Tag Archives | technology

Review: Wacom Bamboo Stylus Fineline

 
 
So you’re in the market for a stylus, but with so many options out there, how do you choose which one is right for you? I had a look at Wacom’s Bamboo Stylus Fineline. For my purposes, I used the stylus to brainstorm, but it can also be used for artists who are a bit more creative than myself.

IMG_4906

The Bamboo Stylus Fineline

For those of you new to the stylus game, you are able to use the product as if it was your finger for basic functions on the iPad – swiping, selecting, etc. However, if you’re looking to scribble down notes or draw, you can’t just activate the stylus and start drawing in Apple Notes – you will need to download an app (and there are many). Wacom recommends downloading Bamboo Paper, which I did. If you get frustrated easily, this may irk you.

Within the app, I found the pen responsive, and content I scribbled out was accurate. There were a few times when the pen didn’t make direct contact with the iPad and it skipped, but once I became comfortable with it, this happened less. It helps if you tilt the pen at the angle you’re writing in.

The cap doesn’t stay well on the back of the pen, but it wasn’t an issue for me – I left it off. If you have bigger hands, you may want the extra length. I won’t be using a stylus every day, but I see it being useful for those with bigger fingers who have difficulty pinpointing items on a touch screen.

Here is the key information students should know before purchasing the Wacom Bamboo Stylus Fineline. You can also visit the Wacom website.

The Highlights

  • MSR Price: $59.99 US
  • USB cable for charging
  • Charging time: Approximately 2 hours (mine took an hour and 45 minutes)
  • Life: Once charged, the stylus can last up to 26 hours before needing another charge
  • Side button: can configure for different functions based on the app you’re using
  • LED light: red when charging, flashes blue to signify a connection
  • Stylus cap
  • Nib: Carbon fibre mesh tip is fairly thin (as in the product name), but still thicker than a regular pen. It moves more smoothly across the screen than a rubber tip
  • Feel: Light, comfortable, and easy to manage; solid product that doesn’t feel flimsy or cheap
  • Usage: Ideal for brainstorming maps. If you’re a visual learner, draw out key points for your study notes and show how they relate to each other. The tip is rounded so may not be the best for accuracy in sketching.

Purchase the Wacom Bamboo Stylus Fineline from Amazon here.

IMG_4907

Smart Students & Smart Technology

Smart devices have made their home in the classroom, and almost three quarters (73%) of students say that they cannot study without technology. As the notepad is replaced by the iPad students have become more reliant on technology, with 38% of college students saying they cannot go 10 minutes without checking their tablet, laptop, or Smartphone!

This article was contributed by guest author Richard Madison.

What we never knew we needed: a smart coffee machine

Arist Cafe coffee

Arist Cafe

Let’s face it, a lot of us are not morning people. We’re practically unable to function until we’ve had our coffee. Sound like you? We’ve come across an even easier way than usual to get your caffeine fix in the morning – one that doesn’t even require you to get out of bed (and no, Starbucks doesn’t deliver – yet).

Have you ever heard of a “smart coffee machine”? It’s certainly new to us. Coffee machines are pretty easy to use as they are – some are even a one-button push away from fresh, delicious coffee. But now, there’s a Kickstarter project for Arist Cafe, a coffee machine that can create customized coffee straight from your smartphone. You can program it for each coffee drinker to make your specific coffee in the morning, and even remotely ask it to start making you a cup while you’re on your way home.

The Details

  • Use the app to create your coffee (available on iOS, Android, Windows)
  • The app saves your preferences, including what time you usually drink it, how much milk you like, and what temperature you like your coffee at
  • You can choose from 100,000 coffee recipes
  • It recommends choices for you
  • It comes in white, black, or wood (shown above)
  • The reservoir can hold 1 litre of milk, 1 litre of water
  • It can hold 200g of coffee beans (enough for 5 cups of 12oz cappuccinos)
  • If you remove the drip tray, the machine can fill a cup up to 8″ tall
  • Price: $699 as of January 2015
  • Requires wifi or data
  • Stock up on different types of beans through the app
  • Arist Cafe is still seeking Kickstarter funding

Although you may not be able to afford this gadget (yet), it certainly could be an interesting talking point among your friends. Let’s start the debate. Would you buy it?

Here’s the website for more information: https://www.aristcafe.com/

How to open a bottle while charging your phone (wait, what?)

gobuddy iphone

Do you often forget your iPhone charger at home? When you do remember it, does it end up tangled at the bottom of your bag? Here’s an option for you: The GoBuddy+ Charger. It’s a portable charging cable for iPhones and iPads that fits on your keychain. The connectors tuck in nicely and the cable remains as compact as you need it. Did we mention it doubles as a bottle opener?

The Details

  • It comes in black or white
  • It’s Apple certified to work with iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 5, 5C, 5S, iPod Touch (5th generation), iPad mini, iPad with Retina Display, iPad Air
  • Cable measures 8.25 inches
  • Contains a bottle opener
  • Price: $24.95

Fair warning: If you’re not used to having anything on your keychain other than keys, you may find it a bit bulky. You may also find the connectors come out of their slots when the GoBuddy+ is bouncing around in your bag.

If neither of those bother you, you may find it’s the perfect gift for your tech-savvy (or forgetful) friends, and it fits into many “Secret Santa” gift exchange budgets. You can even win the title of “Best Roommate Ever” if you’re feeling generous (or annoyed at all the cords always lying around).

And yes, it’s ok to pick one up for yourself! Your classmates are guaranteed to think you’re a leader in technology and pub night efficiency.

For more information, visit the Kanex website.

Finding a Laptop for School

Image by luc legay, Flickr

Image by luc legay, Flickr

Laptops have become one of the most important all-in-one tools for students. You can take notes, do research for an essay, listen to music, watch videos and much more. There’s a whole list of things to consider before you buy a laptop, but when looking for the best laptop for school, be particularly aware of these aspects:

  • Price: This is going to be a problem for everyone. In my opinion, get something that will last you throughout university/college. Even though it might be expensive, it’s better than buying something cheap but unreliable. Establish a budget, but be prepared to spend an extra hundred dollars for something really good.
  • Operating system (Mac or PC): Choose whichever OS you’re most comfortable with. However, consider your needs when choosing one. Some very important applications only run on a certain OS. For example, some engineering apps only run on Windows and Final Cut Pro (for film students) only runs on a Mac.
  • Portability: Some people are fine with carrying 10-pound laptops with a huge screen. Others are not. You may have to sacrifice screen size for weight, but shop around and you’ll find something with a perfect balance of the two. When considering portability, also think about how heavy your charger is.
  • Battery life: Power outlets in typical lecture halls and classrooms come few and far between. Unless your room has an outlet for every person, battery life is going to be very important. Try to purchase a laptop with enough battery life for your longest class. If you have back-to-back classes, find a laptop with an exceptionally long battery life.
  • Storage: Finding a place to store all of your essays, notes, applications, music and videos is important. For most students, 250 GB should be enough, but if you have a lot of media, you may want 500 GB or even 1 TB. Take advantage of cloud storage like Dropbox or Google Drive for free extra space to store files.
  • Other features: Think about what features you want in your device. Do you want touch screen capabilities? A specific type of keyboard? An optical drive? Webcam? Mic? USB ports? SD card slots?
  • Warranty: Sooner or later, something is going to go wrong. A good warranty might set you back a few bucks, but is worth it in the long run when something breaks.

Your “perfect laptop” may not exist, but sitting down and figuring out what you want and need will save you time and money later on. Once you have chosen “the one,” check out this article on finding great deals for your laptop.