My School Year in Tech

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I reported last year that my MacBook Pro died and how I subsequently purchased a MacBook Air to replace it. I use it heavily in my day-to-day work and at school. For school, much like last year, I use my MacBook Air to do design work such as posters in Indesign, and photo editing in Photoshop. A large portion of my day revolves around the use of my MacBook in some form or another.

The upgrade to Mountain Lion has overall been a help. Between iCloud syncing of documents (so I no longer have to constantly worry about backups). Plus, all of my calendars, reminders, school notes, and contacts stay in sync. Notification Center keeps me constantly up to date, which is nice. On the other hand, Mountain Lion has absolutely killed battery life on my MacBook Air. I can no longer get through a day on a single charge, or even two. I wish Apple would fix this problem soon.

As for my iPad, I’ve found new ways to us it in my workflow. I keep a constant eye on emails and other updates, while occasionally using it to take notes in class. I also use it to routinely check my schedule and reminders (which are nicely synced between devices by iCloud). It’s light and portable, and beats digging out you MacBook to do minor tasks. I’ve also been known to write reports, create presentations, and even make quick edits on website projects with Diet Coda. In fact, I would take only my iPad if it were not for the design work I have to do. I eagerly await the day that the iPad is capable of running applications such as Adobe’s Creative Suite. Yes, there is a version of Photoshop for the iPad, but overall, it does not yet do everything I need. In time, I believe this will change.

Then again, this isn’t an issue for the average iPad user. Most who use an iPad use it for email, web surfing, and the occasional editing of a document, which is fine, and the iPad does it well. But for now, design professionals are trying to find ways to force it into their workflow.

Then of course, there is my iPhone 4S. I use it constantly throughout the day. I stay in contact, and check my email, reminders, and calendar even more on the iPhone than I do my iPad. It is a lifeline of sorts. This may sound odd, but I use the camera on the iPhone heavily for my classes. For instance, I needed reference material for an illustration I’m working on. I snapped a few photos, and with the help of iCloud syncing, had the photo on my iPad’s larger screen in seconds. From there, I used the photo to help create the drawing (Yes, a paper and pencil drawing. I know, I don’t understand it either).

I attend the University of Southern Indiana. It’s an average-sized school with over 10,000 students. There I stood just a week ago in the campus bookstore, looking at a gaping hole where a wall used to be. Books were stacked on the floor where shelving once was. I just figured they were renovating the place, if not expanding it. It needs a little of both. Then, through the school newspaper’s Facebook page I discovered what all the construction was about. An Apple “Store” (feel free to insert the word “kiosk” here.) is in the works. This means nothing to most of our readers, but for me it implicitly made a statement. If my school, in my mid-sized city in Southern Indiana is getting a Apple presence, then the company is doing very well indeed. If all of the larger, low-hanging fruit embodied by larger metropolitan areas is pretty well covered, then it is time for Apple to move into the smaller areas.

After all, the closest Apple store is in Louisville, Kentucky, a solid two hour drive from where I live. The place that most closely represents an Apple store in my area, is the Apple kiosk located in my local Best Buy store. So, at the very least this is an exciting development for us students, and I think it shows that Apple either by themselves, or in partnership with other retailers, is trying to reach every market they can.

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