Feeds

Mobile devices hit Trevor's spot

A 10in form factor is just right

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Sysadmin blog I have spent the past month using Mobile Internet Devices (MIDs) as often as possible in my role as a systems administrator. I have worked on my Blackberry 8350i, my HTC Desire and an iPad, using native apps as well as working within a remote environment, to perform tasks ranging from writing articles to managing servers. Using RDP, VNC and Teamviewer I have worked with MS Office apps, dealt with point-of-sales software and various forms of middleware, and configured entire fleets of servers using VSphere SSH and Webmin.

On the network side, I was astonished at how much I could get done over 2G. It seems even Edge can deliver just about usable connectivity for remote desktop work. 3G connectivity was fantastic. Where I could get an EV-DO or HSDPA connection, the remote desktop response was snappy and completely workable.

Working over Wi-Fi oddly proved to be a far more frustrating experience than using 3G. While Wi-Fi is certainly faster, 3G is dedicated spectrum. In pretty much all of western Canada at least, if you have a 3G link then it won’t suddenly turn into a pumpkin. Wi-Fi on the other hand is overcrowded to the point of worthlessness in our cities. There are too many people with cordless phones that wreak havoc on the 2.4GHz spectrum everywhere within a 1,200m radius.

At first, I thought my Blackberry 8350i was simply too slow to handle most of the things I was throwing at it, but a simple switch to Wi-Fi proved me wrong. This Blackberry model is fairly old and compared with my Desire it is fantastically underpowered. Despite this, it still has enough oomph when using Wi-Fi to get the job done, although the screen is too small and the trackball too clumsy for browsing the web or remotely acccessing a PC. If, however, you are seeking a device largely for text-input, this is still the next best thing to a real computer.

As for the HTC Desire, I love it. Its primary purpose has been as an MID and it has been brilliant using Wyse’s PocketCloud application. In essence it is an RDP, VNC and VMWare View client and so good that it has to be used to be believed. There is a neat little touch pointer doohickey which entails a bit of a learning curve, but once you master it your tiny little smartphone becomes a functional window into your normal work environment.

While I managed to get a surprising amount done on this device, using it for text input for any length of time was frustrating. Any more than 600 words and my manual dexterity starts to be worn down by the constrained keyboard. The lack of integrated spell check in most applications has also been a drawback. But as a smartphone app platform as well as a touch-tablet RDP interface to my VM it has served me well. I can now honestly say that I can get all of my critical work done using nothing more than my Desire.

The iPad isn’t the ideal device for me, but it is close. The form factor of ten inches is just the right size. A few weeks of using the iPad have convinced me that a ten-inch Android pad will be fantastic. The first one to happen along with a 1,333x768 or better screen is one I will snap up to replace my next planned laptop refresh.

I can’t tell you which MID will be right for you, as each person will have different requirements, but what I can tell you is that while a good laptop will still be more efficient at virtually every task, MIDs have quietly become “good enough”. It’s time to get ready for this new category of devices. If they aren’t already, MIDs are going to be staples of most corporate environments. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Azure TITSUP caused by INFINITE LOOP
Fat fingered geo-block kept Aussies in the dark
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
You think the CLOUD's insecure? It's BETTER than UK.GOV's DATA CENTRES
We don't even know where some of them ARE – Maude
Cloud unicorns are extinct so DiData cloud mess was YOUR fault
Applications need to be built to handle TITSUP incidents
BOFH: WHERE did this 'fax-enabled' printer UPGRADE come from?
Don't worry about that cable, it's part of the config
Stop the IoT revolution! We need to figure out packet sizes first
Researchers test 802.15.4 and find we know nuh-think! about large scale sensor network ops
DEATH by COMMENTS: WordPress XSS vuln is BIGGEST for YEARS
Trio of XSS turns attackers into admins
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
10 ways wire data helps conquer IT complexity
IT teams can automatically detect problems across the IT environment, spot data theft, select unique pieces of transaction payloads to send to a data source, and more.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?