Assignments, social circles, classes – so many things – so little time for the college student. Thankfully, we have 5 tips here that are absolutely relevant (and useful!) to the techy student in all of us.
1. Connectify – because you want to share your wifi connection with other devices
Anyone who has lived on campus dormitories know that there are strict rules to abide by, and one of them tends to be a restriction on tampering with college property – even if its as simple as connecting your own wireless router to make your life easier. And without wireless access or an expensive data plan, mobile devices such as the iPhone, iPod touch, Android tablets etc. harkens back to the days of featurephones in terms of usability.
Gratefully, and we mean this in the sincerest way, there’s Connectify. Connectify is a service which allows you to transform your laptop into a wireless hotspot; and there’s no messing around here – it’s an Apple-esque one-click process. Since it looks like just about any other program, you won’t need to worry about it being detected by any tracking software the college authorities may have mandatorily installed on your computer.
2. Google Chrome Portable – because computer labs don’t usually have the best browsers
College campuses usually provide students with the luxury of computer labs; but unless you’re attending a rather reputable school, you’ll most likely have to contend with sub-standard services beyond the bare necessities – for example: limited range of wireless access, imperfect air-conditioning which is either too hot or too cold, and… Internet Explorer 6. If you’re among those who are stuck with Internet browsers from the 90’s and whose college computer labs restrict the installation of third-party programs, take comfort in that there is a solution for you.
Google Chrome Portable takes the speed and efficiency of its desktop variant and crams it into the tight confines of a thumbdrive. Taking up barely 100 MB of disk space, it’s nary a problem for even those constricted by 2GB thumbdrives, and the portable version works just as well as the desktop version – the differences are hardly noticeable in all practical aspects. As an added bonus, Google Chrome Portable handles a large number of open tabs just fine, making it a boon for those in the midst of writing their thesis.
3. Dropbox – because all your work should be instantly backed up to the cloud
If you’re constantly forgetting to bring your USB drive to campus, then Dropbox will be a lifesaver for you. Dropbox works by automatically uploading the contents of an entire folder on your home computer to its cloud servers, of which you can proceed to download from www.dropbox.com – so as long as you have access to an Internet browser, you’ll have immediate access to all the files which were originally saved on your home computer.
If you live constantly in fear of losing the contents of your entire USB drive to a washing machine, Dropbox may become more to you than merely a way to quickly share files across multiple computers. What’s more, it also has offline saving features for its apps on all the major smartphone platforms, so if you want access to lecture notes on-the-go, Dropbox will be especially valuable to you.
Whether it’s your own computer or a friend’s, reformatting a Windows 7 computer can be a pain sometimes, especially when you have to search high and low for the installation CD after months of neglect. Fortunately, Windows has a nifty tool which helps you to reformat your Windows PC straight from a USB drive.
The Windows USB/DVD Download Tool handily creates a series of files which makes it bootable from the BIOS, and it has been tested to work even if you make a backup of those files and return them to your USB drive the next time you need to perform a fresh install. Best of all, since a USB drive has faster read/write speeds than a CD, your Windows 7 installation will be at least twice as fast, making reformatting your laptop a breeze.
5. KatMouse – because multi-tasking should be simpler on Windows
If you’ve done a proportionate amount of assignments on a Windows PC, you’d probably have started to realize that you can’t scroll in applications without first clicking on them. This makes it frustratingly difficult to do your research and type your assignment in Microsoft Word at the same time, because you’d have to click on the Internet browser to scroll through the website you’re researching, then click on the Word document to scroll through it, and rinse-and-repeat – even if you have both windows visible across your screen.
KatMouse does away with this little but noticeable irritation by allowing you to scroll up and down pages just by hovering your mouse cursor over them and moving the scroll wheel. This way, you can keep your Word document open as your main application, and still be able to scroll through the website you’re researching without having to click on it everytime you need to review something.
6. CopyTrans – because students love music
Ever performed a fresh install of Windows on your computer, only to realize that all your playlists in iTunes, which had been meticulously and painstakingly put together over a number of years, had been wiped clean? The endevour is made even more heartbreaking, by the fact that Apple has failed to acknowledge in iTunes the simple task of transferring the songs and playlists already residing on your iPhone or iPod back to your computer.
iTunes’s all-encompassing backup function has its advantages in simplicity, but if you’re just trying to copy your playlists over from your iPhone, tough luck. Well fret no more, as CopyTrans just does that. You can choose to backup your songs and playlist from your device straight into iTunes, so that things appear to have never changed at all. In addition, CopyTrans is also able to selectively backup your photo album, apps, contacts, messages and the like, so you’re actually capable of selectively backing up pretty much anything you wish.
This post was written by Aaron Pek