5 back to school and back to work tech essentials for 2015

A quick look a a few back to school and back to work tech essentials that every student and working professional should have in his or her arsenal.
This coming weekend might be the last relaxing one you and you family have until Christmas.  The summer holidays are almost over. Kids should be returning to school, and for us adults, the workplace is revving back up to full throttle from the general lull experienced during July and August.

In anticipation of the new adventures that September will undoubtedly bring, below are four essential tech tools both working adult and students should have in their arsenal.

1.  Backup Storage

A crashed hard drive or the loss of important files, assignments and projects can not only be a traumatic experience, but also highly disruptive to our work or studies. An external hard drive, on which files can be backed up is an excellent and invaluable resource, as our work and personal lives become increasingly digital.

Currently, the most popular backup drives start at 1 TB (terabyte – 1,000 GB), tend to range up to 6TB. Pricewise, they start at around USD 100.00 (suggested manufacturer retail price), to well over USD 600.00.  Some popular choices include the following:

2.  USB flash drive

For something a bit less cumbersome and more portable that an external hard drive, or a device that is being used for large data backups, a USB flash/jump drive should be high on the shopping list. These drives’ storage capacity has been increasing over the years and generally now ranges from 2—4 GB up to 256 GB, and cost (undiscounted) between USD 15.00 and USD 150.00. Below are two popular choices, but there are a plethora of jump drives on the market of varying price and quality:

3.  Power Bank

For those who use their laptops, tablet computers and smartphones intensively throughout the day, having a power bank – an external and portable battery supply – is a must when we need to recharge those devices on the go. When buying power banks, pay attention to the milliampere hour (mAh) rating, as it speaks to  the energy charge that a battery will hold and how long a device will run before the battery needs recharging. The mAh is also contributes to the price of a power bank, which generally ranges from USD 30.00 for a modestly rated power bank, to well over USD 150 for those that can charge more than one device at the same time. The two power banks highlighted below are popular among users:

4.  App: Evernote

Evernote is a perennial favourite in the workplace. This an award-winning app that helps users to stay organized, save ideas and improve productivity, by allowing users to take notes, capture photos, create to-do lists, record voice reminders–and makes these notes completely searchable. Users can also sync their notes across a broad range of devices; save, sync and share files; scan business cards; organise notes by notebooks and tags; digitize documents and Post-it Notes; and share notes with others via popular social networks.

Supported platforms: Android; BlackBerry; iOS (iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch); Windows Phone; Web OS; Mac OS X; Windows Desktop; Windows 8

Price: Free; USD 5.00 per month (premium version); USD 10.00 per month per user (business version)

5.  App: myHomework Student Planner

Like the name suggests, the myHomework Student Planner app replaces the paper planner, allowing students be more organised by having their class schedules, notes, homework, tests, projects and lessons all stored in one place. Students can also get reminders of when assignments are due. Work is stored offline but can synced across devices when online. Essentially, myHomework Student Planner can help to take the stress out of school by help students to be more organised and on top of their game.

Supported platforms: Android; iOS (iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch); Mac OS; Windows

Price: Free; USD 5.00 per year (premium version)



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