steampunk laptop from steampunkworkshop.comWhat is MTAG? MTAG is the Macaulay Technology Advisory Group–a group of students interested in helping chart the paths Macaulay will take in using technology, for current students and future students.  We had our first meeting this past Sunday, and we’re already looking at some great new ideas (see below!).  But we need more members.  Are you interested?  The time commitment is small–just one in-person meeting each semester, with all the rest of our discussion taking place online.  And the rewards are great.  You get the chance to make your voice heard.  You get the great feeling of knowing that you’re making things better for all Macaulay students.  You get a great credential to put on your resumé.  And you get to be the first in the Macaulay community to test new software and hardware as we start to think about making improvements. You can truly be on the cutting edge.  So if you’re at all interested in joining MTAG, drop me an email! (Or just leave a comment on this post).  Or jump right in and join our group on the Macaulay Social Network.

Now what happened at our first MTAG meeting? Well, here are some highlights of the Group’s first set of ideas/recommendations:

  • FlipCams–maybe try for the Mino next year instead of the Ultra.  It’s smaller and lighter.  Or maybe a different model–students prefer to have something that will shoot still images in addition to video.  Budget allowing, we will look into this. (Of course, everyone would love to have iPod Nanos instead.  But I don’t think we can sell that one to the Comptroller’s Office!)
  • Some people are noticing odd problems with the palm rests on the MacBooks–it seems that if you press down too hard with your palm or wrist, the MacBook interprets that as a mouse click.  This seems to happen mainly with the new (freshman) MacBooks.
  • About the Tech Fair–students feel that some sessions were too advanced for some students, and some were too simple (especially for our highly-advanced MTAG folks).  We will try to “track” the future Tech Fairs and put students into groups that more accurately match their skill levels.
  • How about those laptop sleeves? The MTAG folks like them, but would love to recommend better, more protective ones, more padding and a zipper, for the future–and in black, if possible, but with the Macaulay logo.  Again, we’ll see what we can do with the budget.
  • We need a tips and tricks page–especially keyboard shortcuts!  For example, the MTAG folks were happy to know that you can cycle from one application to another (in exposé), using the keyboard shortcut command+tilde (⌘ + ~).  Are there more tips? We can post them!  We can (and will) do this as a nice laminated handout, to go with the computers.
  • The highly-advanced MTAG folks, especially the engineering students, would like to have a highly-advanced workshop on installing Windows in Boot Camp.  This is not something everyone wants to do or should do, but we should offer more advanced skills workshops for more technically advanced students.

That’s a good selection of ideas, right? But I’m sure you have more of your own.  Or maybe you want to expand on these, or modify them?  If so, go right ahead and leave a comment here–or better yet, join MTAG!