You're busy. We're busy. Everybody's busy. Thankfully, busy people are also creative software developers. And we've tapped into their treasures to find you five awesome, "keep your life together" applications. Forever say goodbye to the yellow sticky notes adorning your computer display. These free programs will ensure that you never miss a critical appointment, important task, or billing date. More than that, we've selected a few applications that can even sync your life essentials across every platform you use, be it a cell phone, a work computer, et cetera.
Check out our full list of powerful personal productivity tools after the jump!
If you haven't noticed the general collapse of the financial system around you, coupled with the massive switch to corporate cost-savings mechanisms (including a healthy dose of "rightsizing" by every company under the sun), then you need to stop playing Wrath of the Lich King and flip on the news. Money is important, but perhaps never as important to the general corporate well-being as right now.
It's no surprise then that good ol' open source hardware and software platforms are being thrown into the mix now more than ever. Semantic arguments aside, the open source movement is generally consider a cheaper, if not free alternative to proprietary, commercial software in the enterprise market. But that doesn't mean that open-source software comes without a cost, nor are these companies necessarily immune to the financial movements of the technological industry. So where, then, does open-source development rest in the spectrum? Can these solutions do enough to save the bottom lines of big business? Or are open-source companies just as doomed by a market slowdown as the software vendors on the other side of the fence?
With just five applications--five, free applications--you can do anything you ever wanted to do across a network connection. We're serious. Using these applications, you can bridge your computers together from anywhere in the world across a secure, hacker-proof connection. From there, you can dial into your desktop as if you were sitting right in front of it, looking at the exact screen you'd be seeing were your butt in the groove of your favorite office chair. If you're a hardcore network enthusiast, we'll even show you how to tab-browse through multiple, connected desktops as if you were pulling them up in Firefox or something.
And if you think that's crazy, these examples only reflect three of the five programs we're featuring in this week's roundup. So what are you waiting for? Click the link and let's get networked! Which, in itself, should be some kind of 80s super-dance mix: "Let's Get Networked." Eh? Ehhhh?
The best kinds of system applications are the ones that make your life easier without you having to lift a finger. While the freeware applications we're profiling in this weekly roundup still require you to input a few settings, they're great tools to help automate some of the critical parts of your daily computer life. From hotkey creation utilities to applications that help you conserve power by turning off your PC at specified intervals, these freeware tools are must-have additions to your computing repertoire!
Click the jump to check out this week's batch of free, awesome apps!
Mozilla's open-source Firefox browser continues to gain ground in the browser wars in what can be considered a major uphill battle. Firefox has flirted with a steady 20 percent market share in the past, and according to Net Applications, October has been kind to the configurable browser, which settled in at 19.97 percent. That number represents a 0.51-point jump over September and is a record high for Mozilla.
Meanwhile, Microsoft's Internet Explorer slipped again last month, continuing its trend as having the fastest declining market share out of the six most popular browsers. But far from being a free fall of sorts, IE's combined share nestled in at a still very dominant 71.52 percent, down from 71.27 percent one month prior. That puts IE at a 4.2-point drop for the year, compared to Firefox's 2.99-point gain.
It will be interesting to see what kind of effect Google's Chrome browser may have on the top two contenders. Currently, Chrome only accounts for a 0.74 percent slice of the browser pie (down from 0.78 percent), but that could change if Google follows through with adding extension support.
Hit the jump and tell us how you see the browser wars shaking out in 2009 and beyond.
Are you sick of using iTunes? We don't blame you. The program eats up resources and makes us scratch our heads with its "Genius" recommendations, and we're ready to throw out display through the wall every time the Apple Software Updater tells us that there's a new version of Safari out. Arrgh!
Before our inner Hulk gets both mad and strong, we've taken a look at alternatives to the popular music library software. As luck would have it, we stumbled across an open-source solution that's every bit as good (and functional!) as iTunes. Better still, it comes without all of the clutter! You might have heard of the application before--it's called Songbird, an open-source music library application straight from Mozilla itself. But what you might not be aware of is the sheer depth of functionality (and dare we say it, iTunes replication) inherent in the program itself. And we're going to show you the top nine ways to tweak this application to bits and make it do exactly what you want, including features you'll never find in iTunes!
Throw on your headphones and check our out big list behind the jump!
Sprint may not be impressed with Google's Android in its current form and be content to sit on the sidelines, but that isn't stopping Asus from getting in the game with an Android-powered handset of its own. Citing un-named "company sources," news outlet DigiTimes reports Asus will launch an Android-based Google phone sometime in the first half of 2009. It remains unclear what Asus' marketing strategy will be, but speculation suggests the company may initially release the new phone under its own brand name in Taiwan followed up with customized models in other markets later on.
Asus isn't new to the handset game and has already shipped 30,000 units in Taiwan so far this year. The company expects that number to reach 40,000 by the end of the year. Asus will ride those shipments into 2009 with a 3G model using Qualcomm's dual-core solutions planned for Q1.
T-Mobile scored a big win by partnering with Google and handset manufacturer HTC to become the first provider to offer a smartphone powered by Android, Google's open-source OS. The pre-release buzz was so strong that initial estimates indicate as many as 1.5 million HTC G1 phones were gobbled up through preorders alone. It would seem illogical to scoff at those kind of numbers, but that's what Dan Hesse, Sprint's CEO, has done.
According to a report on Reuters, the cynical CEO told the National Press Club in Washington that the current iteration of Android isn't "good enough to put the Sprint brand name on it." Is he hating on Google or pouting over being passed over? Likely not. Initial reviews of the recently released G1 show Android as having promise, but as Engadget points out, Android "has a lot of ground to cover before it's really making the competition sweat," namely platforms like the iPhone and Windows Mobile devices.
Don't fret of you're a Spring subscriber. Despite Hesse's unenthusiastic comments, he has promised to sell an Android-powered phone "at some time in the future." Of course, at some point in the future, other manufacturers besides AT&T will also carry Apple's iPhone, so perhaps this is a case where time is of the essence.
Everyone's heard of Linux, right? We wouldn't be wrong in suggesting that Linux is the most well-known representation of the open-source platform. Or, at least, we're willing to bet that it's going to be on the tip of your friend's tongue the next time you sit down at bar, order up a drink, and ask, "What's an example of Open Source?"
But we think you'd spit out your drink if your friend answered "Chumby," or "RepRap." You might even try calling out your buddy because you think he's just feeding you jibber-jabber to sound smart. Well, you'd be wrong to do so. These are indeed open-source creations, but you aren't going to find these projects no matter how much you scour SourceForge. That's because they're examples of open-source hardware, not software. That's right. The concept of throwing back the curtain and revealing all the working pieces of a particular item for you to modify at your leisure isn't an act that's constrained to bits and bytes.
Click the jump, and we'll show you the Open Source hardware projects you can make right now!
A new version of OpenOffice is upon us and it’s worth your while to check it out. We’ve long recommended this suite of programs as one of the must-have open-source applications on your PC. Simply put, it’s as close to Microsoft’s Office suite as you’re going to get without plunking down a small fortune. It doesn’t contain any unpleasantries in design and functionality that the idea of a “free office suite” might conjure up. And its newest 3.0 incarnation—all of .6 somethings greater than the last full OpenOffice release—adds even more versatility to the suite.
Hit the jump for an in-depth look at some of OpenOffice 3.0's top new features!