EVERNOTE. The Evernote applications for iOS and Android allow you to manage your notes on the go.

App-y New Year

Mobile exploded in 2012. US consumers now spend 1.8 more times in mobiles apps than on the Web, according to Flurry, a mobile analytics company. Flurry said that between December 2011 and December 2012, “the average time spent inside mobile apps by a US consumer grew 35 percent, from 94 minutes to 127 minutes.”

Closer to home, the Philippines recorded a 326 percent increase in smartphone sales, the fastest growth in the Southeast Asian region, according to research company GfK. The Philippines is also the country “with the highest jump in smartphone market share within a year, from 9 to 24 percent,” GfK said in a press statement last September.

To mark the end of this year of mobile, let me riff on a Pinoy New Year’s Eve tradition by offering you my favorite apps in 12 task categories, in no particular order:

News apps Zite, Prismatic and News.me

NEWS APPS. (From left) Zite, Prismatic and News.me harness social networking connections to match news stories to users’ interests.

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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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Wi-Fi piggybacking widespread, anti-virus firm warns

While setting up a Wi-Fi network for the PLDT myDSL connection at home earlier this week, I got a timely warning from a press release. Anti-virus company Sophos said many people now use someone else’s wireless Internet connection without their permission.

Sophos said 54 percent of 560 respondents who took their online survey admitted to using other people’s Wi-Fi connection without their permission. The survey is not scientific and I don’t see how you can see a “widespread” trend from it. But it does provide a timely warning to home users who have gone wireless.

Sophos said “many Internet-enabled homes fail to properly secure their wireless connection with passwords and encryption, allowing freeloading passers-by and neighbors to steal Internet access rather than paying an internet service provider (ISP) for their own.”

I don’t know how common Wi-Fi piggybacking is in Cebu or in the Philippines, save for anecdotal feedback from geeks I know. I’ve heard of maybe three persons who said they were able to use an unsecured wireless network.

Still, the absence of reports should not be a reason to be complacent and just leave your home Wi-Fi network unsecured. This absence of reports may be because none have been caught.

And with more mobile devices like phones having the capability to use Wi-Fi, the risk will only get higher.

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Smart unveils USB modem for mobile Internet access anywhere

SMART Broadband, Inc. (SBI) has unveiled a USB modem that will allow users to access the Internet with speeds ranging from 384 kbps to 768 kbps anywhere where there is a Smart signal.

The device will be offered under SBI’s “Smart BRO Plan 799.? Under the plan, which costs P799 a month, subscribers have 60 hours of Internet usage per month and will be charged P10 for every 30-minute block in excess.

Smart BRO USB modem MOBILE INTERNET. The Smart BRO USB modem allows you to connect to the Internet anywhere where there is a Smart network coverage. The device is offered under a P799 monthly plan. Click on photo to enlarge.

When I first read the press release, I was immediately tempted to get one. But it’s not something I need just yet. I rarely go out right now and at any given hour I’m either at home or at the office or on my way to either place. Still, it’s certainly something I want.

People who are always on the go, however, will find the device useful, especially in areas with sparse Wi-Fi coverage.

The device is certainly a cheaper alternative to PLDT WeRoam and one that you can also use in a desktop PC. The device, according to a company press statement, is part of Smart’s “thrust of broadbanding the country, of making wireless broadband Internet services more accessible and more affordable.”

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Make your Windows PC look, act like OS X

Refresh your boring Windows desktop by transforming it to resemble the sleek Mac OS X with the FlyakiteOSX transformation pack. The free software package automates the installation of tweaks, third-party programs, desktop themes and menus to make your Windows PC look and act like OS X (see screenshots below).

I tried the software and found the installation easy. I did not encounter errors when I installed it into my Windows XP with Service Pack 2 office computer. You need to restart your computer after the installation.

I was concerned that the transformation would be such a resource hog and would slow my system to the point that it becomes unusable. It did not. I was surprised that I did not notice any noticeable speed difference after I installed FlyakiteOSX.

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