Accessories for college

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by zip120, Apr 26, 2010.

  1. zip120 Guest

    Sep 5, 2009
    I recently purchased the base 15" core i5 macbook pro for college (my first mac) and an ipad, and i'm trying to figure out which accessories i need. I'll be a freshman at cornell with a major in information science and probably a double minor in computer science and business. I have the ipad keyboard dock for when I'm doing light note-taking in class (but I'll need my macbook pro for computer science classes and more intense work). I'm thinking about getting the magic mouse - will i find it useful? I love the multitouch trackpad with inertial scrolling and bettertouchtool made it even more useful (and added windows 7 snap). I also don't know whether I should get an external keyboard for when I'm plugged into my 24 inch monitor - I'm pretty happy with the built in keyboard, but it is a little uncomfortable when it's on my desk.
    I'll definitely get an external hard drive for backup - is there one you'd recommend? And once I back up, I plan to install windows 7 in bootcamp - how many of my 320 gb should I partition?
    Also, do I need a lock? Which one would you recommend? I'm rooming with a friend who I trust and my dorm should be locked most of the time, but probably not always.
    I'm not planning to get a case for my macbook or my ipad, but is this a mistake? I have the samsonite sport backpack which has great sections for both my macbook and my ipad, and I don't think I'd be able to dock my ipad with the case on.
    Sorry to ask so many questions - here's the last one. Right now I have the switcheasy capsulerebel case for my iPhone and I'm pretty happy with it but I have a few issues so I'm planning to get a new case. Rhe saggy bottom is getting worse, it's a bit bulkier than I'd like, and it's kind of annoying how the case extends past the screen and presses against my face while I talk. The switcheasy nude would solve all 3 of these cases, but would it provide enough protection? I'm pretty careful but my iPhone gets dropped occasionally. I might get the switcheasy torrent which would solve the saggy bottom issue but would sacrifice my other two complaints for increased protection. Do you recommend one of those two, or a different one? Maybe a simple soft one.

  2. rdowns macrumors Penryn


    Jul 11, 2003
    I've thought long and hard about this. Your Delta Tau Chi name is... Flounder.
  3. InfoSecmgr Guest


    Dec 31, 2009
    Ypsilanti, Michigan
    Ambitious, aren't we?

    Quotes like these make me wish I had handles on my chair :). Well played.
  4. Scylax macrumors regular

    Jun 14, 2009
    Because I am in a situation very different to yours I can't help you too much with the specifics, but I'll do my best.

    Re. Windows 7- this depends how much you will be using Windows compared to Mac. If you'll use them equally, divide equally. If you bias one way, go by that to reduce the other side. As a basis, maybe 100GB? You could get away with a lot less, but that would give you room to breathe on both sides. But there are lots of threads on that issue on this site, so I recommend you check them out.

    Re- iPhone case- I use a simple slip case and I find this perfect. It protects against knocks but isn't too bulky and annoying. The downside is you have to pull the phone out to use it, but in practise I never found this slowed me down much. I use a hard leather one I bought in Carphone Warehouse, and it's pretty much perfect.

    Re- magic mouse- You might want one of these if you use an external monitor, but why not wait a couple of weeks and see? I find I never use an external mouse with my laptop, but of course if you choose an external keyboard you'll want a mouse too. I'm afraid I can't help much with this or the keyboard issue. Sorry.

    Re-case for MBP- I think a lot of this depends on your personality. If you don't mind the odd small scratch or scuff, don't bother. They are bulky, and expensive. But if like me you are totally obsessive and have a melt-down over the smallest scuff I would suggest either a cheap sleeve or a skin. I haven't tried the military grade plastic coating you can buy but I'm very tempted as this seems the best of both worlds to me. Again I'm sure people here can give you better advice, but since you're using a backpack anyway you might find this best.

    Re-lock- I would certainly get one. Why risk such a big thing for something so small. Insurance might or might not cover it, but you would lose more than hardware if it was stolen. Get a lock; however much you trust your room-mate, other people will come in.

    Re-backup drive- Again there's loads of advice here, and I recommend you check out the reviews on the Apple website. I use a WD portable to back up my MBA, but there are cheaper options. There are always questions of reliability, but the cheaper you go the less it hurts to replace a broken one, and odds are the drive and MBP won't give up the ghost at the same time. But an external drive is a prime candidate for theft, so think hard. Unless you have somewhere totally secure to lock it away, someone could steal it with all your data. Might you be better to pay for an online backup service such as Mozy and just reinstall software if there's a problem?

    Re-iPad- Can't help you there. I'm in the UK, and we can't get them yet:( But if you don't mind the odd scratch on the back, maybe just get a screen protector, or take your chances. Again, same as MBP and iPhone cases really.

    Sorry for the length of this reply. Hope something here helps. Good luck with your courses. It's good that you're ambitious, but be careful not to burn out. If I can give you one piece of advice, check out for an excellent blog on avoiding this and making the most of your time.:)
  5. zip120 thread starter Guest

    Sep 5, 2009
  6. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604


    Dec 29, 2006
    dallas, texas
    I have yet to see anyone taking notes on their iPad. Remember that a lot of professors aren't so fond of laptops during class because they understand the internets are a distraction.

    I like the Logitech diNovo Edge.

    What do you plan on doing with Windows?

    I'm at a college where everyone is given a laptop, so things are different. In general if someone wants to steal your stuff, a computer lock isn't going to stop them. My parents bought two of them for me, I haven't used one, I also haven't found one that would really stop someone. Perhaps if you were going to leave your computer in the library while you go to the bathroom/Starbucks; but for your dorm room?

    I don't know? I don't like scratches or dents; but it definitely looks uglier.
  7. bluskale macrumors regular

    Mar 29, 2010
    1) locks are good for preventing casual theft. You should get one so that your laptop doesn't walk away while you're distracted, unless the cost of a new laptop is immaterial to you. You may personally be careful about locking your door when you leave, but you can't say for your room mate.

    It is very easy to visit down the hall for a few minutes & figure its fine you don't need to lock your door... and oh hey, look the new starcraft II beta... and an hour later you go back to your room and oh **** where is my laptop? This applies to external hard drives too.

    2) you bought an iPad and you're going into CS? I'd have thought most CS majors would be the type to abhor the iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch -styled environment for personal use...

    3) I would recommend some sort of skin-type plastic film covering for your electronics

    4) the Logitech diNovo Edge, as mentioned, is supposedly an excellent keyboard if you decide to go with one. personally, I rarely use the trackpad on my laptop when a mouse is available. if you do any graphic manipulation (or anything requiring drag and drop) you're find a mouse is FAR quicker. Same cane be said for multi-function mice... take those extra buttons and assign them to cut, copy, and paste... huge time saver when editing text (or code).

    5) And you're going to Cornell? Buy a full-spectrum lamp. Also, I hope you can swim. Avoid gorges when inebriated or under poor illumination.
  8. zip120 thread starter Guest

    Sep 5, 2009
    thanks guys

    I probably won't use it much, but I have a disc so I'm installing it in case I need to install some programs for CS or other classes that aren't for mac
  9. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    The only program you need for CS is Terminal; emacs is your editor; you don't need any tools. ;)

Share This Page