Connect with us

Technology

Student tech: the best gadgets to help you make the most of university | Technology sector

The end of the summer is here, and with it the start of a new semester at university. The landscape of learning certainly looks brighter than it has for the last couple of years but the need to have the right gear is just as big, with many universities offering a mix of in-person and online learning.

From laptops and phones to headphones and note-taking tools, here’s a guide to some of the tech that will help make the most of the student experience at a time of stretched finances.

Laptops and tablets

Most work ends up being done with a laptop, so getting the right machine makes student life that little bit easier.

Portability and screen size are key trade-offs. The bigger the screen, the easier it is to work on, but the heavier it will be to lug between lectures. I recommend a 13in to 14in screen as a happy medium but if you are frequently going to be plugging into a monitor, a smaller machine might be preferable. Make sure the display is at least 1080p in resolution.

Look for the 11th or the latest 12th generation Intel i5 or i7 processors, at least 8GB of RAM, and 128GB or more of SSD storage.

Don’t be tempted by the cheaper price or larger storage of a laptop with a traditional magnetic hard drive as it will be slow.

A university student working on a laptop
Does your laptop have a big enough screen? Photograph: I Love Images/Alamy

Generally, you can get a solid Windows 11 laptop for about £500-600. Be aware that at this price you will sacrifice typing and mousing experience, screen, speaker and webcam quality, and probably battery life, too. Of laptops usually on offer for £550 or so, the Acer Aspire 5, HP Pavilion 14 and Dell Inspiron 14 are worth considering with the right spec.

But my pick for a sub-£600 portable machine would be the mid-range Surface Laptop Go 2 at about £566 with student discount.

If you have a bigger budget and want a better screen, keyboard, trackpad, speakers and performance, my pick for a laptop under £1,000 is the tremendous Apple M1 MacBook Air at £898 with student discount, which has a gamechanging 16-hour battery life, so you will never need to carry your charger. If you need Windows, the Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 at £849 with a student discount is also very good.

Smartphones

The good news is that great smartphones can be had for well under £500.

The recently released Google Pixel 6a is the best budget phone of the year, costing £360 with a student discount. It beats many phones double its price, with top performance, a great camera and superb software, including the excellent auto-transcribing Google Recorder app.

Google Pixel 6a
The Google Pixel 6a costs £360 with a student discount. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

Alternatively, the iPhone SE 2022 at about £419 is equally good value if you are within Apple’s ecosystem. It looks dated but has top performance and will last up to seven years with software updates, whereas most others will last about five.

Tablets

If you can stretch to it, a tablet can also be a very useful addition to your computing armoury, offering utility for learning and entertainment.

Apple’s basic iPad, for instance, costs £319, or less with student discount, and has a good 10.2in screen, which can be used for note-taking with an Apple Pencil (£85) or as a portable second screen for a Mac when you need a second monitor on the go. There are lots of educational and productivity apps available for it, as well as a keyboard case if you would like to use it as a small substitute for a laptop. With all the video or music-streaming services available, it makes a great portable TV, too.

Amazon’s budget-conscious Fire tablets costing from £60 offer the entertainment options but aren’t good for productivity. Samsung’s Galaxy Tab A8 from £219 is more useful but lacks stylus support and the multitude of productivity and education apps available for the iPad.

Headphones

Concentrating in the hubbub of a busy library, cafe or student house can be hard without a good set of headphones to block out the noise.

Wireless earbuds are great for listening on the go. Nothing’s Ear 1 have noise-cancelling, sound good, last a long time on battery and have a funky transparent design that is comfortable to wear. They work with Androids or iPhones, as well as laptops, and cost about £89.

Nothing Ear 1 earbuds in a case
Nothing Ear 1 earbuds in a case. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

Apple’s AirPods 3 are good, too, but they do not block out noise, relying instead on simply drowning it out. They are excellent for calls and can be had for about £180; just watch out for fakes.

If focus is your priority, you can’t beat a large set of over-ear noise-cancelling headphones. My top pick are the older Sony WH-1000XM4, which are still excellent at blocking out most noise and sound fantastic. They connect to your laptop and phone at the same time, fold up nicely for travel and are pretty robust. Shop around and you can often find them for well under £250.

Note-taking apps

Keeping your digital notes, lectures and ideas organised and easily accessible on the go can be tricky but thankfully there are many tools that can help.

I’m a longtime fan of Evernote as a cross-platform tool for collecting notes, images, audio recordings and practically anything else in one cloud-syncable place, with apps for almost any device. It is free for up to two devices, such as your phone and laptop, with 60MB of monthly uploads, which will be fine for text notes and the odd photo. Evernote Personal costs £5.99 a month, or students get 40-50% off a yearly subscription.

Microsoft’s OneNote is an excellent alternative, with similar features and apps on most devices. It is free to use but notes are stored in OneDrive, which comes free with a Microsoft account with 5GB of space. More OneDrive storage costs £1.99 a month for 100GB of space, or it can be bought with a Microsoft 365 account starting at £59.99, which includes 1TB of storage as well as Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook apps.

Apple’s Notes is also very good, particularly for handwritten notes on an iPad, but is not cross-platform and cannot handle quite as many file attachments or advanced features. It is free to use on iPhones, iPads, Macs and in the browser but uses your free 5GB of iCloud storage space, with 50GB of storage costing 79p a month.

Source link

Current

Congratulations, Privacy Just Took A Great Leap Out the Window!

Your Data Is Being Used Without Your Permission And Knowledge

The Voice Of EU | In the heart of technological innovation, the collision between intellectual property rights and the development of cutting-edge AI technologies has sparked a significant legal battle. The New York Times has taken legal action against OpenAI and Microsoft, filing a lawsuit in Manhattan federal court. This legal maneuver aims to address concerns surrounding the unauthorized use of the Times’ content for the training of AI models, alleging copyright infringements that could potentially result in billions of dollars in damages.

READ: HOW YOUR DATA IS BEING USED TO TRAIN A.I.

This legal tussle underlines the escalating tension between technological advancements and the protection of intellectual property. The crux of the lawsuit revolves around OpenAI and Microsoft allegedly utilizing the Times’ proprietary content to advance their own AI technology, directly competing with the publication’s services. The lawsuit suggests that this unauthorized utilization threatens the Times’ ability to offer its distinctive service and impacts its AI innovation, creating a competitive landscape that challenges the publication’s proprietary content.

Amidst the growing digital landscape, media organizations like the Times are confronting a myriad of challenges. The migration of readers to online platforms has significantly impacted traditional media, and the advent of artificial intelligence technology has added another layer of complexity. The legal dispute brings to the forefront the contentious practice of AI companies scraping copyrighted information from online sources, including articles from media organizations, to train their generative AI chatbots. This strategy has attracted substantial investments, rapidly transforming the AI landscape.

Exhibit presented by the New York Times’ legal team of ChatGPT replicating a article after being prompted

The lawsuit highlights instances where OpenAI’s technology, specifically GPT-4, replicated significant portions of Times articles, including in-depth investigative reports. These outputs, alleged by the Times to contain verbatim excerpts from their content, raise concerns about the ethical and legal boundaries of using copyrighted material for AI model training without proper authorization or compensation.

The legal action taken by the Times follows attempts to engage in discussions with Microsoft and OpenAI, aiming to address concerns about the use of its intellectual property. Despite these efforts, negotiations failed to reach a resolution that would ensure fair compensation for the use of the Times’ content while promoting responsible AI development that benefits society.

In the midst of this legal battle, the broader questions surrounding the responsible and ethical utilization of copyrighted material in advancing technological innovations come to the forefront.

The dispute between the Times, OpenAI, and Microsoft serves as a significant case study in navigating the intricate intersection of technological progress and safeguarding intellectual property rights in the digital age.


Continue Reading

Culture

‘The Bill Gates Problem’ – The Case Against World’s Richest Man

The Case Against World’s Richest Man

When Clinton assumed the presidency of the United States, there was eager anticipation from the Chinese, not for Clinton himself, but for Bill Gates. This was during the late 1990s, a period when the internet was still in its nascent stages, and the digital boom of the early 2000s had not yet reached its peak. The enigmatic persona that captivated the attention of the burgeoning Asian powerhouse is now portrayed in “The Bill Gates Problem” as a “domineering, brusque figure” whose demeanor is likened to “a cauldron of passions that freely erupts.” According to a former employee cited in the book, Gates was perceived as “a complete and utter jerk to people 70% of the time,” while the remaining 30% saw him as a “harmless, enjoyable, exceptionally intelligent nerd.”

The 1990s were also the decade of the conflict between Microsoft and the now defunct Netscape browser, which challenged what was already being openly described as the former’s monopolistic practices. Gates was investigated and accused in Congress for such practices; he ultimately won the battle, but the case harmed his reputation, and in 2000 he resigned as CEO of his company. From there he undertook an expansion of the foundation that he had established with his wife and to which he has dedicated his main efforts in the last two decades. In 2006, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation received the Prince of Asturias Award for International Cooperation.

With a personal fortune of $100 billion and tens of billions more in his private foundation, Gates has been one of the richest men in the world for decades, and the foundation has been the most generous organization of its kind, specializing above all in health aid, education and child nutrition, with a large presence in Africa and India among other regions of what was formerly known as the Third World. Tim Schwab, a contributor to the weekly left-wing newspaper The Nation, undertook a detailed investigation to denounce something that in truth was already known: that American foundations are largely a way for billionaires to avoid taxes.

To prove this, he thoroughly looked into the accounts and procedures of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the failures and occasional successes of its philanthropic policies, and came to the conclusion that behind this facade of help to the needy hides an operation of power. He is ruthless in his criticism, although accurate in his analysis of the growing inequality in the world. Absorbed by the revolutionary rhetoric, he laments that the Gates Foundation has remained “deadly silent” regarding movements such as Occupy Wall Street or Black Lives Matter, which demand social change in the face of the “excess wealth and ‘white savior’ mentality that drives Bill Gates’ philanthropic work.” He does attribute some good intentions, but his criticism is merciless, sometimes even coarse, while the absence of solutions for the problems he denounces — other than the calls for do-goodism — is frustrating.

His abilities as an investigative journalist are thus overshadowed by a somewhat naive militancy against the creative capitalism that Gates promotes and an evident intention to discredit not only his work but, above all, him. The demands he makes for transparency and the accusations of obscurity are dulled by the author himself in the pages he dedicates to Gates’ relationship with Jeffrey Epstein, the famous corruptor of minors at the service of the international jet set. Gates has explained his meetings and interviews with him on countless occasions, and in no case has any type of relationship, other than their commercial relations or some confusing efforts to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, been proved. Still, Schwab raises, with no evidence whatsoever, the possibility that their relationship “could have had something to do with Epstein’s principal activities in life: sexual gratification and the exercise of power.” The book is full of this kind of opinions and speculations, to the detriment of a more serious analysis of Gates’ mistakes in the management of his foundation, the problems of shielding the intellectual property of vaccines in the hands of the pharmaceutical industries and, ultimately, the objective power that big technology companies have in global society.

He signed a collaboration agreement with the RAE to improve Microsoft’s grammar checker and was interested in the substantial unity of the Spanish language in all the countries where almost 600 million people speak it. That man was very far from the sexist, arrogant, miserable predator that Schwab portrays. Nor did we deduce — and this can be applied to the personal adventure of Steve Jobs, Larry Page, Zuckerberg, Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos — that his life’s goal was world domination, as suggested by this book. If they have achieved it, or may achieve it, it is due to the dynamics of digital civilization and the objective difficulties in governing it. The deregulation of financial capitalism, which has increased inequality among humankind, is due to the incompetence of obsolete political institutions and to leaders who care more about their own fates than those of their people. The criticism against “lame and wasteful government bureaucracies” might be part of the propaganda promoted by the world’s wealthy, but lately we have also heard it from small-scale farmers across Europe.

In conclusion, we found the book to be more entertaining than interesting. It provides a lot of information — we’re not sure if it’s entirely verified — and plenty of cheap ideology. Above all, one can see the personal crusade of the author, determined to prove that Bill Gates is a problem for democracy and that millionaire philanthropists are a bunch of swindlers. The world needs their money; maybe managed by party bureaucracies, that much is not clear. Bill Gates’ money, that is, but not Bill Gates himself.


Continue Reading

Culture

Conflicted History: ‘Oppenheimer’ And Its Impact On Los Alamos And New Mexico Downwinders

‘Oppenheimer’ And Its Impact On Los Alamos And New Mexico Downwinders

The Voice Of EU | In the highly anticipated blockbuster movie, “Oppenheimer,” the life of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the man behind the first atomic bomb, is portrayed as a riveting tale of triumph and tragedy.

As the film takes center stage, it also brings to light the often-overlooked impacts on a community living downwind from the top-secret Manhattan Project testing site in southern New Mexico.

A Forgotten Legacy

While the film industry and critics praise “Oppenheimer,” a sense of frustration prevails among the residents of New Mexico’s Tularosa Basin, who continue to grapple with the consequences of the Manhattan Project. Tina Cordova, a cancer survivor and founder of the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium, expresses their feelings, stating, “They invaded our lives and our lands and then they left,” referring to the scientists and military personnel who conducted secret experiments over 200 miles away from their community.

The Consortium, alongside organizations like the Union of Concerned Scientists, has been striving to raise awareness about the impact of the Manhattan Project on New Mexico’s population. Advocates emphasize the necessity of acknowledging the human cost of the Trinity Test, the first atomic blast, and other nuclear weapons activities that have affected countless lives in the state.

The Ongoing Struggle for Recognition

As film enthusiasts celebrate the drama and brilliance of “Oppenheimer,” New Mexico downwinders feel overlooked by both the U.S. government and movie producers. The federal government’s compensation program for radiation exposure still does not include these affected individuals. The government’s selection of the remote and flat Trinity Test Site, without warning residents in the surrounding areas, further added to the controversy.

Living off the land, the rural population in the Tularosa Basin had no idea that the fine ash settling on their homes and fields was a result of the world’s first atomic explosion.

The government initially attempted to cover up the incident, attributing the bright light and rumble to an explosion at a munitions dump. It was only after the U.S. dropped atomic bombs on Japan weeks later that New Mexico residents realized the magnitude of what they had witnessed.

Tracing the Fallout

According to the Manhattan Project National Historical Park, large amounts of radiation were released into the atmosphere during the Trinity Test, with fallout descending over a vast area. Some of the fallout reached as far as the Atlantic Ocean, but the greatest concentration settled approximately 30 miles from the test site.

Now I Am Become Death, the Destroyer of Worlds.

J. Robert Oppenheimer

The consequences of this catastrophic event have affected generations of New Mexicans, who still await recognition and justice for the harm caused by nuclear weapons.

A Tale of Contrasts: Los Alamos and the Legacy of Oppenheimer

As the film’s spotlight shines on the life of J. Robert Oppenheimer, a contrasting narrative unfolds in Los Alamos, more than 200 miles north of the Tularosa Basin. Los Alamos stands as a symbol of Oppenheimer’s legacy, housing one of the nation’s premier national laboratories and boasting the highest percentage of people with doctorate degrees in the U.S.

Oppenheimer’s influence is evident throughout Los Alamos, with a street bearing his name and an IPA named in his honor at a local brewery. The city embraces its scientific legacy, showcasing his handwritten notes and ID card in a museum exhibit. Los Alamos National Laboratory employees played a significant role in the film, contributing as extras and engaging in enlightening discussions during breaks.

The “Oppenheimer” Movie

Director Christopher Nolan’s perspective on the Trinity Test and its profound impact is evident in his approach to “Oppenheimer.” He has described the event as an extraordinary moment in human history and expressed his desire to immerse the audience in the pivotal moment when the button was pushed. Nolan’s dedication to bringing historical accuracy and emotional depth to the screen is evident as he draws inspiration from Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book, “American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer.

For Nolan, Oppenheimer’s story is a potent blend of dreams and nightmares, capturing the complexity and consequences of the Manhattan Project. As the film reaches global audiences, it also offers a unique opportunity to raise awareness about the downwinders in New Mexico, whose lives were forever altered by the legacy of nuclear weapons testing.

The Oppenheimer Festival and Beyond

Los Alamos is determined to use the Oppenheimer Festival as an opportunity to educate visitors about the true stories behind the film’s events. The county’s “Project Oppenheimer” initiative, launched in early 2023, encompasses forums, documentaries, art installations, and exhibits that delve into the scientific contributions of the laboratory and the social implications of the Manhattan Project.

A special area during the festival will facilitate discussions about the movie, fostering a deeper understanding of the community’s history. The county aims to continue revisiting and discussing the legacy of the Manhattan Project, ensuring that the impact of this pivotal moment in history is never forgotten.

As “Oppenheimer” takes audiences on an emotional journey, it serves as a reminder that every historical event carries with it complex and multifaceted implications. The movie may celebrate the scientific achievements of the past, but it also illuminates the urgent need to recognize and address the human cost that persists to this day.


We Can’t Thank You Enough For Your Support!

— By Team VoiceOfEU.com

— For Info.: info@VoiceOfEU.com

— Anonymous Submissions: press@VoiceOfEU.com


Continue Reading

Trending

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates 
directly on your inbox.

You have Successfully Subscribed!