Telecommuting AAR (After Action Report)

Here’s a few quick notes from some more recent experiences with some telecommuting. One case involves a remote location connected via a fast connection (50 or 100 Mib/s?). Not a lot to say about that as it worked really well as one would expect. The other is the opposite case, a DSL circuit of 1.2 Kib/s using a VPN back to multiple remote boxes.

On the High speed connection, some servers actually feel more responsive. Screen updates nearly as fast as sitting at my desktop. Videos are laggy, but usable.

Now, over to the low speed connection, screen refresh noticeable on full screen draws.
Typing/moving text has only the slightest hint of latency, which I got used to after about 15 minutes. Unable to test VNC connection as my Macbook Pro blew up and was a guest at the MacCafe that day. No Machine client works really well for Linux.

Wasn’t planning on doing home work that particular day (but ended up doing so due to impending snow storm), so had to make a space to work. Shoved all my soldering gear to the side of my secondary office desk so I had room for the computer. Moved to the couch for awhile later on. Ultimately ended up back at the desk.

If you build up a static charge and grab this Lenovo by the side (by the VGA connector), you’ll zap it and it’ll reboot.

A SIP softphone might be handy. Or, perhaps the professional version of Skype for group meetings over the web (free version is limited in that regard). Skype seemed to work real well even with this pretty limited bandwidth (about the slowest we’d see at any residence in the area).

Didn’t have to worry about weather conditions throughout the day while I was working. Was more focused.

Wunderlist is the one major performance exception as it’s horrible over RD.

Only having 1 screen makes some things harder, such as trying to configure a full screen server from a PDF document. However, it’s easier to avoid distraction with only 1 screen too…

Summary/editorial:
I can see working from home being employed as a standard 20% operation, as well as a precaution on bad weather days. Overall productivity goes up, but availability to others is down (despite all our remote options… There’s something to be said for a physical presence, so you would not want to be offsite all the time).

Only major performance issues were Wunderlist (which is terribly slow as a desktop app and website) and certain websites which are slow to bring back via remote desktop. In the case of the websites, those can easily be done locally instead of via the RD session. Wunderlist can be done as a website locally as well instead of dragging it back over RD. All the applications that I wanted to avoid installing multiple places worked just fine over RD, so the basic “terminal” concept is good even with minimal bandwidth (however, zero bandwidth would be a deal breaker).

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