It’s a poorly kept secret that we can cut through hundreds of online paywalls by simply browsing the interwebs through the myriad of wi-fi networks around. (And for the nth time, if Brown-Secure isn’t working but it was up one second ago, just restart your AirPort and/or your computer.) But a hidden advantage of being on a college campus with a sick CS department is that we get free access to all kinds of online services — all you need to do is find them. Or we can find them for you!
The first hidden gem is the trove of free software that is available to download. Although Photoshop and InDesign are no longer accessible, some household names such as Matlab and Sibelius effectively upgrade your computer to a programming/music writing beast. If you’re able to
steal find a faculty login, then the newest versions of Adobe’s Creative Suite and Microsoft Office are all yours. And because no one wants to leave your iPhones/iPads hanging, there’s also a couple of apps that configure your iDevice to always stay connected to Brown-Secure, no matter where you go.
Second, get familiar with all the training classes and videos designed to help you navigate unfamiliar
territory apps and learn crucial life skills. Whether you just found out one of your final projects involves analyzing an excessive quantity of census data or you need pro tips on managing your undersized budget, you can find help from expert Brown staff online if you’re too busy/shy to ask for help. And don’t forget that the Writing Center and the library also have hundreds of resources at your disposal, including an online chat with a librarian that’s up till 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday!
Third, use VPN to have access to all the goodies of Brown wi-fi wherever you are, whether off-campus, in an Amtrak, or abroad. If you’re using a browser, login on vpn.brown.edu so you can download all your reading from those elusive scientific journals. If you want to access your friends’ iTunes libraries from home, download the VPN app and login from there so you can get your Mojo on. And if you really need to do all this from your phone, there’s an app for that (but… why??).
Finally, despite not being an online service per se, consider getting alternative @brown.edu email addresses that, if anything, will reduce the time it takes for you to log in to Gmail. Just go to the Help Desk located above Paragon and ask. You can get up to 4 extra addresses: 1. your name without an underscore, 2. your initials, 3. your name spelled backwards and 4. your pet’s name. (For bonus points: ask helpers if DJ Meatball’s Viva set ever distracts their work.)
Next week, we might discuss current tech news and how your life is going to change because of it. Or we’ll keep procrastinating.