The new normal has exposed the weakness of my iPad-only system.

The iPad Pro as a mini-desktop is a beautiful, minimal setup. The tablet sits on a stand, in horizontal orientation, controlled by a separate keyboard and mouse (or trackpad). This makes for a focused experience.

Then, somebody asks for a video call, on Zoom, for example. I can take the call, but it must be the only app working. I can’t take notes on the iPad while listening to the call. The camera is on a shorter side of the tablet, meaning that if I’m looking at the person to whom I’m speaking, I look as though I’m looking away from them. Not the end of the world, but annoying. Given the state of the world, I, like everyone else, am on more video calls, and am likely to remain so.

I perform stress tests for clients. I dig down through the paperwork, to assess and document that procedures are being followed. Much of this work, is traditionally done on-site, in-person. Not this year. Probably not next year either. Once I have completed the test, I run seminars, going through any issues identified and covering what’s new in the world of anti-money laundering. That’s not going to happen.

I set about structuring a remote stress test and remote seminars.

In reality, it’s not too difficult. I need to manage a lot of documentation and I need to create some video presentations.

Duck Duck Go Search. “Screencasting on an iPad.”

It didn’t laugh at me, but close.

To clarify, I will be making a few video presentations a year. I will use a powerpoint / keynote and present it to camera. The visuals will be the slides, with an occasional inset of my talking head in the corner.

Whilst it would be fun to set up a couple of cameras, the right lighting (I have the kit) and a full blown audio/video studio, this would be overkill. I want something simple, easy to use that produces decent quality audio and visual output.

The good news is that there are options. The bad news is that none of them are iPad-centric.

I transferred the MacBook Pro to my desk. Complete with external peripherals.

However, clamshell mode takes the camera away – which I need. So now the machine is open, front and centre on my desk. The external display comes in handy, meaning that I can keep a script on one screen, while presenting on another. I still enjoy my iPad, so that sits alongside its bigger brothers.

My lovely, minimal, focused workspace, now looks like a hacker’s workstation.

However – it will work, and I will find ways of reducing some of the clutter. Inevitably, part of the solution will involving buying more stuff.