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‘Technology’ Category

  1. Going digital

    January 31, 2014 by Ian Perry

    This semester will mark many “lasts” for me as a Cornell undergraduate since I’ll be graduating in May. However, it also marks a notable first. For the first time in my career as a student, I did not have to purchase a physical textbook for any of my classes.

    In high school, I remember having to carry around enormous books for the entire day, and how inconvenient and uncomfortable it was. Carrying around a backpack that weighs 30+ pounds everywhere you go can definitely take a toll on your back. It was also a huge pain because you often needed the textbook both in class and at home to do homework. Things are different in college because you often don’t need to bring the book with you to class, but it can still be nice to have it with you when you go to the library or office hours.

    One of the the main differences between textbooks in high school and textbooks in college is that you have to pay for them once you enter college. Not only do you have to pay for them, but they can get expensive. As a freshman engineering student, I remember textbooks costing upwards of $400 total for each semester. Then, at the end of the semester, you have a pile of expensive very thick books sitting in your dorm room and it’s often not worth it to sell them back to the store because you only get a fraction of the original value. Before you know it, you have books that you’ve accumulated from many semesters, which you’ll probably never open again.

    At the start of this semester, I went through the usual procedure of checking The Cornell Store’s website to see which textbooks I’d need for class. Surprisingly, I needed very few. I was also able to find that every book has an electronic edition available through Amazon. So, for the first time as an undergrad, I didn’t buy a single physical textbook. I purchased e-books instead. Not only were the books less expensive as digital copies, but now I don’t have to carry any books around. Instead, all I need is a computer, tablet, or smartphone to read the books. This also means that I won’t have to add to the pile of books in my room at the end of the semester, which will probably be difficult to move across the country after graduating.

    It’s amazing how much has changed since freshman year when I had to lug three or four gigantic books from north campus to the engineering quad almost every day. Now, I don’t have to carry any books with me to class. If you have the option of choosing e-books, I would definitely recommend it. It will probably save you money, and make your backpack way more comfortable on your back.



  2. Screen Dependence

    February 27, 2013 by Ian Perry

    As the world becomes more and more dominated by screens of all shapes and sizes, it’s crucial to remember the importance of the real life interaction. Do not let screens impede on this extremely important part of everyday life. Smartphones, tablets, computers, and televisions are all changing the way we interact with people, both close and far. It’s up to us to keep this effect as positive as possible. Some of the responsibility falls on the changing technology, but it also falls on us.

    Give people the in-person attention that they deserve. Your phone should not take precedence over the person who you’re sitting across from. You already spend enough time during the day looking at a screen. Don’t waste yours and other people’s time by becoming too dependent on your screen. Emergencies are understandable. However, I didn’t ask you to dinner to watch you text someone who you’ve probably been texting the whole day anyway. I didn’t agree to grab coffee so that I could watch you respond to emails. Be connected, but not dependent. Look away for an hour and enjoy some in-person interactions. ┬áDon’t waste my time, and I won’t waste yours.