Need to Know, Weekly Featured Article

Wunderlist: Your Ultimate To-Do List

As I’ve talked about a long while ago in a previous post, being organized is incredibly important for success in the classroom, in the workplace, and just in life in general. However, for many of us (myself especially), it can be really challenging.

But recently, I’ve found myself being a a lot more organized thanks to a fantastic app called Wunderlist. Wunderlist is a to-do list application, though it is very much unlike anything that I’ve seen before. The long and short: It will help turn your to-do lists into DONE lists.
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What makes it so special? Wunderlist, of course, allows you to type in tasks to help you keep track of all the stuff that you need to do, like any other to-do list app. But, aside from being incredibly versatile (there’s a mobile app available on kindle fire, apple, android, and, amazingly, windows phones; a desktop app on mac, windows, and chromebook; plugins for chrome, safari, and firefox; and, finally, it is accessible on wunderlist.com), it also allows you to do some pretty unique things that other to-do list apps can’t. For example, you can:

  • unnamed-4Set separate due dates and reminders – if you’re anything like me, you need a heads up a few days in advance before something needs to be done. Wunderlist allows you to set reminders that are separate from the due dates for individual tasks, allowing you to receive notifications well in advance of task due dates. You can also set repeating due dates and reminders for weekly or monthly tasks.
  • Create sub-tasks – every have a project on your to-do list that is actually 10 different steps? Wunderlist let’s you input those specific steps as subtasks to be checked off individually as they’re completed. This will help you make sure that, by the end of your big project, you haven’t missed a thing!
  • Collaborate with others – many features of Wunderlist make it the perfect app for group work: you can share lists with friends/group mates, assign specific tasks to individual list members, and even post comments on tasks which are sent to other group members as a message. Wunderlist also provides users with a certain amount of cloud storage space, which you can use to upload files onto specific tasks.
  • unnamed-2Organize your organizer –Wunderlist also allows you to organize your list however you want using a number of tools; first, you can use categories to group similar lists together. Second, you can use tags in task titles to organize tasks across all your lists and list categories. Finally, Wunderlist has a number of organizing tools built-in, which will organize tasks across all your lists by date (daily, weekly, monthly) and priority (you can *Star high-priority tasks).

There are tons more features that make this app awesome, so I encourage you to check it out for yourself. The best part: IT’S COMPLETELY FREE! And, as a student, there’s not much better than that.

Give it a try! Until next time,

~ Christopher Ford

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This app is one of many awesome apps that can do a lot to make life as a student easier – stay tuned for more posts in the future about great apps for students that you can download before the start of the FW 2015-16 term!

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Need to Know, Weekly Featured Article

The Best Apps To Have As A Commuter

It certainly is no secret – commuting to school and/or work comes with its own set of unique problems and challenges.

Luckily, here at SCLD Media & Communications, we’re all about using technology to overcome challenges. And so, on that note, let me share with you a few apps that can (hopefully) improve your daily commute! If it’s marked with a star✬, it’s one of my favourites!

✬GO Transit Mobile

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Developer:  GO Transit & Ryerson University

Cost: Free

Available on: Blackberry, iPhone (+ iTouch & iPad), Android, Windows

For anyone who takes the GO Bus or Train to York, this is a simply fantastic app. It allows you to search upcoming bus and train schedules, as well as plan trips for later on. You can save your most frequently-used routes in your favourites for easy access. It also tracks bus locations in real time using location services, so you are able to see just how far away your bus is (and you can set an alarm for when it’s getting close)! A word of warning however – the real-time bus tracking can sometimes be unreliable with older buses!

✬Transit

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Developer:

Cost: Free

Available on: iPhone, Android

This is definitely one of my favourite apps, particularly because of how simple it is to use. Transit uses location services to allow you to see where the closest bus and subway stops are to your current location. It also tells you the different route options there are at each stop, and gives you real-time updates on when the next bus/train arrives! It also has a trip planning function, which can be extremely useful when you are in an unfamiliar area.

RocketMan

Developer:  RocketMan Inc

Cost: 
Free

Available on: Blackberry, iPhone (+ iTouch & iPad), Android

RocketMan, much like transit, shows bus and subway stops nearest you, as well as a list of all upcoming trains and busses at each stop. However,  RocketMan outperforms transit in one way – it displays important news updates and alerts  straight from the transit companies. If there is a TTC stoppage, you’ll know about it via RocketMan.

Waze

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Developer: Maplet

Cost: Free

Available on: iPhone, Android, Windows

I wish I had a whole post to talk about this app, since there are so many features to talk about. However, in a nutshell, Waze is described as a “free community-based traffic and navigation app.” You basically just type in your destination before you leave and keep the app open while driving and the app automatically sends traffic and other data to its servers. It keeps you updated (hands-free, of course) with traffic data, road closures, police traps, and much more in real-time. Once you’re stopped, you can also use the app to report incidents/irregularities on the road, such as fallen trees or telephone lines, accidents or collisions, and more. There really is just so much you can do with it, and it’s an awesome app for any commuter who drives to York.

Oh, and also the maps are extremely interactive and customizable, and use cool little cartoon dudes to mark important locations/locations to avoid.

✬MapMyRide

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Developer: MapMyFitness

Cost: Free

Available on: iPhone, Android, Blackberry*

*Limited support on Blackberry App

MapMyRide is an interesting app, because its primary function is for fitness. So, if you are someone who bikes to your bus stop or to school, you not only can use this app’s mapping and trip planning functions to find your way, but you can also keep track of your fitness along the way – a great addition to any rider’s app library.

✬Kindle

Kindle

Developer: Amazon

Cost: Free

Available on: All apple products (including Mac computers), Android, Windows

The Kindle app is not a transit-related app – but if you’re like me, you love using your time on the bus or subway to dive into a good book. The kindle app allows you to do just that, using the Amazon online store as your own personal library. Although books on the Amazon store do unfortunately cost money, they are usually cheaper than books at your local bookstore, and can be opened up on any one of your devices with the kindle app (as well as your kindle e-reader, if you have one). As well, there are many books – much like on iBooks – which are offered for free, and you can even load e-books and PDFs (yes, like for school readings and lecture notes) that you already own from your computer onto your device.

Metro

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Developer: Metro News

Cost: Free

Available on: iPhone, Android, Windows

This is another great reading app – however, rather than books, it features up-to-date news from Metro News.

Have your own app suggestions? Comment below, and let me know! 

Hey, that rhymes! :p

Au revoir! ‘Til next time!

~ Christopher Ford

Morgan and I all dressed up for Retro Day at SCLD! You can find Morgan on twitter @Wildly_Fit!

Morgan and I all dressed up for Retro Day at SCLD! You can find Morgan on twitter @Wildly_Fit!


UPDATE

Here’s an article for you to check out on the ACMAPS (Atkinson Centre for Mature and Part-time Students) blog – it mentions a couple more really useful apps for TTC commuters!

 

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Need to Know, Weekly Featured Article

I’ve Pinned A Winner!

You Need to Know MY FAVOURITE SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM!

As you may have already guessed from Morgan’s blog post yesterday, we at Media & Communications are discussing which social media platform is our personal favourite.

Now, in my opinion, all social media platforms have their positives (and their negatives, certainly), and every platform has its own niche or function which, in certain ways, helps it to out-perform others. However, if I had to pick a favourite right at this moment (because, just as social media changes very quickly, my opinions of each platform change quickly as well), it would definitely have to be…

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PINTEREST

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Pinterest, let me give you the main four steps of Pinterest – Discover, Pin, Organize, and Discover some more.

Screen Shot 2014-06-17 at 3.59.28 PMThe first step, Discover, starts with you! Whether you found it online or outside, any cool photos you have can be, quickly or easily, uploaded to Pinterest. As soon as you upload something to Pinterest or share it from another site or user, you have successfully made a pin!

That’s exactly the second step: Pinning! One of the great things that I found on Pinterest was not only that it very easily allows you to pin original content from your computer, but that it’s even easier to pin content that you’ve found on other sites. To do so, just copy the link to the awesome site you found, click “Add from a Website,” paste the link, and BAM! – Pinterest pulls photos from that site for you to share on your boards! And, of course, Pinterest links all photos back to their original source, and will not pull photos from sites that do not want them to be used.

I mentioned “Boards” not too long ago – that is the basis for the third step: Organize. When you “pin” something, you have to have a “Board” to pin it on, and therefore Pinterest has you create boards to house all of your pins.

But boards have a purpose – they allow you to categorize your posts, or to keep pins with similar themes together. The themes of your boards can be as specific as “Places I’ve Been,” or as broad-reaching as “Coffee.” The possibilities really are endless!

Once you’ve completed those three steps – you’ve discovered cool stuff, you’ve pinned it, and you’ve organized it in awesome boards – you can continue on to the best step of all: Discover Some More! Have a particular area of interest, such as DIY projects, fashion, or travel? Use Pinterest’s incredibly easy search tools and recommendations to find and follow boards of users across the globe (like me, if you’d like 😉 )! Then, you can share things from other users by pinning them on your boards!

Now I want to hear from you – what’s your favourite social media platform? Comment below and let me know!

See you on the web!

~ Christopher Ford

My friend Melissa and I at Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada

My friend Melissa and I at Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada

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Need to Know

May and June at the New York-er

There are a lot of exciting things in store for the New York-er over the next month.

First of all, through the month of May and part of June, I will be studying French at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon. It’s a five-week French immersion program that I applied to through EXPLORE, a bursary program sponsored by the Canadian government to help students in high school and post-secondary institutions to improve in their conversational French. The program at USask is accredited by the Council of Ministers of Education Canada and it is looking to be a lot of fun – on the trip, I’ll actually get the opportunity to go camping in Banff, Alberta, which I am particularly excited for.

PHOTO: ccde.usask.ca

What that means for my blog is that for the duration of my time in Saskatchewan, all of my blog posts will be in french! I am going to practice my french as much as possible while I’m there, so I plan on updating my blog daily (or as much as possible), writing completely en français. Expect lots of photos as well!

When I return on June 12, my blog may also be undergoing a significant overhaul. I was recently hired for a new job within Student Community and Leadership Development as a Media & Communications Ambassador, and so I may need to begin tailoring my posts to more SCLD-related content. However, if I will not be using my blog as a part of my job, I will continue keeping up with it, and running it on my own time.

Regardless however, The New York-er will still be around – and this past year for my blog could not have been as successful without the help of all of my readers and followers. From the bottom of my heart, thank you!

What do you have in store for May & June? Comment below, or tweet me and let me know!

~ Christopher Ford

Watching the Berlin Eisbären play (and win) at O2 World in Berlin, Germany.

Watching the Berlin Eisbären play (and win) at O2 World in Berlin, Germany.

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YOU NEED TO KNOW My Go-To Breakfasts on Campus

Being a commuter student, I don’t eat on campus as often as your average resident. However sometimes I am in a rush and I don’t get the chance to eat breakfast at home. Sometimes (**knock on wood**) I DON’T EVEN HAVE TIME FOR A COFFEE IN THE MORNING.

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And breakfast, of course!

So what do you do if you’re on campus in the morning and you’re looking for a quick (and reasonably priced) breakfast to tide you over? You check out my Go-To Breakfasts, that’s what!

Go-To Breakfast #1: THE SPECIAL (TREATS COFFEE @ YORK U STUDENT CENTRE)

This is my absolute favourite of all. The special (also called the Breakfast Special, but it’s served all day) consists of a bagel sandwich (you choose the type of bagel with egg and your choice of bacon, sausage, or ham. It also contains a HOT & DELICIOUS MEDIUM COFFEE!

Price: $5.00 (All taxes included)

Go-To Breakfast #2: THE BIG BREAKFAST (BERRIES & BLOOMS @ YORK LANES)

It’s a big breakfast… but on a sandwich! Everything that you would get in your average value breakfast is packed beneath the bread of your choice, and it usually comes with a small coffee.

Price: Approximately $4 (Taxes not included)

Go-To Breakfast #3: GLUTEN-FREE TRIPLE GRILLED CHEESE (CAFETERIA @ CENTRAL SQUARE)

This breakfast tastes great, and is a great option for anyone with a gluten-free dietary restriction. It’s pretty well priced, too!

Price: $3.29 (tax not included -> about 4 bucks with tax)

Follow @YorkUFood on Instagram and Twitter to hear about food trucks on campus, le deal du jour, and all the latest and greatest on what to eat at York U!

~ Christopher Ford

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Summer School – Is It For You? You NEED TO KNOW!

The summer school schedule is now up and ready for you to check out.

Yes, I know you all must be mentally jumping for joy right now.

In all seriousness though, there are a wide variety of courses offered from all faculties. So you’re bound to find one that you can take, if you’re up for it!

But should you take summer school?

Before you decide, there are a couple of questions that you really need to ask yourself. Read on, and find out what they are!

Continue reading

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Need to Know

YOU NEED TO KNOW About Preparing For January: Full-Year Courses

Not all of us will be starting fresh with brand new courses in second semester. If you’re like me, then you have a lot of full year courses (or all full year courses), and January will simply mean picking up where you left off.

However, that doesn’t mean you should not prepare for the beginning of semester two.

But how can you prepare? 

Well, let me tell you a little bit about what I plan on doing after the end of my exams in order to be ready for January – feel free to draw from them or to come up with your own preparation plan!

First and foremost, I plan on catching up on all the things I missed or fell behind on. Although I am sure all of you have perfect work habits and put school ahead of fun every chance you get (**Cough**Cough**), every so often there may come a time when you just can’t get a reading done, you don’t get a chance to review your lecture notes, or you fall behind in some way. Use your time during the break to bring yourself up to speed and to finish all the work that you didn’t get a chance to complete in the Fall semester. Maybe even try re-writing your notes a little neater or reading through them so that you don’t forget all that you’ve learned from September to December! Whatever you decide to do, use your break to not only have fun, but to finish semester 1 off strong – and to ensure you are ready to continue in semester 2!

Next, I plan on completing upcoming assignments. Have a research paper or a project due in semester 2? As long as you’ve already been provided with the instructions, you can definitely work on it over the break (and maybe even finish it)! The good thing about this is that when regular readings and homework begin once again in January, you will have already gotten enough done on your project to focus solely on learning all the new material, rather than silently stressing about getting it done.

Finally, I plan on assessing my performance, and making a plan for the future. Not sure if you have read my post from a few months ago about being organized, entitled “Organization As The Key To Academic Success,” but one of the things I mention is picking a ‘reset’ day. What this means is picking a day that you can sit down and see how you’ve been doing so far – by this, I mean sitting down and asking yourself questions like…

 Have I been following my schedule? 

Have I been sticking to my budget?

Have I been getting my assignments done?

Am I happy with where I’m at right now? 

We ask ourselves questions like these in order to identify where we have done well and where improvement on our part is needed.

And so during the break, sit down and use questions like these to assess your semester one performance. Once you have identified your strengths and your weaknesses, create a plan that helps maintain those strengths and correct those weaknesses – I promise that it will make for an even more rewarding semester two.

That will be my plan for the break. What’s your’s? Comment below, and let me know!

~ Christopher Ford

Photograph of me on Day 9 of Movember – and the Mo is even bigger today on the halfway mark!

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You Need To Know About FIVE AWESOME APPS FOR YOUR COMPUTER/TABLET!

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that you simply don’t have enough apps on your computer.

But have no fear – whether you have a mac, pc, or a tablet, there’s lots of cool apps and stuff that you can use. So if Paint and Notepad just won’t cut it anymore to satisfy all of your computer needs, here are ten new ones for you to check out.

kindle-logoKindle

The Kindle app is an amazing app that allows you to bring your books everywhere! It is available on virtually every device out there – check out the ad below to see if there is a kindle app available for your device! If you have an amazon account, you can purchase books (some of which are free) for pleasure reading, for research, or even for classes – some textbooks are available for purchase as ebooks! 

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Self Control

This app is great for those who are easily distracted (life myself). It is a free and open source application, and it is a great tool that allows you to block certain selected websites for an allotted period of timelike, for example, Facebook or Twitter, when you have only one more day to study for your midterm!

It can be downloaded here, however it is important to note that this particular application is only available for Mac computers. There are some similar applications that can be downloaded for PCs, such as SelfRestraint and Cold Turkey – follow the link above and check out the FAQ page on to learn more about these other applications.

Dropbox


iCloud isn’t the only file sharing application out there. Dropbox is a great application that can be downloaded for free on both PC and Mac. It allows you to share files with others – which is useful for group projects & anyone working in a team setting – and to back up your own files. It allows you up to 18 GB of free space (2GB automatically, and then an extra 500MB for every person you recruit to Dropbox), and the best part is that you can still access all the files uploaded to Dropbox from your computer even when your computer is offline! Inversely, you can also access all your files from any other computer through signing in to your account at dropbox.com!

Download Dropbox here!

Scribus

Need to design a pamphlet or a newspaper? Looking for a cheaper alternative to inDesign? Then Scribus is right for you! 

Scribus is a free, open source program that is awesome for designing professional documents.

You can download Scribus here!

GIMP

Want Photoshop without having to put a dent in your bank account? Check out GIMP – it’s free, open source, and available on almost all operating systems. It has a lot of features that are similar to photoshop, and it’s really easy to use!

Download GIMP for free here!

For more applications, check out my blog later on this month – I will be posting another article about some other awesome apps for your computer, tablet, and/or smartphone!

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You Need To Know MY 3 FAVOURITE COFFEES AVAILABLE AT YORK UNIVERSITY

Sorry for the delay on this post, folks! I have had it all done for a little while, I was just out of town all weekend and didn’t have a chance to post it up. I’m sure you all of have been waiting patiently for it, coffee in hand, so here it is!

You’ve already heard the results from the survey about where the best places on campus to go for coffee are.

But are the results accurate? Are those TRULY the best places on campus to get coffee?

Personally, I will have to disagree. I like to think of myself as a bit of a coffee connoisseur, so to speak, so I take my coffee pretty seriously. And my top 3 are a little bit different from those of yesterday’s survey.

But enough talk about me. Let’s talk coffee. MY TOP THREE FAVOURITE COFFEES ON CAMPUS ARE….

#3: Second Cup’s Paradiso Dark

This coffee is an amazing dark roast that is nutty, aromatic, and all-around fantastic. It’s also organic and certified fair trade, which is certainly pretty awesome as well!

#2: Timothy’s & York University Cafeteria’s Las Nubes Medium Roast 

Available in a variety of roasts, Las Nubes coffee is awesome not only because of its rich taste and versatility, but also because of where it comes from! It is grown in a rainforest in Costa Rica known as Las Nubes, and it was donated to York University by Dr. Woody Fisher. The coffee is 100% Fair Trade Certified, and it tastes amazing!

To find out more about the Las Nubes Project, check out this website!

And, finally, #1…(drumroll please)…

#1 La Prep’s Empire French Roast

La Prep "Empire" coffee is an organically-grown French dark roast that is certified Fair Trade. If you prefer a lighter roast, try the organically-grown Sierra Verde medium roast coffee!

This awesome dark coffee is my absolute favourite. How dark is it, you ask? Think of the darkest blend possible, and that is Empire. It is simply fantastic, and if you are a coffee lover, you’re sure to love it!

So there you have it – my favourite coffees on campus.

Have your own favourites? Comment them below! I’d love to try them out! 🙂

~ Christopher Ford

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