Saturday, March 9, 2013

Hope that 2016 is gearing up to join UNM SOM. We've had some questions as to which technology to buy that will help with their studies and how to survive medical school. There are plenty of laptop buying guides such as from PC Mag or Wired so we don't want to redo the great guides out there. Instead, several members of SMRT has given input on what they own, and how they use technology. We hope this is better and more personalized advice geared toward UNM SOM.


What I own: iPad2, iMac for home

What I use my iPad2 for: taking notes, studying with eTextbooks and digital flash cards, taking exams, checking email and the school calendar, texting, games, problem-based learning sessions, just about everything really

What I wish I owned: Actually, I'm a happy camper with what I've got

Impressions: At first, I was skeptical about getting an iPad when I heard about it from SMRT on Second Look Day. My last netbook had just died but I was looking forward to getting a laptop (probably a MacBook) for school.
Since I started using the iPad at school, however, I have found it works with much more than I expected, and I have very few complaints about it. I can do many things with it that would not be possible or would be much more difficult on a laptop, such as easy PDF annotation and free texting. I have found apps for handing Word and Excel files, free audio and photo editing apps; I can connect to SharePoint even better from my iPad than from a computer, and keep everything synced with DropBox. I hardly touch my home computer. That said, I still go to the library PCs to work with Google Docs, view the recorded video of a lecture, or if I am writing anything longer than a one-page document or so (the bluetooth keyboards work great, but they're still not as ergonomically friendly as a desktop keyboard). The battery life on the iPad is sufficient to get me through an entire day's constant (8 hr) use, and the bluetooth keyboard battery lasts months on a single charge, which is nice.
I broke down and bought the ridiculously priced $30 cable that allows me to connect my iPad to the school TVs, which has been useful over and over for showing X-rays or other exhibits during problem-based learning sessions.
In summary, although I was uncertain whether the iPad would cut it as my sole computing device for school, I have found that it surpassed all expectations and is definitely all I need.

What I own: iPad2, lenovo x120e(11 inch netbook without a DVD drive)

What I use my iPad for: Taking electronic exams, checking email, taking notes in lecture with Goodreader

What I use my laptop for: Team based/problem based learning sessions for hooking up to the TV, all other computing

What I wish I owned: a tablet PC (like a lenovo X220 tablet) so I can have a computer when I need it and a tablet other times.

Impressions: I'm not a huge fan of Apple, but I really like the iPad because they are the first to get the concept of a tablet right. It's so easy to turn on, check something online, and turn off. I wish I could just use a tablet full time but there are some stuff still need a PC for (using google docs, writing longer papers). The Asus Transformer Pad android tablet looks promising. My x120e is great computer: small, full sized keyboard, and powerful enough for all my computing needs. I don't have to buy any additional cables to hook up to the TV unlike the Macs. Since the introduction of the macbook air, the ultrabooks have really taken off. Lenovo u300e or ASUS Zenbook are perfect for the balance of computing power and portability. The iPad is great with a stylus for note taking but the on screen keyboard is a hassle. I definitely recommend a bluetooth keyboard if you are going to type your notes in class.

What I own: iPad (3rd generation), macbook air (11 inch laptop), iPhone 4S

What I use my iPad for: consuming media and information. Additionally, I use it to have an unobtrusive powerchart device when rounding for quick reference of patient information and even putting in quick orders. I use it for reading and writing most of my email, surfing the internet, reading ebooks, browsing medical databases like dynamed and uptodate, and during phase 1, I used it to follow along with lectures and take notes.

What I DON’T use it for: Content creation, multitasking, and typing up large amounts of information. Some of it can be done fairly comfortably with a bluetooth keyboard, but it is not the iPad’s strong point. I will create presentations on another device, and use the iPad to present them.

What I use my laptop for: Creating content and multitasking. I will use my laptop for tutorial, plugging it into the room’s TV, and taking case notes as we go in google docs for the whole group to see, edit, and keep instantly.

What I use my iPhone for: Anything, in a pinch. I have powerchart on it, and could use it to look up something about a patient if it was my last option. I use it for emailing and communicating quick responses. It is also a good reference device for quick medical information from dynamed, uptodate, wikipedia, etc. Basically, anything under 2 minutes, I can and will do on the iPhone.

Impressions: I converted to apple in undergrad, and still use bootcamped windows for a couple things. I understand how some dislike apple, as I used to as well. These devices aren’t for everyone and most of the things I do with them can be done with other devices as well. I think they do them particularly well though and I think it is very easy to use these devices once they are set up. Make sure you understand the limitations of any device before you buy it!


What I own: iPhone 4, Macbook Pro, iPad 2, Kindle

What I use my laptop for: Currently it stays at home and serves as "home base." 1st and 2nd year, before I bought my iPad, I toted it to school and back frequently. When I'm at home, it's what I use most, since it can multitask and do more powerful tasks more quickly than my other devices. I don't think I could get along without it.

What I use my iPad for: Comes with me as my mobile workstation. I bring it on trips, to school, to the hospital... most places that I think I might be able to get a few things done. Its larger screen and battery life make it easier to get things done than the phone, and it's so much more light and portable than the laptop that it's really a pleasure. Importantly, the screen of a tablet-type device doesn't separate you from the rest of a group, so I feel more comfortable using it on rounds and in the hospital. I got along without it just fine... but now that I have it, I sure wouldn't want to.

What I use my iPhone for: Besides normal phone stuff, it's my "in case of emergency" device." I have apps that can access my computer and all of my cloud storage accounts so that I can instantly access papers or documents I've recently worked on. Has saved my hide more than a few times. Additionally, love using my phone + Instapaper to take advantage of those spare minutes and get in some pleasure reading.

What I use my Kindle for: I hoped to use it for studying, but I haven't found it useful for this purpose -- in the least. On the other hand, I adore my Kindle for pleasure reading. On it, I have tons of novels I've always wanted to read and also my Instapaper feed. If mine broke, I'd buy a replacement in a minute.

Impressions: I bought my Macbook Pro when I started medical school, and it was my first Apple product ever. I've since become convinced that the way my devices work *together* is far more important than their individual features. While my devices are all fine by themselves, the way they work together seals the deal. With that in mind, I'd recommend that people follow suit and if you're going to get a new devices, get one that works with what you've got. If you're a hardcore PC user, take a close look at the Windows phone, maybe an Android tablet. Apple's stuff isn't the right choice for everyone.

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