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Entries from August 1, 2011 - August 31, 2011


Our Top Posts From August

This guy knew what was important to pack. Photo by Flickr user mdowns and licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0Wow, what a busy month. When we weren't giving away iPads and $100 bills, we were churning out massive amounts of back to school content and dorm hacks to put you a step ahead of your classmates. Here were some of our most popular posts from the month that was.



Use Spaces on Your Mac to Manage Productivity and Social Spheres

My Spaces in action. Photo courtesy of author's screenshot.When Mac OS X introduced Spaces with Leopard, it institutionalized the concept of multiple desktops to Mac users, something most Linux users and some Windows users had been using for years. The productivity line on multiple desktops is still blurry - some belive that one single desktop is more beneficial for work, while others like to divvy up their life into different departments.

I used to be a multiple desktop devotee, but in recent years, had slipped out of the habits. In Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, full-screen apps were introduced as separate multiple desktops, and it was time for me to attempt another experiment. This time, I was serious.

I always broke down my 4 Spaces (no more) like this: Web, Social, Productivity, and Fun. Descriptions after the jump!

Click to read more ...


How to make extra cash without taking on a part-time job

Extra Cash - Everyone's looking for it! Photo by magnetbox and licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Need a laptop? We've teamed up with Intel to bring you the HackCollege Laptop Chooser. If you share the Laptop Chooser, you'll be entered to win a Samsung Series 9 Notebook!

With the cost of tuition skyrocketing at all schools, more than ever, students need to get their hands on as much money as possible. Unfortunately, not all of us have the time (isn’t being a student enough of a full time job?) to pickup a part-time or work-study job that can take 15-20 hours out of your week. If that’s the case (or even if you do have a job already and want more ideas to make cash), you’ve got a boatload of options to make some pocket money on the side. Also, remember that you can use a lot of these side projects to gain experience you can put on your resume.

Psychology/Social Science Experiments: If your campus is like mine, I’m sure there are tons of researchers who want human guinea pigs! In exchange for your time and cooperation, they’ll usually pay you about $10-20/hour. I love doing these because they’re usually scheduled when I have open blocks in my schedule, so I’ll do an experiment for an hour and make $15 instead of surfing Facebook. Most experiments take no more than an hour, and new experiments are posted all the time. And don’t worry – you’ll be completely safe and you can always stop the experiment if you feel uncomfortable. If you’re interested, be on the lookout for fliers advertising for students to come participate in these experiments. If you don’t see any, try emailing or asking your psychology or economics departments if any researchers need students.

Freelance Gigs: Craigslist gigs can be a great resource to make some extra dough. Whenever you have a spare moment, check your city’s gigs page. You can find it by appending “/ggg” without the quotes to the URL for your city’s craigslist page. There will be a big mess of stuff, most of which won’t apply to students, but you can often find things like babysitting or data entry that you can easily do in your spare time. Your mileage may vary, but expect an hourly wage a few bucks more than minimum wage.

Focus Groups and Surveys: Check out the surveys forum on Slickdeals. Slickdeals is a great deals forum that features a community of bargain hunters on the lookout for great deals on basically anything, from TV's to baby food. In one subsection of the forums, slickdealers post links to survey sites they’ve found. The marketers running these sites want your feedback and opinions in exchange for money! Surveys vary in length and payment amount, but I’ve found sites where you can get paid $50 in as little as 30 minutes ( Meanwhile, focus groups are in-person interviews that usually take much longer, often 2-3 hours. However, you can expect to be paid a lot more for these, sometimes even $200 for just 2 hours. Regardless of the method, the important thing to remember is that these marketers are almost always screening for certain types of people – so you will probably be denied more than once. But don’t be discouraged! Explore the forums, find survey sites you like, and get started making extra money!

Monetize Your Social Media: Whatever your interests may be, have you ever thought about communicating and sharing your expertise with others on the Internet? If not, you should. You can reap so many benefits from starting a YouTube channel, Tumblr, or blog, some of which include: 1) connecting with others who share your interest, 2) getting great experience writing and managing a website, and 3) making money! Once you have enough content and get enough traffic coming to your site, you can put up ads from a wide variety of ad networks. Here are just a few: Google AdSense, Adbrite, and Amazon.

Outside of all the tips I mentioned, there are a ton of blog posts out there with all sorts of ways to make extra cash without taking on a job. Check out 102 Ways To Generate Extra Cash, More Money: 5 Ways to Earn Extra Cash in Your Spare Time, and 10 New Ways to Make Money Online, just to name a few. There are literally hundreds more if you do a simple Google search. I hope these ideas have inspired you to get out, do something, and start recouping all that money you spend on Starbucks!

What are your favorite ways to make extra money on the side? Let us know in the comments!


Beer: The Multipurpose Alcoholic Beverage

Beer. Good for more than just drinking. (Wait, what?) Photo courtesy of k.ivoutin. Licensed under CC BY-2.0.So beer is basically pretty awesome. It is typically the drink of choice of college students. But everyone loves beer. Hell, my ancestors were named after beer. And because it is so awesome, beer has actually been put to other uses other than drinking. So read on to discover some new ways you can put your beer to work in your life.

Pest Trap

Just like humans, little pests like slugs, fruit flies, and cockroaches also love beer. For this reason, you can use it to attrack them into a trap to get rid of them around your dorm or apartment. For slugs, place a small saucer or jar of beer ourside where you usually find them. They'll be drawn to it and will have gotten stuck. Do the same thing for fruit flies, but cover the top of the jar with plastic wrap, poking a small hole for the flies to get into. Apparently they won't be able to get out once they get in.

Roaches are nasty, so I was relieved to hear about this tip. If you have a roach problem, put a piece of beer soaked bread in a jar and cover the rim with vaseline. Cockroaches get in, but can't get out because of the vaseline. 

Fertilize Plants

I have a little indoor plant to spruce up my apartment, and using a bit of beer can actually help fertilize it and keep it growing strong. Use a small amount of a flat beer just at the base of the plant. If you have a house with some roommates, and your yard is prone to ugly brown patches, you can pour flat beer on that too. The acids in beer kill off fungi and pests, and the fermented sugars feed the grass.

Stain Removal

If you've just spilt a little bit of coffee on the rug, instead of using chemical cleaners, try a spot of beer first. Let beer sit on the stain for a few minutes, and then dab it up with a cloth. Wash out the spot again with soap and water, and the magicness of beer should have removed the coffee stain.

Have you ever used beer for any of these household jobs? Let us know in the comments!

[via Networx]


Twitter Timeline Sync with Tweet Marker

Tweetbot version 1.6 now supports timeline syncing with Tweet Marker.

Need a laptop? We've teamed up with Intel to bring you the HackCollege Laptop Chooser. If you share the Laptop Chooser, you'll be entered to win a Samsung Series 9 Notebook!

Many Twitter users check their timeline in more than one client. You may use a Twitter iOS or Android app for reading on the go and then check a desktop Twitter client on your laptop. But when you switch between clients, you lose your previous reading position, which can be a major annoyance and make for a less pleasant Twitter experience. For example, the official Twitter apps (Mac, iPhone, iPad, Android, etc.) will remember where you were in the timeline, but only within each individual app-- you can't make Twitter for Mac start where you left off on Twitter for iPhone. 

If you follow a lot of active Twitters, your timeline is probably constantly flowing with updates. With this setup, an important announcement could easily get buried in this stream. 

Manton Reece's Tweet Marker is a tool for Twitter application developers that aims to solve this problem by setting and getting the "last read" tweet for a given Twitter user. So far, Twitterific for the Mac, iPhone and iPad, Tweetbot 1.6 for the iPhone, and Tweetings for Mac, iPhone, and iPad are the only clients that have integrated Tweet Marker into their clients. Tweet Marker works across multiple platforms and clients. You could sync your timeline between Tweetbot and Twitterific (on any device), and vice versa. 

Tweet Marker is an excellent service that adds great value to clients that support it. Let's hope more Twitter developers will catch on and start taking advantage of Tweet Marker!

[via Macstories]


Mac App MailTab Brings GMail to Your Desktop

MailTab - saving you one browser tab at a time. Photo used courtesy of fair use.MailTab, a new application on the Mac App Store, allows Mac users to have push notifications for their GMail on their desktop. MailTab provides audio and visual notifications when users have new mail, in addition to allowing users to send mail from their desktop without ever opening the browesr.

MailTab emulates an iPhone-like interface and allows users nearly all the functions of mobile GMail from their desktop, providing a simplistic way to always be in the know with your mail.

MailTab is free, but also has a $1.99 pro version.



What Square Mobile Payments Means for Students

This thing plugs into your phone, and charges credit cards. What a world we live in.

Need a laptop? We've teamed up with Intel to bring you the HackCollege Laptop Chooser. If you share the Laptop Chooser, you'll be entered to win a Samsung Series 9 Notebook!

Stop me if you've heard this before. You pay $20 to cover the pizza order for your friends. None of them have cash on them, or at least nothing smaller than a $20, so they promise to get you back. The money never comes.

College is full of moments like this. Whether it's splitting a bill, getting paid back for booze or cover at a dorm party, or buying and selling old DVD's and dorm furniture. If you're anything like me though, you hardly ever have cash on hand, and most of your friends don't either. Luckily, the days of unpaid debts are over thanks to Square.

If you haven't heard about it, Square is a mobile payment startup founded by some of the same people who brought you Twitter, and it's incredible. Simply sign up for a free account, and they'll mail you a free (!) credit card reader tha plugs into the headphone jack of your iPhone, iPad, or Android device. Once you have everything you need, simply type in what you want to charge your friend on the app, and have them swipe their credit or debit card. They even get a receipt!

Of course, there are some drawbacks. You will pay a 2.75% processing fee on all transactions, so you'll either need to eat that cost yourself or build it in to the charge, which runs the risk of pissing off your friend. In my experience the reader often takes a few swipes to work properly, but that's not really a dealbreaker. If you're concerned at all about privacy though, it's been reported that the reader can be hacked to act as a credit card skimmer, but if you're the one actually accepting the payments you won't need to worry.

Overall, the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks. I personally hope these things become as ubiquitous as cellphones, as I hate feeling like a bum when I don't have cash, probably more than I hate being saddled with a full bill by my cashless friends. This is a fantastic, free system that most college students could use on a weekly basis, and there's no good reason to delay signing up.


Smart Money Moves for College Students

Money. College students never seem to have enough of it. Photo courtesy of superstrikertwo. Licensed under CC BY-2.0.

Need a laptop? We've teamed up with Intel to bring you the HackCollege Laptop Chooser. If you share the Laptop Chooser, you'll be entered to win a Samsung Series 9 Notebook!

Possibly one of the most common things I hear around campus is, "That sounds like fun, but I'm totally broke." College students are notoriously broke, and sometimes even take pride in how we can get around stuff by spending the bare minimum. It's almost like a game. Regardless, we are always looking for ways to save money so we can spend it on more awesome things (read: alcohol). Here are a few quick tips that will help keep more money in your wallet and also will help you become more financially savvy.

Make a Budget

I know, you're already way too busy to add another thing to your to do list. But the reality is that if you just spend an hour or two every month figuring out how you are going to spend and save your money, you might actually figure out a way to save more money. For instance, if you say, "Okay, I'm only going to spend such and such money on eating out this month," then you've set yourself a goal. Once you reach that point, you know you shouldn't spend anymore money on eating out. If you didn't make that plan, you might be spending more money than you realize on certain things.

In addition to saving you money, planning a budger is a great tool that you'll have to do when you get older and get out of college. It's a skill that you should practice while you're still in college and have a little bit more leeway.

Build Up Your Credit

Building up your credit may not necessarily help you save money right now, but it is definitely something you should be doing now as a college student. You'll need credit for loans after college for a car, graduate school, or someday even a house. One of the easiest ways to build up your credit is to get a credit card and pay off your balance every month. Of course, actually getting a credit card as a college student can be difficult. HerCampus wrote an extremely thorough article of what it takes to apply for a credit card and which kind of card you should be looking for. You can read their article here.

There are other ways you can build up your credit. You can take a small loan out from your bank for something like your books, and then pay the loan back quickly with money you already have saved up. For more tips on how to build up your credit without using a credit card, check out this article.

Stop Spending Unnecessary Money

Well, duh. That just seems like a stupid suggestion. However, if you look closely at your spending habits, you might notice that you spend quite a bit on some items that are completely unnecessary. Some of the biggest money wasters, according to CNNMoney, are things like

  • ATM Fees - You can easily look up an ATM of your bank that won't charge you that annoying $2 extra fee for using their machine
  • Bottled Water - This is my biggest pet peeve. Getting a filtered pitcher for twenty bucks will save you hundreds of dollars a year, not to mention it helps save the environment. It's really a no brainer.
  • Brand Name Groceries - I'll admit, I totally spend that extra one or two bucks for brand foods that I know that I love, like my favorite flash-frozen green beans or that specific brand of meatballs. But for the things that don't really matter, there is no shame in buying a generic brand that will end up saving you quite a bit once you get to the check out counter and all of your groceries tally up
  • Eating Out - It will almost always cost more per meal to eat out than it will to cook for yourself. Avoid eating out. It's healthier for you and you save money

Cut these unnecessary spending habits out of your life, and you'll be using that money for better purposes. 

What money tips do you have for other college students? Let us know in the comments!

[via Free From Broke, HerCampus, and CNNMoney]