College Tech Survival 101

It’s that time of the year again! Whether you’re a returning college student or a newbie freshman in the funky and crazy lifestyle called higher learning, we have some tips and tricks that can help you cash-strapped college students make the best of your academic experience.

Super Awesome Economical Software
One of the benefits of being a college student is that you’re eligible for academic discounts for popular software such as Microsoft Office. Check with your college or university as many of these organizations have specific business relationships with Microsoft and can often provide software at a generously reduced price. Another important software that can help students is either Microsoft Office One Note (included in Office) or Evernote. What these two applications have in common is that you can take notes, messages and important events on your computer which is handy during class or study sessions. If you’re looking for even more savings, you can opt for open-source alternatives. For example, OpenOffice.org office suite is a free MS Office alternative and is compatible with .DOC and .XLS formats. One really neat and super-useful free application is PDF Printer. In addition, instead of paying for anti-virus software, you can utilize free AVG Anti-Virus free.

Back Up & Online File Storage
It’s also crucial to have certain back up and online storage in place. First, you’ll want to have a USB flash drive that can be used to store term papers, notes and music. Picking up a second flash drive or small 2.5” external hard drive is also wise for redundancy reasons. Also an online backup or file storage solution will save you, take a look at Mozy’s online backup solution and Dropbox online file storage. For example, if your notebook hard drive (or USB flash drive) malfunctions due to wear and tear, your computer is stolen, or some “Act of God” like lightning damage or fire, you can keep your important school work archived and ready in case of such emergency.

The Gmail/Google Apps Edge
Gmail/Gapps is a perfect academic complement for several reasons. First, it functions as standard email for communication between friends, family and instructors. Second, it has built-in text, audio and video chat so you can video-conference (like Skype) (or just standard chat) with your classmates, friends or loved ones from far away. Third, it features Google Docs which is Gmail’s word processor, spreadsheet and presentation software in case you don’t have a copy of Openoffice or Microsoft Office. In addition, Gmail gives every account about 7.5 gigabytes of email storage space. While you’ll probably never eat up all 7.5 gigs with email messages, you can utilize this space as a virtual dumping ground. So you can back up important documents, papers, small programs and thus complement your flash drive and/or external hard drive. The beauty of Gmail’s awesome features is that you can access all this from anywhere with Internet. So whether you’re in class, at your dorm, at home or traveling, you have access to your saved notes, papers and emails.

We hope everyone has a fantastic year.



  • 08/10/2010
  • IT