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The semester is in full swing and so is the work; papers, exams, projects — it starts to become overwhelming. Often technology is blamed for taking our attention away from our responsibilities. How can work get done when Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Youtube and Skype are available 24-7?
The same technology that can sidetrack students can also support them. Two web applications that are beneficial to students are Dropbox and StayFocusd, and for those wanting to limit the amount of downloads, Battle of the Bucks is here to help.
Dropbox is a free service that can save a life. That is, it can automatically save documents and materials to mobile devices, computers and the Dropbox website. This can allow students to start working on a paper in the library, edit it in their dorm and finish it up in a computer lab without the use of a flash drive. Dropbox also ensures that the user’s files are secure, while allowing the sharing of documents with other users.
Dropbox gives peace of mind that assignments are protected without emails or trying to keep track of a flash drive. It is very similar to the Google Apps, but is more convenient. For an example, to save a paper, a spreadsheet and a Powerpoint, the user would need to download Google Docs, Google Sheets and Google Slides. With the Dropbox app, everything is in one secure and protected location.
Dropbox is free but only affords its users two gigabytes. The app offers alternative options for added space, however, and on Twitter will give users 125 megabytes. The most popular option is to buy 100 GB for $9.99 a month or $99.99 a year.
StayFocusd, on the other hand, is an app students need but will hate with a burning passion. It is a Google App that forces users to keep cyber distractions to a minimum. The app lets the user “ban” websites. Banning a website only allows the user ten minutes of use. After the ten minutes is done, the site becomes inaccessible. An attempt to revisit the site after that time greets users with a page that asks, “Shouldn’t you be working?” and an option to give StayFocusd a donation. Other advanced options offered by StayFocusd are allowing or blocking certain pages on a website.
There is no way to uninstall this app. However, users can always use the ten minutes to take their preferred website off of the ban list. Students may find it hard to ban their favorite sites, but sometimes it is in their best interest to make the sacrifice.
Both of these free apps show merit, but in this battle, StayFocusd wins. Albeit annoying, StayFocusd really is a helpful tool for students. Dropbox makes life simpler with provided protection, but it can easily be replaced with a flash drive.
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