Aug. 24, 2012 --
In spite of the record heat and waves of drought, Fall is around the corner. College students everywhere are getting ready to lug their possessions to a bland new college dorm. Yeah, that's right; we said “bland.” Personalize the space with gadgets and gizmos that make living away from home more bearable.
ANALYSIS: Green 16: Top Colleges Make Earth Day Honors
Sony NSZ-GS7 Set Top Internet TV Streaming Device While you may not have a lot of time to watch TV between classes and studying, eventually you may want to catch up on your favorite shows. Sony’s NSZ-GS7 set top Internet TV streaming device connects through Wi-Fi for instant access to Netflix, YouTube and Hulu without a cable subscription. All of the comforts of home TV without the monthly bill or contract.
Hex Academy Messenger Bag for iPad Because of their light weight and ease of use, tablets have begun to replace laptops as note-taking devices. Carry the tablet in a Hex Academy messenger bag -- it's neutral enough to be cool, without trying too hard. Lots of extra spaces raise its utilitarian reputation. The compartment in the front of the bag under the flap, for example, provides instant access to an iPad. Just flip it open and start jotting. There is also space for a laptop -- if you need both -- as well as slots for cards, pens and books.
Tanda Zap LED Zit Treatment High school’s over, so no more pubescent skin outbursts, right? Yeah, no. Ramen, late nights and exam stress can wreak havoc on a student’s skin. But a little help from Tanda’s Zap may shorten that blemish’s life span. The blue LED light kills bacteria that causes pimples and sonic vibration increases circulation and reduces swelling. The device can also prevent future outbreaks.
Drive Scribe App Just because you're headed off to college doesn’t mean you won’t come home to visit. To make sure the drive is distraction-free, upload this app to your smartphone. DriveScribe is a driving coach that rewards users for good driving behavior. Earn points by avoiding violations and reaching safe driving goals. Users can cash those points in for gifts cards to different retail vendors. The app even tracks max speed and speed at different times during the trip. If a text is received, Android users can have an automated reply sent saying that you're driving. Now that we mention it, maybe some parents should get this app, too.
Harman Kardon AE Earbuds Getting from class to class can sometimes require long treks across campus, and what’s a nice long walk without a good jam? If you have a tendency to lose (or hate) the earbuds that come with your MP3 device or phone, take a look at the Harmon Kardon AE Earbuds. The buds are encased in aluminum alloy that provide acoustic dampening, ensuring great sound. The AE’s also have the Apple 3-button microphone/volume control button, which makes switching from music to a call from Mom a snap.
Manhattan Stealth Touch Wireless Mouse Do mice have to have buttons? (Even Mickey has those telltale white ones, for some reason.) Apparently not, since Manhattan's innovative buttonless Stealth Touch Wireless Mouse gets the job done well without them. You just tap your fingers on the smooth, curved surface where you'd expect to left- or right-click -- or swipe up/down in the middle, where a scroll wheel would be. More than a novelty, this self-contained unit is simple, slick, well-designed and fully functional. For instance, the wireless micro-dongle stores securely (but is easily removable) right in its underside, next to the compartment that holds its two AAA batteries and the power button. Once turned on and quickly paired, a little blue Manhattan logo lights up on the left side of the mouse to let you (right-handed users) know it's oriented correctly. Then, speaking of orientation, when you pick up the mouse, it enters presenter mode. With it in the air, just swipe left or right on it to skip the slide backwards or advance it forwards. Try that with your boring, buttoned mouse!
ego Hybrid USB Case It's not often we find phone cases worth mentioning because they do something functionally different. But this is one of those...cases. The ego Hybrid USB packs a memory stick -- always handy to have around campus! Snap any of the three capacities -- each offered in two colors -- into one of the cases, which come in six colors. So let's see, if a train moving at 40 MPH leaves Boston at 3:00 p.m. heading south, that makes how many possible memory/case color combinations?
iHome Audio LED Color Changing Tower Stereo Speaker Dock Just because you don't have a fake ID or car on campus doesn't mean you can't quickly garner notoriety among your peers. Soon after you plug in the 3-foot tall iHome Audio iP76 tower dock, you'll be surprised how fast several new friends find their way into your groovy A/V den. Scientific studies have shown college kids are attracted by the colorful pulsing and strobing, mesmerizingly fading and dimming lights. But who wouldn't want to hear [insert modern, relevant band name here] through its mighty Reson8 speaker chambers? Although the dock on top's designed for playing from (and charging) an iPod or iPhone, you can also pipe tunes from tons of sources via Bluetooth or the aux line-in. In the other direction, you can send video back through the component outputs to a TV. Heck, with that kind of multimedia set-up, you'll pack 'em into your split double tighter than Hef fills the mansion's screening room on pajama/movie night.
Private Wi-Fi subscription Would you walk through a door on campus marked "free pizza" grab two slices and leave files with all your bank accounts, credit card numbers and other private info lying around? As tempting as it sounds, probably not. Yet that's essentially what you're doing with all the data on your computer when you snag free public Wi-Fi in places such as airports, coffee shops, libraries and res halls. Private Wi-Fi is a transparent VPN software (that you won't even notice working automatically in the background every time you get online) that connects you through their secure gateway, assigns you a random private IP address and 128-bit encrypts your data. So you can safely browse, email, IM and update anonymously and untracked (even by Private Wi-Fi itself). The software is compatible with PCs and newer (than 2006) Macs.
iWave Cube Practically zero counter space and always hungry is no way to go through life, son. The 12-pound iWave Cube takes up less than a cubic foot, yet its 600 watts can heat up all sorts of stuff. Maybe not full-sized dinner plates. But what, are you making Thanksgiving dinner? No, you're just heating up the staples: coffee, Ramen, pizza bagels and mini-popcorn packets. This compact microwave currently comes in silver, black or white, but new colors are in the offing. It's a great way to save space and warm up drinks, soup and other tasty snacks.
PHOTOS: 5 Apps to Succeed in College