Grad School Gear & Apps - Second Semester Edition!

Last September, I blogged about the apps and equipment that were helping me through my first semester at Johnson. I thought it would be interesting to give an update on how my needs have changed since then.

Of the six tools I wrote about last fall, only three of them are still in regular use - the Wall Street Journal app, the Solo Vintage backpack (which is being alternated with my classic Filson computer bag - a constant companion since my freshman year at Midd) and the BookBook Case for MacBook. What happened to the others? Well, a lot.

iOS 5 happened. Suddenly I had a Reminders app capable of syncing seamlessly with my Exchange and iCloud todo lists. As great as iStudiez is, it can't compare to an integrated solution like Reminders, especially when I don't have the time to painstakingly set up every class. Goodbye, iStudiez.

Self-discipline happened. Saver was a great app, but I've moved beyond the point where I need guilt to help control my spending. Call it growing up. W00t.

Lynk happened. I love my TikTok, and I'll always keep it as a memento of the first Kickstarter project I backed, but Mimo's 2011 update blows it out of the water. The LunaTik Lynk is simply one of the most gorgeous products I've ever seen, and converted my iPod Nano into something I feel comfortable wearing with a suit.

Each of these changes had an impact on my workflow and priorities as a student. But I've added a couple of new weapons to my arsenal as well.

Kindle Touch - I'm proud to say that I was an owner of both first and second generation Kindles. When the iPad launched, however, I traded them in for Apple's sexy 9.7" all-in-one media solution. As much as I love my iPad, though, I missed the simple elegance of an e-Ink screen. When the Kindle Touch was announced last fall, I couldn't help myself. Not only has it proven a great tool for organizing my class readings (thanks to its PDF support and great services like Readability), but it's also reignited my love of the novel. It's tough to find time for recreational reading at Johnson, but the Kindle Touch has given me every incentive to, and I'm loving it.

Bamboo Stylus - As part of my move to go electronic, I've cut physical notebooks out of my workflow. The problem is that given the pace of a lecture, it's not possible to get everything down with just a keyboard, especially when graphs come into play. The Bamboo Stylus solves that problem by converting my iPad into a classic pen-and-paper setup. It has real weight to it and feels great in my hand, and definitely beats cramming notebooks into my bag. Recommended for use with the Noteshelf app.