THE speed of word of mouth astonishes me. Only a day since the new video of the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (CPDRC) inmates dancing to “They Don’t Care About Us” from Michael Jackson’s This is It album was posted in YouTube and it’s garnered already well over a million viewers. There are also various segments on it in other websites, so I gather the total could be much higher. If you have not seen it, you should. This time, with the help of Michael’s choreographers, the dance does look a wee bit more professional and polished.

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Kudos to Byron Garcia. The Philippines can spend millions of dollars in advertisements and it will not get the same amount of name recall and enthusiasm from so many people as a well-produced viral video.

Meanwhile, by the time this article sees print, it will be alongside reports of probably one of the most anticipated tech products to be released this year –Apple’s tablet. What is also being speculated is whether it would be called iTablet, or iPad. Alongside these speculations are predictions that millions of units will be sold.

Tablets are not new. In fact, I had one close to eight years ago and it was pioneered by Microsoft. It was decent but the product category did not quite take off. It was passionately advocated by Bill Gates, but it was said that CEO Steve Ballmer was not so enthusiastic about it, and it did not garner the support that it needed.

There are also two other product categories that Microsoft pioneered but it was overtaken by other vendors---the smartphone and the ebook. The smartphone market is dominated by the iPhone and the Blackberry.

The Microsoft ebook initiative started years ago but it was only recently that it garnered a new wave of interest after the release of Amazon’s Kindle. It is said that one of the prime things the Apple tablet would do well is also to serve as an ebook, which debunks talks that people don’t read anymore.

On another issue, the tech industry seems to be recovering. According to IDC, global PC processor units increased 31.3percent year on year for the fourth quarter of 2009. Overall for the year, total PC processor unit shipments grew 2.5 percent but it is slated to grow more by 2010.

Not surprisingly, mobile chips for notebooks, including Intel’s Atom processors that is used for netbooks, increased 11.7 percent. What is surprising is the rise of server processors, which grew by 14.1 percent quarter over quarter. Desktop processors , predictably, grew only 4.8 percent, as more people opted for notebooks over desktops.

IT Executives also interviewed by CompTIA reported that there is new optimism and the confidence survey jumped to 56.6 percent. It was the first time in three quarters that the rating was higher than 50 percent, which means more people were upbeat about the tech prospects this year.

Among IT executives surveyed, 34 percent said they will boost spending and 31 percent said they will hire more staff.

Another research firm, Gartner, said IT spending around the world will rise 4.6 percent this year to reach $3.4 trillion. The growth is seen to be fastest in Latin America at 9.3 percent, 7.7 percent for Middle East and Africa, and 7 percent for Asia Pacific. Growth is slower at 5.1 percent in western Europe, 2.5 percent in US and only 1.8 percent in Japan.