Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The iPad as a System Administrator's Primary Device: Part 1 - The Introduction

How a System Administrator uses an Apple iPad

Nearly a quarter of IT managers are already using iPads, ITIC found in a study of the segment. As many as 23 percent already own Apple's tablet, and 18 percent plan to buy one within the year. While it didn't equate to handing iPads to employees, the news suggested the device would have a "spillover effect" with business as those controlling deployment for it and other Apple hardware knew what it could do for personal use.

My name is Carl Brooks and I am an information technology professional with over 25 years of experience. I have supported UNIX and Window based systems in my career. Short of an iPod, I have neither supported nor owned an Apple product in this same time span. The last time I used an Apple product, for more than a few minutes, was back in high school where I worked in the computer lab. I enjoyed the Apple products back then, but after leaving college and entering the work force, I used and primarily supported Window based systems. I have also supported several UNIX or Linux based operating systems from AIX to Ubuntu, but very little experience with Apple products beyond the occasional friends' laptops or brief visits at the Apple stores.

I have recently started flirting with the idea of getting a Mac Mini because I have often thought of programming for the iPhone and it requires that I have an Apple computer to do so. The truth is they I would have a Mac Mini today if the Apple iPad had not been announced and released. The Apple iPad has become the center of my computing world. It has allowed me to downsize my computer heft. The laptops are left behind on all occasions in favor of my iPad. The desktop have all but been ignored unless they absolutely have to be used like during tax season (tax return program) and football season (no flash makes updating my fantasy football teams a desktop chore).

Even my Palm Pre smart phone has been reduced to simply a phone and texting (SMS) device. My Palm Pre (which I waited even longer for then I did for the iPad after its January announcement date), with its powerful and elegant WebOS, sits in its hip case on standby for most of the day. Occasional I may check a quick email and even less frequently, I may even click a link to launch a web session from an email message. This only happens in the very limited times when the iPad is not at my side; like when my wife is fending off zombies (Plants vs. Zombies HD) or the kids are giggling with Talking Carlicon. But is the virtual keyboard adequate to replace a real keyboard with tactical feedback?  Read Part 2 - Is the Virtual Keyboard is Good Enough?


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