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Solutions: Commuter students can offer home office tips

Jeanine Matlow
Special to The Detroit News

When it comes to the world of technology, what works for commuter students might help other family members at home. For starters, Leo Debiaggi, senior director, student affairs information technology for Oakland University in Rochester, says HDMI cables let you project Netflix and more from your laptop to your TV.

This solution works for various scenarios. In a campus environment, it could be difficult to connect a Smart TV with streaming capabilities to the main network. For a residential setting without a Smart TV or a streaming device, an HDMI cable offers another option.

Though the cables can be costly, he says more affordable styles are available through sources like Amazon.

Another cue to consider from commuter students has to do with the type of computer you choose. “A laptop is the way to go,” says Debiaggi. “The price differentiation gap has really closed between a laptop and a desktop and they offer much more flexibility. It’s really nice to sit at your kitchen table or in your dining room or bedroom.”

Convertible laptops can be a good fit for some. “If you like to do a lot of reading, you can flip the screen over and some people put it on portrait mode,” he says.

“It gives you the best of both worlds because the laptop can be used more or less as a tablet,” says Debiaggi. “The only downside is that it’s a bit heavier, but there’s a lot of flexibility and it’s real easy to watch videos.”

Whatever you’re working on, headphones can be helpful. “Everyone can benefit from headphones for your devices, whether you live with your family or your roommates,” he says. “It’s a good way to keep the peace.”

They can prevent you from disturbing others and you can block the sounds from others when you play white noise.

Wireless printers are another consideration. “They’re incredibly convenient, not just for desktops, but they’re a really nice feature for smartphones and tablets,” he says.

Though the initial investment may be reasonable, the ink can be quite costly, depending on the end user. “If you have to buy a lot of ink, the cartridges can cost an arm and a leg and they might run out quickly,” says Debiaggi who suggests doing your research first to determine the price before you buy your printer.

In some cases, a black and white printer can be a wise move that lets you save money and use sources like Walgreens for color images, such as photos.

Portable chargers are a good tool to have around. “You can carry them in a purse or a backpack to use if you’re not near an outlet for your cell phone and other devices,” says Debiaggi. They can also come in handy during a power outage.

Lastly, you might want a system that lets you take notes on your devices. Or, if you’re like Debiaggi, you’ll still keep a hardcopy planner, too. “I use it to capture my thoughts and take notes in meetings,” he says. What a great way to take a break from all that technology.

Jeanine Matlow is a Metro Detroit interior decorator turned freelance writer specializing in stories about interior design. You can reach her at jeaninematlow@earthlink.net.