Posts Tagged 'Ipad'

November 1, 2011

SoftLayer on the iPad

Shortly after we began implementing the SoftLayer Mobile application for the iPhone and Android, Apple released the iPad. With our development resources limited, we focused on adding the functionality our customers required to the iPhone application with only a few small features added to support the new device.

As we became more familiar with the iPad, we started seeing a few key areas where SoftLayer Mobile could benefit from the large format iPad user interface. We've been able to incorporate a phenomenal feature set in the SoftLayer Mobile application, and as our desired feature set has become more and more complete, we've gotten a bit of breathing room from our iPhone releases. We used that breathing room to re-visit the iPad and what it could mean for the SoftLayer Mobile customer experience on a tablet. The result of that investigation is the SoftLayer Mobile HD application:


As you might expect, SoftLayer Mobile HD shares quite a bit of functionality with its iPhone sibling. The application offers a window into your SoftLayer environment so that you can browse, create and edit support tickets; discover information about computing resources and bandwidth; and keep up-to-date on the latest notifications from our data centers. The iPad application also helps you keep track of financial information by allowing you to browse your account and its invoices. All this functionality benefits from the intuitive interface of the iPad. You have more room to browse, more room to edit, and fewer screens to navigate as you manage and explore your virtual SoftLayer data center.



Best of all: The application is only in its first release, and already shows great promise! We have plenty of room to grow and tons of ideas about the next features and functions we want to add. If you're iPad-equipped, get the SoftLayer Mobile HD application in the iTunes App Store. When you're navigating through the interface, take note of anything you'd like to see us change or add, and let us know!


May 27, 2011

SoftLayer Mobile - Coming of Age

The SoftLayer Mobile application allows customers to work with support tickets, examine and control servers, monitor bandwidth information and more. The application is available on two platform: Apple iOS - supporting iPhones and iPads, and the Google Android operating system - supporting mobile phones and devices from a variety of vendors.

The SoftLayer Mobile application is quickly approaching its first birthday. The application was first introduced to the world in June of 2010. Frequent visitors to this blog may remember when we introduced the iPhone application right here in the SoftLayer blog. We got back with you again when the Android application reached the milestone of 100 downloads. Our success with the application continues to this day with the both the iOS and Android versions sporting impressive download statistics which multiply those of a year ago many dozens of times over.

In the course of the past year, we've gotten some great suggestions for improvements from our customers. The first request was for the application to store account passwords a feature which we implemented quickly. From those humble beginnings we added some larger, more complex functionality based on your feedback like two-factor authentication using VeriSign Identity Protection, bandwidth charting, and the ability to check account balances and make one-time payments against those balances from your phone.

We'd love to continue that trend and hope to tap into the experience of the thousands of you who are working with the application. In the coming year, we hope to expand our existing functionality, include new features, and support both new operating systems and new devices. We'd love to hear about your ideas on how we can best improve the SoftLayer Mobile application to make it an even more valuable tool for you.

Would you like improved tracking of your bandwidth? Can we offer greater control over your server's network ports? Do you need to monitor your server's CPU usage even while you're in line at the bank? Is there one particular task that compels you to visit the SoftLayer Customer Portal time and again? If so, and if it would be convenient for you to have that information on the phone in your pocket rather than on the computer at your desk, please let us know!

To offer your suggestions, please create a support ticket in your SoftLayer account detailing your needs. Alternatively, if you are already using the SoftLayer Mobile application, drop us a line through the feedback links built into the Support section.

If you haven't been using the SoftLayer Mobile application, then we'd like to invite you to download it and explore its features. For more information, and for links and information about downloading and installing the application, visit our Mobile Application resource page.

Keep watching that page over the coming months as well. We have some exciting projects in the works and hope to share them with you very soon!


September 14, 2010

iPad: The Revolution

The iPad

"A magical, revolutionary product at an incredible price" says Apple.

"It's shiny!! I want one!" half my brain says in awe.

"It's over $600! The economy sucks! When's the last time you bought yourself some decent clothes? Haven't you wanted a road bike for a while? How's that savings account of yours holding up anyway? Doesn't matter, it should be double that. And while you're at it, you should spend less on food too." So protests the other half of my brain, a side that sounds curiously like my mother.

There was going to be no impulse buying here. If I were to get one, I would need a solid justification for it. So the justification became this: I'm a web applications developer, and the iPad has the potential to influence what I do for a living. What this influence will be is not altogether clear, but I will have a much better idea of what it will be owning an iPad rather than not. So the decision was made: a shiny, 3G, 16GB iPad to call my own.

Whether the iPad is "revolutionary" will be decided only after the revolution has occurred and its effects discussed, debated, and understood. But the potential for bringing about one is very much there. The iPad is also as much a product of a revolution rather than the instigator of one: the shift to ubiquitous internet access and cloud computing.

The Revolution the iPad Could Bring About

Computers were once only attached to keyboards, where people entered memorized commands. The mouse and graphical user interface were revolutionary in their day, allowing people to interact with computers who otherwise couldn't or wouldn't do so. Just as importantly, the mouse and GUI allowed the creation of software that would not exist elegantly in a world with just keyboards. One notable piece of software made possible by the GUI & mouse was the web browser.

Much like the mouse before it, the multitouch screen presents a major evolution of the computer-user interface. Unlike the combination of the mouse and keyboard however, it is a complimentary evolution. Multitouch screens will not replace the mouse and keyboard, but compliment them in many areas.

Suppose you have a button on a screen. In the past, pressing that button required "aiming" a cursor with a mouse attached to your computer, or (more recently), a trackpad. In many cases, the button on the screen might be "mapped" to a key or combination of keys. But the multitouch screen bypasses all this. If there's a button on a screen that says it does something, all you have to do is press it with your finger.

Trivial you might say? I would say "subtle," with powerful implications:

The precision of a dedicated mouse and keyboard is no longer required for many tasks that once depended on these devices. Since the iPad is a portable device, being tethered to a traditional computer or laptop is similarly no longer required. Much like the mouse and GUI before it, new applications that were not practical for mouse-based systems will now be written and many of course have been. Few people could have predicted that the web browser and its impact on society would be one of the many advances the mouse-based GUI would bring about, and it is entirely possible that such ground-breaking applications will one day be written for the iPad, or a device similar to it.

The Revolution That Made the iPad Possible

AT&T's coverage map shows the majority of the United States covered by their 3G or EDGE networks, and competing carriers show similar coverage. Whereas "cellphone coverage" once meant being able to make voice calls and send texts, "cellphone coverage" today is synonymous with internet access. The internet is everywhere, and it is all around us.

Imagine a device like the iPad in a world without ubiquitous internet, without wifi even. Would that iPad have a disk drive? It could have the greatest, most revolutionary interface in the world. But there'd be no argument that the device's utility would be much more limited, to the point where the device might appeal only to technical people.

The iPad is one of the first mass produced, practical cloud computing devices, and its success is in part owed to the many advances made before it. Companies like SoftLayer helped bring about cloud computing solutions to developers such as myself where such services would otherwise be inaccessible or prohibitively expensive.

So when I look at my iPad, I no longer just see a shiny new thing. The sticker shock has been more than offset by what the iPad represents: striking innovation and an attitude toward the economy all of us would do well to adopt: Don't complain, put your brain to work, and create something new.

Yet the iPad is not an isolated device either. Years of infrastructure investment and innovation by many companies brought us to the point where consumers and developers alike can leverage the power of the cloud. "Revolutionary" is a bold claim on Apple's part, but in the context of what the state of technology was even a few years ago, the term "magical" isn't far off at all.


June 1, 2010

I bought an iPad. Now what?

I purchased the iPad on a Friday and gave the iPad a nice reviewing over the weekend. I purchased the 64GB Wi-Fi-only edition. I couldn’t justify the cost of the 3G edition in addition to the monthly 3G cost from AT&T.

My initial impression of the iPad was, “Ok, so this is basically a computer with a touch interface with a few wow factors thrown in there for good measure. I understand they need to sell the product, right?”

I watched multiple Netflix movies, a few episodes of LOST, played several games of Chopper, Pinball, Final Fantasy (epic win, btw), quite a bit of shuffleboard, ordered pizza, continued reading “The Hobbit” on the Kindle app, surfed the web and sent email. All these activities were pleasant experiences with the iPad except for maybe sending email. Typing, of course, was a painful experience. As well as attempting to find a comfortable position to hold the device. It seems that laying down and propping it up against my leg worked best.

I visited my parents on Saturday and decided to give the iPad a first-time user’s experience. My father absolutely loved the device. Well, at least he loved the shuffleboard game. My mother complained about the fact that she couldn’t read any of the web pages until I showed her how to zoom and that was an instant win for her. The more I use this device the more I feel like it was built specifically for older people.

The big complaint I usually hear is that the iPad is just a giant iPod Touch. Sort of… The larger screen truly makes a difference, particularly to web surfing. My only problem was typing long emails. You can’t help but feel frustrated and wishing a physical keyboard would simply drop out of the bottom of the iPad, but alas, no such luck. I definitely type faster on my iPhone’s keyboard.

Would I recommend this product? If you can get past the keyboard handicap, yes. It’s a fantastic consumption device, but don’t expect to produce much with it.

May 20, 2010

To Buy or Not to Buy an Apple iPad

I have traditionally been a Windows sorta guy though, over the years, I have been slowly (very slowly) gravitating towards the Apple side of the fence. I haven’t purchased a full on Mac, as my love for Windows 7 is in full bloom, but when it comes to handheld/mobile devices Apple has been doing exceptionally well. I already have an iPhone 3GS and I swear by it. I really know of no one that has an iPhone and is disappointed by it.

Now I am in the market for a new laptop and I’m considering the iPad. Shut it, I know it’s not a “laptop”. It’s a medium between a smart phone and laptop, blah blah. What I should find out is if my life would be better with a laptop or an iPad. What exactly do I need?

Well, I can’t play World of Warcraft on my iPad, right (maybe)? I could definitely watch some streaming Netflix though. That would be pleasant. I have about 200 books for the Kindle app on my iPhone. I’m sure the experience of reading on the iPad is better than on the iPhone. Do I need the 3G or just the WiFi version? What about that keypad? I’m the type that rests their fingers on the keyboard. All my composed emails would end up like the following:

A;ldskfj;ada;lskdjfasd;lfkjasd;flkja;sGODHELPME!!!!dlkfja;l;lskadjfjklfadlkjfdaskl dfsak asdf kjk f faldk fdsa fasl;kd jaakls;jdf;afs kdl;j fasIHATEEMAIL!!!!djkla fjsk;lafkjls j askl;djfasjl fk;alsk;j df!!!!11!!1!

Well, at least they have a Bluetooth keyboard for $69. I guess that helps.

The more I research the iPad, the more I like it. I watched Steve Job’s iPad presentation yesterday. Though, I couldn’t help but notice the missing flash movie during his presentation.

Steve Jobs - iPad

Never the less, I don’t see this as a big issue as I foresee Flash movies being replaced by HTML 5 anyway.

So with all this said, will I purchase an iPad? Yes, I most definitely will. I should set up a “Steven Rogers needs an iPad” fund. You can send your donations to the SoftLayer corporate office addressed to me. ;)

Once I get the iPad and have played with it for a bit, I will write a follow up to this blog.

Update: I bought a 64GB WiFi-only iPad recently and will post a follow up to this blog on June 1st.

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