by Areez Gangji
2 September 2008
Going to university is an amazing experience: getting to the next chapter in your life, finally gaining some independence, and showing up to your 2:30 class in PJs. However, you'll quickly realize that great schooling is expensive, and you're going to have to work hard to make the experience worthwhile. I'm here to help, and while I can't carry your mini-fridge to your dorm or stop your roommate from stealing your food, I can give you a list of 10 apps that should help you survive the next four (or five or six) years of university—apps that'll help you prepare for exams, apps that'll help you with your life outside the classroom, and a couple that will make you want to bang your head on a desk for not working on that term paper two months ago.
Have to memorize so many dates that your head is about to explode? Timetoast will help you organize them into a way that makes sense. Add the dates with a description and Timetoast will sort them into a timeline for you. You can also add pictures and browse timelines that other users have created, so if your notes look like they should be sketches on the side of a cave wall, you might just be in luck and find what you need already created.
CL Desktop makes browsing Craig's List easier. Pictures are included in the listings. Searching has more options. You can save your searches, and listings update in real time. It won't help you carry that three-legged couch from the '70s into your place, but it will help you find it. The only weakness right now is that you can't create your own listings on it yet.
Twitter is a social network that lets you tell the world about what you're thinking or doing right now. Combine that with TweetDeck and a good helping of self-importance, and you'll be hooked for good. TweetDeck lets you seamlessly read and write tweets outside of your browser, and can hide in a corner on your screen so that you can twitter responsibly and not lose an entire day to messages less than 140 characters long.
IExpenseOnline is like having a financial advisor and your mom inside your computer. While this app does require you to put in your own spending information, it's available to anyone globally. It helps you track what you spend and make, and has tips on how to cut down your expenses and save your money. It's also easier to convince the parents to send you more money if you can confuse them with pie charts.
Thanks to TokBox, you'll never need to buy another calling card. TokBox lets you call anyone with an e-mail address and leave messages, and can pull your contact list from a variety of IM tools (MSN, AIM, etc.). The coolest part? You can record video as long as you have a web cam. Give your family and friends back home a virtual tour of your new digs.
With Photoshop Express, Adobe combines the photo editing power and ease-of-use of Photoshop Elements with the RIA capabilities of Flex. You'll get two free gigs for photo storage, all your basic and favorite photo editing options (crop out that "friend" that you don't really like and pretend they were never there), and your own free URL to host all your pictures and albums. You can also seamlessly send your snapshots to Facebook, Photobucket, Flickr, or Picasa, so all your friends can find your new photos without having to hunt them down.
mooFlair is one of the best video delivery services available for your desktop. It allows you to continue watching videos while you browse through what you want to see next, create playlists, and download videos to your desktop so you can drop them into your iPod. Now you can watch the Carlton dance wherever you go.
Internet radio just got better. Finetune, a Webware 100 winner, is a music sharing service that focuses on letting users create and share playlists. Using its large music directory, Finetune can make a playlist for you based on your favorite artists. Also check out Finetune desktop, which allows you to get onto Finetune without even opening your browser.
Acrobat.com is an Adobe product that helps you work your way through any group project. Here's what you get:
- Buzzword: This free document creator can import any text document (.txt, .doc, and many more). You can share your document with anyone and allow them to read it, add comments, or just edit it altogether (great for group projects). You also have a record of all your changes and the option to revert back to earlier copies.
- Adobe ConnectNow: Share your desktop with anyone in your session with support for instant messaging, live chat, and even webcams. It's really useful when not everyone can make your group meetings: just do your meeting live over ConnectNow so that no one is left out of the loop.
- Adobe Share: Not only do you get 5 GB of free storage, but you have the option to share any of the files stored in it with anyone who has an e-mail address. It also allows you to update files seamlessly, without having to make numerous redundant copies. Finally, the days of e-mailing each other the 40th version of your presentation when all you did was change "there" to "their" are over!
Can you imagine how you'd feel if your hard drive fried and you lost everything on your computer: your documents, your pictures, your saved games, and—worst of all—your songs? MediaMaster won't save your computer from you tossing it out the window like a prop from Animal House but it will save your entire song library so you don't have to rip/download/buy them all over again. You can also check out what other users are listening to by browsing over to their playlists. It's also great for studying when you're at the library and forgot your iPod at home.