Linux, Windows System Administration From An iPod Touch
Its fairly easy to get away from your computer these days without really having to worry about a server you are supposed to monitor dropping and being stuck in traffic trying to get back to the house to resolve the issue. Now you can do all of your initial troubleshooting on the way home and most of the time resolve the issue without even having to start towards your house or office!
The iPod Touch 2nd Generation is absolutely amazing and getting better by the day with all of the new applications that coontinue to be released. Below I will list and explain briefly various applications that can be purchased or obtained for free through iTunes.
DNS Lookup allows you to do A, AAAA, NS, MX, SOA, and PTR DNS lookups against a name server. Useful for various reasons for a systems administrator.
GoinDown allows you to enter a list of servers to check every time you launch the application. Each device has three fields which are Descriptive Name, Hostname or IP, and Port. You can enter the same server multiple times. So an example of monitoring one server might check port 110 (POP), port 25 (SMTP), port 443 (HTTPS), and port 80 (HTTP). If everything checks out you get a green check mark next to the server and if there are any problems a red X is displayed next to the server.
Instant Byte is a cool little application that will convert between Bytes, Kilobytes, Megabytes, Gigabytes, and Terabytes. If you are trying to figure out how many Bytes in 2 Terabytes then you enter 2 in the Terabyte field, click done, and read 2199023255551.9232039908118609…. from the Bytes field. Not that we can’t all do the math but this just makes it much easier.
iSSH is your basic SSH client. It is not the most convenient way to manage a server via the Touch screen especially with the SSH keyboard taking up half of the screen however in case of a network emergency it is nice to have quick access until othere arrangements can be made.
Mocha VNC is a mini VNC client that will sllow you to control any server running a VNC server. I don’t know that Virtual Network Computing (VNC) has ever been so cool! It has the same navigation style on the screen as when you are using the Safari browser meaning you can pinch and expand the viewing area to navigate around the VNC server you are connected to. If you happen to need a server for your Windows machine then go to UltraVNC and download the latest VNC server software which at the time of writing this was version 1.0.5.
MyAnalytics will query your Google Analytics account and display the results for all of the web sites configured underneath that login. The configuration is modified under the Touch’s main screen settings button. Currently you can only view by day, week, two weeks, month, and year so lets hope that custom date ranges is right around the corner!
Net Utility combines four different nettwork applications for troubleshooting services on servers. This application provides Ping, TCP/IP Port Scan, GeoIP Lookup, and Whois Query. The TCP/IP Port Scan will only scan one port at a time currently but hopefully in the future they will add the ability to scan a range along with other options. As a bonus there is a local utility to run as well that tells you your iPod Touch’s local IP Address Information including IP Address, Hostname, and External IP Address.
PwGen generates random passwords. Always convenient for configuration of servers.
QwasiPad is one of the better applications I have used on the Touch so far. It allows you to turn the iPod Touch into a mouspad or full keyboard to control Windows XP or Windows Vista machines on your local network. Guess there is no use for my wireless keyboard anymore!
Speedtest just runs a standard download and upload speed test for the network you are on. It keeps a history though and highlights the quickest speed test that you have run on the iPod Touch to date.
TimeTracker allows you to enter Customers, Projects, and Tasks into a database. Once you have the previous information configured you can add multiple sets of hours to each task as well as click on the task and track your hours in real time. This is a really big help in tracking hours when you are working off site at a client location. Decent time project/time tracking software for independent consultants is really hard to find. I take all of my hours from TimeTracker and input them into ClientExec, a web based PHP application, for invoicing.
Thats the end of the system administrator and network administrator applications but one application everyone should check out is this one directly below…
Stanza is probably the most funtional all around useful application on the Touch. It provides an interface to e-books that you can download and read on the Touch. It provides a bunch of free links right from the start and you can easily add other e-book databases. Another thing that Stanza has going for it is that you can export PDF’s, MS Word documents, and other eBooks to the Amazon Kindle format and import them right into your Kindle. I was really suprised at how many free ebooks are available online.
I am always looking for more Touch applications so if you have any suggestions please contact me via the contact form on the site or post a comment below. If you don’t already have a Touch its time to buy one!