The five best productivity apps of 2012

Rick Broida , PCWorld

For more than 20 years, Rick Broida has written about all manner of technology, from Amigas to business servers to PalmPilots. His credits include dozens of books, blogs, and magazines. He sleeps with an iPad under his pillow.
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It's been a big year for smartphones—the iPhone 5, the Galaxy S III, the debut of Windows Phone 8—but as always, it's the apps that matter.

Thankfully, 2012 witnessed the arrival of many killer apps for business users, tools that can save time, lower costs, and turbocharrge your overall productivity. Best of all, those that aren't free cost only a few bucks.

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Bust time-wasting employees with DeskTime

Rick Broida , PCWorld

For more than 20 years, Rick Broida has written about all manner of technology, from Amigas to business servers to PalmPilots. His credits include dozens of books, blogs, and magazines. He sleeps with an iPad under his pillow.
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Bad news for employees: Your slacking days are over.

Good news for employers: Now you can tell who's earning their paycheck and who's spending their days updating Facebook. That's courtesy of DeskTime, a time-tracking service designed for SMBs.

DeskTime employs automated software that tracks and analyzes employees' productivity in real-time. It does this by sorting your company's various applications into categories -- "productive," "unproductive," and "neutral" -- and monitoring who's using what and for how long.

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UberConference: Best conference-call manager yet?

Rick Broida , PCWorld

For more than 20 years, Rick Broida has written about all manner of technology, from Amigas to business servers to PalmPilots. His credits include dozens of books, blogs, and magazines. He sleeps with an iPad under his pillow.
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UberConference

Lately it seems like software developers are falling all over themselves to take the hassles out of conference calls.

For example, MobileDay makes it easier to join a conference call from your smartphone, while FreeConference Mobile lets you set up calls on the run. Then there's Speek, which positions itself as the easiest conference-call service of them all.

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App Spotlight: Automatically track your mileage with TripLog

Rick Broida , PCWorld

For more than 20 years, Rick Broida has written about all manner of technology, from Amigas to business servers to PalmPilots. His credits include dozens of books, blogs, and magazines. He sleeps with an iPad under his pillow.
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TripLog for Android

When it comes to managing business expenses, half the battle is keeping tabs on your mileage. Obviously there are plenty of apps that let you manually enter your miles or odometer readings—but that's still a pretty low-tech approach.

But, hey, your smartphone has a built-in GPS, right? Seems like a smart app could leverage that to automatically keep tabs on where you drive for business.

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Print to Dropbox, Evernote, or an actual printer from your iPhone or iPad

Rick Broida , PCWorld

For more than 20 years, Rick Broida has written about all manner of technology, from Amigas to business servers to PalmPilots. His credits include dozens of books, blogs, and magazines. He sleeps with an iPad under his pillow.
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As iPhones and iPads increasingly take the place of laptops, there's one area that continues to be a challenge for business users: how to turn digital documents into printed ones.

For example, what if you're a doctor who wants to print patient notes or prescriptions from your iPad? Or an IT guy who needs to print a photo of a cabling setup before an upgrade? Maybe you just want hard copy of a document you've stored in Evernote?

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Three smart ways to use the iOS Shortcuts feature

Rick Broida , PCWorld

For more than 20 years, Rick Broida has written about all manner of technology, from Amigas to business servers to PalmPilots. His credits include dozens of books, blogs, and magazines. He sleeps with an iPad under his pillow.
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Typing on my iPhone keyboard is not my idea of fun. (Oh, for an Android-style Swype or SwiftKey Flow option.) That's especially true when I have to type the same things over and over again, like my e-mail address.

You know the drill: You install a new app, then have to register or sign up for some kind of account, always with an e-mail address and password.

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App Spotlight: Call Bliss turbocharges iOS Do Not Disturb feature

Rick Broida , PCWorld

For more than 20 years, Rick Broida has written about all manner of technology, from Amigas to business servers to PalmPilots. His credits include dozens of books, blogs, and magazines. He sleeps with an iPad under his pillow.
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When iOS 6 arrived earlier this year, it brought with it a handy new feature: Do Not Disturb, which blocks calls and alerts that arrive during designated hours.

Call Bliss adds a number of business-friendly features to Do Not Disturb, effectively making your iPhone smarter about who can reach you, where, and when.

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