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App Reviews

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SysAdmin Series, Article #6: Network Tools And Whois Lookups

This SysAdmin Series article will cover four of my favorite tools as a sysadmin: two for analyzing network information, and one each for doing DNS lookups and Whois lookups on domain names. As with most apps I cover in my SysAdmin Series articles, I need to fully uninstall the app and wipe all prior data before demonstrating it here for you to protect my employer in case there’s any sensitive information lurking about.

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SysAdmin Series, Article #5: FTP Clients

First off, my apologies for the late posting in the SysAdmin series (or very early since tomorrow is Thursday). I had to deal with a double HDD failure on my home PC this weekend which ate up 14+ waking hours between Saturday night and all day Sunday, which would have been my prime writing time. Then the third HDD in that system crashed Monday evening, egad, what are the odds. I digress…

I've been looking for an easy way recently to manage configuration files for remote servers without having to deal with subversion, and even looked at some sort of file sync with Evernote/Dropbox via Android using an FTP client, but neither Evernote or Dropbox give you easy access to files on your SD storage when you download files.

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SysAdmin Series, Article #4: Port Scandroid vs OscanO

A good diagnostic tool for any sysadmin is a port scanner to ensure a firewall is working as intended to open or close ports. When you want a quick and dirty scanning tool, there are some great free apps in the Market to do the trick. A quick search in the Market shows two apps which seem to be popular: OscanO and Port Scandroid.

Port Scandroid

This free app in the Market was written by Rich Jones of NewFreedomApps, found at http://www.thenewfreedom.net/ and the app is described by the author like this:

Port Scandroid is a port scanner for Android.

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SysAdmin Series, Article #3: Nagios Monitoring

Nagios is by far one of the best solutions for monitoring just about everything on a server, and it’s excellent API system means that anything it doesn’t include out of the box can be written in just about any programming language as long as the program output conforms to their standard. I’ve personally written dozens of modules for micro-managing network interfaces, disk IO and so on. I’ve even heard of elaborate schemes of detecting when system load is too high on web servers and launching more Amazon EC2 instances, or checking when load is low enough to terminate EC2 instances, all fully automated.

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SysAdmin Series, Article #2: Decaf - Manage And Monitor Your Amazon EC2 Infrastructure

Welcome back to the SysAdmin Series, where we pick apart another app geared towards system administration. My apologies for missing Sunday’s post, a family emergency kept me offline most of the weekend.

One of the very first apps I installed on my Nexus One when it arrived in February, was Decaf by 9Apps; it was also the first paid app I bought for my Nexus One. They’ve played with their pricing scheme over time – I bought the app for 4.99 Euros mid-February, they raised the price to 9.99 Euros a month later, then up to 24.99 Euros a few weeks ago, before settling on the current 19.99 Euros price.

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doubleTwist Releases Android Media Player App

Jon Lech Johansen from doubleTwist wrote to us today to let us know that they have launched a free app in the Market to pair with their popular desktop sync software for Mac and PC:

Today we launched our Android Player for music, podcasts and videos and it’s available in the Android Market as a free download. Google has built Android into a powerful, open platform; however users have been unsatisfied by the default media software built into Android and are not fully utilizing the media capabilities of their phones.

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The Best 5 Twitter Apps For Android

With so many Twitter clients available for Android, it’s hard to decide which one best suits you. Although I don’t think that there’s a ‘best’ Twitter app on Android, because different applications excel in different areas, I’ve selected five of, what I believe to be, the best clients available right now. Each app is available on the Market for free, with some offering ‘Pro’ versions too.

 

Touiteur (Free, Pro Version Available for €1,99)

If you manage to spell it correctly when searching in the Market (which I failed to do several times), Touiteur is well worth taking a look at.

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App Review: Sirius XM For Android

If you’re a Sirius subscriber, you’ll be glad to hear that the Sirius app for Android was released today! I’ve been listening to online radio on my Nexus One for the past few hours, and have come across no problems. Subscribers can get the app and login with their credentials to start listening to their favorite channels, and those of you who haven’t got a subscription for the service will be offered a 7 day free trial upon installation.

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SysAdmin Series, Article #1: ConnectBot

Welcome to the new SysAdmin Series, where we will cover apps and other tips and tricks for using your Android device to help you get the job done and stay on top of things in the realm of system administration.

Probably the foremost tool for any sysadmin is a good SSH client. My favorite so far is ConnectBot, by Kenny Root and Jeffrey Sharkey. At the time of this writing, this free, lean, simple SSH client is at version 1.6.2, weighs in at 352KB and has had more than 250,000 downloads and enjoys a 5-star rating from over 10,000 users, and describes itself as such in the Android Market:

ConnectBot is a powerful open-soure Secure Shell (SSH) client.

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App Review: Beautiful Widgets

HTC's Sense UI (user interface) includes plenty of features that could make those with vanilla Android jealous, most of which involve the home screen. Phones running the custom UI have their own set of high quality widgets, which includes a "flip clock" that plenty of Android users seem to clamor over. The widget itself is four icons wide and two icons in height, and includes a clock that flips between numbers, the temperature, and icons to denote the current weather.

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