Tales of an IT Professional – Home Working

Craig SharpLast week, and 24hrs before a planned trip to an existing client, I started getting lots of emails from one staff member asking questions about iPad's. The questions were increasingly detailed and it seems that the thrust of the communication was to find out more about how the iPad could be used as a laptop replacement for them at home, and for linking back to their desktop at work.

The client has a Citrix solution, installed by Abussi, and so it would be possible to bring up their 'virtual' desktop on the iPad and work from home, the train (with WiFi) or from anywhere. They were pretty much sold on the idea of getting one and so just wanted to make sure they bought the right one (What GB to get, WiFi or with 3G etc).

What seemed to be bringing this discussion forward was the increasingly common sight of 'iPad Breeding'. If you have not experienced this for yourself then it starts very simply, with one member of your office bringing in an iPad one day. Like a mother with a new born baby, a small crowd gathers and they all coo and pet the new shiny faced device, while secretly envious of their co-worker.

The next stage is that the original iPad you saw a week or so ago suddenly has a brother ........... another co-worker, so taken by the seemingly endless opportunity bought about by the iPad's lightweight feel and glossy screen, buys one and starts a trend that see's the number of iPad's in your office grow and grow. This is all fine and Apple make's huge profits, but let me just add a word of caution.

iPad's are wonderful; they are a dream to use; they can do lots of things; they can bring together music, video, pictures, documents and email .................. but, they can't do everything. In the case of this specific user the issue was that a remote screen of their desktop could be bought up on the iPad, but with no full keyboard (only the screen keyboard) the 'experience' was poor. Moreover, they work in Accounts and thus on very complex spreadsheets so the half screen, half keyboard or the iPad was too restrictive for them to operate effectively.

The thrust of my post here is not to criticise the iPad ............. I have one and love it ............. but simply to suggest that prior to spending over £500 it would be worth seeking the advice of an Independent IT Professional who can understand your needs and assess the suitability of the product or service you want to buy. In the case of this user, I was able to demonstrate the experience on an iPad (my iPad) and they saw clearly it would not work for them and so was happier to arrange for a replacement home laptop ............... which was cheaper and more effective for their needs.

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