Hi-tech, low-tech, no-tech, there’s everything at KSU

Helene Miller

It’s a question that almost every incoming freshman considers: What do I need to take with me to college?

Clothes, book bag, desk lamp and the ever-popular futon are on the lists of most, but there is constant controversy when it comes to technology. Laptops and cell phones are nearly essential these days, and now the technology world has added tablets to the mix.

Even after students realize what they need, they may not know which brand to choose. The battle of technology begins, as does the new school year.

iPhone 4 vs. Droid X

Smart phones are the new rave. While some still hang on to their BlackBerries, others move into the world of iPhones or Droids.

The two offer similar applications and storage space. Some may argue that iPhone 4 has video chat, or “face time” as Apple calls it, but the Droid X has Skype built in.

The only quasi-notable difference in the two devices is the camera. It seems that a phone is no longer just a phone. If it were just about calling and texting, neither of these gadgets would exist nor would many others.

Mac vs. PC

Mac or PC? – That is the question. We’ve all seen the comical commercials that show the two competing.

Some may choose a PC because that is what they grew up with or perhaps because they’re cheaper. Others may choose a Mac because it is more graphically inclined or because it can’t get viruses, or so they say. “It depends on your major,” Mike Carson, senior IT user support analyst of The Tech Spot in Tri-Towers, said.

He said that some majors, such as architecture, require the use of programs that can only run with Windows. Other majors, such as visual communication design, use Macs because the computers are more graphics oriented.

Carson went on to say that underneath it all, Macs and PCs are basically the same; their software just runs differently.

Mac sales are much higher now than in the past according to sophomore Greyson Jones, who works at the University Bookstore in the Student Center. He said it has been about a 70/30 split leaning toward Macs in the past year.

He explained how Apple released its newest computers in May. The new MacBooks include a longer battery life, a faster processing system and a unibody shell that prevents damage better than previous models.

Carson also said The Tech Spot has seen an increase in netbooks. He thinks that more students get them because they are more convenient to take to class.

Kindle vs. iPad

When Apple announced the creation of the iPad, everyone thought it was the end of Amazon’s Kindle.

According to the AppleBlog, the two have really coexisted since the iPad’s release in April.

The site explains how Kindle is completely focused on e-books. Amazon isn’t trying to compete, despite their new lower prices.

While the iPad does have e-book capabilities, it was designed to do more, such as e-mailing, watching movies, listening to music and looking at photos. In reality, the iPad is more like a netbook than a Kindle.

Beyond being cheaper, Kindle also offers textbooks, something students can benefit from. Kindle books are usually cheaper, immediately available and much lighter. iPad is also speculated to start “stocking” textbooks, but Apple hasn’t done so yet.

The choice between iPad and Kindle really depends on what a student is looking for in a device.

Neutral Zone

For the sake of sanity, simply put – a phone and a computer are helpful in college. Though some fight over fancy high-tech phones and laptops, just having them in general is all a student really needs.

If a student doesn’t have one or either of these, they should remember that the library has computers, and that landlines do still exist. As one graduate student said, pretty much anything students could possibly need is available right here on campus.

Another thing to keep in mind is the University Bookstore sells both Macs and Dells and has special deals running for the beginning of the school year.

Some students are afraid to go Mac because less people know how to fix them, but The Tech Spot is now an Apple authorized service provider.

Another thing students should keep in mind is the Student Multimedia Studio in the library offers links to free software for both Macs and PCs.

Contact news correspondent Helene Miller at [email protected].