College-relevant applications + work methods

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Johnny Who, Jul 27, 2011.

  1. Johnny Who macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2011
    #1
    Hello,

    I'm going to college within the next few weeks and I was wondering what kind of applications would be useful, as well as how you work with digitized content.

    The problem is that my high school was very traditional in the sense that I was only writing with pen and paper and was kept from typing work, preparing power-point presentations or doing exposés. Now I'm going the complete other direction with a university that encourages a digital workflow.

    So how's the best way to organize an efficient workspace on your computer ?
    What applications do you use and how ?

    Any input is appreciated, and FYI: I have a MBP.
     
  2. bndoarn, Jul 27, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2011

    bndoarn macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2008
    #2
    Pages - It's really up to you which word processor you want. I use pages and have never really had a problem. There are free alternatives but I can't think of the name of them right now. Google will help you there.

    Dropbox - In my opinion this is truly a must have. If you don't already know what it is, it adds a folder to your home folder that syncs with the web. Anything in this folder you can access on the web at dropbox.com. It's extremely helpful because if you forget a file or something it's always available online. It comes with 2GB of storage for free or you can pay for more.

    iStudiez - This will help you keep track of courses, grades, GPA, exams, and assignments.

    Anxiety - It's a very simplistic todo list application but it gets the job done. I usually use this to make a list of assignments I need to do and then have it open on startup so that way every time I turn on my MacBook, I'm reminded of what I have to do.

    SelfControl - This is probably the most useful app I've used and it doesn't seem to be pretty well know. It will save your life if you're trying to study or get things done, but you keep getting distracted by other things on the web such as Facebook. What is does is you input a list of websites that get you distracted when you study (Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, etc.) and you start a timer anywhere from 15 minutes to 24 hours with 15 minute intervals. Once you start the timer, the app prevents you from accessing those websites. No matter what you do (quitting the app, restarting your computer, etc.) you cannot access those websites until the time is up.

    VirtualBox/Boot Camp - It's usually inevitable that you'll come across something that requires Windows and these are two free options which allow you to run Windows with your Mac. You will have to obtain a copy of Windows though.

    I usually use multiple Spaces (Desktops in Lion). I'll have Safari in one Desktop, iTunes in another, Pages in another, etc. With it set up like this it reduces clutter. Don't go overboard though. I've never had more than 4 spaces occupied at one time.

    Another good thing to have around is BetterTouchTool. It lets you add custom multitouch gestures but it also will enable window snapping which allows you to easily set one window to the left side of your screen and a different window to the right side of your screen (I'll post a screenshot). This is extremely useful if you're typing a paper and using Safari for research at the same time.

    [​IMG]
     
  3. udontno macrumors regular

    udontno

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2011
    Location:
    VA, USA
    #3
    I'm also going to be a college student in the fall so I'm interested to see what suggestions others have! Good post, bndoarn.
     
  4. ScoobyMcDoo macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2007
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #4
    Hmmm... well back in the day, we just needed a modem and a terminal emulator .. but enough of dating myself...

    I'm betting your profs will want stuff in MS office format - check with the university book store - they might sell office at a discount.

    Some folks seem to think that mindnode is a good study aid - they have a free version you can use to check it out.

    You didn't say what your major is .. for engineering & math students, octave is a good free alternative to matlab. Best way to get it is through macports.
     
  5. Johnny Who, Jul 27, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2011

    Johnny Who thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2011
    #5
    Thanks bndoarn !
    That's hilarious, and will be shamefully useful. Great suggestion !

    I'm not sure if they'll want it specifically in .docx, but they do sell MSO at a discount. What about iWork though ? It's still a lot cheaper and can be adapted to a Office format right ?


    Double major in Economics and International Relations. Not sure about to which extent I'll need math software yet though. Thanks for your advice.


    I'll check out everything I don't know here but don't hesitate to make other suggestions etc !
     
  6. bndoarn macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2008
    #6
    No Problem.

    So far, I've made it through my whole freshman year with Pages without many problems. You can save Pages documents as .doc but problems sometimes do arise. Plain text documents with some formatting should be fine but when you start getting more advanced with the formatting, thats where most of the problems are. For example, I've had issues with using multiple columns, graphs, and things similar to that nature. In Keynote I've had some transitions move extremely slow when saving them as a .ppt.
     
  7. redsteven macrumors 6502a

    redsteven

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2006
    #7
    Save as pdf and then send that to your professor. Should work flawlessly.

    OS X can turn anything you can print into a PDF. File --> Print --> click the little PDF button in the lower left, and choose "Save as PDF..."

    disclaimer: Don't have Lion yet so can't say whether the location of that button has changed.
     
  8. ScoobyMcDoo macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2007
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #8
    If they will take PDF's, the you are good to go with pages and keynote (except I don't know what happens to transitions when converting to a PDF). Saving as a doc, docx or ppt file works for very simple documents, but anything beyond that, the formatting gets mangled.

    However, as an economics major, I'm just guessing that you will have some exposure to Excel. Pages and Keynote are great pieces of software, but Numbers, imho blows. ymmv.
     
  9. udontno macrumors regular

    udontno

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2011
    Location:
    VA, USA
    #9
    If you are a student and interested in purchasing the MS Suite, there is MS Office for Mac Academic addition that can be found on Microsoft's website. It's cheaper than Microsoft Office Home & Student Edition, plus comes with more stuff I believe. All you need is your .edu email address.
     

Share This Page