Thursday, 25 April 2013

Tablet at work

I keep myself a pretty tablet addicted person. I bought my first one 2 years ago - I thought it's gonna a be a nice new toy - that turned to be an essential part of my everyday routine. Let share you some of the practices I do at work.

In work I try to minimalise the dumb way of using the tablet. No YouTube, Facebook and Need For Speed in the toilet. (Honestly that's the problem when you share the loo with other companies, they all look at you with their suspicious eyes.)

Anyways, let's talk about the work apps. First and foremost the browser. Tablets have a proper size screen with a decent web browser. I bookmark all sort of sites to be able to access quickly, including the project management system, the issue tracker, online repository, reports or Jenkins. On meeting and especially on planning meeting you are often facing to questions like: "Is there a tool / module that does ....?", "What was the name of that ...?" or "Can you show me ...?" - in these cases it's easy to get the device and look for the subject. No need to carry a laptop. One trick I do is I have different accounts assigned to different browsers (Chrome, Opera), so I don't need to change Google accounts when accessing my Google related services.

Seconds most often used app is Evernote. I do a lot of notes and maintain several todo lists. When we have a call or a meeting I probably need to write down some info. That's where Evernote plays a big role. I have different folders where I keep my notes and docs. And I can sync it everywhere, to my phone or to the Desktop app on my laptop. I learned this trick from Kornel to keep the daily reports there, and I just carry the tablet to the scrum meetings. Sometimes I share images or record an important conversation.

Obviously the calendar is another essential app. Luckily it's presented on the home screen so I always know if I need to attend on a meeting.

Next one is a super favorite of mine. Adobe Ideas is a must have if you're - like me - a desperately visual type. I draw all the time. I need to visualize the structure I'm about to build, the interactions, the object model, the data structure, the design, UX elements - everything. I've tried many drawing apps and found only one that recognized primitive shapes (circle, oval, rectangle) - apart from that I think Ideas is one of the most user friendly and productive tool. When you use zoom back and forth with layers and embeddable templates you gonna love it.

In terms of easy access I use iSSH to ssh into servers. It has a great controller interface with many special keys that makes it almost as comfortable as a normal keyboard. If you managed to set up your servers you can access them with a single tap and control them whenever you are. It also can connect to X11.

I use Google docs extensively, for that I have the Google Drive and Google Search apps. The user interface it just enough to edit and view documents. On a meeting where you have to check several docs and co-edit them it's amazing.

Being a neo-social addicted person I keep all my chat apps on the tablet as well. Skype, IMO, Colloquy  or FaceTime / Message are a few of them. I can make a call, have a chat easily with anyone.

A less used but great app is Net Master. If I'm not sure about some local IP or just tired to type it all I open it and scan the entire network for public IPs and open ports.

For the few projects we use it I have the Trello app. Pretty much the same as the website, on a tablet.

Apart from these most used apps I have some others that I can apply once in a while, such as mindmap editor, document readers, file storage or wireframing tools. I think it shows quite well how great a tablet can be in a work environment and can give us freedom by not locking down to the desk. Having a GotoMeeting call from the toilet, using LogMeIn in the park to access your office machine or hacking the server through iSSH is priceless.

And of course - the few who knows - Lunar Racer is the king of office team games.




  1. Could you please name some wireframing tools you're satisfied with?

  2. I'm a naturalist, so I do a lot of free drawing - that's why I use Adobe Ideas most of the times. On the other hand I used Grafio a lot ( It's not exactly a wireframing tool, but the ability to draw precise shapes make it a great wireframing tool.
    Otherwise on the desktop I use balsamiq.


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