Amazon tricked me.
You see, I bought a tablet a few months ago. I held off getting a tablet for awhile, even though I really wanted one. The price seemed too high for the return. It struck me as mostly a consumption device, and I’m really more into the production side of things.
When I got my current client, I did decide to get myself a toy. Because I fully intended for it to be a toy meant for media consumption, and I already had lots of Kindle books bought from Amazon, yes, I bought a Kindle Fire.
And I got tricked.
Don’t get me wrong. I use my tablet a great deal for reading, messing around on social media and watching trashy BBC Science fiction. What I did not expect was how much I would use the device for productivity.
My latest client is a large hospital. We’re doing a major OS upgrade and I’m managing the reimage side of the project. Now, that part of it is dealing with desktops and laptops, but that’s not what I want to talk about. I want to talk tablets.
This hospital sees a lot of them. We have a device independent tunnel that allows users to access myriad business applications, and this tunnel can be used just fine on many mobile devices, including tablets. Doctors often make rounds carrying one and recording patient encounters in the hospital record system, many patients record initial information in tablets at the reception desk, and people just use tablets because, hey, they’re nifty and fun.
But I use that same tunnel to check my client email, use software unavailable on tablets, detail trouble tickets, take notes at meetings, and show presentations in small meetings or classes.
How do you make your tablet more productive?
1. Use it as your mobile device and leave the computer on your desk.
There’s a lot of good and secure desktop connection software out there. GotomyPC is a person favorite, even if it isn’t free. After you set it up, you can always connect to your desktop for anything you might need, freeing you from having to carry a large laptop with you. While I wouldn’t want to do major design work on a tablet, being able to remote into my “big computer” has made me less inclined to lug it around for routine tasks that require software not available on a tablet.
2. Get a keyboard
You might think it defeats the purpose of a tablet, but there are some good keyboard options out there that aren’t too clunky. Mine folds up with the tablet in a case that’s smaller than most of the books I used to lug around in my pre-e-reading days. When I don’t want to use a keyboard, I just set it aside and hold the tablet in hands. Works great.
3. Apps, Apps, Apps
I’m writing this on my tablet using the WordPress app. Even though Amazon’s app store can’t rival the selection in app store of the Computing Fruit Bowl King, you’d be a bit surprised at the productive goodness you can find. I have an app that syncs with my financial software, I use OfficeSuite Pro for basic non-blogging writing, small spreadsheets (though it can’t handle the hoary complexity I get into when I’m get into spreadsheet Power User mode), and presentations.
Honest to goodness, I really had intended my tablet to be an expensive toy. But I got tricked into using it for real work.
Curse you, Amazon!