Potentially Dangerous Gizmos & Gadgets: Part 2 3

In part one of the “Potentially Dangerous Gizmos & Gadgets” series, I covered the first three “gadgets”: email, cell phones, and Twitter.  Today, I will explain three more pieces of technology that can build your productivity… or destroy it.

Palm TX

4.  PDA’s

Pros

Personal Digital Assistants can be very helpful for college students.  Because of their small size, they are easily carried in a pocket.  If you do not want to carry your laptop around all day, you can take notes on your PDA and transfer the notes to your laptop latter in the day.  In addition, a PDA can store all your contact information – keeping it all at your fingertips.  If you get a phone/PDA combination, you will be able to send and receive emails, make calls, and even browse the internet!  Perhaps the most useful feature included on PDA’s is the to-do list and schedule program.  Using this program makes it easy to keep up with your class times, study meets, and other necessary tasks.

Cons

On the other hand, PDA’s do have some important disadvantages. The cost is often very high, and the money might be better spent elsewhere.  In addition, it is easy to rely on your PDA for everything.  Many people are lost and confused if they do not have their PDA to tell them what is next on their schedule.  Often, when people rely on their PDA’s this much, instead of saving time, they actually waste time by checking their PDA all the time!  Finally, your PDA can be used to commit identity theft if it gets into the wrong hands.  In one such case, a thief used the information taken from a stolen PDA to clean out their bank account.  You must be very careful what information you put on your PDA!

Proper Use

  • Try to find a good sale or get it used.
  • Limit the time spent working on your PDA.
  • Be careful what information you put on it.
  • Don’t rely too much on your PDA.  You should know your basic schedule without having to check your device.
  • Keep your it in a safe spot, so it cannot be easily stolen.

Facebook

5.  Facebook

Pros

Facebook is one of largest social networks (if not the largest).  Therefore, it presents an easy way to keep up with your friends.  Once you add someone as a friend, you will be able to easily find out where they are and what they are doing.  In addition, if you use Facebook professionally, you can even build your online reputation!

Cons

Although it is immensely popular, Facebook does have many downfalls.  Like most other social networks, it is an easy way to waste time.  Surfing your friends “walls” and writing short messages can waste hours of your time every day.  In fact, if you do not use Facebook professionally, you can damage your reputation.  Think of your Facebook profile like your desk at work.  If you would not want people to see something on your desk, don’t put it on your profile.  Just because a certain Facebook app is available doesn’t mean you should use it.  Just because you have a certain picture of yourself does not mean your should post it for the entire world to see.  Manage your external image carefully!

Proper Use

  • Limit the time spent on Facebook.
  • Overhaul your profile and remove any pictures, words, or apps that reflect badly on you.  Remember, your future employers quite possibly will be looking at this before they hire you!
  • Make your time productive by establishing a strong network of friends.

iPod

6.  Portable Media Players

Pros

Listening to quiet music can be an excellent way to improve your concentration.  In fact, studies have shown that students listening to Baroque music actually learn languages faster.  In addition, you can easily listen to lectures and even audio books on your media player.  Then when you are completing unimportant tasks that do not need you full attention (such as walking across campus), you can improve your mind by listening to books and presentations!  Using portable media players can be an excellent way to take advantage of your spare time.

Cons

Unfortunately, media players, like all other gadgets, do have some potential problems.  Just as some music can make you learn faster, other music can distract you and damage your concentration!  For instance, songs that have words can distract more that songs without lyrics.  In addition, some portable media players include games that can easily prove a study distraction.

Proper Use

  • Be very selective when choosing songs.
  • Uninstall all games, if possible.
  • Treat your media player as a tool, not a toy.

Next Up…

This is the second post in the “Potentially Dangerous Gizmos and Gadgets” series.  This post series is dedicated to helping college students learn better how to make technology work for them and not against them.  The first post discussed the proper use of email, cell phones, and Twitter.  In the last part of this series, I will explain how to safely use three more “gadgets”: Feed Readers, GPS Recievers, and the Kindle eReader!  Subscribe to be notified when that post is published.

3 thoughts on “Potentially Dangerous Gizmos & Gadgets: Part 2

  1. Reply Stefan | StudySuccessful.com Jul 8,2009 11:05 AM

    Hey Nate,
    I don’t use Facebook that much. What do you think? Should I? As in blog promotion and building relationships?
    I might be checking it out sometime, and check it out good.

    Nice post serie!

    Stefan

  2. Reply Nate Desmond Jul 8,2009 11:41 AM

    Hey Stefan,
    I would say it really depends on the person. Facebook can be useful, or it can be a problem. There really is no hard and fast answer that I can give.
    Personally, I prefer using LinkedIn for my networking, but I do use Facebook a little.
    Thanks,
    Nate

  3. Reply Paul Jul 8,2009 11:53 AM

    Definitely have to agree about iPods. I brought my iPod everyday to math last quarter and spent most of the hour playing Tetris or Mini-Golf. Halfway through the quarter, I realized that the iPod was ruining my attention span and stopped bringing it.

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