When it comes to shiny objects, many executives exhibit a level of self control equivalent to that of an insane magpie hopped up on energy drinks. They see the shiny object. They buy the shiny object. As a way of justifying the purchase of that shiny object, they come to you, in the IT department and tell you “I want to be able to do work with this on our network – make it happen!”
They don’t know exactly what they would do with it, only that, as a electronic shiny object, there must be some way of doing some form of work with it. This is the world’s revenge for you figuring out remote desktop from your PSP so you could manage a server and write off Little Big Planet as a business expense.
The current shiny object of choice is the iPad. Already staff in IT departments across the planet are being be confronted by people who have just purchased an iPad. People who want to use that iPad in some way to do something that is work related. Anything that is work related. Because then the iPad is a work expense, just like your PSP, right? And if they are doing SERIOUS WORK with their iPad it goes from being the affectation of a cyber-dilettante to a must-have-productivity-item of the on-the-go information-worker.
WinAdmin: I need my iPad to manage the severs.
WinAdmin, iPad Edition allows you to make multiple simultaneous RDP connections to servers and workstations. You can connect through FQDN or IP address, but this app (and as far as I know all iPad RDP apps) do not support Network Level Authentication, meaning that you may need to alter the remote security settings. This app supports right clicking through multi-touch and has shortcuts for common functions such as CTRL-ALT-DEL. You can learn more about it from the iTunes store link: http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/winadmin-ipad-edition/id364898965?mt=8
DropBox: I need to get files on my iPad
DropBox is one of many applications that allows you to sync files on your computer with files on your iPad. It functions in a similar way to Live Sync/Live Mesh. The free version allows you to keep 2 GB of stuff in your “dropbox” and you can pay for versions that will sync up to 50 GB. Dropbox allows you to build up a set of nested folders on your iPad, something that you would find challenging otherwise. You can also “daisy-chain” your dropbox folder with other sync tools; I have my dropbox folder synced across Live Mesh and SharePoint Workspace, mostly because I was using them beforehand. You can learn more about it from the iTunes store link: http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/dropbox/id327630330?mt=8
Pages: Need to look at Word docs on the iPad
To review and modify Word documents on the iPad, you need to install some form of word processing application as, at present, the version of Microsoft Office on the web does not allow editing of documents through the iPad browser. Of the applications available, Apple’s Pages does a good job of converting files in doc and docx format for viewing and modification on the iPad. A lot of features, such as commenting, are not supported. The basic rule is the more funky you get with your Word features, the less likely they are to work in the converted document. You get the documents on to the iPad either by emailing them to yourself, or using a solution like DropBox. You can learn more about it from the iTunes store link: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/pages/id361309726?mt=8
KeyNote: Need to look at PowerPoint presentations on the iPad
KeyNote is Apple’s presentation software solution. Keynote on the iPad allows you to view PowerPoint presentations on the iPad, even present them if you have the iPad VGA adapter. You get the presentations on to the iPad either by emailing them to yourself, or using a solution like DropBox. The current version of KeyNote does not allow you to review PowerPoint presenter notes, which is something one would hope is rectified in future releases. You can learn more about it from the iTunes store link: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/keynote/id361285480?mt=8
Numbers: Need to look at Excel spreadsheets on the iPad.
The same rules that apply to Word docs and PowerPoint presentations apply to Excel spreadsheets opened using the Numbers app. Good for document review, but perhaps not entirely appropriate as a replacement for Excel. You can learn more about Numbers for iPad from the iTunes store link: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/numbers/id361304891?mt=8
Evernote: Almost Kinda like OneNote
Until OneNote is made available on the iPad, EverNote functions as a sort-of replacement. Which is hardly a ringing endorsement I know. Unlike the other apps I’ve mentioned here, Evernote syncs automatically to the web and to your Evernote PC app. You can dump notes to and from everything. I’ve found my own iPad exceptionally functional as a note-taking device and as a games platform (but this is an article about productivity so I won’t mention Civ Revolution, Command & Conquer and Fieldrunners). You can find out more about Evernote at http://www.evernote.com