Technology

The Fitbit Killer – Apple Watch’s Health Benefits

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“Is that your cell phone or your living room TV?”

This is a taunt my Android using friend Jill is more than familiar with as a courteously remind her about the ridiculous size of her Samsung Galaxy at every football tailgate. Last week however, I had to eat those words as Apple jumped on the bigger is better bandwagon with the iPhone 6. Despite the larger breadth of the phone, all is not lost for those of us who prefer our technology compact.

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The big news out of Cupertino last week was the reveal of the much anticipated Apple Watch. Rumors of this device have been swirling on the interwebs for some time, but on September 9th Tim Cook unveiled the first new Apple product since the passing of Steve Jobs. A live demonstration showed many of the device’s functions which include access to emails and texts, the ability to control Apple TV, GPS through the Maps function and even a cool feature that tells you what time of the day it is. It would seem that the only thing missing is a line of piano wire needed to disable rival KGB spies à la James Bond.

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While these features already make the Apple Watch worth its $350 price tag, the item that most interested my wife and I was the watch’s functionality as a health and fitness device. The party starts with the set of sensors on the back of the watch that monitors vital statistics such as your heart rate. From there, Apple Watch comes with two apps built in to measure your liveliness. In the Activity App, three different aspects of movement are tracked on various rings. The “Move” ring reports how many calories you’ve burned for the day and alerts you when you have achieved your daily goal. Of course this comes in handy for strolls on the treadmill with your sorority sister in the student gym, but if you’ve ever inquired how many calories you burn walking to your daily classes or back from Penny Pitcher Night, you’ll now have a picture of just how active you truly are. Second is the “Exercise” ring which captures your rapid movements and alerts you when you’ve reached the widely recommended time of 30 minutes of exercise per day. Lastly, there is the “Stand” ring (seemingly geared toward us nine to five desk jockeys) which motivates you to do just that; stand for at least one minute per hour in a 12 hour period.

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The Workout App allows you to select your favorite exercise and set calories and time goals for yourself. With just a swipe of the screen, the watch will give you up to date results on your current exercise campaign from the length of your run to the intensity of your yoga session. Once done, you can send your data to your iPhone’s Health App (Which we’ll have in tomorrow’s iPhone upgrade) as well as various third party fitness apps such as Lose It.

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From late night White Castle runs to pizza for every meal, college is a hotbed for poor heath choices. Many of us enter our undergraduate careers feeling invincible, only to discover after graduation that four years of keg parties, fast food runs and passing the gym without batting an eye has taken a toll on our once trim physiques. Though we’ll have to wait a few more months to get our hands on this device as it won’t be out until early 2015, it certainly seems that Apple is giving us a prime weapon to battle the Freshmen 15 with.

5 Important Skills to Learn Before You Graduate

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There are some things you are definitely going to want to master before you finish college.  Finding a job after college is harder than ever and you want to be as prepared as possible.  You’ll likely start in an entry-level position and this list will prepare you for what lies ahead!

1. Photoshop

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The world is becoming increasingly digital.  Any company you end up working for has a website and one or more social media accounts.  Photoshop is a great skill to have in your arsenal because it will likely come in handy for a great number of future projects.  Photoshop can help you create/adjust logos, flyers, newsletters, etc.  This is an excellent skill to have on a resume because potential employers will see it as a great asset!

2. Microsoft Office

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This may seem obvious, but knowing all the ins and outs of Microsoft Office is essential.  Don’t just know how to use the basics of Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and Outlook, know how to use every feature of each program.  You’ll likely be using Microsoft Office a lot in whatever job you have and you’re going to want to know everything you can; it’ll make your professional life much easier!

3. How to Use a Copy Machine Extensively

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When you’re first starting out in your professional life, the Copier is going to be a big part of your routine.  The last thing you want is to be the person that breaks the copier or needs help using it; to avoid this, take the time to learn how to use all of the features of one of the copy machines on campus—it may not be the exact machine you will have at your future job but it is a great start.  Also look over the machine to know how to fix it when it jams and how to change the toner!

4. How to Write a Professional Email

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 This is extremely important.  In most jobs, you will be corresponding with many different people and you want to always make a good, professional impression.  Whether it is an email between you and a co-worker, you and your boss, or you and a client/affiliate of the company, you want to make sure you come across as intelligent, organized, and professional.  This is also an important skill when you are emailing with a potential employer about an interview!

5. Social Media

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Learn the ins and outs of several social media platforms.  Most companies several social media accounts, so having a lot of knowledge about Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, YouTube, etc. is really important.  Having these skills is also great for your resume.  If you notice that your company has yet to make an account for a social media platform that is or is becoming very popular, suggest that they make one and maybe even offer to create and run it for them.  This shows initiative and can lead to more opportunities and responsibilities!

eTextbook or Physical Textbook?

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eTextbook or Physical Textbook?

Today everyone uses their laptops, cell phones and tablets for everything including textbook readings for class. It may seem that the only duty our paper textbooks have, is to collect dust on the book self. This isn’t as true as you might think. There are several pros and cons for both an eTextbook and a physical textbook. I’m here to enlighten the public on which to choose, an eTextbook or a physical textbook.

According to Cynthia Boris of NBCNews.com there are various categories of comparison that can be viewed when weighing the pros and cons of an eTextbook and a physical textbook. In her opinion, ease of use, portability and cost are among the most important aspects to consider when making your book decision.

Ease of use: Although an eTextbook encourages you to explore the world of knowledge at the drop of your fingertips, does it make it harder to retain the information you are looking for? Some eTextbooks allow you to make notes and highlight for memorizing purposes but according to a study performed by Survey Monkey, nearly 40% of students preferred to use a print book to study with. An eTextbook might be easier to use sometimes while other times there is nothing better than being able to feel the pages of a physical textbook.

Portability: At times, textbooks can put a large strain on your back when walking to class. The weight of some textbooks can be several pounds each versus a few ounces for only one tablet to store thousands of e-textbooks on. When taking this into consideration, your back might thank you in a few years.

Cost: Textbooks are expensive, it’s true. Today, there are several ways to save money on buying textbooks, like renting! Not to mention some great coupon deals. When comparing costs to eTextbooks on a tablet, they are extremely cost effective. Although you have to take into consideration the cost of the actual device, as Boris says, “It could take a year of schooling before it pays for itself.”

In the end an eTextbook works for some and not for others, no worries though, there will always be physical textbooks to go around. Happy textbook shopping!

Trading Traditional for a Tablet

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With the popularity of all-in-one electronics on the rise, college students all over the country have been taking advantage of new computers for their school work. One observation I’ve made while in college is that a lot of students use tablets for their classes rather than laptops. As a man without a tablet, this is very surprising. I always thought of tablets as just tiny, slow computers, or big smart phones, but I’ve actually seen some really creative and useful ways that my classmates are using them this past year. Here’s just a small list of some of the things I’ve seen done.

Note taking: While many students prefer to write down their notes, using a tablet to take notes in class IS a handy way to save paper, and keep your notes looking clean and understandable.

Easy Organization: Many tablets come with, or can download, many organizational apps. These range anywhere from calendars, to help coordinate college students’ very hectic lifestyles, to just keeping track of all your notes and files. Tablets can act as a great way to organize all your notes and class work. Just remember to have backup memory!

Reading: This isn’t necessarily college-related, but tablets are a very quickly growing way to allow anyone to read an entire library worth of books without taking up all the space!

Online textbooks: Many schools and companies are now making their textbooks available for purchase in digital copies. I personally prefer renting a hard copy textbook, but if you don’t want to deal with damage, or if it’d just be easier to have all your information on your tablet, the digital copy seems like it’d be a major convenience.

Whatever you can think of! I had a class this semester where a student used his tablet during a presentation. He had specific sentences recorded on it, and when he’d reach certain points in the presentation, the tablet would interject with arguments that he would quickly dismiss. A tablet IS a type of computer, so if you’re able to find an app for it, or if you have the imagination for it, there are almost limitless capabilities for how to use it!

I’m not saying that you absolutely NEED a tablet in college, after all, I’ve been doing just fine without one! However, there are times that I wish I had one because it’d make my life a whole lot easier. Having to carry around a million textbooks, and not fully knowing the bus schedule because I don’t have a bus app can be quite a pain, so you be the judge as to whether you’d want one or not! What kind of tablets are you all using for your classes?

In Honor of #ThrowbackThursday

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If you’ve ever been on Instagram, then you’ve probably heard of  Throwback Thursday (more commonly referred to as #TBT). For those of you that don’t know, please climb out from under your rock and allow me to give you a quick overview.

Every Thursday instagrammers log on and post an “old” picture. This could range from anywhere 15 years ago to your diaper wearing days, or 15 days ago when snapped a picture of your veggie pizza. You can post something silly, something sappy, or something downright sloppy. There are not real guidelines for posting a throwback photo, although some users adhere to self-made do’s and don’ts.

There is no telling how or why Throwback Thursday began, but there is no denying its popularity. If you search hashtags in the Discovery panel on Instagram then you will see that there are more than 75 MILLION photos posted in honor of this unofficial, weekly holiday. TBT has grown so much that you can now find it’s influence across every social site, including Facebook and Twitter. This week we want to celebrate a little differently. Rather than sharing an old photo, we are posting an embarrassing eCampus.com video from our earlier years.

(NOTE: This video was the winning commercial from a college advertising contest and not a product of eCampus.com. To view other videos please visit our YouTube Page.)

How will you be celebrating this #TBT?