Thursday, August 9, 2012

Fall 2012 Technology for the College Student

Its time to start another year on college campuses. Colleges have become so rich with technology over the past few years that you would think that students have everything they need. Of course, enough is never quite enough. There are still some basics that most students seem to want , or need, for their very own. I am from the hot pot, telephone, and refrigerator generation. Colleges don't allow hot pots anymore. The fridge and the microwave are still staples. I thought the need for a TV might die off, but not yet. Most students still have a TV in their rooms. Many campuses are moving to all digital TV services with HD channels. At my last post we offered 100 channels, including 15 HD channels. Of course Netflix and Hulu on the laptop are gaining fast.

Here is my list of digital staples for the fall of 2012:

Logitech wireless keyboard and mouse. Who wants to write a paper on a laptop keyboard when you can turn your laptop into a desktop for less that $50.

Audio speaker system. I have talked about these before, but now there are so many choices and price points. Why not turn your laptop into a powerful sound system for moveies or music. Here is a comparision of a few products that run from the fairly cheap to the pricey. You have to decide how far you need to go. If you like the more traditional three speaker option (pretty good, for cheap) check this one.

Decent ear buds or headphones. Here again beauty is in the ears of the beholder. There are choices to be made, but even the cheap ear buds or headphones would probably be adequate. there are plenty of places on campus (the gym, library, dining hall, computer labs...) where you have to keep your music to yourself. Keep in mind that these are often lost or misplaced, so I would not invest too much. Update: I just bought some nice sounding ear buds at Five Below for $4.99!

Small LED TV. As noted above, TV is still alive and well and most campuses are going digital to offer many channels and HD services. Most students still bring a TV to campus. I think the 24" or 32" are generally adequate, but sports intense students might disagree. I have seen 50" LCDs on campus. Yes the rooms are still pretty small, so imagine the dominance of the big units. I like the new LED models for a sharper picture and lighter weight. The prices on these have come way down.

IPhone apps for free. In the past few years we have seen the number of Smart phones jump on campuses. The numbers stand at 70% on most campues now. The Smart phone is the new laptop. Well sort of. IPhone has the dominant position in the space at the moment, so I found this list of free apps for the iPhone connected college student. Most of these are not toys or games. They are cool useful tools and they are FREE.

So this is my short list for this fall. If you can think of more, please comment.

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