Category Archives: All Things Tech

Electronics: Better For Education or Entertainment?

Filed under: All Things Tech, College Life - Angelina
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Student dependence on electronics is rising. Recent studies have shown that 98% of students claim to use their electronic devices for school, incorporating it into their study habits and on the go. In fact, many classes are taught on the web. Technology plays such a large role in college life by furthering education and providing entertainment – but the big question is whether it poses as a great educational tool or simply as a distraction?

The Laptop

The college necessity is still the laptop. Although Skype calling your friend most likely won’t earn you that A – using your laptop to type papers, do research, upload assignments, and communicate with professors via email are all essential ways to keep up with college. Although, students may get distracted easily from browsing social media websites.

The Cell Phone

While many professors embrace turning all phones off, I recently had a professor who challenged students to use gadgets to help them learn in the classroom. The cell phone can be used to quickly get information and there are tons of applications (apps) available. One of my favorite apps is Dropbox: a free app which allows you to upload class notes, movies, and music to access from any linked device. It’s a great way to sync your music or share notes with friends. For some more hot apps check out Rachel Freeman’s suggestions.

The eReader

The eReader is the easiest way to take your whole library with you anywhere you go. Many textbooks now come with a digital version which you can access on your eReader, and public libraries (and select schools) allow you to borrow books for free using the Overdrive Media Console. This is a nifty tool that is not as easy to get distracted on.

The Tablet

The more media driven may forgo the eReader and push for a tablet (the middle area between a traditional computer and eReader). The tablet’s portability and fun apps make it more popular for in the classroom and on the go. These are great to bring to the class to take notes on, however are just as easily to get distracted on as a cell phone or laptop.

Do you think devices promote educative learning, or are more of a distraction?

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Must-Have Music on Your Summer Playlist!

Filed under: All Things Tech, College Life - BookRenter Team
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By guest blogger Tiana Bouma
Tiana is a senior at University of Oregon double majoring in Political Science and Journalism with a focus in magazine. Her hometown is now Bend, OR but she graduated from high school in Danville, CA. After graduating from UO, she plans on traveling and working for National Geographic. During her spare time, she enjoys music, reading, sports and movies.

One of my favorite parts of summer is driving down the road with my car windows rolled down and a good, long playlist blasting through the speakers. Friends are also preferred. But it never really feels like summer until I can share my music with the world around me.

Because I like to play music in my car very loudly and almost always have friends with me during the day, I try to keep my music updated and replenished often. A wide variety of songs is important and listening to genres ranging from the ever-popular dubstep to pop to punk rock will keep your playlists feeling new.

What will be on your summer playlist? Photo by Sucello Leilões Virtuais

I’ve complied my summer playlist below that I will have on my iPod during the upcoming summer adventures and drives. Enjoy!

  • Young Homie by Chris Rene
  • Drive By by Train
  • Boyfriend by Justin Bieber
  • Glad You Came by The Wanted
  • Drunk on You by Luke Bryan
  • So Good B.o.B
  • Springsteen by Eric Church
  • Mercy by Kanye West
  • Function by E-40
  • Whistle by Flo Rida
  • Loud by Mac Miller
  • Let’s Go by Calvin Harris
  • Payphone by Maroon 5
  • Lights by Ellie Goulding
  • Somethin’ bout a Truck by Kip Moore
  • Young, Wild, and Free by Snoop Dog & Wiz Khalifa
  • Even if it Breaks Your Heart by The Eli Young Band
  • Titanum by David Guetta & Sia
  • One Time by One Direction
  • Paradise by Coldplay
  • Ass Back Home by Gym Class Heroes
  • Bangarang by Skrillex
  • Sail by AWOLNATION
  • Somebody that I Used to Know by Gyote (4FRNT remix)
  • Levels by Avicii
  • Summit by Skrillex

 

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Girls Gone Wild… For Pinterest

Filed under: All Things Tech - BookRenter Team
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By guest blogger Serena Piper
Journalism major at the University of Oregon. Editor-in-Chief of Her Campus Oregon. Magazine, freelance blogger, future world traveler. In her spare time, she likes to read as many books as she can, go for long drives, and peruse news websites. Hopes to one day write for National Geographic.

Pinterest. Virtual home of women all over the world looking to plan weddings, try new recipes, find ways to lose weight, remodel their homes, indulge in retail therapy, or find inspiring quotes. Millions of new pins are added every week to the site built by a small team of people in California. They are credited with giving people all over the world a new social media platform to connect through based on shared tastes and interests. Their goal was to “build a product people love,” and considering the site now has 21.5 million people visiting monthly, I think it’s safe to say they’ve accomplished that goal. They’ve also succeeded in creating a new addiction.

The Pinterest homepage

According to Experian, Pinterest is now the third most popular social networking site on the web, behind Facebook and Twitter. That’s some fast progress considering just five months ago it was number seven, behind LinkedIn and Myspace. But what some people don’t understand is what exactly all the hubbub is about. Why are we obsessed with what could be Tumblr’s twin? And what exactly is “pinning”?

Ironically, although the site was founded by a man, InsideNetworksAppData tracking service found that about 97% of Pinterest users are women. Of course, men are welcome to check out the site, but I don’t know many men who would go crazy over ways to organize their laundry room or make their own candles. Pinning is everything a woman does with a subscription to InStyle, Better Homes and Gardens, and Cosmo…but online. Pinning is what you do after seeing a photo you like. First, in order to make an account, you have to request an invite from Pinterest. Once you have created your account, browse the site. When you find something you like, click the ‘re-pin’ button and it instantly pins that image to your virtual bulletin board. Just like with Facebook and Twitter, your friends can “follow” your pins and if they see something they like, re-pin it to their own bulletin board.

Pinterest can be your best friend when it comes to finding delicious recipes, like IceCreamConePizza, and SmoreStuffedChocolateChipCookies; finding your next home project muse, such as apennytiledfloor; planning overthetoptreehouses for your kids; or scoping out DIY projects for those rainy weekends. It can also be a great way to promote your own website. For example, if you run a blog website for your school, you can link to your writer’s articles on Pinterest; it’s just another way to get your site more readers and exposure. Communication is what every social media site is for, right?

Check it out, but let this be a caution! You might be surprised by how addicted you get.

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The Must-Have iPhone Accessories

Filed under: All Things Tech - BookRenter Team
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By guest blogger Kelsey Bradshaw
Kelsey is a sophomore at the University of Oregon majoring in Journalism and Facebook (wait, that’s not a real major?!). Originally a track star from Medford, Oregon, she now enjoys going for runs with her friends and working out at Eugene Crossfit. She also enjoys visiting National Parks, playing in the snow, and hanging out at the beach…double points if they’re all at the same time.

For my last birthday, I got what I wanted more than anything else in the whole entire world: a shiny white iPhone 4s.

So, as with anything new and exciting, I wanted to make it even better.

I needed a case to protect it, obviously, and maybe one that just looked cute, and as long as I was on that website I could just order another pair of headphones. Before I knew it, I had spent a good portion of time (and money, oops!) ordering and/or salivating over all these things my new iPhone needed.

Here are the must-have accessories to make your iPhone the best iPhone ever:

iPhone protection

Now you won't forgot your phone or your wallet because they are in the same place. Photo by Griffin Technology.

Duracell Portable USB Charger: I feel like my phone runs out of battery whenever I need it the most. But my social life and battery power can be saved, with this portable charger that hooks up via USB cord and provides instant power to your phone.

Incase Capsule Headphones: If you want better headphones than the standard Apple ones (but don’t want to pay an arm and a leg for Dre Beats), try Incase. They are a surprisingly good quality (and deal!) for $50 headphones.

Polka Dot Portable Speakers: Forget ugly metal speakers that look like your little brother’s science project. These have polka dots! And are monogrammable!! I’ll take two, please.

Spiderpodium iPhone stand: I hate all things with 8 legs with a dedicated passion. Except for this. It attaches to your phone and gives it eight bendable legs so you can stick it anywhere: the seat in front of you in the car to watch movies on long road trips, on your desk so you can have the perfect FaceTime angle, or on the handlebars of your bike so you can make a video of your sweet jumps and other tricks.

Bottle Opener Case: So you’re at a party. Hottie to your left passes you a refreshing beverage, you whip out your phone and BAM! Open drink AND an awesome first impression. How do you do it without breaking your phone or telekinesis? This case.

Wallet Case: Never leave your wallet or phone at home again – they’re attached! Everything you need in one phone case. And if your budget is on the higher end, this iPhone wallet case is to die for. And technically you’re saving money by buying a phone case and a wallet, right?

Wood cases appeal to the inner "hipster" in all of us. Photo by Sharyn Morrow.

Wood Print Case: And, finally, something that can appeal to the hipster in all of us. Wood things are like my secret obsession: floors, alarm clocks, etc. And with a turquoise Apple logo to top it off, this case is number one on my wishlist.

Other awesome phone cases can be found at these sites:

  • society6.com (I dare you to buy just one),
  • speckproducts.com (they have adorable candy-colored cases that do an excellent job of protecting your poor defenseless iPhone)
  • Etsy (always has unique, but cute, cases)

 

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Sometimes a Computer is Necessary for Class…

Filed under: All Things Tech, College Life - BookRenter Team
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By guest blogger Stan Whitcomb
Stan is a freshman at Santa Clara University. He is currently undecided, but is leaning towards a major in computer science. He is new to the blogosphere but is a seasoned writer (thanks English class!). In his free time, he likes to Dougie with his hallamtes and he is an avid Frisbee player.

Laptops are considered a bare necessity in college these days. I can count on one hand the college students I know who don’t have a laptop. We use them to email our parents, register for classes, and help us with our homework (and help us procrastinate from doing homework!). Unfortunately, these wonderful machines can be a help and a hindrance if we bring them to class.

Pros:

Photo by Stephanie Asher

First off, most people who own a computer can type faster than they can write. This can be helpful when you want to take a lot of notes quickly and don’t want a sore hand afterwards. In addition, with typing, you no longer have to worry about problems like illegible handwriting. Great for those of us who take avid notes, look down, and realize that we can read about one of every five words we wrote.

In a recent study, students who used their laptops for note-taking and in-class activities scored higher than the students who took notes the traditional way. There were, however, two catches in the experiment: the students were policed heavily in regard to their use of the internet, instant messaging, and gaming and the class that students were in was geared towards laptop use.

If both of these parameters are not met, we see a negative correlation between laptops in class and test scores, according to this study and others. The moral of the story is, we need discipline if we want to use our computers effectively in class (I personally suggest turning off your computers Wi-Fi capabilities in class if all you are doing is taking notes. This strategy has done wonders for me).

Cons:

Initially, there is the whole dawdling issue. With the internet, you have basically infinite potential for bumbling around looking for something funny or interesting online. This could be through Tumblr, Facebook, Stumbleupon, or even old fashioned Google searches. The point being, these sites are timewasters and take up a portion of your concentration. You may think that you can listen to a lecture and look at memes. But recent studies show that multitasking and performance share an inverted relationship. Another downside to typing your notes deals with your memory. There is something about writing that allows you to remember it more easily, and thus not have study your notes as much. The same cannot be said for typing unfortunately. When the same can be said for typing as writing, I know my computer will be out every class, timewasters aside.

So now you have it out on the table. If the pros outweigh the cons, take your computer to class  (I encourage it!). However, if you know that halfway through your lecture you are going to start scrolling through your news feed, perhaps closing the laptop for a second will be a better option.

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