Are you sitting comfortably…?

Working remotely can cause harm to your person.

A report came out today on the BBC News website which caught my attention and will probably resonate with a few of you guys too. If you’ve ever worked from home with a laptop you will no doubt have gravitated to the sofa to continue your work. Comfort, a spot of music in the background and a cuppa is the perfect combination to get that demo environment built and those mailed replied to.

All seems fine until… something… what the…. MY LEGS!!!! You have been the latest victim of ‘Laptop Thigh.’

I own a couple of Macbook Pros which I use as my day-to-day machines and they work really well, even though they are 3 and 5 years old. That does make them sound like part of the family but I swear I don’t know their birthdays. The problem I have with them is that they get immensely hot when I’ve got them sitting on my lap and after a while it’s just uncomfortable.

For the last week while I’ve been on annual leave I’ve been doing a spot of work from home but also in comfort on the sofa, at the local Starbucks and down by the lake where I go running. I set myself a challenge to use my newly purchased iPad and the Citrix Receiver for as much work as I was allowed to do by my girlfriend could and all in all it was pretty successful.

Over the past 4 days I’ve used the iPad+Receiver to build a XD5 environment in my demo lab, manage a growing amount of emails, proof and edit a PPT presentation on the XenDesktop Masterclass and finally write up this blog. All done remotely on my crummy ADSL line, at Starbucks WIFI and using a rather cool 3G MIFI device I bought off eBay for £30 for when I’m out and about.

The way I use the Receiver might be a little different to how others do but I’m one for simplicity so everything I do is ran from a single desktop rather than opening individual apps one at a time. After all ANY desktop is just an execution environment and it’s quicker to have everything up in front of you. I had a streamed app of XenCenter for all my VM builds, local IE for my web work and a streamed copy of Powerpoint 2007 for the Masterclass slides.

Building VMs didn’t take any longer than normal and the touch screen works really well for clicking next a few times as well as for inputting the usual things like reg key changes, update installs etc. The keyboard input and screen update is very snappy on a ADSL line and even when I wasn’t in a 3G area it was more than acceptable over MIFI. The XD5 build worked a treat by the way

Working with Powerpoint was a good experience too. Editing was very simple and the only thing I had a problem with was picking the right point on the clipart to drag and resize it – until I remembered I could just pinch it and zoom in for a bit more clarity.

Finally the emails were very easy but I got so used to using the iPad’s own email client that it took most of the load. However, when I had to write up my weekly report and attach the various spreadsheets this was all done very easily on Outlook published on our corporate farm.

So is the iPad for all occasions? No, of course not but to do the regular tasks my job entails it fits probably 80% of tasks 80% of the time. It’s a tool for a job just like everything else but I’m mighty impressed by it.

And it didn’t toast my legs once. Result!



Systems Engineer
Citrix Systems UK

PS – if you’ve been keeping tabs on Synergy in Berlin you’ll know of all the upcoming things in the iOS4 to make the iPad even better such as VGA out, BT keyboard and trackpad use.

Keep an eye on Gus Pinto’s blog for more info on this closer to release.