Tech I wish I had back in college. (that you can get your freshman today) Updated 2015!

Originally published July 7th 2014 updated since things change
Dish chairs! Sheet sets! Stores are out in force with housewares for dorms.  I couldn’t help but think back to my own college years.  Then I thought about how I use to get things done. I had a Compaq laptop with a battery that wouldn’t charge and an old dot matrix printer. When I look around now though I wish I had some of the toys I use now.

I wish I had a Smartphone

One Note mobile apps
Time management was something that I had to learn. I wish I had my email, calendar, contacts and access to my files on something I could keep in my pocket.  Also some of my favorite apps would have been really helpful back in college.(Especially OneNote)  Something like Camscaner, or Microsoft Lens would have been incredible to help gather research materials.   Also most Smartphones have or can download sound recording apps. Something that could record lectures without tapes, and had enough storage to keep a weeks worth would have been incredible. (just remember put on silent and phone in bag during test time) Not to mention but having a decent camera back then would have been really nice.
TIP: One of my most powerful tools I have is my contact list. I wish I had kept some of the numbers and emails from the people I knew in college. Remember the guy that is sitting next to you in freshman literature might be a future vendor, client, or boss. 

I wish I had an E-reader

Nook E-readerTwo semesters a year, five classes per semester, four years.  That’s 40 books if it is just one book per class. They were heavy, expensive and I took up way too much space in a cramped dorm room. Something with E-Ink would have been great, being able to study anywhere laundry room, shuttle bus those odd times between classes.  Why not a tablet? Cost: for a good Android tablet you will be spending around $200 – $350 for a 7 in model. For an IPad $500.  A good E-reader $75-$120 If you really want a tablet and need a little help I did a blog post about that a while back  Also this is meant to be a textbook replacement, you can play Angry Birds on your smart phone. If you need tablet-like features think about one of the larger smart phones aka Phablets such as the Galaxy Note.
TIP: You are going to be reading an enormous amount. E-ink is much easier on your eyes then a back-lit LCD screen. Also between writing papers, and 4 a.m. video game tournaments your going to be looking at enough screens. I am partial to the Barnes and Noble Nook Glowlight.  Being able to read in the dark while your roommate is asleep could be really helpful.  

I wish I had the cloud 

OnenoteMy junior year I had a fairly long research paper then the hard drive crashed. Putting 30 pages back together from drafts and notes was not fun.  Remember this was 2002, it was not as easy as sending everything through a scanner. Onedrive and Google drive offer free storage, 15gb. Not enough to keep everything but more than enough to keep 4 years of papers, projects, and everything else that you need keep your professors happy. If you need more storage and since your going to need MS Office anyway you might want to consider Office 365 University. 4 year subscription, for 1 low price and 1 Terabyte of storage.  That enough for your school work, large projects, music library, pictures and “research materials”
TIP:  Best part about the Onedrive and Google Drive is that you can access them from nearly any device. Which means you never have to worry about forgetting to bring your work. Get to any PC and print it out real quick or just E-mail it to your teachers right from the phone.  Also the folders are share-able!  Meaning you can create folders for group projects so you can collaborate with your classmates.  

I wish I had a second monitor (or third) 

Contest imageA huge part of my college career was research. I am pretty sure half the point of a university is to teach students how to write papers. So many times I needed to reference something, it would have been great to have the reference on one screen and be able to type on my laptop.  A simple 19 in. flat screen is cheep and does not take up a large amount of space.  Pared with a good laptop and you are in business.
TIP: If your going to bring a TV anyway take a look at the connections.  Many Tv’s have a VGA . many laptops and video cards have HDMI ports.  So there is no reason why your TV can’t pull double duty as a second monitor. You know, when you’re not playing Call of Duty. 

I wish I had streaming

Back in 2002 my first real bill was my cable bill, and I being young and only checking my mail at the campus post office about once a month let it fall behind.  Still even back then I was only watching 4 or 5 channels. If I was going to college now I would have skipped cable all together and get a Roku or a Chrome cast.   The only toss-up for me between the two is if I want a remote control or just control it from my smartphone.

Lanterns Light LLC LogoI understand most of the people going into college this year know about these technologies and are probably already using them. However if you do find you need some help finding, buying, or understand these technologies Lanterns Light LLC can help you. We can also help you find the right laptop, desktop and printer to help a student succeed for the next 4 years.  Give us a call.

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