagging suspicion this is a monumental joke worthy of Belbo, Diotallevi and Casaubon in Umberto Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum—that all these talks on the effect of binaural beats on the mind are as true as the existence of the Tres was to the Diabolicals.

Still, I’ve been getting by with two hours less of sleep since I started listening to it. I am able to sleep “on demand” by playing the relaxation mp3 clip in my player. I’ve been able to power-nap better by playing any of the mp3 clips while sitting on the newsroom lounge.

I’m not sure if it really works. Maybe the improvements I am experiencing right now are the result of the confluence of different life hacks: more time in the gym, better eating, less time in front of the TV etc. Or it could be the adrenalin rush unstopped by my being pumped up over projects I’m doing right now. But then again, maybe not.

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MUNISIPYO WI-FI. A man browses the Internet at the Argao town plaza. The Municipal Government turned the Spanish-era pueblo into a free wireless Internet zone last year. Click on photo to enlarge.

Munisipyo Wi-Fi

I spent a day in Argao recently and was pleasantly surprised to find several dependable and free Wi-Fi hotspots. I was surprised because in Cebu City, free Wi-Fi access isn’t as widespread as they say it is in places such as Davao City.

Many shops, at least the last time I went warbiking or going around on a motorcycle to check for free Wi-Fi hotspots, just depend on the services of Globe and Airborne Access for their customers’ wireless Internet access.

MUNISIPYO WI-FI. A man browses the Internet at the Argao town plaza. The Municipal Government turned the Spanish-era pueblo into a free wireless Internet zone last year. Click on photo to enlarge.

MUNISIPYO WI-FI. A man browses the Internet at the Argao town plaza. The Municipal Government turned the Spanish-era pueblo into a free wireless Internet zone last year. 

But not Argao.

The municipal government has turned it’s beautiful plaza into a free Wi-Fi zone. There you are—surrounded by Spanish-era buildings, three cannons once used to fight pirates, beautiful masonry, and music that comes from cleverly-hidden speakers—and you have free high-speed wireless Internet access.

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DocSyncer updates service: You can now choose which folders to synchronize

DocSyncer, a service that synchronizes Microsoft Office documents in your computer with your Google Docs account, has just updated its application to allow you to choose which folders should be synchronized.

When I first tested it (read the previous post), it immediately synchronized all compatible files in the desktop and the My Documents folder. It offered no interface to designate which folders or files to synchronize with your Google Docs account. I found this lack of control unnerving.

But when I opened the DocSyncer application late yesterday afternoon, the list of folders now had an edit button. The edit interface allows you to specify which folders, in the desktop and My Documents folder, will be synchronized.

The change is a tremendous usability improvement.

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CHOOSING FOLDERS. DocSyncer now allows you to specify which folders, in the desktop and My Documents folder, should be synchronized with your Google Docs account.

Synchronize Microsoft Office documents with Google Docs using DocSyncer

I finally got an invitation to try out DocSyncer, a service that allows you to automatically synchronize Microsoft Office files in your PC—documents, presentations, and spreadsheets—with your Google Docs account.

DocSyncer DOCSYNCER. The service synchronizes your Microsoft Office documents with your Google Docs account. It’s still being tested and far from being a dependable day-to-day application. But you should bookmark DocSyncer as it holds a lot of promise. Click on photo to view larger image.

The service is still in beta but DocSyncer holds a lot of promise. I tried it out for close to two hours last night and found that it’s not quite ready for daily use. It is, after all, still in beta or testing phase.

What’s evident when you try the service is the lack of user control over such things as designating which directories to synchronize and refreshing the list of files due for synchronization.

When I first ran the software that you download to work with the service, it immediately synchronized all Power Point files, Word documents in .doc format, and Excel files contained in My Documents folder as well as the desktop. It did not ask me to specify which folder to synchronize with my Google Docs account. (This has changed in the latest DocSyncer update)

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