A student’s toolbox

In Geek Alert, Thoughts, Treasures on September 23, 2010 at 5:55 pm

I have managed to pull a few late night sessions in order to prepare for my studies, which should be starting some time next week. As I have returned all my classic office tools along with my business computer, I have to find a way to make do with what I have, which is a slick little webbook with StarOffice and MS Works preinstalled, and apart from that mostly open source software.
Going through the recommendations from my future uni, I was looking for a few things, namely a journal to keep notes and events organized. Outlook Express does not do that, so I needed something else. I also was looking for something to keep my notes organized, and something to bridge the gap between my office products and the uni standard of MS Office 2003. So here is what I found:

is a slick little text based calendar system, that allows note taking, incl. links, pictures and file reference, tagging with user defined categories, templates for calendar entries and the whole thing nicely laid out.

is a nifty little program to create state of the art encrypted areas on an existing hard drive and mount them, so that not every Tom, Dick and Harry can read everything that is on the computer without much effort. My former employer used to use a much more complicated commercial system, so I am more than happy to have discovered this.

is the extended version of freemind, a software to create and organize mind maps. Now this is where it gets a bit geeky, I guess, but I think that mind maps are a great way to structure complicated things in an easy way fast and without having the gift of shorthand or photographic memory.

The only open question now is whether I want to replace the StarOffice that I have on the machine with a true OpenOffice.org to allow me to use the whole range of add-ons, which StarOffice does not support.

What I hope will come in handy is a template that I made in line with the requirements for uni coursework formatting, so that at least the format is there, and I won’t get penalized for not conforming with the required layout.


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