College Tech on a Budget: How to tech out your dorm room without breaking the bank

On the TODAY show this morning, I talked to Al Roker about some ways that college students can save money while still having the latest and greatest tech. From smartphones to ultrabooks and everything in between, today’s students know what’s up. But college budgets don’t usually let you to splurge on every gadget that comes along. I’ve got some great tips on tech’ing out your dorm room and saving money along the way.

Try renting your textbooks

The biggest hit to the college student’s wallet always comes at the start of the semester. Maybe they’ve saved up a bit over the summer washing dishes, but those savings are quickly wiped out at the campus bookstore. Textbook prices are outrageous, but the greatest indignity always comes at the end of the semester when you’re faced with the choice of either selling your book back for a fraction of what you paid or keeping a 10 pound tome around that you never want to see again.

Enter Chegg, a new service that allows you to rent textbooks for a fraction of what you’d pay to buy them. We found that rental prices were often way, way less than what you’d pay to buy the textbook new, with discounts between 50-75% throughout the site.

Budget Televisions

Let’s face it, college students are the last people on earth who need top of the line television sets. But that doesn’t mean they have to suffer either. One very affordable set I like is the 24″ Toshiba 24SL410U. It’s an 1080p LED TV, so it’s got the latest tech inside, it’s ultra-thin so it should be able to find a home in even the most cramped of dorm room, but because it’s a slightly older model it’s selling for only $179 at Wal-Mart.

Cheap Headphones

Wanna know one of the greatest dorm offenses? Thinking everyone in your building likes the same music you do. Don’t be that guy or gal who insists on blasting their music as loud as possible just because mom and dad aren’t around! A cheap pair of headphones can be a lifesaver at college. Need some tunes to help you stay up while working late at the library? Just want to drown out the sounds of a noisy dorm? Need something to relax on the way to class?

The Zumreed Headphones are a steal—they sound decent for the price, come in a bunch of styling colors, and while they normally retail for almost $70 you can pick up a pair for only $29 at during the next week. But be warned, this sale won’t last!

Organize Your Dorm Room

Having the techiest dorm room might mean your place is a hotspot for people who want to come over and play the latest games, listen to music, or even just steal your iPad, but unless you keep it organized you’re going to have people tripping over charging cables and unplugging your devices. I’ve got two products recommendations, both from, that should help you keep those cables under wrap.

The first is the Plug Hub, a deceptively simple little box that keeps your power strip out of site and your cables all neatly tied together. For just $24, it’s a great way to hide that unruly mess of wires behind your desk.

The second is the PowerCurl, a $12 device that attaches to your MacBook Air or MacBook Pro’s MagSafe power adaptor. If you’re constantly moving your Mac between your dorm room, the classroom, a coffee shop, and the library, you know what a pain it can be to constantly be wrapping and unwrapping those cables. The PowerCurl gives you quick and easy access to both ends of the cable, allowing you to quickly unwrap just as much cable as you need, and then makes it easy to tie things back together when you’re done. As an added bonus, it elevates the MagSafe from the ground, which helps keep it cooler to the touch.

The Hottest College Tech: 5 must-own products to rock the school year

College is all about having the right tech. Whether you’re partying with friends or pulling an all nighter, the right laptop, phone, speakers, and even backpack can make a huge difference. Here’s my top five picks for what to bring back to school this year.

Read More

Use Foursquare and get discounts on Back to School

Foursquare is going back to school in a big way! When doing your back to school shopping, be sure to check in and see if you qualify for any offers at the store you’re shopping at. Tons of retailers have lined up to offer discounts to students who check-in for their back-to-school shopping, from clothing to supplies to tech. Using Foursquare’s “Explore” feature is the best way to find deals at retailers near you. In New York City, for example, I found deals at H&M, the Gap, Bed Bath & Beyond and Old Navy. These deals are different depending on where you are, so be sure to search and see what offers exist in your neighborhood! Here are a few examples of current national back to school deals:

· Best Buy Sync your American Express card with your foursquare account to save $20 off a purchase of $200 or more.

· Old Navy – Use foursquare to get 10% off your entire purchase!

· American Eagle–  Take 15% off purchases when you check-into American Eagle!

· Payless ShoeSource – On your first check in, get 10% off your entire purchase OR if it’s not your first check in, take $5 off any $25 purchase.

Foursquare is available for nearly every smartphone out there, including iPhone, Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone and more. Download Foursquare today and save some money going back to school! And be sure to leave a comment below if you find any really great deals!!

3 Technologies from Education You Can Use in Your Small Business

David Egger is Lead Marketing Manager for AT&T’s IRU (Individual Responsibility User) Mobility Programs. You can find more blog content from David and other experts on emerging technologies and mobile application on the AT&T Networking Exchange Blog. AT&T has sponsored the following blog post.


Educational institutions often lead the way in using new technologies, even developing much of it themselves in their own labs and computer science departments.  In this post, let’s take a look at a few technologies being used in education that can help drive more sales, more customer involvement, and more customer loyalty for your small business.

Social Media
The roots of truly large-scale social media lie in Facebook.  Most are aware that was once only for college students and started as a way for students to check out other students on campuses.  I’m actually quite proud that my account was started when it was still ‘’ and each campus had its own subdomain (

Whether using a business page on facebook or a business account on twitter to promote your new products or services and special offers, building a base of loyal customers on social media is essential to any consumer-focused small business.

To keep your following strong, include regular special offers exclusively for social media subscribers or occasional contests.  Not every post should be sales-y though.  I love how Coke Zero uses their facebook page to post random, funny Coke Zero musings such as “The mark of a true hero is indicated by his Coke Zero mustache.”  Keep your social media tone set to the same mood as your business’ brand.  Coke Zero is a fun, lifestyle brand, so they post jokes and funny pictures.  A law firm posting photos of pants-less nerf gun battles in the office isn’t going to get the same effect.  Think of your business’ brand as a person, and imagine the kinds of things that person would share on social media.  Read More

Use September as a chance to review projects for the fall

I always look at back to school time as a time of fresh starts, even if it has been decades since I last had first day of school jitters.  You can use that sense of a blank slate to help you prepare for the increasingly busier days into the end of the year.

Many of us with families have our schedules shift as schools get back into gear.  Even if you don’t have kids, traffic patterns change and schedules that may have been looser to accomodate vacationing clients and colleagues are back to the regular hectic pace.

We all need reminders to re-visit, re-think, re-energize–maybe a quick ‘school supply’ shopping trip to get a few organizing essentials could do the trick.  Or perhaps, actually use the calendar functions on your smartphone and have it synch with your desktop or laptop.  Clean out the email box and set some mail rules.  A fresh start goes a long way to getting your languishing projects back on track!