Mindy's Musings: Gadgets 101

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Once upon a time there was a student named Mindy, who composed term papers using their family typewriter, and duplicated them by carbon paper. She obtained copies of books by checking them out from the library, then going to the neighborhood store to have them photocopied. She listened to her Walkman while studying, and scheduled exams and club meetings on her planner.

It sounds tedious, no? Especially the typewriter part. I cannot believe how difficult student life was ten years ago! (Hey, just ten years, I'm just 30. =P) Now I see all these students, like my little brother Rich for instance, just carrying around small laptops for their typing and research needs and wearing ID laces with flash drives attached to them. “Portable” is the operative word in the convenience brought about by these 21st century gadgets.

I have listed down five useful gadgets that students now must have. These range from the ubiquitous to the powerful, but one thing's for sure: they make education easier.

The Laptop

During recent years, the computer has gone from luxury to necessity, with every household purchasing a unit for the children's educational use. Now the laptop is undergoing a similar trend, especially with the advent of speedy wireless internet in schools, libraries, and other study venues. With a portable computer, the student can access necessary information literally anytime, anywhere.

I recommend getting the small ones, those mini-notebooks with LCD screens of as little as 7 inches. Different developers have already released their own versions of these über-portable computers, like the Asus EEE PC and HP Mini-Note PC . They might be tiny, but their power can defeat your desktop computer's in a (nano)second.

The Printer/Scanner/Copier

Triple threats not only exist in show business, they also thrive in the tech world! An example would be the printer/scanner/copier, a very useful gadget especially for students living in dormitories. The al-in-one device will surely eliminate the hassles of going back and forth to copiers, and would give the students more time to review for tomorrow's exams. Companies like Epson and Lexmark have already released these kinds of devices.

The Multi-functional Cellular Phone

I know you all have phones. And yes, they must be turned off in class. But just put them on silent mode especially if your phone is also your scheduler and your camera. Even the simplest of phones nowadays contain the calendar function, so there should be no more excuses if you missed your written report on Invertebrate Zoology. Utilize your phones to the fullest!

The Music Player and Recorder

Like every gadget on the market, music players are now shrunken, miniature versions of their original incarnations. Take the iPod Nano for example, and compare it to the, er, first iPod Classic. What's amazing though is that the features are inversely proportional to the size! The memory expands and the applications increase. And how can a student take advantage of this? One can obtain audio books from the Internet and use them for reviewing. Or if the player has a recording function, why not record your professor's lectures if they talk too fast? I am sure there's more than enough memory that can hold at least one semester's worth of audio files.

The USB Flash Drive

The USB flash drive is the necessary storage device that every student must have. Period. With memory clocking in at 8 GB, you can now put a year's worth of school files on a thing that is as small as a pencil eraser. You can store reports, documents, presentations, videos, and even movies on these nifty things. If you need to access them, just plug it in to any computer. But make sure you scan them regularly, as their tendency to catch and transmit computer viruses is quite high.

Shout out

Well, that's it for now. I would love to hear from you. So if there's anything you want to know, any requests, gossip (hehe), suggestions or greetings, just the e-mail me at mindy@wikipilipinas.org. Let's keep each other posted guys! 'Til next week. Gtg!

See Mindy's column archive