Four steps to a killer college (tech) life

As you step into the new school year, we know you'll have lots of adjusting to do--new friends, classes, professors, and eating habits (hello, Top Ramen)--so we'd like to make at least one thing easy for you: setting up your gadgets.

As you step into the new school year, we know you'll have lots of adjusting to do--new friends, classes, professors, and eating habits (hello, Top Ramen)--so we'd like to make at least one thing easy for you: setting up your gadgets.

With these helpful tips crafted by our How To team, you'll be setting up your TV, exploring new places around campus, mastering your computer skills, and collaborating with other students in no time.

Step 1: Set up the bachelor(ette) pad
If you're moving into a new place, get your TV connected with this simple guide . You'll learn that there actually isn't much benefit to buying expensive HDMI cables, and that you can even get free HDTV --save the extra cash for books, or coffee (you'll need it).

And if you're bringing a gaming console along, why not use it to stream music from your computer to your TV? Get movies from your hard drive to your TV using your PS3 or Xbox .

Step 2: Master your new PC
Now that your entertainment center is complete, master that new computer of yours.

Windows PC: Whether you're in class, at a cafe, or at a friend's place, you'll probably be accessing lots of Wi-Fi networks. Keep your new PC safe with these three tips . And while you bask in the glory of a virus-free PC, check out this awesome list of Windows 7 shortcuts that'll leave your friends wondering why the heck you never touch the mouse.

Mac (OS X): Whether you're a seasoned Mac user or just unboxed a new MacBook Pro, check out this video on how to set up your MacBook, including how to set up a password log-in--just in case your computer goes missing.

Once you're comfortable, discover a few Mac tricks , like using Spotlight as an all-in-one calculator, dictionary, and search engine.

Step 3: Be more productive
With the right school-related tech, you can be efficient enough to leave time for the other things you care about.

Next time you work on a group project, take the lead and suggest using one of these free project management tools . You won't always have time to meet, so Web apps like Google Docs bridge the gap between schedules. If you do choose to work with GDocs, execute those assignments with these five fantastic Google Docs secrets.

If you're doing research, master Google search with these tips . For instance, searching for "women's ~health ~issues" will also search synonyms for "health" and "issues".

Step 4: Work hard, play hard
These four years might be the toughest, so take a moment to enjoy your gadgets as more than just document-producing machines.

Get some music therapy after that exam with Spotify. It's the latest free music service that lets you stream almost any song online. If you got yourself an invite, here's how to get started on Spotify .

If you're more of a Pandora person, spice things up for the new school year and add some variety to your stations with these tips .

And if you need to kill time between classes, get the Foursquare app. You probably know it as a way to "check in" to places you visit, but you can also use the service to discover new places with the "Explore" feature. Find out where to get grub, grab a drink, or go clubbing with a few taps.


Check out the best tech for back-to-school.

 

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