Potentially Dangerous Gizmos & Gadgets: Part 3 2

This is the last post in my “Potentially Dangerous Gizmos & Gadgets” series.  In this series, I explain the pros and cons of many different common technological devices.  So far this series has covered email, cell phones, and Twitter (Part 1), and PDA’s, Facebook, and Portable Media Players (Part 2).  Today, I will deal with feed readers, GPS receivers, and the Amazon Kindle.

Kindle eReader

8. Kindle eBook Reader

Pros

The Kindle, a ebook reader produced by Amazon, is an amazing piece of technology!  Dedicated to reading ebooks, this electronic device can store hundreds of books… yet it weighs less than 10 ounces.  Clearly, the best advantage of this book is the storage capacity.  College students are low on space, so they won’t be able to store many tangible books.  However, using the Kindle, they can have all their favorite books at their finger tips – without stacks of books lining their walls.  In addition, the Kindle has search capacities which make it easy to find information on particular topics by searching your books.  Finally, because of it’s size and battery life, you can easily carry the Kindle with you while you are traveling without worrying about power running out!

Cons

The biggest problem with the Kindle is the price.  At nearly four hundred dollars ($359), the Kindle is much too expensive for most college students to afford.  In addition, once you buy the Kindle, you still will have to pay an average of $10 per book!  What the Kindle saves in space it costs in time.  If you do buy the Kindle, don’t buy it new.  Instead, look for used versions on sites such as eBay or even Amazon. 🙂  When downloading books, look on free sites such as Project Gutenberg instead of the official Amazon Kindle Store.

Usage Tips

  • Don’t buy the Kindle brand-new.
  • Look for free books.
  • Enjoy the extra space gained by using electronic books!

Google Feed Reader

7. Feed Readers

Pros

Feed readers collect all the new articles from the blogs you are subscribed to and put them in one place. After you read each article, it is “archived”. Depending on the reader, you can star, label, or share your favorite posts. In addition, you can easily create different categories for each type of blog. The beauty of using a feed reader is the time and stress saved. No longer do you have to check your favorite blogs many times every day, wondering if they have a new article. Instead of worrying about missing a post from your favorite blog, you can rest satisfied, knowing that the new articles will be waiting in your feed reader.

Cons

Although feed readers do have great time-saving potential, they can easily get out of control. If you become an over-zealous subscriber, you could find yourself with an overwhelming number of unread posts each day. When using a feed reader, you must be careful to continually cull useless feeds from your list. For instance, if you are subscribed to a blog on a topic that no longer interests you, unsubscribe! Too many people never remove old feeds and are left with a confused mess of posts that are not interested in. In addition, feed readers, like email programs, should only be checked at certain set times each day. If you check your reader too often it will distract you from more important tasks.

Usage Tips

  • Don’t be afraid to unsubscribe from old or boring blogs.
  • Only check your feed reader at certain times of the day.
  • Limit the number of feeds in your reader… like, no more than 150. 🙂

GPS9. GPS

Pros

Installing a GPS receiver in your car can save you time and money.  How would you like to get somewhere the first time, without getting lost?  With a GPS receiver, you can always know where you are and where you should turn.  In fact, some GPS receivers even audibly tell you what to do!  Because of the reduced driving time, you can save gas… and, with the prices rising again, that means money.  In addition, the safety features included on GPS devices can also be very useful.  For instance, some devices even tell you the location of the nearest police stations and hospitals!

Cons

Like the Kindle, GPS receivers can be very expensive.  With prices hovering around $200 – $400, GPS receivers are too expensive for most debt-free scholars… unless you find a good sale.  If you do get a GPS device, be careful to not leave it sitting out in your car.  Many thieves are looking unguarded GPS receivers and will be glad to steal yours.  Carry it with you when you leave your car or at least keep it out of sight of a snooping thief.

Usage Tips

  • Try to find a good sale on used devices.
  • Don’t leave your GPS receiver laying around.
  • Use your GPS device to save time and gas.

That’s It

Well that wraps up this series on technology and college students.  I hope you enjoyed reading this series as much as I enjoyed writing it.  Now that you have learned more about modern technology, what do you think?  Overall, is technology helping or hindering modern college students?

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

  1. Reply Stefan | StudySuccessful.com Jul 25,2009 5:17 AM

    Overall technology is definitly helping students. But students should be smart in their usage.

    I am thinking about getting a Kindle, as I have to travel a lot next year, my laptop only has 2 hours without power. But I think the normal paper should be working too.

    I liked this serie Nate!

  2. Reply Joseph Aug 2,2009 6:37 PM

    I actually saw this article while cleaning out my feed reader. Found that I’m actually subscribed to a lot of “How to be a better blogger” blogs, which have no application to me at all. 😛
    I have a library of at least 100 e-books on my computer. The problem is that my 17″ laptop isn’t that portable, and reading on the tiny iPod Touch (which I am currently doing) puts a large amount of strain on my eyes.
    So I’ll buy a Kindle off e-bay, per your instructions. Probably when the next gen comes out.

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