September 17, 2010

600 words 3 mins read

A day with the iPad

Recently, I decided to challenge myself and actually use OSX (for a daily machine) and an iPad (because it was there). Part of this was to increase my familiarity with the devices and partially because my workplace runs basically all Mac. I was going to have to get used to them sooner or later, and sooner made sense since I had to support them. Anyways, at the same time I picked up one of the spare iPads to play with. The first time I had the iPad I futzed with it for a day or two then returned it. I borrowed it again and this time I’m trying to seriously use it.

First off, let me start by saying that I’m a big fan of the tablet computer idea, but not of the iPad. I’ve spoken I’ll of the iPad

previously and I’m still not sure I’m wrong. Be that as it may, I’m still giving the iPad a fair shot. The one thing that would vastly help the case for the iPad is iOS 4.2. As of this writing it is in beta, but I do not have it. The ability to multitask, as Engadget has put it, will make the iPad much more like a real computer and not an oversized iPod touch.

I’ve setup the GodPad (as I have named it) as I really want it, for an everyday device. I have a ton of apps from my iPhone, many of which were deleted from the pad because I have no use for them on a non-100% Internet enabled device (aka wifi only iPad). I’ve arranged the main screen all nice and even grabbed a few new apps. One of my best purchases is an app titled iSSH, which is quite fantastic. On top of that, I’ve got my email setup, safari, VPN, and a few other tools critical for remote administration. Basically, I need a smallish device to carry with me 100% of the time in case of work emergency. Previously, that has been a netbook, but the iPad has a fair shot.

After 2 days of using the iPad exclusively as this mobile monitoring tool, it is going fairly decently. The biggest issue I have is typing large amounts. The soft keyboard works decently for me in landscape mode BUT I have to 2 finger type (using just my pointer fingers). I can type fast enough this way but because I tap with the tips of my fingers, as a result, they start to hurt after a while. Also, the keyboard isn’t exactly stellar for doing command line administration (see also: iSSH) because of all the symbols needed. It is passable, slow, but passable. Although it does make keeping a tail open on log files, while ‘in the field’, easier.

At the end of the day, I don’t mind having an iPad to use for this sort of work, provided I didn’t have to pay for it. If i did have to pay, I’d rather buy a netbook which would be, cheaper, more powerful, and have a real keyboard. It is in no way remotely close to a real computer, but at the same time I don’t generally need a real computer to keep an eye on the network. I wish my loaner iPad had built-in cellular data, but tethering off my Nexus One works in the short term. For now, I don’t hate it, only time will tell.

Note: This post was created and written entirely on the iPad, using the WordPress app. Only the editing (as per usual by John) was off pad.