Category Archives: All Things Tech

Girls Gone Wild… For Pinterest

Filed under: All Things Tech - BookRenter Team
Tags: , , ,

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 Smore-StuffedChocolateChipCookies; finding your next home project muse, such as apenny-tiledfloor; planning over-the-toptreehouses 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.

Add a Comment



The Must-Have iPhone Accessories

Filed under: All Things Tech - BookRenter Team
Tags: , , , ,

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)

 

Add a Comment



Sometimes a Computer is Necessary for Class…

Filed under: All Things Tech, College Life - BookRenter Team
Tags: , , , ,

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.

Add a Comment



iPhone 4S vs. Samsung Galaxy II

Filed under: All Things Tech - BookRenter Team
Tags: , , ,

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.

The smartphone battle continues to heat up as it seems a new phone comes on the market every few months. Sometimes it feels like every week.

Here’s a comparison of two of the hottest phones on the market, the iPhone 4S and the Samsung Galaxy II:

Size

Photo by Brett Jordan

The Galaxy S II is one of the thinnest Androids out there, which is nice to hear. Although, it still doesn’t beat the size of the new iPhone. Overall, the Galaxy S II is considerably larger due to its display but beats out the iPhone in weight by .13 ounces.

Display

The Galaxy S II has a larger screen then the iPhone 4S by a full inch. However, the iPhone 4S boasts a better resolution than the Galaxy S II, which means a higher pixel density. Overall, the iPhone wins again but it is hard to choose between two awesome touchscreen displays.

Price

Now that’s a scary topic. The iPhone 4S will put you back $199 for the 16GB, $299 for the 32GB and $399 for the 64GB, but only for new contracts or those eligible for upgrades. Otherwise, price jumps between $600-800 depending on carriers and the GB. The Galaxy S II starts at $199.99 with AT&T and T-Mobile has it for $299.99. Sprint carries the Galaxy S II for the same price as AT&T with a new contract.

Camera and Video

Other than the awesome Siri, the biggest iPhone 4S upgrade is the rear-facing camera with a custom lens and f/2.4 aperture. The Galaxy S II camera matches the iPhone 4S and the details continue to be the same with an LED flash, auto focus and digital zoom. Video abilities are also neck-to-neck and both come with software for photo and video editing.

Battery Life

Photo by Fresh Fiber

Apple placed a built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery into the new iPhone with a talk time of up to 8 hours on 3G. Standby time is up to 200 hours and audio playback is up to 40 hours. Internet usage is up to 6 hours on 3G. Samsung added a rechargeable 1850 mAH lithium-ion battery with a talk time that is pretty similar to the iPhone.

Winner

Honestly, as cliché as this may be, there was no apparent winner. Both the iPhone 4S and the Galaxy S II sport the greatest and latest technology in terms of smartphones and they share a lot of the same features. Choosing from one of these phones really depends on whether you are an iOS or Android fan. Either way, this phone can keep you up to date on business when away from the office and can provide you with entertainment for hours. It’s a win all around!

Add a Comment



The Academy Awards are here!

Filed under: All Things Tech, College Life - BookRenter Team
Tags: , , , , , ,

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.

The awards season is here. We’ve already gotten a taste with the Grammys, Emmys, and Golden Globes. It’s time for the crème de la crème, the mother of all awards shows, the Academy Awards. They’ll be taking place on February 26th (7pm EST).

Photo by Loren Javier

There are lots of movies on display, probably more than you were able to see last year. So we all need a little breakdown and some predictions about the Academy Awards, right?

BEST PICTURE

The Artist
The Descendants

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

The Help
Hugo
Midnight in Paris
Moneyball
The Tree of Life
War Horse

Prediction: The Artist
Possible Spoiler: The Help

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

Demian Bichir – A Better Life
George Clooney – The Descendants
Jean Dujardin –
The Artist
Gary Oldman –
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Brad Pitt – MoneyBall

Prediction: Brad Pitt, Moneyball
Possible Spoiler: Jean Dujardin, The Artist or George Clooney, The Descendants

Best Actress nominee Rooney Mara. Photo by Beacon Radio.

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

Glenn Close – Albert Nobbs
Viola Davis – The Help
Rooney Mara – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Meryl Streep – The Iron Lady
Michelle Williams – My Week with Marilyn

Prediction: Viola Davis, The Help
Possible Spoiler: Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Kenneth Baranagh – My Week with Marilyn
Jonah Hill – Moneyball
Nick Nolte – Warrior
Christoper Plummer – Beginners
Max von Sydow – Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

Prediction: Christopher Plummer, Beginners
Possible Spoiler: Max Von Sydow, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Berenice Bejo – The Artist
Jessica Chastain – The Help
Melissa McCarthy –
Bridesmaids
Janet McTeer –
Albert Nobbs
Octavia Spencer –
The Help

Martin Scorcese accepting the 2012 Golden Globe for Best Director. Scorcese is up for the Oscar, as well. Photo by Beacon Radio.

Prediction: Octavia Spencer, The Help
Possible Spoiler: Berenice Bejo, The Artist

DIRECTING

The Artist – Michael Hazanavicius
The Descendants –
Alexander Payne
Hugo –
Martin Scorsese
Midnight in Paris –
Woody Allen
The Tree of Life –
Terrence Malick

Prediction: Michael Hazanavicius, The Artist
Possible Spoiler: Martin Scorsese, Hugo

So these are my predictions. Who do you think will be taking home an Oscar? Let us know!

Add a Comment