STARTING a new school year means facing new and old daunting school scenarios, which are too often stressful and discouraging. But now, with the help of the latest and most innovative gadgets for your scholastic and recreational needs you may breeze through all the strenuous examinations, school projects, and homework.

With the increasing demand for computer use in academics, bringing bulky laptops to the classroom may exact a heavy burden. But with the arrival of Apple’s MacBook Air, which weighs approximately three pounds including a 13.3-inch widescreen display and a 1280 by 800 screen resolution, carrying a digital notebook will be a piece of cake.

Dubbed as the world’s thinnest notebook, it is equipped with two Gigabytes (GB) of Random Access Memory (RAM)—ample memory to work for one’s favorite applications, 80GB hard drive storage space, five hours of working battery, wireless networking, 640 by 480 pixel built-in camera, mono speaker and multidirectional microphone, and custom built-in Intel core 2 duo processor whose size was reduced to 60 per cent to fit within the compact dimensions of the computer.

Macbook Air also has a backlit keyboard armed with a light sensor, which automatically adjusts based on the amount of lighting present, and an oversized track pad with “multi-touch technology,” similar to Apple’s iPhone and iTouch. This feature allows the user to precisely control the cursor, and swipe, rotate, zoom, or adjust an image or text. It also provides ports for the user’s basic needs: a Universal Serial Bus (USB) 2.0 port, a headphone jack, and a video port.

Aside from Macbook Air, another gadget to lighten one’s school burdens of deleting files is the SanDisk cruzer titanium plus 4GB flash drive, a data storage device. It is the first USB flash drive with an automatic “online backup” feature. Deleted files on the drive can be retrieved online via www.beinsync.com and amazon web services, the technology arms of amazon.com, as long as files are saved in the presence of an Internet connection. If files are saved on the drive in an offline computer mode, files will automatically be backed up the next time the computer connects to the internet.

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No ordinary school stuff

Jansport’s newest backpack, Alt Pack, has a dual port connection and a remote control for any iPod product attached to the strap of the bag. Also integrated in the strap is a remote control for Bluetooth connection and a phone port to make and receive calls. Inside is a “ShockShield” laptop sleeve primarily used to protect laptops with a screen dimension of 15.4 inches. A cord manager keeps the wires organized, and a rain cover protects the user’s gadgets from a heavy downpour of rain or fluid spills. Alt Pack has six compartments and weighs approximately two pounds and 11 ounces.

For the pleasure of hardcore math wizards as well as math-phobics, the Texas Instruments TI-89 titanium graphing calculator is heaven-sent. With its three-dimensional graphing, plotting, real-time rotation features, and capacity of completing complex math functions, solving complicated math problems will be such a breeze.

TI-89 also has a built-in USB interface for electronic upgrading and fast connectivity to computers, 188 kilobytes RAM, 16 pre-loaded graphing calculator software applications, 100 by 160 pixel high resolution display, unit converter, impact-resistant slide case, and battery backup to protect RAM memory during battery change.

Meanwhile, students, professors, professionals, and writers may find their crafts more interesting with Leapfrog’s FLY Fusion pentop computer, a digital pen. With the special FLY paper, a custom digital paper, FLY Fusion is able to read handwriting and convert it into an editable text via its small camera located near the tip of the pen, which encodes the dots of the writer’s scribbles. FLY Fusion stores it in its 64 megabytes internal memory before transferring the notes to computers via USB.

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Let’s get digital

Printing documents is a must in the academe. PlanOn’s lightweight Printstick S910 is the only true mobile printer around. It operates through various Bluetooth enabled devices or via a direct USB connection. This 1.5-pound printer has a printing speed of three pages per minute and a print resolution of 200 dots per inches.

Printstick works with Windows XP and Vista platforms, Blackberry, and Java wireless phones with minimal moving parts designed ruggedly for portable printing. It also has a rechargeable lithium ion battery with 120 minutes charging time.

Last in our list of school gadgets is the powerhouse Blackberry bold smart phone which has the features of e-mail, phone, instant messaging, internet, organizer, bluetooth, mp3 player, camera, and video recorder. It is also wireless fidelity (wi-fi)-ready giving its user access to high-resolution images with its 480 by 320 pixel screen. With its Global Positioning System (GPS) feature, it is also able to give instant map directions of your location and destination.

Blackberry Bold’s external speakers are loud and clear similar to a laptop’s, plus a 3.5 millimeter headset jack to enable plugging of standard headphones. It also has one GB internal memory (with an optional 16GB external memory for additional storage), a two megapixels camera with built-in flash, and media-management software that can synchronize with iTunes, Apple’s digital music provider.

Whatever gadget suits your taste this new school year, going digital is only a way of improving and easing your school worries, for real learning takes place with your will to learn and discover new heights of knowledge.

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