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Mac OS X only: New task manager Things, now in alpha testing, is a promising new option for Mac users looking to get organised on the desktop. Structurally, Things categorises tasks in a very Getting THINGS Done way (get it?), with an inbox, projects, and "next" (or Next Actions) view, as well as support for contacts to whom you may delegate tasks and tags (which you can use for context.) After the jump, check out some screenshots of the alpha version of Things.

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Windows, Mac and Linux: A preview release of the highly-anticipated, cross-platform, open source personal information manager Chandler is now available for download, and while it's still got kinks to work out, it looks as promising as its vision. Called the PIM "for people who use their Inbox as their task list, Chandler picks up where your Inbox leaves off." Chandler's essentially a combination calendar, email inbox and task list for the individual, as well as a collaboration tool for small groups. The Chandler developers say:

Our goal is to serve the way people actually work, independently and together, particularly in small groups, a market segment we believe is underserved. Our belief is that personal and collaborative information work is by nature iterative and that the existing binary Done/Not-Done, Read/Unread, Flagged/Unflagged paradigm in productivity software poorly accommodates the reality of how people work.

Predicting the future is near impossible -- but that doesn‘t stop us all from having a red hot go. Human beings have been predicting the future since the beginning of history and the results range from the hilarious to the downright uncanny.

One thing all future predictions have in common: they‘re rooted in our current understanding of how the world works. It‘s difficult to escape that mindset. We have no idea how technology will evolve, so our ideas are connected to the technology of today.

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Dang, Gmail really is stepping it up these days. First IMAP support, and now a new version's rolling out which includes message pre-fetching for speedier performance, a new contacts manager, and more keyboard shortcuts. The Official Gmail Blog writes:

Even on a fast Internet connection, it can take a second to request and render a new web page, and when you read a lot of mail, these seconds can accumulate to hours waiting for email to load. We've spent a lot of time profiling all parts of the application, shaving milliseconds off wherever we can.