Between rock and hard place with technology

Emma Finkbeiner

The amount of times I’ve been told that public relations agencies primarily use Apple products since I declared my major is obnoxious.


Unfortunately, only art and design students have the privilege of using such equipment at NMU. For myself and many others, we’re stuck paying for and using the university provided PC.

The new Mac Lab is now up and running, but access is currently limited to media production students and those who have classes deemed necessary to use iMac features.

For public relations students, including myself, this fact is frustrating.

Personally, I wouldn’t want to feel behind in my own field after the hours of work I put into a quality education.

The ThinkPads provided for us are nowhere near industry standard for the profession I’m studying to enter.

Don’t get me wrong, I think NMU’s partnership with Lenovo and their implementation of WiMax in recognition of the large commuter and non-traditional student population is admirable.

However, I don’t think it fully benefits all students. NMU has around 180 majors, which all require different programs that operate best on different platforms.

I would benefit most from consistently using Apple products because public relations specialists are working in a creative industry. But, I’m not alone in this. Media production and multimedia journalism would also benefit from having their own MacBooks.

These majors use design and editing software that is industry standard on Apple computers, such as Final Cut Pro and Photoshop.  Accounting majors and others who primarily use PC products have the luxury of taking their computers home at the end of the day.

Media production majors have to adjust their schedule to the limited hours of the Mac Lab or get an Adobe program on their computer that isn’t up to industry standard and runs poorly on a platform it wasn’t designed for. Adobe programs were designed for Apple software, not Lenovo laptops.

For those who didn’t know, The North Wind staff uses iMacs in the office. We rent these machines from the university for a hefty fee each semester.

The business end of our newspaper works hard to coordinate ad sales in order to afford the quality machines we require to run our Adobe design programs.

However, the business and advertising side still uses Lenovo computers, making the transition from ad spaces to the newspaper layout difficult.

Because of it, we utilize third party programs, Google Drive and Google Docs. Many of the editors still have to use a university ThinkPad when we leave the office as well, which is another reason why we have to use Google Drive. PC and Mac just aren’t compatible.

In a world where every tech company is making laptops, tablets and smartphones in wide ranges of quality and price, compatibility is part of the competition.

I believe there is a simple solution to this issue. NMU should offer the choice to opt-out of receiving a university regisered computer when enrolling.

It’s frustrating that I have my own personal Macbook Pro and I still have to pay tuition fees for a computer that I didn’t use my first two years and now am struggling to use in my final years at NMU. And I’m not alone.

There are many other students who are facing the same issue, with Macs and PCs alike.

Yes, I could invest in a WiMax router for my off-campus residence but most college students are up to their ears in debt and don’t have a spare $200 lying around.

It would be more financially reasonable for me to pay a smaller monthly fee rather than a lump sum of money.

However, I would pay more in the long-run, which puts me between a rock and hard place. And to top it all off, the university ran out of WiMax routers in the first two weeks of the new school year.

Talk about a gap in supply and demand and proof that more people want to use the WiMax service rather than the university computers.

So go ahead. Call me a first-world-problems fueler but in the United States, I’m entitled to this opinion and you are entitled to yours as well.