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Working From Your iPad

When the iPad 3 was released I decided I would finally splurge and buy one for myself. I do IT support and I never know when and where I might have to jump on a computer to fix something. So I keep a small, almost too small notebook computer with me for emergencies and I justified the iPad purchase as a convenient, easier to use replacement for the notebook. In reality, the iPad cannot do everything you can do on a notebook, but you can do some things to bring it close and it is just plain more fun to work on. Here are the things I have done to make my iPad a better work tool.

The first thing is the Verizon card. If you intend to use your iPad for work, then increase your productive time just a little bit more by spending the extra money on the Verizon card version. The data plans are reasonable and you can turn them on and off a month at a time as needed. There is no long-term contract required. I use my iPad quite a bit outside of the office and love the Verizon card. With some cellular networks, you have to stand on the roof with one leg in the air to get a 4G signal. With Verizon, I get a good 4G LTE signal just about every where I go. I have done a lot of speed testing on it too. It is typically comparable to a Comcast high-speed connection and several times faster than the typical DSL connection. You can also share your iPad's internet connection with other wireless computers in the vicinity by turning on it's Wireless Hot Spot feature.

The next thing to do is to setup a Virtual Private Network or VPN connection to your office network. Your network may already allow incoming VPN connections from your laptop or home computer. If so, then you are in good shape. If not, call SugarLandPC and we can help you get setup. Most Windows computers have the capability, it just needs to be configured. Once your office network allows VPN connections, then you can go to Settings, General, VPN on the iPad and configure a connection. When you have done this, then your iPad gets a secure connection over the Internet and into your office network each time you turn on VPN. Now you can install one of many different file browsing apps on the iPad and browse shared files and folders at the office. You will also have to install an app for each type of file you would like to look at from your network. The iPad can play many of your music files or view your pictures natively, but you may have to install an Office app to work on your spreadsheets for example.

For those tasks that you just cannot seem to do on your iPad even with the VPN connection, there is always remote control. This brings the full power of your PC sitting back at the office to your iPad screen. There are several apps to accomplish this with, but my favorite choice is to use a Remote Desktop Protocol or RDP client app. This will allow you to connect to any Windows XP Pro, Windows Vista Pro or Windows 7 Pro computer over the internet from your iPad. Once connected, your PC screen shows up on the iPad screen. You then have access to your QuickBooks, Outlook and all those other programs that do not actually run on the iPad. There are also solutions for remote control from LogMeIn.com and others, but I think Microsoft's RDP is the best for the PC environment. LogMeIn will also work with your Mac though.

There is not enough room here to cover every detail of these productivity ideas, but I wanted you to get a glimpse of some of the things technology makes possible. If you would like some help figuring out how to configure your iPad, VPN, Remote Control or have any other computer related issues, give us a call.

Posted by Charles Swihart on 5/1/2012

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