Four top iOS tools for professional IT admins
Suggestions for network and business apps
By Mark Gibbs | Network World US | Published: 15:40, 04 March 2011
Last week I took a look at three products for iThings (my catch-all term for iPhones, iPod Touchs, and iPads) that IT would find useful. OK, maybe the last one, the iGrill wasn't strictly "useful", so as a penance this week I have, for your delectation, four more iOS apps that I think you'll want.
If you have any to add to the list, let me know.
First up, RoamBi, published by MeLLmo, is an amazing tool for creating and viewing interactive data presentations on iThings. Although this app looks amazing on the iPhone and iPod Touch, it's gorgeous on the iPad because of the extra screen real estate.
You upload your data to the RoamBi site (Excel, CSV, Google Spreadsheets, Crystal Reports, Salesforce CRM, SAP BusinessObjects, IBM Cognos and Microsoft Reporting Services are all supported) and select which view you want to use (there are several choices including Cardex, a card file view, Superlist, for tabular data and PieView). Next you can add customisations and finally, publish.
When you open the (free) RoamBi app on your iThing and provide your account details (the basic personal account is free), your latest RoamBi visualisations will be automatically downloaded. With the multi-user Pro and Enterprise subscriptions new versions of your visualisations are pushed to you in real time.
What will amaze you about RoamBi is just how slick the visualisations are. You can make selections, drill down, take screen shots and share them via email and create events. RoamBi gets a rating of 5 out of 5 (I like this app so much, I'd give it a 6 out of 5 if I could).
Next, I have Nuance's free Dragon Dictation, an app that will perform speech to text translation on your iThing without training, which is pretty remarkable.
All you have to do is press the record button on the app screen and start speaking. The audio data is sent to Nuance's servers (obviously you have to be online for this to work) and the translated text is returned. The accuracy is remarkable and you can send the results to email, Facebook or Twitter or keep them as notes and edit them if you wish.
This app works amazingly well and, while its user interface is somewhat dull, it is useful and the price is right. Dragon Dictation gets a rating of 4.5 out of 5.
Now, isn't it the case that every IT person needs a set of basic network test tools on every device they use? iThings are no exception.
A simple app I discovered that fills this role nicely is IT Tools ($4.99) by Kevin Koltzau, which provides traceroute, DNS lookup, ping, routing tables, ARP tables, interface statistics and a list of active connections. IPv6 is also fully supported, including reverse DNS.
All of the functions are configurable so, for example, for ping you can set the payload size, send interval and TTL. My only complaint is that iThings all deliver fantastic graphics so the addition of some graphs and a more creative user interface would be a good idea.
IT Tools gets a rating of 3 out 5.
My final pick is a free graphical traceroute tool called Vtrace by Vlad Alexa. This tool displays results on a Google Maps map as "pins" connected by lines that are colour-coded according to the link's latency.
I tracerouted Wikipedia.com and discovered that, from Ventura my traffic goes to Buena Park near Los Angeles, then to Kansas, then Florida, then to San Francisco. A round trip of several thousand miles to go a few hundred miles as the crow flies. Who knew?
Anyway, VTrace is a fine tool you'll want on your iThing and I'm giving it a rating of 5 out of 5.