Download the Free Version of StarOffice with Google

I bought my laptop last year for very little money during one of those “after Thanksgiving” sales.

Yeah, I was one of those guys who waited in line at freakin’ Office Depot to get this deal, but it was worth it.

Anyway, the computer didn’t have any software with it, except some pretty standard applications that I couldn’t do much with. And there’s only so much Minesweeper I can possibly play.

Since I didn’t have money to buy Microsoft Office, I had to rely on some open source applications that didn’t really work very well. They were all buggy and slow.

So anyway, Google released a FREE version of StarOffice several months ago, and I’m very happy with it. You get everything that Microsoft Office has, except you don’t pay a dime. And the software actually works really well. Another bonus is that you can easily import/export Microsoft Word docs.

So anyway, if you’re running short on cash, you should definitely check out StarOffice.

101+ Web Resources for Students

Im in the middle of writing a lengthy paper – and Ive discovered a bunch of useful websites.

Here is a collection of over 100 web resources that you might find useful as well:

Almanacs

Biographies

Dictionaries

Encyclopedias

General Research

Journal Article Databases (Free Access from Campus Library)

Literature

Social & Economic Issues

Statistics

Style Manuals

Yearbooks

The Nuts and Bolts of Time Management

If youve been reading productivity blogs for a while, you probably already know the basics of time management:

  • Making your “To Do” list
  • Focusing on one task/goal at a time
  • Creating deadlines for yourself
  • Rewarding yourself for accomplishing your goals
  • Avoiding procrastination
  • Making time to relax

Its easy to understand these basics, but its another to actually apply them in real-world situations.

As you know, its very easy to lose focus on our daily goals – especially with email, Digg.com, Google Reader, yada, yada, yada.

So thats why Ive found these online resources on time management very practical:

Managing Your Time
Dartmouth developed a nifty list of online resources for time management. The article includes links to a time management video, planning documents, and free calendars to download in both Word and Excel.

Beating Procrastination
The best way to defeat procrastination is to identify it the moment its happening. This article provides 3 practical steps to overcome this weakness in all of us.

10 Tips for Time Management in a Multitasking World
Even though this article is focused on todays office environment, it definitely fits with the life of a busy student.

12 Hours to Better Time Management
Lifehack.org developed a great article on time management. Pay close attention to the first section that discusses how to set up your calendars.

61 Time Saving Tips
This article starts by saying that You DO have enough time for everything and then gives you a laundry list of ways to help you accomplish all your goals.

8 Ways to Avoid Managing Your Time Effectively
Sometimes it helps to read the opposite advice to think clearly about what were doing to waste time.

Time Management Principles for Students
The University of Minnesota Duluth compiled this list of time management strategies for students. Simple and practical.

TimeTracker
TimeTracker is an online tool to help you track the time you spend on each of your tasks. It can help keep you on focused – which is helpful when you need to write a lengthy paper.

Time Management [Video] – Randy Pausch
This lecture was recorded at the University of Virginia – and runs over an hour. Its both informative and entertaining.

Best Social Networking Websites for Students

One of my graduate projects includes analyzing online social networking websites.

Here are some popular social networking sites for students that I found this weekend:

AlumWire
AlumWire is an interactive site for college students and alumni to network for job opportunities.

B4Class
Members enjoy free use of all site services and features, including detailed online profiles, photos, group chat, one-to-one video chat, onsite email, event planning and detailed member searches.

BuddyUniversity.com
Use BuddyU to keep up with your friends, upload photos, videos, music and meet others from around the country. Only students with an .edu email can join BuddyU.

Campusbug
A student social networking website to make friends, browse profiles, ask questions, and get advice from other students.

Classmates.com
One of the oldest social communities for students.

CollegeMedium.com
A student version of Craigslist – where students can buy, sell and share information.

College Tonight
College Tonight is a social networking place for college students, graduate students and alumni,. This site promotes social interactivity.

CollegeClassifieds.com
This is a cragslist for college students.

Facebook.com
Yeah, you already know about it – but I have to add it here.

FriendsUnited.com
Social networking sites for students in the United Kingdom

Graduates.com
A social networking site helping graduates to stay connected.

iHipo
A place for college students and business professionals looking for networking opportunities. They have a nifty internship and job search.

LibraryThing.com
LibraryThing is a website that allows students to catalog their books online. You can access this online catalog from anywhere—even on your mobile phone. Because everyone catalogs together, LibraryThing connects people with the same books, and comes up with suggestions for what to read next, and so forth.

Pazap.com
A student trading site for buying and selling on-campus books with other students. You can even cell your phones through your cellphone with this service.

Quizilla
Quizilla is a social network for young teens who share quizzes, stories, journals, and polls.

RateMyProfessor.com
RateMyProfessor connects students together, and also allows students to rate and talk about the professors theyve taken. They even have a Facebook app that you can add to your profile.

Scholar.com
Scholar.com is a social bookmarking website for students. You need to have a .edu email address, and your schools blackboard system must be linked with Scholar.com.

Socialbib
Book swapping network between students.

Student.com
Student.com is an online community for college students, high school students and teens. Ages 18 to 24.

Studentbid.com
StudentBid.com is a social networking site mixed with an online auction. Studentbid is currently serving seven schools in the Boston area (Harvard, MIT, BU, BC, Tufts, Emerson, and Northeastern) and requires a valid .edu email address from a supported college to ensure out networks safety.

StudentFace.com
A nifty social networking site for students in Australia. Members can share videos and photos.

Uloop.com
Uloop allows students to trade textbooks, promote community events and do host of other activities.

I’m probably missing a bunch, so please comment and let me know of others that you think should get added.

I Heart Buzzword: A Nifty Online Word Processor

Even though I’m a big fan of Google Docs, I have to admit that Buzzword (an online word processor) is pretty slick. It doesn’t have all the cool Microsoft-esque features that Google Docs has, but it has enough to let you create and share your web documents with ease. The cool Web 2.0 interface is also a big plus.

Heres a screen shot:

The only disappointing part about Buzzword is that you need to have Adobe Flash Player 9 to play with the Beta version. This is a problem if you’re trying to access it from a school library. Most campus libraries that I’ve spent time in are really behind in technology. And they (obviously) won’t allow you to install anything.

Despite the technology issues of trying to use Buzzword on school computers, this is a very cool web application. Check out the video preview to see how it all works.

Top 20 RSS Feed Readers You Should Know About

Now that the school semester just ended, its time to catch up on some reading.

Im a big fan of Google Reader, but there are a bunch of other great RSS readers out there.

Heres a nifty collection of RSS readers you may not know about:

Alertbear
Desktop-based feed reader for Windows.

Alesti
An RSS reader based on Ajax. Very simple, clean interface.

Bloglines
Organize, save, and share all your favorite feeds and its completely free.

Fastladder
Fastladder claims to help you read the most amount of feeds in the shortest time-frame.

Fav.or.it
Allows you aggregate RSS feeds like a typical reader – and allows you to leave comments on blog posts without leaving the site.

FeedDemon
Get your RSS feeds sent directly to your Windows desktop. Requires Microsoft Windows.

Feedreader
A desktop-based feed reader. Its like a feed reader in Microsoft Outlook.

FeedShow
Free online feed reader that lets you save items locally and covert posts to PDF or print format.

GoogleReader
Organize your feeds into folders, share with friends, save your favorites, and add notes to any post you want. My favorite.

GreatNews
It automatically stores all your feeds locally, so you have access to the feeds even if the site is down. It also integrates nicely into Bloglines.com.

GritWire
Its a personal page like Netvibes that has a SpeedFeed Reader application.

MSN Start
A typical personalized page (a la iGoogle) where you can add feeds of your favorite sites.

My Yahoo
A personalized page that allows you to add your RSS feeds.

Netvibes
A clean-lookin personalized page that allows you subscribe to feeds. I have several friends who like using Netvibes because of the sweet interface.

NewsAlloy
A web-based feed reader that is Mobile/PDA enabled.

NewsGator
The site offers a free web-based RSS feed reader – and a desktop version that integrates into Microsoft Office.

Rojo
A simple RSS reader – similar to Google Reader.

Sage
A nice lightweight RSS feed reader extension for Firefox.

Shrook
A free RSS feed reader for your MAC desktop.

Voyage
Visually-appealing RSS feed reader that lets you scroll through feeds with your mouse wheel.

And if you dont know how RSS readers work, heres a great video that shows you the benefits of subscribing to your favorite web content:

Please let me know of any others that I missed.

Ill be glad to add them here.

UC Berkeley Offers Free Classes Online

We just found out that UC Berkeley launched webcasts of hundreds of class lectures.

Yep, that means you can watch video courses in a variety of different subjects. Some of their free online classes include: astronomy, biology, physics, psychology, quantum mechanics, and philosophy. Check out Berkeleys full online webcast library when you get a chance.

How to Deal with Exam Stress

We love The Student Room (the United Kingdom’s largest online student community) website.

They have a cool wiki project with students posting tips and advice on a variety of subjects—everything from anthropology to veterinary medicine. The wiki project just launched, and were excited to already see students submitting helpful content.

Anyway, they have a great collection of tips on how to deal with test stress.

Here are some of our favorites:

  • If your mind goes blank, don’t panic. If you worry and panic, it will make it harder to recall the information. Focus on some deep breathing for a few minutes. The information is there, you just have to get to it. If after relaxing for a few minutes, you still can’t remember the answer, move onto the next question and come back to this one later.
  • Don’t try to be perfect. We all want the best possible grades that we can get, but sometimes it just doesn’t work like that. If you think that ‘anything less than an A means I’ve failed’, then you are just creating unnecessary mountains of stress for yourself. Try to do your best, but remember that we can’t be perfect all the time.
  • The night before your exam, make sure you have a relaxing evening, doing as little revision as possible. Get a good night’s sleep, and try your best not to worry; you have already done all your revision anyway! On the day, make sure you have plenty of time to get ready, have a good breakfast and arrive at college or school in plenty of time.

Check out the rest of the test taking strategies to reduce stress.

Free Math Help

Hotmath.com is a website that provides free math help for a variety of homework problems from over 150 math textbooks. The site also offers free online math calculators and math workbooks and games. The site currently serves over a million students, and can provide you free help in algebra, geometry, trigonometry, precalculus and calculus. There are also free video lessons and practice tests to help you sharpen your math skills. This site looks very helpful, so check it out if you need some math help. Let us know what you think.

Collaborate on School Projects with Stixy.com

Alright, so another online collaboration website started up.

Yep, another one.

This one is called Stixy.

Stixy.com is an online bulletin board that allows you to post your notes, word docs, and photos all on one page.

You can do the same things with iGoogle, but Stixy makes it look a heck of a lot nicer. And you can also easily share everything with your friends or other classmates (in case you’re working on a school project).

Heres how it looks . . .

The website is still in beta (and acting a bit buggy), but overall it’s a pretty nice website for keeping track of your various class assignments and “to do” lists. I still prefer iGoogle for this type of stuff, but Stixy.com does have a much nicer interface. Check out Stixy when you get a moment.