Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Columnist picks top 5 apps for college students

By Alex Domine, A&E Columnist

The digital age has put another world at our fingertips. Smartphones have invaded the college campus and are continuing to revolutionize the way we finish tasks, entertain ourselves and communicate.

From whence we came a society that waited to sit down at a desktop to check emails, calendars and play games, we now have 24-hour access in our pockets.

There are now more than 500,000 apps on the Apple network. These are five that will prove to be the most worthwhile for a student absorbed in collegiate life.

5. Living Social

With college students facing a lifetime of student loan debt, every cent counts. Living Social is a free app that sends you emails with discounts at local businesses from 50-90 percent off. I got $50 worth of business cards for $10 dollars using Living Social.

The one danger here is startling new coupons from places you may have never knew existed. It’s much like an all-purpose department store. It makes you want things you never knew you wanted. However, Living Social may one day save you on student gold such as business cards, school supplies or even books.

4. Instagram

This app is a requirement for any smart phone with a decent camera. It takes the social media phenomenon and gives it artistic spice. Instagram will take any picture and edit it faster than resetting the flash on a tragic '90s disposable Kodak.

Instagram is it’s own social network. You can share your filtered photos with anyone who has the app on their own device. Be sure to take advantage of the features that link instagram to Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr so you can share your photos on all your networks.

3. Facebook Messenger

While Facebook is already an incredibly popular app, Facebook messenger is an off shoot that isn’t as widely used.

Facebook Messenger focuses on the chat feature of Facebook and allows a user to communicate via Facebook message in real time. If the two people are communicating online, it become even faster than text messaging or imessage.

If you have the Facebook app, compliment your phone with Faceook messenger for an extra element of connection.

2. Clear

I was introduced to this app about two months ago and it has revolutionized all to-do lists that have ever ventured to challenge my schedule.

As college students, our fast-paced lifestyle is a formidable opponent for any program or stationary set that seeks to organize our lives. Clear is an extraordinary app. Its simple interface allows the user to customize to-do lists. You can have lists according to topic, day or category. The possibilities are limitless.

Clear also allows you to create sub to-do lists that organize our cluttered thoughts.

If you’re looking for the perfect way to sort out your life, download clear. The title is fitting.

1. Draw Something

Smart phones are making board games fun-sized. There are popular adaptations of classic games such as Scrabble and Monopoly for smart phones. However, I find Draw Something is the most functional, accessible and enjoyable.

The app connects users via Facebook or email to engage in long-running games. It’s as if Pictionary had a an illegitimate child with charades and is now emerging through the digital age.

The user is given a prompt to draw with the touch screen, and the drawing is sent to another user to guess what they are trying to illustrate. My favorite advantage to this game is the lack of commitment it takes to enjoy it.

If I find myself in a situation where I need to silently kill time, I’ll log into Draw Something and continue a game where I left off. When you guess an illustration accurately, the user is rewarded with ‘points’ that they can use to ‘buy’ additional color palletes for more detailed pictures. It’s simple and free — two of students' favorite words.