Take Microsoft Office 2013 for a 60-day test drive

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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Microsoft Office 2013 shipped to manufacturers late last month, but you won't be able to get your small-business hands on it until sometime in the first half of 2013.

Actually, you won't be able to buy it until then. Right now, however, you can get a free 60-day trial of Office Professional Plus 2013. That two-month test drive should give you ample time to decide if the latest Office is worth the hundreds of dollars Microsoft will undoubtedly charge for it.

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App Spotlight: CallFlakes automates phone-call follow-ups

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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If your smartphone was truly smart, it would give you a lot more post-call options.

For example, think about the last time you hung up the phone with your boss, a co-worker, or a client. I'll reckon the very next thing you did was schedule a meeting with that person, set a reminder to do something related to the call, or send a follow-up e-mail.

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Skype's new workspace portal aims to boost small businesses

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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Not all social networks work well as professional networks. (I'm looking at you, Facebook.) But there's no question that businesses—especially small ones and startups—could benefit greatly from a social network with a professional bent.

That's the idea behind Skype in the workspace, which launched to the public late last week following a six-month beta test. It's designed to help small businesses connect quickly to potential partners, suppliers, consultants, and customers arond the world.

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The business benefits of a big monitor

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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Earlier this year I extolled the business benefits of a second monitor. I still think there's no better way to amp up your computing productivity.

That said, a second monitor requires a sizable chunk of desk space, which isn't always practical. Maybe you'd be better off with a single, larger monitor?

With that in mind, I've been road-testing (make that desk-testing) an AOC I2757Fh, a desktop LCD with a whopping 27-inch diagonal size.

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Five must-have business apps for the iPad Mini

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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How does the iPad Mini rate as a business tablet? PC World's Tony Bradley recently tackled that topic in "Apple iPad Mini: All the iPad at (nearly) half the cost."

But let's forget cost for a minute. And size. And screen resolution. Those are important considerations, yes, but any tablet is only as good as the apps it can run. I suspect the truly smart shoppers out there are focused more on how the Mini can help them work smarter/faster/better, and not the number of pixels per inch the screen has.

With that in mind, I've rounded up five essential business apps for the iPad Mini. Of course, because the new tablet can run all the same apps is its bigger brethren, these are equally essential choices for all iPads.

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Free ebook teaches IT pros the Windows 8 basics

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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If you handle the IT chores for your business, you've no doubt heard by now that Windows 8 is a little, um, different.

For example, there's no Start button. The traditional desktop has been supplanted by a tile-heavy, tablet-style interface. And what's this whole Charms bar thing?

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Five Dropbox-savvy apps for iOS

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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Cue for iOS.

By all accounts, Dropbox rocks. It ranks up there with sliced bread and chocolate fountains, offering simple cloud storage that syncs across your various devices.

But part of what makes Dropbox such an invaluable business tool is the way it integrates with different apps and services, especially those aimed at boosting your productivity.

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