The task of picking out what technology you need can be a daunting one, especially when the choice hinges on something as important as school or your job. Therefore, here are five recommendations for what technology to use to get your work done quickly and safely.
1. Gmail. If you use an internet provider’s email address and cancel your account (like Comcast), use a school email and graduate, or use a work email and quit, that email address (and everything on it) is gone forever. In other words, anyone contacting you through it, be it your best friend or your general manager, suddenly won’t be able to anymore. Gmail offers a platform that will always be there (unless hell freezes over and Google goes bankrupt), is accessible on any device, and is familiar to any employer you’re likely to meet. Use your school or work email if you’re asked to, but a Gmail is a great way to always stay in contact with people who have the ability to fail you — or worse, fire you. Emails like Yahoo will serve this purpose too, but Google’s stability and the fact your Gmail account can be used in conjunction with other Google services like YouTube give it the best value for having to remember yet another password.
2. A (recent) MacBook. This one’s a bit more controversial, but hear me out. I often hear the argument that “Macs are incompatible with Windows computers.” In fact, this is patently false. Macs are the only computers on the market that can run Mac OS, Windows, Linux, and Chrome OS through Google Chrome. That means it is the only computer than can open any file type of any kind sent to you by anyone. This is something my sister learned when she got a Mac-only file from her teacher that wouldn’t open on her Windows computer, so my Mac had to come in to save the day. Macs are expensive, but they’re long-lasting computers, and you can get a discount on them for being a student over at RamTech.
3. iWork for Mac; Microsoft Office for PCs. Unlike Google Docs, which requires a consistent internet connection to work properly, iWork and Office save files to your computer’s hard drive, so you can keep working even if (or when) CSU’s internet dies. All three can also be accessed on the internet, too, so Google Docs is at a mild disadvantage here. Office is the best option on Windows, but I’d recommend iWork for Mac; it’s free, unlike Office, and can easily create lots of different file types, ranging from the standard Word, Excel, and PowerPoint formats to PDFs and JPEGs to uncommon ones like the ebook format, EPUB.
4. Google Chrome. Internet Explorer is slow, Safari has problems with some websites (like RamCT), and Firefox doesn’t offer the easy addition of Google web apps. For the sake of compatibility, speed, and more flexibility with your web browsing, get Chrome.
5. A flagship smartphone, specifically an iPhone, a Samsung Galaxy, a Google Nexus, or a Nokia Lumia. These types of phones are most likely to get the latest software updates from their respective developers, which means they’re most likely to work consistently. Lesser-known Android phones have their niches, but if Google doesn’t update their software, you’ll be more prone to viruses and crashes on a device you’re relying on to communicate with your teachers or managers.
Having the right technology can do you huge favors in the long run, so be prepared.
Collegian Columnist Dan Rice can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter by @danriceman