Bought MacBook Pro for University. Need help.

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by dingdongbubble, Sep 5, 2009.

  1. dingdongbubble macrumors 6502a

    Jun 1, 2007
    Hello everyone. :)

    I purchased a 13" MBP (first Mac) for university and got my first iPod touch with it. I have some questions which I hope you can help me out with.

    At university I want to record the lectures to archive them in case I want to listen to them again later on.
    a. What hardware device could I get to make digital recordings of the lectures clearly without any hassle?
    b. What program should I use to make the process of storing the lectures onto my computer along with giving the file appropriate labels and information (like prof name, course, short notes about topics covered) etc easy and streamlined and not a hassle? Before I go this Mac and iPod, I used to sync my phone with my video files and stuff manually. But this iTunes thing allows me to just click a button and it automatically syncs with my iPod hassle free. So I hope you understand what I mean by hassle free.
    c. Sometimes during a lecture there are important points being said or summaries being given etc. What could I do to 'flag' that area so that later on, instead of going through a whole lecture, I could just listen to where I have flagged the recording in order to get a summary of all the important and useful stuff in the lecture.

    During lectures I like to take down notes to use them to revise later on.
    a. Do you have any suggestions on how I could do this? Is it best to just note them down on paper using a pen/pencil or is there some viable digital solution?
    b. How feasible would it be for me to take down notes on paper and then scan them onto my computer? Evernote can recognize handwriting.

    What about Calendar programs? Since I have never used calendars for managing my time before I want something easy and which actually does help me.
    a. Will iCal and Calendar (for iPod) be enough? Or should I get some other program?
    b. Where does Schoolhouse come into the picture?
    c. My university has a website where I have to log in and I can then look at my weekly and daily schedule (of lectures, tutorials and labs). Assuming there is no built in way to transfer this to a program like iCal, what could I do to transfer the entries to iCal or whatever program I end up using, apart from entering it manually. I can go to a print view thing and it gives me a table so can iCal automatically understand it and make entries for me?

    Since I am going to be on a tighter budget now, I want a simple, easy to use finance application too, which can keep a detailed track of all that I have purchased and give me an overview of my purchases and stuff like graphs and percentages etc.
    a. What could I use? I will be using the iPod touch too so ideally there should be an application for both the Mac and iPod (but iPod is necessary).
    b. Would it be a good idea to scan or taking pictures of (using the iSight) receipts and stuff and attach them to my purchases (on the finance app)?
    c. I did look into and Quicken free (whatever it is called) but I dont think they work here in Canada. What should I do now?

    How can I make voice and video calls to folk using MSN Messenger or Google Talk? Does iChat work for that?

    Since I like to keep myself updated with the international world news and stuff, is there something innovative I could do for that on the Mac? I know I can go to news websites and read or even subscribe to their RSS feed. But isnt there some podcast or something which could replace my TV?

    On the Blackberry there is this application called Viigo, which is a very very useful RSS aggregator. Its probably one of the best apps on the BB platform. Does the iPod have anything which can compete with or be at par with Viigo? It can like get my Podcasts and do like everything lol.

    Ok I think thats enough questions lol.
  2. MWPULSE macrumors 6502a


    Dec 27, 2008
    I can answer the first 3 questions for you

    for recordings of the lectures get a portable voice recorder. Should be about 20 quid, maybe 30 dollars or so.

    At the end of the day writing notes via pen/paper is always going to be easier. I wish i had thought of that before i started writing notes on my laptop lol. You can always write up notes in your own time, back at your place. Which might help in your revision strategy.

    For your calendar problems, they most likely would be solved would ical. If your phone is compatible you can sync it with ical using isync. I did that for years so i could look on my phone for my uni timetable. I just copied and pasted the individual elements of the timetable. Most unis dont have the time to add a copy timetable link or sommat.. although i guess you could try subscribing to the calendar via ical and see what comes up. If that option is available. It depends on the university..

    for finance.. im not too sure, i think open office has an excel equivalent which could be used to keep records. Which would be free. Would that work for you??

    At the moment the simplest option for video msn is aMsn which is free (google)

    Using itunes you can subscribe to podcasts which you can load up onto your ipod
  3. Patrick J macrumors 65816

    Patrick J

    Mar 12, 2009
    Oporto, Portugal
    Pearnote is the answer to all that..

    A nice feature is that is notes down WHEN you write notes, and when you play back the recording, it highlights what you type when you typed it.
  4. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    Just use pen and paper, then.

    That seems unnecessarily time consuming and expensive to me.

    If you've never used one before, what makes you think you need one now?

    Use Excel or Open Office.

    Google Video supports the iSight and built-in mic. iChat won't work for those services.

    What? A podcast that replaces your TV?

    Honestly it just seems like you bought a computer and are now scrambling to find uses for it. My advice to you is to a) relax and b) let your own needs determine your computer usage, not the other way around.
  5. dingdongbubble thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 1, 2007
    Thanks for the replies. :)

    hmmm right and can I just keep it at my desk in the lecture hall or will I have to get a proper mic and get the prof to put it on? Will the quality be good if I keep it at my desk?

    Well I dont use those applications much so I was looking for a simple to the point program. I have seen some videos of some of the programs available and one just has to click a button to make a new purchase record and stuff. If only mint worked in Canada.

    hmmm well yes that would work. But I hope that doesnt mean the iPod has no equivalent to Blackberry's Viigo lol.

    Well I was in high school and there was pretty much nothing to do where I used to live. But now over here there seems to be too much to keep track and I know I forget stuff easily.

    If you are referring to the plugin which makes Video available in the browser, well I have installed it a few times but it still says Add Video/Voice whatever. :confused:

    Well since I moved here to university I dont have a TV. Those news channels have those daily news updates where they go over the events of the whole day, well I want a daily podcast which does that and if possible a short podcast which updates like every hour or so. And I want international news not news about how there was a gang war in the neighbourhood a few blocks away. :p

    lol no I really do want to do all this stuff because well I want it lol.
  6. BlueRevolution macrumors 603


    Jul 26, 2004
    Montreal, QC
    Some of my classmates use voice recorders from their desks, but I have small classes. Personally, I don't record my lectures. It's faster to read notes than listen to tinny recordings.

    Try Squirrel.

    There are some good news podcasts available for download from iTunes. The BBC has tons of news podcasts, or you could check out Global National's complete daily podcast.

    Start simple, and add stuff as you need it. University can be overwhelming at first right out of high school, but you'll get used to it. I have a laptop, but I usually take notes on paper.

    Out of curiosity, what are you studying?
  7. arjen92 macrumors 65816


    Sep 9, 2008
    Below sea level
    Notes need to be written. I find it easier to find them that way.
    Here in the netherlands most professors work with presentations, just ask him for the presentation if you want something digital.

    Check google for your calendar stuff. They have a real neat piece of software. You do have to have gmail (but I expect you have as you tried to install their drivers for your isight). What it does is that is syncs everything. So you add something in ical and it will automatic add it to your gmail calendar. So you can change everything everywhere on everything.
  8. soms macrumors 6502


    Dec 10, 2007
    Depends on the class(accounting or math you obviously want pen/paper), but I knew a kid in my intro business class that had an iSight camera mounted on his laptop(facing away from him, towards the professor), and he video/recorded each lesson an put them online. Was pretty awesome!
  9. dingdongbubble thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 1, 2007
    ah excellent. Thanks

    I checked those out but errr I will have to keep searching. :p

    Should I even take my laptop to class? lol I have heard they are a distraction.

    Computer Engineering at the University of Waterloo. How about you?

    Sounds good.:D

    oooh sounds good. hmmmm how was the sound quality? Would the inbuilt mics in webcams work? :p
  10. MWPULSE macrumors 6502a


    Dec 27, 2008
    If you are studying engineering I'd be tempted to use standard pen n paper you can use a recorder from your desk or put it nearer I have seen people walk down to front turn on the recorder pt it on a desk them walk back to the seat. But Id hestitate to take laptops to the actual lectures with you. Engineering has alot of equations and sums which will take like 2 hours to find the correct symbol for. So your probably right it would most likely be a distraction.

    Also as you mentioned. Don't bother with a seperate mics that means cables n clutter. The beauty of the handheld recorder is that there is none of that :)

    I find excel simple enough to use. Jot down what you spent that week n figure out how much money you have. It's all dandy. :) obviously it's not one click which you might find easier. But in the long run I'd go with excel

    Hope that clears some stuff up
  11. BlueRevolution macrumors 603


    Jul 26, 2004
    Montreal, QC
    That's a question you'll have to answer for yourself. Take your laptop to a few classes, as well as a notepad. Handwritten notes may be better for one class, typed for another. As MWPULSE mentioned, it is hard to type equations. For classes with such things, you'll have to write things out by hand. On the other hand, I've had classes where the profs simply expect you to copy text from overheads verbatim. I touch-type, so it's easier to type than write since I can keep my eyes on the presentation.

    For most classes, either method will work.

    If you are properly focused, a laptop won't distract you. If you are not, you can be distracted by the squiggly patterns your pen makes on the paper. It's more a matter of what you put into it than what is in front of you.

    Sociology at Grant MacEwan College in Edmonton.

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