Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Christmas and the college student 2012

Time for the annual gifts for college students blog. This is the third year for this topic and I have to say that it appears that most college students have everything they need. Of course this is never totally true. The tech wizards would never let that happen. You can look at my blogs for the past two years on this topic for more ideas, but here are a few new options.

In the past year or two I have become aware that I am adding a few extra pounds. Imagine. I think this is a universal feeling that even college students share with the rest of us, even though they are often blessed with a great metabolism. Well I had a birthday last month and my resourceful daughter new about my recent weight concern and bought me a FitBit ($99). This is the coolest thing if you have a touch of OCD. You wear or carry this little electronic device around and it monitors your activity level from walking to climbing steps. On the fitbit web site you can also add workout information, if you are extra active. It doesn't stop there. You can enter in the foods you eat noting calories from an extensive drop down dictionary of foods -- even restaurant foods. All of this tracks toward your personal weight loss goal. Whatever it might be. Its all about calories burned and calories consumed. Oh, you can also track your sleep patterns. There is also a mobile app available on iTunes if you want to use your phone to track you activities and other data. Very cool for the compulsive geek who wants to lose a few pounds. It also has a social networking piece if you want to share your progress and encourage others.

The other cool thing I am looking at is the Kindle Fire HD. This came on the market last year, but there are two sizes now, 7" ($199) and 8.9" ($299) display. I am looking at the larger one that competes directly with the iPad3 ($499). There are a few things that make it more attractive than the iPad. The price; the dual stereo speakers; and the USB input. I like the iPad, but this is hard to pass up. Its a great extra device with great power for the mobile college student. BTW, I would only buy the wifi version. Going with a 3G version just adds more monthly data costs. You probably already know that 3G is pretty slow.

Have you thought about electronic stocking suffers? You can use an iTunes gift card for apps and for music. Here are a couple of articles with lots of app ideas for college students:

US News: Five Apps College Sudents use this year

GeekSugar - 10 great apps for the college student

There are many neat apps on these lists. I like free WiFi finder. This notes where you are and where you can find WiFi in your immediate area. I use this when I travel. I also like Notability for taking notes and evernote for organizing activities. You can Google Apps for College Students and get even more ideas. These are often either free or offered at just a few dollars. Again, the iTunes gift card can cover these.

One last cool idea. The backpack that also charges your devices. You carry backup power with you. The Powerbag lets you charge your backpack and you then have power all day. You can also carry other stuff. It lists at a pricey $139 at the company site, but I suggest looking at Amazon or Groupon. I have seen it as low as $59.

Have a Merry Christmas!