MANAGING TASKS. From the clipboard to phones and tablets, task management has gone digital. Above, my Galaxy Tab displays active tasks that I have to do right away. The clipboard, on the other hand, lists routine daily tasks related to my business section responsibilities.

My phone’s a slave driver

It was a gentle buzz at first, “You free? Time to finish TechNotes column.” I just glanced at the reminder on the phone while in a meeting last week in a coffee shop. The reminder was repeated on the tablet. I chose “snooze” in both devices and told the app, Astrid, to remind me again in three hours.

Then the reminders came in torrents and with more pressing urgency, “It’s time (urgent task here)” and “No more snoozing! (another urgent task here)” as my phone and tablet laid out a long list of things I was supposed to do and tasks that were nearing deadline. The klaxon of notifications (my alert tone is the sound of a modem initiating and completing a connection) provided me with the push to end the meeting on schedule.

From being a device to call people and later to send messages, the phone has increasingly become our main computer.

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asana1

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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Goodbye activeCollab, hello ProjectPier

The project management application I use extensively for some of my tasks has turned its back on the open source beginnings that attracted me and, I’m sure, many others to it during its initial versions.

ActiveCollab is a clone of the popular Basecamp project management application. The main difference is that while Basecamp is a hosted service with various account levels, activeCollab is something you install in your own server and on which you have full control.

ProjectPier PROJECTPIER. The ProjectPier installation that replaced activeCollab in my webserver. I’m using the goCollab monochrome theme that came it.

The project management application appealed to do-it-yourself type geeks who wanted to host the data on their own and deal with less restrictions on accounts. Plus, it was free.

When it was first released, activeCollab came with an open source license and that was what attracted me to the project. I thought it held promise of being a very powerful and useful project management application if developed by an active community of users.

But the developer has decided to stop open source development on the project. Development will now be closed source, at least on the core features. The next release, version 1.0 due out next week, will also not have a free version. Your only options for activeCollab 1.0 are SmallBiz ($199) and Corporate ($399).

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Use activeCollab to manage your projects online for free

I have long wanted to install a project management system in my web server. I have gone through a couple of open source project management scripts, from eGroupWare, more.Groupware to dotProject and yet somehow I never found a PHP/MySQL script that was easy to install and use but at the same time fit my needs.

I had wanted to manage my tasks using groupware applications hosted on my server. I don’t do a lot of projects and the bulk of my time is spent on newsroom tasks. But often, I have to deal with different groups of people or even a separate department for some of my personal and work-related projects. I wanted to simplify and centralize all these tasks in an online task manager.

I gave up on installing a script in my own server and instead used Basecamp’s free account and even PBWiki for projects that required me to work with other people.

In July, however, I read a post in TechCrunch about a Basecamp “clone” that was released as an open source project. I immediately checked the site out and fount that activeCollab required a PHP 5 server. Since I was on a web host that only had PHP 4, I just bookmarked activeCollab and made a note to try it in a local server.

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