Letters to Freshmen: There's an App for That
One of my biggest interests is keeping up on the latest technology, tech trends, and best apps. I figured I could put this knowledge to use by writing an article to help you new CMCers get your smartphone set for maximum productivity and utility. Even if you may not be (emotionally) prepared, your phone will be. My expertise comes with a bias towards Apple and Facebook, so Android and Twitter users may not benefit from this article as much. If there's any vital thing you feel I'm forgetting, that's what the comments are for. Enough disclaimers, let's do this. Dining Hall Menus
This website pulls the menus posted on the website of each dining hall at the 5Cs and collects them all in one chart so you can easily decide with your friends which dining hall has the best looking options for the next meal. There's also an app designed by Mudders (who else?) and released at the start of the summer for iDevices that serves the same function and is free. I have not had a chance to test it, but if any of the dining halls start getting lazy about posting their menus online, I'm sure enough emails from dissatisfied students can make a change. While I'm on the topic, remember that feedback to the dining halls can go a lot farther than simply complaining to your friends. They're doing their best to feed us well, and if they get feedback they'll know how to do it better.
While I'm on the subject of food, I've found the free Urbanspoon app to be the best restaurants app for Claremont because it has the most listings for the Claremont Village—short of this site, which has the most updated list of all of the restaurants. However, Urbanspoon can filter them by popularity or price, unlike the aforementioned website. This app will assist you in your off-campus culinary expeditions.
Dropbox mobile app
Dropbox mobile is a great app for moving email attachments from your phone to your desktop or being able to access that long article your professor sent the class as a .pdf anywhere on campus without having to lug around your laptop or make an extra trip to the nearest computer lab to print it out.
Also, if you didn't already know about the Dropbox Service itself, it's basically like the recently launched Google Drive, except it allows you to create a public link for each file that can be messaged to your friends to more easily move around files that are too large to email—making it better than the Google option.
Find Friends app
I've written about this app on the Forum before. It's a free friend tracker by Apple that shows where your friends' iPhones are on a Google map after they confirm your request to track them. It's great for keeping tabs on your few close friends and maybe your roommate so you aren't constantly filling up their inbox with things like, "Where are you?" "Are you out of lab yet?" "Are you in the room/Can I use it for an hour?" "Which lounge/computer lab am I bringing these mozzarella sticks to?" Of course, you also have the option of turning on or off your location sharing if you want to get away or hide from your friends for a while.
Might as well embrace the broke college student stereotype now by putting yourself on a budget. Mint isn't allowed to touch your money, but by allowing it to see your accounts and categorize each of your purchases made with plastic, it can help you see how all your expendable income is sneaking away. It also lets you set up budgets for your spending habits each month so you can keep better tabs on whether you should splurge or save. There are many more features, such as setting up goals for savings.
Speaking of money, here's another great app that can be used to make payments to your friends for favors or errand running with the same ease as sending a text message. It's great for when your roommate doesn't notify you of a Target run until they're already there. You just needed a new tube of toothpaste, but don't have the cash with you to pay them back immediately. I mean, seriously, how many college students ever have cash on them these days? The future is digital! You might as well make your life easier by being able to text your friends money straight from your checking account or charge them for having you cover last night's Domino's order.
iPhone Texting Shortcuts
Setting these up on your iPhone will make lazy and drunk texting a whole lot easier. Custom keyboard shortcuts can save you tons of time typing frequent phrases and long words. In the Settings app, select General > Keyboard > Shortcuts > + From here you are presented with a menu to have an acronym autocorrect to a phrase every time you type it. The following examples are shortcuts I have programmed into my phone to make Claremont texting easier; you'll be brainstorming your own as soon as you understand how easy it is to add the ones you use often.
ao for Admission Office
apts for apartments
berg for Berger
bos for Boswell
chall for Claremont Hall
cmont for Claremont
kc for Kravis Center
mq for Mid Quad
nq for North Quad
sq for South Quad
The CMC Forum App
It's a little self reflexive, but it should be noted that there is an app for the very website you are using to gain this valuable information. The app is free and slick, if a bit slow, but our editors are always working on making our site faster. They're modern kids and hate slow websites just as much as you do. If you want to be in the know on important CMC events and happenings, download it. Do it now.
Setting up mobile CMC email
Speaking of being in the know, getting your school emails on your phone is vital. The shorthand version of setting up your CMC email on your smartphone goes as follows. First, set your alternative password. Go to http://www.cmc.edu/mail/gmail_password.php and click on the link under “Alternative Access Password.” It helps to set this as your regular CMC password to avoid confusion. Then enable IMAP. Do this within Gmail by clicking on “Settings” in the upper right-hand corner and then on “Forwarding and POP/IMAP.”
Set up your client according to Gmail instructions. Click on the “Configuration Instructions” link right there in your Gmail settings, and Google has you covered for the details. Remember that when Google talks about your username, use: firstname.lastname@example.org in your phone email settings. The key information should be filled out as follows.
Server Information: Incoming: pop.gmail.com Outgoing: smtp.gmail.com Gmail requires a secure (SSL) connection: Outgoing SSL: port 465 Incoming SSL: port 995
First-years take note, the sooner you do this the more productive and in-the-know you'll be able to be on happenings around campus. It's also good to do this because, as you've probably quickly discovered, CMC loves spamming us, and a methodical system of inbox filters combined with a vigilant lookout on your inbox can help keep all but the most stubborn Informs from wasting your precious time. If all that was too hard to follow, your dorm's RTA should be able to help you easily set this up when he or she has a free minute.
Nearest Apple Store
Aside from the Huntley Bookstore, which only sells Apple products but does not repair them, the closest official Apple store is in Rancho Cucamonga. More info can be found here.
That's the wealth of my CMC-relevant, Apple-biased tech knowledge and advice. Use it wisely.
Editor's correction: title