Tablet for remote sysadmin

Tod Hansmann at
Tue Aug 28 21:13:57 MDT 2012

On 8/28/2012 4:27 PM, Levi Pearson wrote:
> I have an iPad and I really like it, and I have an Android phone that I
> have mixed feelings about, but if I were to spec something as a remote
> admin tool I'd probably pick a netbook over a tablet.  System
> administration, unless you are fiddling with a web-based gui, really works
> better with a physical keyboard.  If the netbooks seem a bit under-specced,
> maybe a chromebook? For reading PDFs or browsing the web or youtube or
> facebook or whatever, tablet wins hands down, though. :)
>          --Levi
I've been using a number of Android tablets for about 8 months now for 
sysadmining remotely.  I have a laptop that's fast and easy, and I 
usually just go to the tablet because it gets the job done the way I 
have it setup.  To improve things, my recommendations:

- Use Hacker's Keyboard instead of the default keyboard your device has 
- Actually, get a bluetooth keyboard if you can.  They can help some of us.
- OpenVPN works great now, but not for bridging (no tap devices). No 
rooting required!
- Don't root your device.
- Make sure you know how to task switch, and you're not going to do any 
impressive editing on this, but I've rebuilt an OpenVPN connection and a 
vhost conf for Apache from scratch on the tablet.
- Don't rely on a cell connection if you can avoid it.  I tether to my 
phone if I have to, but the latency slows you down quite a bit, and it 
requires working around it (I type ahead a lot to speed things up 
- The tablet is not a good research device for serious problems that 
need serious fixing, so don't consider it a total replacement for all 
remote duties.  I still bust out the laptop if I need to do some 
juggling in the support world.  I'm not sure how to better quantify this.
- Integrate something for reminders, be it email or task management or 
something.  "I fixed service X on server Y, order replacement part Z 
first thing Monday."

That's just my opinion on the matter, though.  I still say that 
bluetooth fold-out keyboard would help some with their hurdles, too.

-Tod Hansmann

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