technology

How Technology is Changing Entertainment

When we were kids, watching television programs and movies was less user friendly than it is today. There were too many steps involved. You had to physically go to Blockbuster, or your nearest rental store, to rent a new movie only to find it unavailable because too many people had already taken it out. If you wanted to view a movie on Pay-Per-View, you had to wait for the movie time to be available in order to call and order it. This seems absurd nowadays due to how easy it has become to watch whatever you want, when you want.

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As technology progresses, the internet becomes more than just a place to do research. It becomes a domain for apps, games, movies, books and so much more. We have just merely scratched the surface on the potential of the digital world. The revolutionary movie streaming programs, such as Netflix and Hulu, offer instant gratification for whatever mood you’re in.

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What can attest for the future of digital programming? With the way technology is evolving these days, it would seem that everything will go digital; making DVDs, video game discs, and even paper books obsolete. There’s no way of telling what’s going to happen to these companies that supply us with our entertainment needs today; either they’re doomed or they’re going to embrace the digital age and evolve with it. Only time will tell.

The Wonderfully Creative Abilities of a 3D Printer

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3D printers are not a new concept but they are considered uncommon compared to the everyday printer. Some of us may have never even heard of them. The name, 3D printer, is pretty much self-explanatory. It has the ability to create solid 3D objects by methods of continuously adding layers until the desired shape or object is achieved. How can we make this high tech printer useful for everyday college kids? Let’s take a look.

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Musical Instruments- Guitars, flutes and other instruments can now be made of plastic and surprisingly, I heard they are functional! Music class will never be the same. Now take that plastic guitar and rock out in-between classes.

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Art- Sculptures and other forms of art can be replicated or designed from scratch. Bring your newest creations to your next art class or build upon them by adding paint or other creative touches.

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Science- A truly unique use for a 3D printer would be in any of your science classes. Replica skulls and other bones for research can be made.

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Fashion Design- Even though the objects made are from plastic, that hasn’t stopped anyone from creating new wearable fashions. Shoes, furniture and decorative items have been created using this method.

The Top Apps No College Student Should Live Without

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Our generation has time and time again been labeled as technology obsessed young adults. Our elders often scold us for always being on our phones and tablets. We are constantly criticized for not paying attention and spending too much time downloading the newest apps or creating a profile on some hip, new social media site. However, over 70% of high school graduates in 2012 enrolled in a college or university, and more of us than ever are actually graduating college and going into a high paying career field. Say what you want, baby boomer generation, but in my opinion, our generation isn’t doing so bad. Although technology often gets a bad rep, for the modern day college student, it is a useful resource that can make all of our lives MUCH easier. Check out these top rated apps that every college student should have.

Quizlet: It’s no secret that no matter how early you start studying, you’ll still end up waking up at the crack of dawn the morning before a test wishing you had studied more. The Quizlet app allows students to access flashcards and many other study tools from their phones that they can use for test preparation on the go.

My Fitness Pal: Fight off the freshman 15 with this handy application. Track calorie intake, exercise times and even receive support from other users trying to lose or maintain their weight.

Mobile Banking: This is a big one for us college students. If your bank has a mobile app, make sure you have it! I have the PNC Virtual Wallet app and I would be completely lost without it. You can transfer money between your accounts, check your balance in real time and even get quick cash from mom and dad!

Mixologist: Aka free bartending classes. This app has unlimited drink recipes in various categories that will liven up any party. My personal favorites? The low calorie and holiday drinks categories.

GroupMe: To those without iPhones, this app is a life saver. Before I got the 5s, I was a droid user and hated when I would get added to an iPhone created group message. They came to me in separate, annoying tests that drove me crazy! With GroupMe, you can stay in the group text loop without needing an iPhone and without wanting to pull out your hair. It’s also great for group projects or to talk to more than 10 people at once. My sorority pledge class has one to help us all stay in the loop!

Moocho: This fairly new app is gaining popularity quickly among the college scene. Moocho is made specifically for saving college students time and money.

Groupon: Whether you’re looking for a cheap spring break getaway or the best deal on a massage, the Groupon app is tailored around saving you money on your favorite products and services.

I personally have each of these apps and don’t know how I survived before them. Know of any more awesome apps that college students shouldn’t be living without? Let us know in the comments section below.

Blaming the Millennials

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“Millennials” – it sounds epic, doesn’t it? Alas, it has become an almost derogatory term among members of the older generation. What does the term mean? Technically, it refers to those who are currently “young,” having birth years ranging from 1980 to 2000. This is the generation that is commonly referred to as wasteful, lazy, and hedonistic. This group has also been referred to as “Generation Text”. Older people seem to be convinced that technological innovations, popular culture, and constantly shifting socioeconomic conditions have taken a drastic toll on our young minds. Apparently, we aren’t as progressive or as prudent as our predecessors.

Though I strongly disagree with such claims, some judgments may be justified as long as we are graced by the media presence of pseudo-musicians and vapid celebrities. The stereotypes of our generation are largely fabricated by those who fail to see the reality behind the distorted realms of television, radio, and the internet. Certainly, today’s young people don’t always put their best foot forward. Who does? Were the 50s, 60s, and 70s decades of perfection? In fact, the 60s were arguably the most turbulent and controversial years in recent memory.

Our angst and rebelliousness is hardly revolutionary. It’s simply a rite of passage – one carried out through the methods of our time. This is the era of social media, a phenomenon your parents are critical of and your grandparents oblivious to. Updating your Facebook status may seem trivial to your father, but that doesn’t change the fact that it holds social weight. In the present, a tweet or text has the potential to make or break any sort of relationship. Those who marvel at our generation for all the wrong reasons are right about one thing – the types of interactions people have aren’t different from those of decades past. The methodology, however, has been altered drastically and has an even greater impact on adolescents. Does this make our generation better or worse than those of decades past?

The truth is, there are too many facets of divergence to make a sufficient comparison. Value judgments are simply undue. The only certainty lies in our difference. We can only hope that we’ve made progress since the time of our predecessors. As a member of this generation, what are your thoughts? Are we really to blame for all of societies issues?

Life Beyond Social Media

In today’s constant stream of internet interactions, many students find themselves becoming too addicted to everyday usage of social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Vine, Twitter, Youtube, Reddit… the list goes on!  “Cleansing yourself” of the social medias has become a popular occurrence recently, in which individuals avoid the use of the internet, televisions, and smart phones entirely. The main problem with doing this, however, is finding ways to keep yourself occupied. There is no denying that it is challenging, but once you realize how much fun you can have offline you will forget about newsfeeds and hashtags althogether.  Here are a few tips to get you started:

Read. Find a great book and immerse yourself in it. Once you get your hands on a good book, you’ll find it hard to put down for even a second. There are genres out there for people of all shapes and sizes. I highly recommend Lightning written by Dean Koontz.

Hike. Go with a group of friends, and make your own little corner of the world for a few days. It’s easy to find hundreds of small hiking trails throughout the world, and if you really want to shoot for the stars, try hiking one of the more famous trails, like the Appalachian trail. If you don’t think you’re ready for the full challenge, hike a trail in separate sections. Nothing helps to forget about the internet better than sleeping under the stars.

Drive. Pick a place really far away and drive there. Road trips are a great way to bond with new friends or old ones, and you’ll get to see and experience the world from an entirely different perspective. Don’t just drive from point A to B, either. Stop in small towns, take scenic detours, and just have fun with it! If you see a sign for the world’s best pie, go try it! Instead of reading someone’s Tumblr post, drive on the open road.

Scream! Take the free time you’ll find yourself with to push your own limits. If you’ve never been on a roller coaster before, go to an amusement park. Do something to really get your adrenaline pumping. If you really have the desire for excitement, try working your way up to skydiving! Instead of reading someone’s status, YOU’LL be the one with the story to tell.

It may seem like there isn’t much to do without technology, but people have been getting along fine without it for a very long time (See “Technology: Causing Us To Age Early“). Who knows, giving up social media just might change your life. Eventually social networking sites will just be places to store all the beautiful pictures you’ll be taking, and all the great stories you’ll want to share. Give it a try and let us know how it goes (once you get back online, of course).

Technology: Causing Us to Age Early

This summer, I spent several days in one of my favorite places—southern California. I toured around, I shopped, I swam, I took pictures, I sunbathed. And I met a handful of fascinating people.

One memorable individual was a man who was standing on the side of a road in Laguna Beach, adding finishing touches on a scenic painting. It was getting dark, but it was light enough for my friend and me to see its beauty. We paused and admired his work out loud, which sparked a 45-minute conversation with this stranger.

The painter, with tan skin, neat hair, and sharp eyes, told us he had been painting for –if I remember correctly- 50 years. I nodded for a few seconds, until it dawned that this man did not even look over 40! My friend commented on his youthful appearance, and the painter chuckled as if he had expected it. He continued to share his bio:

He not only painted, but gave golf lessons, wrote and published a book, gave lectures, played an instrument or two, and had a number of other talents.

“You know the reason why I look so young?” Mr. Over-Achiever slyly smiled at us 19-year-olds. “It’s because I don’t put myself in a cubicle for hours a day. I barely watch T.V. I paint, I go outdoors, I take my time to enjoy life.” 

I’m thinking, I will no doubt be making art and music endlessly once I’m retired, but it’s hard to think I can do that instead of a real job to really make a living. This guy’s kinda in Lala Land. 

The painter then got my attention when he warned us of the dangers of technology, especially today. Why?

He claimed, “Because it causes us to age early.” 

Wait… isn’t technology supposed to make us live longer, make quality of life greater? 

“Technology,” he continued, “It speeds everything up. When you teens and young adults send text messages, you make the process even shorter by abbreviating everything. The content of kids’ every day speech even sounds like text messages. You guys can’t even speak in complete sentences!”

True, true. 

“When people walk by my painting, they always say, ‘wow,’ ‘cool,’ or ‘awesome.’ It’ll be the day when someone actually takes the time to walk up to me and say, ‘That is an amazing work of art.’ You know why? Because they actually took the time to share a complete thought. You see, when people want to speed everything up, they cut everything short. You get to places quicker. And when you add up all the cut pieces, you end up with a shorter piece, a prematurely aged life.”

My friend and I were skeptical and quiet. Except for our buzzing cell phones every two minutes. He then challenged us to, only for the next 10 minutes, speak in complete sentences. I’ll just say it’s harder than you’d think, and it makes you think about what you’re saying before you say it. It reduces unnecessary grunts and one-worded comments.

What separates humans from animals is our level of ability to communicate. The painter believed that a person who speaks in complete, intelligent sentences shows sincerity and seriousness. That person will go far because he/she is distinguished from peers.

Although I’m not so sure if his theory that technology makes us age prematurely is legitimate, I am sure that that conversation, with a random painter in Laguna Beach, will remain in my memory. I may not text any less or reduce my use of “lol”, but I will make more of an effort to actually say something when I say something.