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Question for College Students/Recent Grads

This is a discussion on Question for College Students/Recent Grads within the Tech Corner forums, part of the Everything But Cigars category; My oldest son will be a freshman in college next year at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. I know a ...

  
  1. #1

    Leading Puffer Fish Stench's Avatar


     

    Question for College Students/Recent Grads

    My oldest son will be a freshman in college next year at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. I know a LOT has changed in the 20+ years since I graduated from there and we are trying to decide on laptop size/specs. He is wanting a 17" screen, but I'm concerned that this will be too big/bulky to carry around. Keep in mind, we will be buying in the $600-800 price range if at all possible. We bought mostly Dell's in the past, but I'm looking at the Acers on Newegg, etc. I'm not opposed to a mac, but we've got three Windows machines at home.

    Also, do you have a recommendation on a good waterproof bag. We used backpacks back in my day, but he's wanting a Messenger Bag. I don't care, just want something fairly waterproof for the miles hiked around campus.

    Thanks guys...trying hard not force what was "cool" in my day on him. Although it's funny to see all the stuff that is coming back from the 80's..

  2. #2

    Teh Kid thegoldenmackid's Avatar


     

    Re: Question for College Students/Recent Grads

    As a college student with a 17" Mac at a school that gives us free IBMs, here's my advice:
    1. Buy a Mac. Sure, I'm biased. However, I've had one issue with my Mac. Hard drive broke after one of my friends dropped my backpack six feet off the ground. Surprise? Everyone of the kids on my hall was into IT at least once with their IBMs. Most got viruses. Almost everyone struggled with setting up. Battery life is an absolute joke, I get five hours with mine - some of their batteries have already degraded to 45 minutes. Imagine what it's going to be like in three years. I could go on if you really want me to.
    2. Wait to buy it. Apple runs a promotion over the summer for students. You get a free iPod touch and printer with purchase of a new Mac. Best Buy will often match this deal and you get student pricing which is $50-$150 off. While a new MacBook will set you back over your budget, you could sell the iPod touch and get very close to the price.
    3. Bags. I like backpacks. Check out STM and BBP Bags for both backpacks and messenger bags, they are all well made and aren't of the booq pricing.
    4. I love my 17", but 17" PCs aren't the right choice. The weigh a ton and get ridiculously hot. Combine that with crappy battery life and you are in for a whole lot of pain. If you go PC, I recommend the 15" range (or 14.6") - seems to be where the best quality exists.

    I'll have a Mac Back to School guide posted towards the end of this month with a lot of info.
    http://twitter.com/charlieminato
    editor, halfwheel.com

  3. #3

    Go Nismo's RamRods Nismo#12's Avatar


     

    Re: Question for College Students/Recent Grads

    For me (5 years out) I have both a desktop and a laptop and rarely took my computer to class. Being an education major I didn't have a need to have my computer in class with me. I took notes old school, plus I found toting a laptop was just another thing to lug around and another distaction in class. My ADD was bad enough with out it.

    For me it was far easier just to have a USB Memery stick if I was doing work on campus. I have used both Mac and PC and not to start a furious debate with diehards of either camp, I could care less which one I used long as it worked. I have mainly used PC for personal use without any issue or quams. Our Ed. Dept had Mac labs and we trained on those sometimes. It's personal preference really.

    Now as for bags, check out some outdoor stores, not your Cabela's or Bass Pro, but your smaller hiking/camping/climbing shops (or the net). I never had a waterproof bag but I had an awesome rain jacket from Eastern Mountain Sports (which I still have and use).

    Biggest advice for college though is TIME MANAGEMENT. I was an RA for a stint and saw a lot of people get caught up in the "fun" part of college, Some failing out or getting into big trouble. There is time for work and there is time for play. I'd also recommend getting involved in some club. I did Club Lacrosse and had a blast. Oh I hope he knows how to do laundry and clean up after himself..seems like an epidemic on campuses.

    Good Luck to your son. College was infact some of the best years of my life (so far). I hope it becomes the same for him.
    "An intelligent man is sometimes forced to get drunk in order to spend time with his friends" ~Hemingway

  4. #4

    Maturing Puffer Fish StephenW's Avatar


     

    Re: Question for College Students/Recent Grads

    Good advice from Charlie above. I would not look into purchasing anything other than a Mac. I've been through my fair share of laptops and currently use a 12.1" X61s and a 15" Macbook Pro. The only reason I have the Windows machine is for work.

    My advice for your Son is that if he's looking to carry around a computer all day, purchase a 13". I walk about 3-4 miles a day around campus/back to my place and could not fathom having to lug my 15" Macbook Pro around. Aside from the slight weight difference making a huge difference throughout the day, college desks are typically extremely tiny (so small that a regular paper notebook would hang off the edges).

  5. #5

    Leading Puffer Fish Stench's Avatar


     

    Re: Question for College Students/Recent Grads

    Thanks for the replies. I guess the crux of the argument is I don't know how much he'll have to carry a laptop around. He's dragging his feet on declaring a major (He's graduating with a 3. - He's leaning towards kinesiology and then possibly Physical Therapy. We're trying to get him to look closely at Physics.

    I took ALL of my notes "old school"...LOL! We will look at some Macs though.

  6. #6

    Teh Kid thegoldenmackid's Avatar


     

    Re: Question for College Students/Recent Grads

    Quote Originally Posted by Stench View Post
    Thanks for the replies. I guess the crux of the argument is I don't know how much he'll have to carry a laptop around. He's dragging his feet on declaring a major (He's graduating with a 3. - He's leaning towards kinesiology and then possibly Physical Therapy. We're trying to get him to look closely at Physics.

    I took ALL of my notes "old school"...LOL! We will look at some Macs though.
    At Wake Forest, most of my professors haven't allowed for computers to be used in class understanding the temptations of: Facebook, Skype, Google, Online Shopping...

    Or in my case:
    Puff, CigarBid, ESPN and jonstewartsheadonmariolopezsbodygettingeffedbyauni corn.net

    The computer decreases retention rates and leads to endless distractions. Writing papers is a completely different animal however. I still say notebook over desktop, but I don't use mine to take notes.
    http://twitter.com/charlieminato
    editor, halfwheel.com

  7. #7

    Ole Crusty Spiked Fish tpharkman's Avatar


     

    Re: Question for College Students/Recent Grads

    Get the smaller screen on the laptop, purchase a larger flat screen monitor as well as a cooling port for the laptop and you can probably get it all done for around $800 to 900. The cooling port will preserve the hard drive, the smaller laptop will be easier to carry around and the bigger flat screen in the room will help him enjoy the movies he is watching while missing mom and dad.

    Of course if I had the money I would go with the Mac for sure. No viruses, amazing battery life and you can't argue with their reliability.
    Agnes, have you seen my Don Diegos?

  8. #8

    Teh Kid thegoldenmackid's Avatar


     

    Re: Question for College Students/Recent Grads

    http://twitter.com/charlieminato
    editor, halfwheel.com

  9. #9

    Maturing Puffer Fish StephenW's Avatar


     

    Re: Question for College Students/Recent Grads

    Rob - Back to school deal with the free 8gb ipod touch is now going on. Link: Apple Back to School - Education Store - Apple Store (U.S.)

  10. #10

    Teh Kid thegoldenmackid's Avatar


     

    Re: Question for College Students/Recent Grads

    The Back to School Plan is great, but just make sure you know how much you can get for the iPod touch - otherwise the refurb store might be your best bet.
    http://twitter.com/charlieminato
    editor, halfwheel.com

  11. #11

    JGD
    JGD is online now
    Formally "jadeg001" JGD's Avatar


     

    Re: Question for College Students/Recent Grads

    I agree with Charlie. Also, I know that hardly anyone at my undergrad brought their computer to class.

  12. #12

    Teh Kid thegoldenmackid's Avatar


     

    Re: Question for College Students/Recent Grads

    Quote Originally Posted by jadeg001 View Post
    I agree with Charlie. Also, I know that hardly anyone at my undergrad brought their computer to class.
    Glad to see someone else likes jonstewartsheadonmariolopezsbodygettingeffedby[a]unicorn.net
    http://twitter.com/charlieminato
    editor, halfwheel.com

  13. #13

    Full grown Puffer Fish GentlemanJester's Avatar


     

    Re: Question for College Students/Recent Grads

    I use a combo netbook/desk top. It's not for everyone but it does the job for me. I've got the desktop for my apartment and when I'm at home, and the Netbook (which can't do everything) for when I'm on campus or in class.

    I personally think it's the best of both worlds and wouldn't have it any other way, but that's just me.
    Be it a Opus X or a Swisher Sweet, if you like it, smoke it. Cause it's all about the ride!

  14. #14

    Maturing Puffer Fish StephenW's Avatar


     

    Re: Question for College Students/Recent Grads

    Quote Originally Posted by jadeg001 View Post
    I agree with Charlie. Also, I know that hardly anyone at my undergrad brought their computer to class.
    I think it's dependent on the type of classes. In courses with a lot of note taking (general education, lower-division courses and science classes at all levels) about 60%-80% of the class is using laptops as opposed to handwriting their notes for the sake of speed and organization. In other classes that require little note taking (e.g. upper division philosophy), you see very few people with laptops.

  15. #15

    Teh Kid thegoldenmackid's Avatar


     

    Re: Question for College Students/Recent Grads

    My experiences have told me it's a professor choice as to computers in class. Regardless, you need a portable computer of sort. The library (while not my cup of tea) is a lot of people's only place to work.

    Even at Wake where our classes our capped at a maximum around 25-30 for about 99% of classes, the professors know better then to give people the opportunity to "multitask". If you aren't willing to turn off Facebook when you look at the cost of the school that's your doing, but I've been known to drift off plenty of times then to know better to give myself that risk.
    http://twitter.com/charlieminato
    editor, halfwheel.com

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