College Technology

A couple of days ago I got an email from a family friend of mine who is going to be a college freshmen next year; he wrote to ask me what things (technology wise) should he buy/ what I actually used and found useful. The following are the things that I suggested he get/use.


A Google account

Gmail: Most colleges have subpar email; the websites are limited; space is limited; and it isn’t very functional. Have your college account forwarded to your gmail. I only use my gmail account for email but I have my address forwarded so when I email professors they respond back to my address. Also since the size is unlimited you can email your papers there and it’s a great safe backup.


Google Calendar: the best way to organize your life. Give every class you take its own unique calendar; so you can just look at each class separately and together.


A Laptop

Buy the best lightest laptop you can afford. By buying the best one you can you won’t feel that you will need a new one every couple of years. With the increase of Wi-Fi around campuses being able to bring your laptop around campus/ when you go home is great. Also buy the lightest thing you can get with all the features you want.

(a router if your housing allows it so you can have wi-fi in your apartment/res hall room; temple doesn’t allow it for security reasons so check with housing/ computer services)


A USB key or Portable HD

Get something in the 2GB range or higher but don’t pay more than $15. You can find deals online. They are the best things to store files to bring from one computer to another plus they are great for offsite backups. An iPod or many other MP3 players will also do this and will provide large amounts of space. I always keep a copy of papers I’m writing on my iPod so if something goes horribly horribly wrong I have a backup.


External HD

Something in the 500GB to 750GB range. This is for full backups. Every couple of weeks it’s a good idea to make a backup of your hard drive so just in case something happens you have your files saved. This is not to be confused with an USB Key or Portable HD this external is meant for large full backups. Plus it’s a great place to keep a large video or music collection.


A good pair of headphones

Spend some money and get a good pair of headphones, I like the noise cancelling variety or the circumaural variety. ( I have the Sennheiser HD280’s and they are great). When living with a roommate or simply with others; they don’t always want to hear what you’re listening to and vice versa. By having a good  pair of headphones you won’t be subject to your roommates love of the eurotechnopop and he won’t be subject to your love of Appalachian Folk music. If you can get ones with a long cord it’s a plus so you can use them with your tv. Also they are great for using in a crowded or loud computer lab.


Things not to get:


Printer Scanner Fax Combo

Check your schools printing allowance; most schools give students some free printing Temple gives every undergrad 400 pages. In 4 years at temple I’ve never need to scan anything but if I did there are scanners in the computer lab. Also even if your school only gives you black and white printing no one ever prints in color.



Now this is debatable. I did buy one my freshmen year and used it for a while but in the long run, after Google calendar came out, I found it just not as useful as Google calendar or even a day planner.


Digital Recorder

Even if you get the permission of the professor to record the lecture you will most likely never listen to them; just take good notes.




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