Back to School 2007: Real College Student™ "Brian"


A few weeks ago I asked “real college students” to tell us what gets them “all up their grills” when they go out to have the “party” in their “hoods.” We got a few interesting responses, including this one from Brian, a Computer Engineering major at NCSU. He even has a Unix sysadmin blog, which makes him extra cool. Here are his picks.

My favorite electronics gear starts with my Palm LifeDrive. While I’m tiring of the old product, having Palm OS devices has been a great help to me thoughout my schooling. It’s plenty powerful enough to handle my scheduling and assignment tracking, yet simple enough to carry around and use regularly.

After that is my laptop (Dell Inspiron e1405). It’s a good balance of portability, usable size, and battery life (6-7 hours when careful!)

Lastly is my iPod Shuffle (2g). I can clip it anywhere on my person without it being in the way of anything in or out of my pockets. Other DAPs tend to be a hassle to deal with, as they occupy pocket space and can’t just be forgotten about once your playlist is set.

I got an HP Officejet 5610 all-in-one printer/scanner combo machine, which I am very satisfied with. I recommend ponying up the extra dough if you’re some kind of English major and need to print out lots of stuff, but I have little to print out, so it suits my needs well. It also works well with Linux using the hplip toolset, with which I can monitor ink levels and color settings, just as I could with any other OS.

gforeman.jpgAs for things I bought for school, a Brita filtering pitcher was a neccessity, as the water available to me in the dorm is pretty poor quality. I also got a George Foreman Champ grill, but haven’t used it yet. I definitely reccomend that students not buy anything until they actually need it, rather than expect to need it.

A filing box was critical as well. Over the last two years, I’ve begun accumulating a lot of paperwork in the form of automobile titles, bank records, loan records, etc. and I needed a good way to organize them. I got a filing box, which I keep inside a lockable cabinet in my desk.

Finally, lots of power strips/extension cables. I’m using four now, as I have lots of things to plug in. Things never quite reach the electrical outlets, and you always find something new to unpack or rearrange that needs an outlet.

Want to submit your Back to School advice and potentially win something really cool (I have to find something here in the office to give away)? Email us at with the subject line “SCHOOL YOU.”