Tablets are fantastic pieces of kit. They allow you to work from anywhere (without carrying a “huge” laptop around), are quick to power up, last longer on a charge than a laptop whilst also allowing the user to carry out almost any task they can think of. There is one big problem though which I came across last week and that is accessing documents. Let me explain.
A customer rang in last week with a Windows 7 laptop which was running very slow. It turned out that the hard drive was on its last legs but before it died I managed to get the clients files off and store them onto an external hard drive. Great all I have to do now is transfer them across to another laptop / PC which the client owns and job done. One problem though, along with the dying laptop the client owns an iPad. Last time I checked iPad’s don’t come with USB ports and even if they did the amount of data recovered was 25 GB while the available internal storage on this particular iPad was only 10 GB. This was not going to happen.
A lot of home businesses use iPads and Android tablets (and slowly Windows tablets too) as secondary devices to a laptop or PC. How do you access your files if you main system dies?
You see iPads, and tablets in general, are designed to work with cloud storage and that’s why they tend not to have huge hard drives. Connect a tablet upto a Dropbox, Box, OneDrive, iCloud or Google Drive account and you can access all your documents from anywhere and only download the files (or pictures) when you need them. All of your files will be safely stored online which means that you can never lose them. You do have to pay a monthly fee but it does depend on the amount of storage you need. Personally I think it is a small price to pay to know your files are safe.
Now I know that some Android tablets come with USB ports and yes they can read external hard drives (I have done this myself) but lugging around an external hard drive just to plug it in to a tablet and read files is a hassle. You also run the risk of damaging the hard drive if it gets knocked. Get yourself some online storage as it is so much simpler.
And the client? She borrowed a laptop from a friend so at least I could transfer the files across to something. They are now looking into Dropbox.
About the Author
Hi I’m Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows, Mac and Linux based IT Support to both business and personal clients in Stirling, Alloa and Falkirk.
As always it starts with a question and this time the question was – can I run Logmein on a linux system? In this case the answer was no and I pointed the client in the direction of Teamviewer instead.
At the moment software manufacturers are writing their software for certain operating systems only (for example LogMein doesn’t work on Linux) but with more and more users now turning to the internet to get their work done, for example using Google Docs or Office 365, or using apps does it actually matter what the underlying system is?
Lets take the consumer (ie home) market first. Here the PC is on its last legs and tablets and smartphones are on the rise. Where previously you had to have a copy of Windows to be productive this is no longer the case (Office 365 for iphone anyone?). You can now get apps on your tablet that allow you do accomplish almost anything. For example on my Blackberry Playbook I purchased an app called Smart Office 2 which allows me to produce and edit .doc or .xls files from my tablet. The same can be found on Android and iOS too. Failing that you can use Office 365 or Google Docs straight through your browser and use online storage to back up your files. There are numerous apps for remote desktop software, photo editing etc. In fact you can get apps for almost everything. In this environment it doesn’t matter what operating your system is running.
Now let us turn our attention to the business environment where it is not so clear cut. At the moment you are either a Linux business, an Apple business or a Windows one. Yes you can have a mixture of all three but on the whole a business will use one operating system across all their computers. Here businesses tend to stick with software that runs on their platforms, which makes it easier to support, however iPads and iPhones (and Android to a lesser extent) are slowly beginning to encroach on the traditional PC’s (PC’s will still be around for a long time yet). With the advent of BYOD (Bring your Own Device) this will only increase and the only realistic way for businesses to support all these different devices is to put all the data in the cloud. If you are accessing data online (again taking Google Apps as an example) it doesn’t matter what system you have so long as it can access the internet. The ‘mobile takeover’ hasn’t happened yet but it is slowly making ground.
So what do you think does it matter what operating system you use to get things done? Let me know!!