I work in tech, but my use of tech has changed. I no longer code or use tech as my job. I consult and help others plan, build, and use their tech. To stay up to date, I do code and use tech, as well as read… a lot. I no longer feel that a beefy desktop computer, or even a laptop, is what I need. I do most of my reading in bed, at night, when the kids are asleep. An iPad is my favorite way to read articles, books, and magazines (I use Libby through my library). So I thought, now that my home laptop is over 9 years old and on its last leg, could I use an iPad for everything? And no, not an iPad Pro. I hate sending money on computers and will not drop a $1,000 on one.
- 10.2” iPad $329 Omoton Bluetooth Mouse $12.99
- Omoton Bluetooth Keyboard $19.99
- Omoton Tablet Stand $18.99
So far, it’s working. The keyboard connected and worked perfectly. The mouse required some changes to the Accessibility settings and is a bit clunky, but it works. I can use the touchscreen when it is more convenient, but for writing and coding, the mouse makes inserting the cursor much easier.
My Use Case and Tools
I am using the iPad to read, shop, and fill out forms on the web - like signing my daughter up for a Turkey Trot or registering them for school. This is my Home Computer use case. For my personal work, I code and blog.
I was using Gitlab for my blog with Hugo. I no longer think that’s feasible on the iPad and decided to find a web based blog. This cuts down on my ability to control every aspect of my blog, but let’s be real, its for me and the 2 people reading this, so it’s not that big of a deal. I’ve decided to use Hashnode. I chose it because it’s web based, uses markdown, says I keep ownership of my posts, and using custom domains was free and easy.
For coding, I’m using Google Collab. It allows me to use Jupyter style notebooks with the libraries I need (aka Pandas). It connects to GitHub and allows me to open notebooks, edit them, and post them back. The code runs in the cloud and I do not need any special tools or apps to execute the code. I was able to run a notebook using the Networkx library in Collab from my GitHub account without any issues.
If this fails or becomes unrealistic, I have two more options: I can buy an app like Juno or Pythonista; or I can use my old home computer as a Jupyter Notebook server (which is kind of cheating and I would rather use a RaspberryPi if I go this route).
Lastly, for editing a lot of code I may use Visual Studio Code on the web. I cannot run code this way, but editing and saving to GitHub would become much easier. This would then lead to the possibility of testing out GitHub Codespaces.
The goal is to start for free and try to make it work. But if it doesn’t, then maybe I will break down and pay.
I have also installed the full Google Suite - Docs, Drive, Sheets, Calendar, Gmail - for working, as well as Libby, Percipio, and Kindle for reading. I Airdrop photos between my phone and iPad when needed.
I don’t know how this will go. Writing this post was not too difficult. Not as easy as on a desktop, but much easier than an iPad without a keyboard and mouse. And now I will go read a book, or watch the Matrix on HBO using this same iPad in bed. I will update this post as I code more and try new tools, but if you have any questions or suggestions, let me know.