External Hard Drives
External desktop hard drives are data backup devices that connect to a computer through a USB cable (see the silver cable in the image). They have significantly larger amounts of storage space than a jump drive / flash drive.
Due to the fact that they require a separate power supply plugged into a wall socket in order to operate (see the black cable in the image), they lack the mobility needed to be carried around with a laptop computer.
However, due to the fact that they have a separate power supply, they can read and write data at higher speeds. In addition, they are more affordable than portable hard drives, as you will not be paying for the added mobility.
Portable hard drives are data backup devices that connect to a computer through a USB cable (see the white cable in the image). They have significantly larger amounts of storage space than a jump drive / flash drive.
Portable hard drives, unlike external desktop hard drives, use their single cable for both data transfers and the power required to operate the device. Thus, they do not need to be plugged into a wall socket in order to operate.
This makes them ideal solutions for students who own laptop computers or wish to access large files, such as media presentations, at campus computer labs. However, they tend to operate at lower speeds in terms of data transfer than external desktop hard drives, as they do not have a separate power source.
Finally, if you will be storing confidential data on your external desktop hard drive or portable hard drive, we would recommend a drive that is FIPS 140-2 certified. A number of companies offer these including Imation, Olixir, and Seagate. This information will be listed on their purchase websites, such as in the screen shot shown below:
Jump Drives / Flash Drives
Jump drives / flash drives are convenient low-cost storage devices used for transporting photos, documents, and smaller videos to classes or computer labs.
When purchasing a jump drive we would recommend to avoid jump drives with moving parts, as these mechanisms can easily become damaged. Likewise, we would recommend avoiding jump drives with pre-installed software, such as the Sandisk U3 system, as this may prevent the device from functioning with certain types of computer such as Mac computers.
In addition, we would always recommend to keep a copy of important data on a personal computer as well, as files can easily be accidentally deleted or corrupted. Likewise, these devices are small and can be easily lost.
Finally, if you will be storing confidential data on your jump drive, we would recommend a jump drive that is FIPS 140-2 certified. A number of companies offer these including Kingston, IronKey, Verbatim, and SanDisk. This information will be listed on their purchase websites, such as in the screen shot shown below:
Laptop carrying cases are used to provided added protection for computers when students are on the go. They are normally padded on the inside and have additional compartments for mice, replacement batteries, and other peripherals.
When selecting a laptop case, there are number of factors to keep in mind, such as storage space, comfort and weight, and durability. Likewise, you will want to ensure that your laptop fits snugly within the built-in padding so that it will not shift nor risk damage to the computer as you walk.
While there are printers available in the computer labs across the campus, purchasing a small printer for your residence can help you if you are in a rush to get to class.
Particularly, computer lab printers do not have wireless print capabilities. Thus, in order to print at these locations, you would need to transfer the document to a computer in the computer lab either through e-mail or a storage device, such as a jump drive.
Keep in mind when purchasing a printer that network printing is not supported in the residence halls. Thus, you would need to purchase a printer that directly connects to your computer via a USB cable.
Wireless mice can be used as an alternate to the built-in touch pad on a laptop. They run off of batteries and can normally last for approximately ten to twelve months at a time.
Wireless mice normally come with two components. One is the mouse itself. The other is a wireless receiver that is attached to the USB port of a computer. The advantage of a wireless mouse is more accurate control over the on-screen cursor.
Modern receivers for wireless mice are extremely small, will not hang out of the side of the computer, and thus, will not be as prone to damage from accidental bumps. Meanwhile, modern wireless mice will function on a variety of surfaces, including materials such as cloth and glass.