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Since last summer I have been one of our few “remote Pivots” after I moved from San Francisco, CA to Atlanta, GA. Pivotal and I agreed that I’d try working remotely, remote-pair programming full time with fellow developers in our San Francisco and NYC offices. Overall it’s worked out wonderfully for me, my teams, and clients. I use the same technologies that fellow remote-Pivot Chad Woolley recommended in 2008 — a VPN connection, Mac’s Screen Sharing.app and Skype video chat, but we’re always looking for ways to more seamlessly integrate our remote developers into their teams.
With that in mind I became very excited when the iPad 2 was released, with its front-facing camera and FaceTime app. How perfect! For the last month our team has experimented using an iPad as a “remote presence” device for me.
How did it work out? Keep reading to find out!
The goals were as follows:
As for why an iPad 2:
After a month of on-again, off-again iPad-Joe experiments with pair programming, meeting attendance and other tasks the results are in! Drumroll please…
The iPad 2 is a horrible remote presence device.
Overall, it’s a total bust. Oh well.
The iPad does function well as a remote presence device in a few cases:
While the iPad has a ton of potential as a remote presence device, there are many kinks that need to be worked out first.
There’s no dedicated Skype app for iPad. The iPhone app works, but poorly, though it’s noise-canceling does seem a bit better than FaceTime.
FaceTime is the largest disappointment.
Finally, hauling an iPad, an iHome, and a Snowball mic around the office totally defeats the purpose of ease-of-use and portability!
Many of these limitations might be solved via software updates. We’ll try again when Skype delivers an iPad app and when other iPad software updates come along.