Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Student Computer use

It's spring here in Canberra, with the days in the low to mid twenties, even if the nights are still chilly.
On campus this means that the students finally emerge from their winter burrows and start sitting out during the day, even though they are still doing work.

In my day this usually meant intimidatingly thick textbooks, or xeroxed copies of research papers plus a notepad or two. The technology of the mid seventies didn't allow for much more, although in one share house we bought an old desk and put in the back yard, and I have happy memories of banging away on a portable typewriter in the evening sun with a glass of cheap Romanian red ...

Well, these days students seem to have got over the textbook and notepad thing and use their laptops out of doors. Given we've wifi just about everywhere this means they can sit outside and work providing it's not too far from a building.

So in the spirit of my informal surveys of how people read books on the the bus here's my totally unscientific survey.
  • Macbooks are the computer of choice, overwhelmingly so
    • the most preferred MacBook appears to be the Air
  • There is no dominant recognisable preferred Windows based computer brand. 
    • All the common retail brands are represented plus some Vaios 
    • there's a preference for Ultrabooks
  • No one seemed to be using a tablet out of doors with or without a keyboard

Given that students carry them around all day I can see why ultrabook style computers are popular. I was surprised at the lack of tablets + keyboards give their better battery life and their potential as note takers.

Of course it could be that only the cool people are out of doors and the rest are inside beavering away on their clunky old laptops ...
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