Every once in a while, I stumble out of my Computer Science bubble and take a College or Wharton class, only to find students still living in the 21st century. To catch you up to speed, here are 12 applications that I can’t imagine being without as a Penn student.
An asterisk denotes I’m actively involved in maintaining the app, likely through PennApps Labs.
Working in Groups
You get a folder. Everything in that folder is available on your desktop and your laptop and your phone and through a web interface. Any past version of any file can be recovered — useful when your roommate thinks it would be funny to add random swear words to your French homework. Collaborate through shared folders: whenever I make a change, Dropbox automatically updates the document on your computer. It just (somehow) works.
When working on a team project, there’s always that guy who forgets to reply all — annoying, but not worth creating a Google Group for. Fiesta.cc is the best of both worlds — just email your collaborators and CC email@example.com (or whatever name you want), and it creates a listserv for your team automagically.
Everybody is busy, and scheduling sucks. ScheduleOnce pulls in participants’ Google Calendars to avoid the chain of emails around “Well, what about 3 p.m. on Thursday?” as well as the burden of manually entering every damn time you’re free next week on a Doodle.
“We need to meet on Thursday at 6 p.m. in a quiet room that fits at least four people and has a whiteboard so we can brainstorm.” PennStudySpaces.com integrates campus-wide room availability — from Wharton GSRs to Van Pelt Library — and sends you to the relevant reservation system (if needed) with one click.
“It’s like your phone and your wallet had a beautiful baby.” Use your phone to pay your friends back when they cover you at a food cart. My friends and I use Venmo to split dinner, buy drinks and even pay utilities. Started by two 2005 Penn grads, Venmo has apps out for the Android and iPhone, but text messages work as well. No commissions at any step of the process. It’s like PayPal, if PayPal didn’t suck.
Text “w harnwell 10” to 267-293-9009 to find out whether the 10th floor of Harnwell College House has open washers and when they will become available. Yep, there’s an app for that. Up next: an app to seriously maim whoever hasn’t removed their shit from that washer three hours later.
You are hungry and poor cheap. Clubs have money and need people to show up to their events to justify asking their sponsors for more money. Enter: Penn Free Food. In the same vein, see also the FreeStuffAtPenn Twitter account.
What’s on Penn’s dining hall menus today? Dine ‘n’ Dash is a mobile app that rescues the answer to that question from deep within the bowels of Penn’s website. Also, its logo is a burger with eyes on it — take from that what you will.
Bibliographies were the bane of my existence when I took my writing seminar. Take a picture of a book’s ISBN code with your Android or iPhone and QuickCite will email you the citation, formatted according to MLA/APA/whatever guidelines you need.
Freshmen: stop buying books at full price. Use Penn Book Bazaar to sell your textbooks at the end of the semester. There’s no middleman here; the entire thing is student-run. Note: if your “confirmation” email goes into your spam folder, you’ll be getting me for your tech support.
Sometimes, it pays to be an engineer. Print to any accessible free printer in the Engineering Quad from your Android phone. I can’t begin to describe how enjoyable printing homework while in line for coffee is. As a bonus, SEASPrint integrates with Dropbox (so there’s no need to email yourself copies of stuff).
Need to talk to a professor about doing some research or figure out the first name of that guy in your math class? First, try Facebook. But if that doesn’t work, Penn Directory is a surprisingly solid alternative for finding people.
What did I miss? Comment below to make sure I know about it.
Alexey Komissarouk is an Engineering senior from Kfar Shmaryahu, Israel. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. 33rd Street appears every other Thursday.Comments powered by Disqus
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