technology

Laptop Purchasing Guide for College Students

Colleges are becoming more and more integrated with technology everyday. Class registration, assignments, and tests can all be completed from a computer. Most colleges have a computer lab available for student use, but with limited equipment and restrictive hours it may not be possible to exclusively use the campus computer lab. Having a personal laptop is becoming critical to student success in college, but deciding which one is right for you is tough. If you are currently looking to purchase a laptop here are a few things to keep in mind.

Laptop

Performance

When choosing a laptop it is important to keep in mind what your goals are. Certain majors, such as architecture and graphic design, require specific computer programs to complete assignments. Some of these computer programs (Revit, Photoshop, etc.) will require a high-performance device in order to run properly. If you are looking into a major that involves these types of programs, ask an adviser or professor what minimum standards they recommend. Performance indicators include:

  • Processor type
  • System memory size
  • Hard drive size
  • Graphics card

Mobility

The main reason I recommend a laptop over a desktop computer is the ability to carry it to class. Being able to do homework on campus during breaks is extremely convenient. However, some devices are more mobile than others. Make sure you check the weight and size of a laptop before purchase to make sure it is small enough and light enough to carry back and forth to campus. Also, no matter how careful you are, it is going to get banged up a bit while traveling. Check the reviews to see if people complain about it breaking easily. You are going to want something durable that will last you throughout your time in college.

USB

Connections

As mentioned above, certain majors require specific technological capabilities. It may be necessary to connect a printer, monitor, or scanner to your laptop during college. Make sure your laptop has the connection ports necessary to work with all these devices. It is also helpful to have multiple USB ports on your device so you can use more than one memory storage drive at a time.

Warranty

Most major laptop brands include a warranty for the first few days after purchase. If you feel that your device will be undergoing more strain than a normal laptop, you may want to consider purchasing an extended warranty. They are usually available either from the manufacturer or the store where you purchased it. Also, it is possible to get laptop insurance for if the device is stolen, although that is only recommended for extremely specialized laptops valued at over $1,300.

Price

Most college students are on a tight budget when it comes to large technology purchases. Take the time to research multiple sellers to ensure you are getting the best price possible for the laptop you want. Places like Best Buy offer occasional discounts to college students on popular brands and styles.

Purchasing a laptop is a challenging but necessary part of going to college. Have any other tips for purchasing a laptop? Leave them in the comment section below!

Why I Would (or Wouldn’t) Buy the iPhone 6

iphone

The summer before my freshmen year of college, I finally made the switch from an android to an iPhone – I got the not-really-new-anymore iPhone 4S. And I loved it, I could finally sync all my iTunes music, my pictures from my Macbook, and all the useless apps I had just downloaded onto my brand new iPad. It was great. It had the added benefits of working as an actual phone (which my previous one, being out of the country on a different network, didn’t have), the ability to get apps, the ability to connect to 3G (again, having just been out of the country had been an issue with my last phone) and the fact that I had finally made the complete conversion to Apple products. I was a very happy person.

And then the iPhone 5S and 5C came out a couple months later. I was only 2 phones behind at this point, but the knowledge that my 12 year old brother had an iPhone (period and also) two upgrades ahead of me stung a little, even if it was the 5C.

Now two iOS updates later, my supposed 16 GB phone can’t hold a movie, can’t hold more than 1,000 pictures, can’t run Facebook a third of the time and likes to freeze willy nilly.

So, I would buy the iPhone 6, or (more likely) some other newer phone; one that has a decent camera and a decent capacity, one that can access apps like Facebook and Twitter and one that can play music and videos. But most importantly, I want a phone that works well for more than a year, which I’m not so sure is a feature on the latest iPhone.

The moral of the story? Don’t buy a new phone because it’s the newest and latest technology. Buy a phone when you need a new phone.

For more information about whether or not you should buy the iPhone 6 check out this article on Wired: http://www.wired.com

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?

Shattering the iPhone Fantasy

iphone 5-smashed-cracked

In the middle of last month, the world once again witnessed a tech revolution – the release of yet another wildly anticipated iPhone. The 5S was said to offer countless improvements over its predecessors and enticed those who were waiting all year long to use that convenient phone upgrade to get their hands on the new toy everyone just couldn’t stop talking about. Given the considerable hype surrounding each of Apple’s recent iPhone launches, one is always left to wonder whether the changes being made are really that crucial to the device’s improved functionality.

For instance, the 5S boasts improved camera quality (a feature that didn’t seem to be problematic on previous models) and a stronger physical core, presumably to prevent the ease of inflicting damage. The claim from the American software giant – year in, year out – is that “this is an entirely new phone.” In all likelihood, this is last year’s phone with added shine, a slightly better camera, and, in truth, a suspect battery. It is fully unnecessary to even delve into the cost of a reliable insurance plan such as “Apple Care” or the definite impossibility of fixing seemingly minor damage to the screen without replacing the entire device. Oh, and don’t get me started on the iPhone 5c.

I never truly bought into the iPhone hype for a variety of reasons. Besides the shocking cost (usually $600 up front in addition to a $50 per month contract), the devices never really captured my attention with any alternative capabilities. There is no special appeal to an Apple product besides its aluminum casing and mirror-like display. For these “novel” elements, you shell out thousands of dollars on repairs even for minuscule exterior damage.

Instead, for mobile phone purposes, I’ve opted to side with Apple’s competitor – Microsoft. Windows Phones have recently gained popularity thanks to Nokia’s “Lumia” model that boasts having “the best mobile phone camera.” Being an owner of exactly this device, I cannot disagree. Having been surrounded by iPhone users for years, I can confidently say that the Lumia does everything and more than what any Apple device slyly advertises. Seamless connectivity, a slick Windows 8 interface, and a variety of social media channels make the Lumia a joy to use. Most importantly, it opens the eyes of those blinded by Apple’s shiny, fragile displays and silences the chatter surrounding the “Genius Bar” – all for good reason.

This is my personal opinion, as a non-iPhone user. I would love to hear some of your thoughts on the subject!

Awesome Gadgets to Wish For This Holiday Season

After doing a little digging, we have found that there are some really awesome gadgets out there that college students would absolutely love to get their hands on! These gadgets are definitely something you want to add to your holiday wish list!

USB LED Beverage Cooler – $19.99

This little gadget is a must have for college students living in small spaces.  Not enough room to fit a mini fridge in your dorm room? No problem! This tiny cooler is powered through your USB drive and cools one can at a time.  This gadget is also super portable meaning that you can make sure your can of energy drink is always cold when studying at the library!

 

 

 

Tulip Desk Lamp – $59.99

This little desk lamp is a great addition to any room! It is compact enough to fit on a desk or nightstand, but it can direct your light source where you need it.  The flexible bending head on this lamp allows you to point your lamp at the desk, the ceiling, or anywhere you want!

Compact Photo Cube Printer – $149.00

Ever snap a photo with your cell phone and wish you could print it out on the spot? Well you can! This printer prints 4×6 images without a computer.  Just place your Andriod or Apple device into the dock on top of this printer and you are ready to print! This compact printer only measures 7″ wide and easily fits on your desk.  It also includes a carrying case so you can print on-the-go!

 

 

 

Pocket Projector for iPhone 4 Devices – $229.99

This is one super, super good gadget.  Perfect for students that love movies and photos, this pocket projector is great for on-the-go travel entertainment.  All you do is dock your iPhone 4 into the device and it will project your screen onto any surface.  This means that you can share the movie you are watching on your phone with your friends by projecting an image up to 50″! As a plus, this projector can also serve as a back-up battery for your phone.

Apple TV – $99.00

This little gadget is awesome! This small box that can fit into the palm of your hand hooks to your TV via an HDMI cable and then uses your wireless internet to stream directly to your TV.  Using AirPlay on your Apple device, you can wireless stream music, movies, and photos to your television.  This little box also accesses Netflix, YouTube, the entire iTunes Store, and much more from your TV.

lucy Nightlight Jacket – $99.99

This gadget is a must for people who like the run in the evenings! This running jacket with quick-drying technology is piped with LED lights making it reflective on all sides.  Not only that, but it is convertible with zip-off sleeves making it versatile year-round.

iWatchz Q Collection Watch Strap for iPod Nano – $24.99

We love this! Turn your iPod Nano into a watch! This silicone watch band securely holds your iPod Nano in place! Now you can watch movies and listen to music with only your watch!

HeatShift Laptop Cooler 15″ Pad – $29.99

The perfect gadget for people who enjoy working on their laptops in bed! This cooling pad uses cooling crystals to absorb the heat coming from your laptop, lowering the temperature of your computer by up to 10 degrees.  Because it uses crystals rather than a fan, this cooling pad is silent and won’t bother others who may be around while you are working.

Clocky Alarm Clock on Wheels – $39.95

Do you tend to oversleep for class? If you answered yes then this gadget is for you! When this alarm clock goes off you have one chance to hit snooze before it rolls off of your nightstand and all around your floor.  You have to find and catch the alarm clock in order to silence it, ensuring that you are up and out of bed when you need to be.

 

 

 

ZOMM Wireless Leash – $89.99

There are a ton of features packed into this little gadget.  This “wireless leash” help you to remember your cell phone, talk handsfree, and can even assist you in an emergency.  The ZOMM Wireless Leash alerts a user when they become separated from their phone, ensuring that you never accidentally leave your phone at home again.  It also has a fully-functional speakerphone allowing you to talk handsfree via Bluetooth.  In the case of an emergency, the ZOMM is equipped with a panic button that will sound an alarm and if held down long enough will dial 911 for you.

Boogie Board Rip LCD Writing Tablet – $129.99

This LCD writing tablet is a must for college students! Write your class notes on this tablet press the save button, and you instantly have a digital copy of all of your notes! This also is a great way to turn those interesting doodles you draw in class into digital art!

mophie Juice Pack for iPhone 4&4S – $79.95

This super sleek iPhone case doubles as an extra battery! Giving your phone almost double the battery life, the mophie Juice Pack ensures that your iPhone will not run out of battery power anytime soon.  The super-slim rechargeable battery sits perfectly in this case without adding extra bulk to your iPhone.

Powerbag Deluxe Backpack – $169.99

Running all over campus with no time to charge your smartphone, tablet, or laptop? Now it is easy with this awesome backpack! With a built-in battery system powerful enough to charge a smartphone 4 times, you are are able to charge all of your electronics on the go!

Enjoy!

 

Lovejoy

I’m reading Psychology Applied to Modern Life