technology

A Cornellian’s Go-To Websites

March 28, 2015 in Alive Campus, Campus Life

"We live in an age of modernity and technological innovations."

“We live in an age of modernity and technological innovations.”

We live in an age of modernity and technological innovations.

With that being said, college students are on their laptops and smartphones nearly every waking minute—more specifically, during the times when they should be doing work. I, myself, am guilty of being a brainwashed child of the technological revolution. In fact, I will even go so far as to state that my laptop is probably one of my dearest possessions. As such, here is a comprehensive (most definitely not exhaustive) list of websites that I tend to use during my weekdays/schooldays at Cornell:

Cornellsun.com

The Cornell Daily Sun is an independent daily newspaper published in Ithaca by Cornellians. The Sun operates both from a physical newspaper format, as well as the more popular online publication format. The newspaper’s website features daily (Monday-Friday) coverage of the goings-on of the university, including opinion columns and blog pieces submitted by students from all walks of life. As someone who tries to stay “in the know,” the website is my go-to website for all of the 30-minutes breaks I may have in between classes or meetings. It’s usually how I know when there’s a protest going on against yet another terrible institution-wide decision (cough cough HEALTH FEE), or when a concert is coming our way (crossing my fingers for a spectacular Slope Day lineup this coming May).

Tumblr.com

Tumblr is a micro blogging platform and social networking website which allows users to post multimedia and other content to a short-form blog. Most bloggers re-blog or post pictures, photosets, or videos. I, on the other hand, follow a myriad of Feminist, Social Activism, and Political blogs. When I’m not reading a news article on the Cornell Daily Sun’s website—or simply when the Sun does not report on something important—I’m reading about the hard hitting issue(s) on Tumblr. The website gets a bad rep for being a picture version of Twitter and Facebook, combined, but the website is actually an amazing tool for college students to stay connected to the outside world. It’s also a wonderful community of advocates who post thought-provoking articles or think pieces on social issues that affect people from all over the world.

Hulu/Netflix:

Before leaving for college, my mother said, “Remember to focus on your studies. College is expensive and important, and it’s imperative that you stay focused.” Granted, college is about one’s education. However, Cornell—and all schools, really—can become quite toxic, especially if you only focus on your studies. Every now and then, you need a “breather.” Parties are fun and all, but sometimes you need some time off to be by yourself. I like to partake in binge watching entire series or genres of movies. The idea of putting on my PJs, hiding underneath my comfy comforter, and binge watching Modern Family or Dance Moms while eating a tub of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream is, literally, the ideal in life. Such websites are also incredibly for your in-between times (in-between classes and meetings, I mean), as well as during study breaks (just make sure to stop at one episode).

Alive Campus:

Kind of like the blog version of College Confidential, Alive Campus is a wonderful avenue in which real students write think pieces and articles about their college experiences. If you’re in need of information about a specific university, or simply want a story about any college in general, AC is a great website to peruse. You get the uncensored, unabridged, unabashed version that college tour guides are told never to tell you about specific colleges.

Cynical Cornellian: A+ Smartphone Apps

January 16, 2015 in Alive Campus, Campus Life, Love, Tech

As I often state, “College is the time to be an adult!” By that, I don’t mean that college is the time to make long-term decisions or even mature ones. Rather, college is the time to learn how to live like a starving artist in a low-rent apartment, in which your dinners consist of ramen noodles and saltine crackers and your daily routines consist of perusing your Tumblr dashboard and posting ironic Facebook statuses to hide the fact that you truly despise where your life has headed. All cynical college student jokes aside, being an adult in college means being broke and bored (still cynical, but hey, I’m a college kid).  So here’s a list of wonderful, life-improving/life-altering phone apps and websites that might make you just a tad bit less cynical about your slowly degrading adult life.

"Seamless is an online food ordering application through which college students can find dining locations in the vicinity, and place an order for either delivery or pick up."

“Seamless is an online food ordering application through which college students can find dining locations in the vicinity, and place an order for either delivery or pick up.”

Seamless/Grubhub: This is the pinnacle of foodie heaven (I’m a foodie, so you can trust me on this one). Seamless is an online food ordering application through which college students can find dining locations in the vicinity, and place an order for either delivery or pick up. The application has the added function of dividing restaurants into food categories/genres (Pizza, Chinese, Sushi, Indian, etc.). Personally, I love the app because it categorizes restaurants based on distance and customer ratings. Moreover, I love having access to the menus in an organized fashion—I have a legitimate phobia to entering a dining establishment only to be bombarded with a huge menu and an impatient waiter/cashier. Seamless gives me the options with an unlimited supply of time to think about, and research/find pictures of, the food that I’m about to use my limited supply of money to purchase (as a cynical, broke college kid, you have to be economical). Use the app for any meal of the day—or late night, if you’re about that all-nighter life.

Tinder: Dating is tough. Dating in college is tougher. It’s true that college is probably going to be the time of your life in which you have the largest supply of potential life partners. From that perspective, you would assume that finding a date and, eventually, a boyfriend/girlfriend/partner would be as easy as reading a children’s pop up book (sans the people who are illiterate or have a phobia to paper that unfolds and pops out at you when you turn the page). Unfortunately, dating in college is not that simple—for reasons unbeknownst to me. Tinder makes everything so much easier! You make an account by linking your Facebook to the Tinder app, your Facebook profile photos sync to the app and become your main photo stream, you write a witty and provocative description, and you swipe right to all of the cuties! If you get matched, you send an awkward and slightly inappropriate greeting and cross your fingers that you’ll get lucky tonight. I met my boyfriend this way and will never regret sending that inappropriately objectifying message to him the moment we matched. Thank you Tinder!

"I met my boyfriend this way and will never regret sending that inappropriately objectifying message to him the moment we matched. Thank you Tinder!"

“I met my boyfriend this way and will never regret sending that inappropriately objectifying message to him the moment we matched. Thank you Tinder!”

Yik Yak: Imagine seeing Regina George’s burn book but with names kept out of the hateful messages and the pages being short, electronic posts. Once you can conceptualize this, you’ve conceptualized Yik Yak. An anonymous social media app, YY allows users to upload rude, comedic, or somewhere in-between posts that get disseminated to an audience in a 10-mile radius. So if you’re bored and absolutely hate that girl listening to Iggy Azalea on her iPhone at maximum volume in an incredibly silent library, post a status about that girl listening to Iggy Azalea on her iPhone at maximum volume in an incredibly silent library and hope that people in that incredibly silent library give you a thumbs up—also hope that the girl listening to Iggy Azalea on her iPhone at maximum volume in an incredibly silent library reads the post and turns off that garbage that she calls music.

And there you have it: three apps that I consider to be A+ material for college kids struggling to be adults in a world where being an adult is a massively depressing ordeal that requires a trust fund or sugar daddy to truly be happy. Am I cynical? Yes. Are these apps A+? Absolutely.

The Most Useful Devices for College Students

November 7, 2014 in Alive Campus, Campus Life

College today revolves around the digital age. No matter what college campus you are on, you will find laptops, smartphones, tablets and some other random devices. These devices have become a necessity for students in college and this would have been unheard of 20 years ago.

Today’s college students would not be able to get through college if they didn’t have the following or something similar to the following.

  1. Laptops: Laptops are essential to the college student. Pretty much every class requires you to have one in order to do your work. Everything is going digitalized and having a laptop is a lot easier than having a desktop computer. Laptops are portable and easy to use. Additionally, most students take them to class in order to take notes with instead of writing by hand. Typing is a lot quicker and you can record the teacher’s lecture if you want also. Ironically, some teachers want their students to bring their laptops in order to look up websites, articles, or their presentation in order to follow along. Laptops are probably the most useful and used device for college students.
  2. Smartphones: Everywhere you turn, you will most likely see people using their smartphones. Smartphones are like a smaller version of the laptop. They are useful to the college student because they allow you to look something up in an instant and they are easier to carry than the laptop. Teachers are also allowing students to use them in class in order to look up information. Smartphones have so many useful features like GPS, internet connection, and of course the obvious texting and calling that any college student would benefit from having one.
  3. Tablets: Tablets are a combination of the laptop and smartphone put together. They are slightly smaller than the laptop, therefore more portable and easier to carry. But they are also bigger than the smartphone which allows the ability to write and type (with a touch screen). Tablets are useful for taking notes in class without the bulk of the laptop and are also nice because you can watch movies on them without having the big keyboard in the way like the laptops. These features are what college students probably like the most because they have to take notes for class and they also like to watch movies in their dorms. It’s the best of both worlds.
  4. Google Glass: This is a new technology that clips on to your glasses. It is pretty much a smartphone on your glasses. It allows you to navigate, take pictures and video, and give you reminders. This would be a very useful device for college students because they are always on the go and it is a hands free device that has a lot of the features of the smartphone. A perfect combination for college students.

    Google Glass

    Google Glass

 Overall, these devices are, or are becoming, universal in colleges around the world. They are able to provide quick access to information with other features as well for entertainment. They are our present and future and college students would not know what to do without them.

Top 10 Tech Gadgets for College Students

October 23, 2014 in Alive Campus, Campus Life, Tech, Top 10 Lists

Cool technology gadgets.

Cool technology gadgets.

1. Laptops- Some student decided to have MacBook’s or PC’s, but one thing is for sure, a laptop is very essential to success in college.  When the library closes (if yours does) your resources including computers are instantly limited.  So, having something portable to do you work on is very important.  You can take your laptop almost everywhere you go and I recommend getting one that you plan on having for a while.

2. IPhone- The iPhone is probably the most popular smartphone seen and used on college campuses.  The iPhone allows you to do group texts, have exclusive applications, and also be stylish.

3. Tablets- Tablets are the new thing.  This is because they are small, lightweight, and more portable than laptops.  They are also bigger than phones, so they still allow work to be done on them.  These are great for club and organization meetings, as well as for taking notes in class.  They also double as a planner to keep you organized.  Not to mention, they are fun to play games on when you are bored.

4. Kindles- Kindles or any type of e-reader, is very popular for college students.  Now, textbooks are available for purchase on these devices (as well as tablets), and it puts  those books all in one place, reduces the cost, and are also more portable when walking around campus.

5. Beats by Dr. Dre Headphones- Beats by Dr. Dre Headphones are the best headphones in the college game right now.  Although they are expensive, these are the best headphones to listen to music while studying, working out, or do projects with.  If you are a college student who is big into music, these are perfect for you.  Yes, they are a little bigger than typical headphones, but the audio quality is well worth the money and the little extra size.

6. Portable Phone Chargers- In college you are always on the go.  Seen all over campus, portable phone chargers have almost become a necessity for most college students.  These are great, because they avoid having to go home or beg to borrow a phone charger from a random person in the library or student center.

7. Bluetooth Speakers- Bluetooth speakers are great for studying outside or hanging out.  These are wireless, so all you have to do is sync your iPod or phone and the music just plays without needing wire hookups or Wi-Fi.  They are also great if you like to throw parties and need something portable.  These speakers can be small or big, depending on your preference and budget.

8. Digital Camera- This is for those students who LOVE to capture those important moments.  Phones can crash, but a digital camera is a great way to take and store college memories.

9. USB/Flash Drives- Flash drives are amazing to have and always come in handy. They are perfect to have on you at all times in order to be able to save projects, get notes from other students, and work in groups with. They are also great for pictures and for portfolios.

10.Cordless Computer Mouse- A cordless mouse is a great way to bring a desktop feel to your laptop. A computer mouse like this is small and relatively cheap. They make it easier to navigate on your computer and get projects and homework done.

Yik Yak: The New Twitter

October 15, 2014 in Alive Campus, Campus Life, Reviews, Tech

 

Yik Yak’s mascot

Our generation loves Twitter for many reasons. It encourages us to share thoughts with one another that, if “good enough,” get rewarded with the social capitol that takes the form of favorites and retweets. Unfortunately, this capitol is not an acceptable form of payment when it comes to your school loans. Twitter also is a way of being “social” while still actually just being very self-involved, which admittedly, is something our generation can’t get enough of.

What is the one problem with Twitter? We can’t be completely honest because our darkest, most controversial thoughts will be tracked back to us, and the vulnerability in such honesty is not something our generation likes because it thins the veil between our real selves and the social media personality we construct for ourselves. (Don’t think you have a social media personality? Have you ever removed a tag from a Facebook photo? I rest my case) Thankfully, the new app Yik Yak has come around to allow college students to be incredibly misogynistic, racist and mean without having to tarnish their social media reputation.

Yik Yak is essentially Twitter, without deciding whose thoughts show up on your timeline, because instead, your geographic location decides what shows up for your reading pleasure/disgust. When a Yak is funny, you “upvote” it, and if it is not funny, you “downvote” it. You can also comment on someone’s yak, and each comment has the same voting situation as regular Yaks.

There are some pretty common types of Yaks you will encounter

  • Misdirection comedy: “Someone asked me about my views on lesbians… Apparently ‘usually in HD’ wasn’t the answer they wanted”
  • Too shy to introduce themselves: “The boy who just walked past me and smiled wearing the blue shirt omg you are so cute I wish I could have talked to you! :)”
  • Mad about something on campus: “I want to closeline every fucking longboarder that rides past me”
  • Poop-related Yaks: “5 sips into my coffee and I feel like I’m going to shit myself”
    (Real Yaks courtesy of BSU Yik Yak)

So what’s the problem with Yik Yak? Nothing, if you’re not a particularly sensitive person. And in this case, you really don’t have any right to be sensitive. It is an anonymous social media app with limited to no credibility. A lot of users enjoy getting a rise out this population of sensitive users. They’ll post something very controversial just to get angry replies. What’s the point in feeding into something like that, when there is no way to find out who is saying those things?

If this article is coming off as critical, I don’t mean to be because this is actually my favorite new app. Yik Yak is a perfect mindless app because it doesn’t matter who is saying the things that are on there, it just matters if you are entertained in someway while you wait outside a classroom for your class to start. However, I do think in 150 years when an intergalactic species invades our planet and enslaves our race, they’ll come across Yik Yak and realize it’s really just tiny vignettes of art.