The Five Best Studying Apps for Students

For most students, studying is the key to performing well, but it doesn’t come easy. Many struggle with it, and simply reading to memorize has less than stellar results for most. The good news is that we live in age of advanced technology, and we carry sophisticated devices on our persons. In other words, there’s no longer a need to settle for simple and ineffective, and with that in mind, we present to you the top five apps for better studying that can be used with your smartphone or tablet.

Study BuddyAs studiers, the greatest challenge we face is effective use of our time. This is where Study Buddy can help. This app is essentially a study coach. It lets you track study sessions, study time and wasted time, and the user is even able to associate this data with their graded performance in the classroom. Study Buddy also includes tips and techniques for studying and motivation.

Another crucial aspect of effective studying is consistency. It’s not good enough to cram the night before a big test. A strong studier is a person who performs their homework, reading and studying assignments on a regular basis. An app like myHomework can great simplify that process. It tracks classes and assignments, and it helps you to schedule studying in small manageable bits rather than as large, seemingly insurmountable events.

FlashCards are a tried and true testing tool, although often underused due to a lack of convenience. Modern technology is changing that, however. It’s no longer necessary to carry around a large stack of rubber-banded index cards. FlashCards Plus Pro lets you create and edit flashcards on the fly, and the parent website has thousands of premade sets for common subjects. The app even has a “Space Repetition” mode that adjusts to your knowledge in real time in order to focus on your weaknesses.

Evernote is a free all-purpose note-taking application that supports text, images and even voice recording. It also supports both structured and organic approaches to note taking. Using Evernote, students can maintain individual notebooks for each class, and each notebook can have sub-notebooks for different topics and projects. In addition, Evernote is cloud-based, so you can automatically access notes from your desktop computer or any other internet-connected device.

Wolfram Alpha is a computational knowledge engine. In fact, it’s what Siri uses to answer your queries. Originally, its purpose was to make calculations, but it has since evolved, and it can now compute answers from almost any structured data. For students, Wolfram Alpha is an invaluable resource, and it can often answer questions, or point to the right answer, much faster than it would take to look up.

Effective studying isn’t magic; it simply requires a structured and consistent approach. Likewise, these apps aren’t panaceas for studying woes. The apps won’t do the work for you. They can, however, provide you with the tools needed to succeed. Be consistent with your studying. Make it a ritual. More importantly, note what works for you and what doesn’t, and tailor your approach accordingly.

Griffin iTrip Dock Review

As we go through the years, an increasing number of vehicles have the ability to integrate the iPod into their system. This can be done easily and will allow an excellent connection between the sound system of the car and the iPod. But what if your car doesn’t have this? The solution is provided by the iTrip Dock Made by Griffin.

Griffin iTripSome people might suggest buying a direct car integration kit but those can sometimes cost more then $200, if you demand ever ounce of sound performance then this might be worth it, but the sound quality will only be as good as your car’s speakers. I’d suggest trying a much cheaper option, the Griffin iTrip. Today we are taking quick look at the Griffin iTrip, dock version.

The iTrip is a very simple concept; send your iPod’s output over a radio frequency, set your cars radio to the same frequency. In our testing the iTrip did a damn good job at doing that. The most practical use for the iTrip is in a car as I mentioned earlier. Cars usually have pretty decent quality antennas and since they’re mounted on the outside of the car and you have your iTrip set to a real radio station your car might tend to pickup the real radio station instead of your iPod despite the iPod being 4 feet away and the radio station tower being miles. So you just need to tune your car to a frequency with nothing on it but static. The range on the iTrip is decent, so picking a static non-existent station is important; you don’t want the passing cars to hear your Britney Spears for a few seconds do you?

On the bottom of the iTrip you will find a mini-USB connector, I personally like this feature as it enable you to connect the iPod to your computer with a standard usb cable if you’re at a friends house and forgot your proprietary Apple usb cable or something.

Moving to the front we can see a small LCD screen showing the country frequency, single mode (LX or DX) and finally the frequency you that the iTrip is currently broadcasting to. The single mode can be changed by holding the wheel-button on the right side. To change our broadcast station just turn the wheel and push the button once, instantly the iTrip will be broadcasting to the new station. Set your car to the corresponding station and you will hopefully hear your music.

I had a few minor glitches with the unit. Trying to get the iTrip to turn on is tricky, sometimes it will just turn on when you connect it, and sometimes you will have to turn the iPod on and off. That glitch only seemed to be a problem on our iPod Nano.

The sound quality was decent, about the same as what you would here from a radio station. Obviously the single is analog so you will get some quality loss. As long as you’re not a major audiophile the sound quality is great.

Overall

Who is this for?

Audiophiles that want every bit of quality that their iPod can output? – No.

Casual listeners that want to listen to their music in their car very easily and don’t mind losing a little bit of quality? – Yes.

Note: Griffin recent released a sister product to the iTrip, the iTrip Auto, this features a built in car charger so your iPod’s battery doesn’t drain while listening in your car, in our limited testing this worked just as well as the iTrip Dock.

Overall Rating: 9 out of 10 Marks

Pros

– Works very well.

– Decently priced.

– Standard USB connector

Wacom Intuos4 Medium Pen Tablet Review

Around 3 years back, we had the chance to review the Intuos3 tablet made by Wacom. We found this piece of technology extremely impressive to use. In recent times, the company have replaced this older Intuos3 system with a new Intuos4 system and today, we will be comparing the two and seeing how this tablet performs.

Wacom Intuos4I was fortunate enough to get a medium size Intuos4 in for testing and after using the tablet for the last few months; I am very impressed with the improvements. The first major change I noticed in the review process was the design. The Intuos4 is a completely redesigned tablet from the ground up just keeping the principles from the Intuos3 in mind. During my time using the Intuos3 I was always annoyed by having function buttons on both sides of the pad, they often got brushed against by my hand while using the pen or were inconvenient. The Intos4 features just one set of buttons with an ambidextrous design that will appeal to both right and left hand artists.

Wacom opted to go with a black design on the new tablet to compliment their company’s new marketing overhaul last year. I feel the Intuos3 was a more professional looking tablet, but the black is very sleek and will fit in well on most artists’ desks. Unfortunately, the control area of the tablet is glossy black and picks up every fingerprint that it comes in contact with.

The medium & up sizes of the Intuos4 features a small LED display area next to the Express Keys to show what each button does. The eight buttons can be customized using the included Wacom control software. The LED display allows you to set the buttons to have different functions in different programs and easily tell what the button will do. Wacom did away with the touch strips of the Intuos3 in favor of a scroll wheel. The scroll-wheel is similar to the wheel found on iPods and allows for very easy zooming and scrolling. The middle button allows you to change between functions.

The pen includes several different size tips that are easily stored in the pen-base. The pen includes a grippy area for precise control and offers 2048 levels of pressure, double the 1024 that the previous generation offered. Some applications cannot support the 2048 levels and must be run in compatibility mode limiting you to 1024 levels.

Wacom has always been very good about including tons of useful 3rd party software to compliment their product. Previous products have included a CD with the bundled software, but the Intuos4 instead includes a key that can be used to download he software from Wacom’s website, ensuring that you get the latest version and updates. Some software titles include Photoshop Elements, Nik Color Efex, Autodesk Sketch Book Express and Corel Painter Sketch Pad.

The Wacom control software works great and features an improved menu that is easier to control with the pen. As in the past, you can make presets for your programs and assign functions etc.

Overall

Overall, the Wacom Intuos4 is a major improvement over the Intuos3 and I highly recommend Intuos3 users and anyone interested in drawing tablets check out the Intuos4. You won’t believe how much using a tablet like the Intous4 impacts the way you interact with your computer!

Overall Rating: 9 out of 10 Marks

Pros

– LED Display Area

– Very sleek design

– Ambidextrous

Cons

– Some issues with compatibility mode

Specifications

– Dimensions: 14.6″ x 10″ x .5″

– Active Area: 6″ x 8″

– Pressure levels: 2048

– Interface: USB

Altec Lansing FX6021 2.1 Speaker System Review

The Altec Lansing FX6021 is a great sounding set of 2.1 speakers with style in mind. Is the sound and style enough to justify the high price tag?

Music is a huge part of our lives right? Yeah. The best way to enjoy music even more is to listen to it through a great sounding set of speakers, the Altec Lansing FX6021 allow you to do just that.

Reviewing a set of speakers is a little difficult because sometime in the end it all comes down to preference, some people prefer lots of bass, and some don’t. I will do my best to explain the sound to give you a decent idea of how it sounds.

Satellites

Altec Lansing FX6021The satellites each consist of 6 1” mini-drivers. Altec Lansing uses their fancy InConcert technology to send certain frequencies to each driver, which is supposed to create a better quality sounds. The satellites are very tall and come in a silver design. They would match very well in a Mac setup or next to an Apple Cinema Display. There is a small amount of a tilt adjustment that you can change depending on the level of your head. The unit is very wobbly while adjusting.

I was surprised by the quality of sound the satellites 1” drivers could put out. The sound quality was crisp and clear. I did notice the satellites to be a little weak in mids, which could partially be caused by how small the drivers are. The highs in particular sound great.

Subwoofer

The sub unit is actually kind of tall compared to other subs, although, it doesn’t way a lot. The actual sub is only 6”, which for a sub is considered kind of tiny. I had mixed feelings about the sound quality of the sub, it seemed to be lacking, and would get distorted at high levels. With the bass all the way up it is enough rumble a little, but not shake the room. I wish I could say I was as happy with the sub as I was with the satellites, but the bass simply doesn’t have the same clarity and preciseness.

On the back of the unit you will notice a few input connections. There is a standard 1/8” that allows you to use the included cable and connect it your PC. Additionally there are RCA inputs that allow you connect the speakers to your TV or gaming console.

Loudness

The FX6021 consist of just 75 watts RMS power, while that may not sound like, it does sound like a lot when you’re listening to them. I was able to get the volume pretty high without noticing very high levels of distortion. Don’t be swayed a way by this small spec.

They get plenty loud for a medium-large sized room and might even need to be turned down in a small room.

Control Pod + Remote

Unlike some speakers the controls aren’t located on the satellite. Instead, Altec Lansing included a Control Pod. The Control Pod allows you to easily adjust volume, bass and treble. I think the treble looks a little cheesy and is too big. The pod features bright blue indicator lights, volume knob and a power knob.

On the front there is an IR receiver for the included remote. The remote has the same functionality as the control pod, allowing you to adjust volume, bass and treble from across the room, very useful if you have your speakers system connected to your TV.

There control pod also contains a headphone output that bypasses the speakers and only plays through the headphones and a AUX port that allows you to quickly connect another 1/8” wired device such as an MP3 player.

Overall

Overall, the Altec Lansing sound great as long as you’re not a bass hog and don’t want to shake your house. The remote is an added bonus. The price tag may scare some away.

Overall Rating:8.5 out of 10 Marks

Pros

– Great treble

– Loud for 75w

-Overall good sound

Cons

– Lacking in bass

– Ugly control pod

– High price sticker

Specifications

– Speaker Configuration: Two Speakers and Sub-Woofer (2.1)

– RMS Power: 75 W

– Signal To Noise Ratio: 75 dB

– Overall Min Frequency Response: 180 Hz

– Overall Max Frequency Response: 15 kHz

– Driver Size (Sub-Woofer): 6.5″

– Input: Line In (1/8″ Mini) RCA AUX

– Remote Control: Yes