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13 Must Have Android Tools For IT

  • Who hasn't been out of the office and received a call about a down server, a user who can't reset their password, or some other system problem. It's a 5 minute fix but it will take much longer just to get to a computer. Remote desktops can help. Wyse's PocketCloud is a Windows remote desktop and VNC client in both a free a paid version. You can log in, navigate the screen, pull up function keys, and using innovative UI components like the mouse pointer, access commonly used functions. While I am not ready to trade my desktop in for a smartphone and PocketCloud, I can say it makes remote management a snap and shows that remote desktop has come a long way since I use RDP on my Palm Treo.

  • If it were an all windows world, then PocketCloud would be all I'd need. But when I manage Unix servers, I prefer a CLI instead. Connectbot is a SSH client for Android. It can also access the local shell as well. Connectbot works extremely well as a terminal. The font size can be changed, the terminal handles colors, and all of your favorite shell commands available. Control keys like Control and Escape are available as well as a soft keyboard, though if I find a hard keyboard is more useable than Android's soft keyboard. Using screen based apps like Emacs has some special problems such as extensive use of the CTRL and ESC keys. Connectbot puts them on the touch screen so they are accessible when you need them. Connectbot also saves host profiles, including font sizes and other options.

  • If Connectbot is your cup of tea, the Hackers Keyboard is going to be your friend. It is a full 5 row soft keyboard that fits everything, including a 4-way pad, on the screen. It's a bit crowded on a phone, but having access to the special keys like CTRL, ESC, and function keys is a winner. I wouldn't want to live on it (I have a hard enough time with the stock keyboard as it is without going more smaller), but when I go into Connectbot, Hackers Keyboard is selected.

  • File Expert is yet another file manager, but this one lets you access your files remotely via FTP, HTTP, and Bluetooth as well as sporting a SMB client. All that is missing is an SMB server and it would be complete. If you transfer files to and from your Android phone, then this app lets you do it every which way. Click a file or directory on the SMB share, copy, move back to the Android phone, and paste. You can even copy from your Android phone to your SMB share. You can also use File Expert as a FTP and HTTP file server.

  • While File Expert has some nice features, it lacks secure file transfers. That is where AndFTP comes in. Supporting SFTP and FTPS, you can use secure file transfer protocols to move files around over insecure networks. It's a simple client which makes it very useful in the field. The pro version supports folder syncing and RSA/DSA key support in SSH. If you need to transfer files to your device, QuickSSHD or SSHDroidPro are SSHD servers with SFTP and SCP support.

  • Shark Reader and its companion app Shark for Root and Shark for Root (Native) reads and captures traffic off the Android's network connections. It only captures traffic on the local device and doesn't seem to put the NIC in promiscuous mode (so spying on your neighbors!), but it works well to see what is going in and out of the device. You could capture traffic and move it to a PC and use Wireshark to analyze the packets, but Shark Reader will do an OK job on the phone. It will decode most common protocols, but not all and the packet display is weak, but then again, you aren't going to be packet diving on your phone anyway.

  • Overlook Fing is a full featured host discovery tool that will sweep an IP address range discovering devices, perform reverse DNS lookups, and perform TCP/UDP port scans. You can edit TCP port numbers to names, connect to services from the apps, and execute simple commands to test connections. You can also save and share your networks. It's a handy port scanner and network discovery tool.

  • WiFi Analyzer is one of the handiest tools for viewing the Wi-Fi channels around you. Turn it on and you will see all the AP's that are nearby, their channels, power levels from where you are, and a wealth of other details like security settings. There are a number of views available from the channel graph displayed, to more detailed pages. It's not going to replace your site survey gear, but if you want to try to find an unused channel or are just curious as to what is in the air, this apps for you.

  • Network Info II shows you what your phone is connected to. You can see data about your cellular network, all the details of your Wi-fi connection including AP capabilities like encryption methods and networking, Bluetooth connecdtions, last GPS fix, and IPv6 configuration. It's not an app I use often, but when I need to know what my Android network connections look like, it's the app I turn to.

  • Convertr is one of the handiest numeric conversion tools I have used to date. Choose from one of several data types like area, distance, data transfer, choose the original and desired units, and enter the number and Coverter does the work for you. It even offers options for converting data rate and data size from decimal to the International System of Units (SI) equivalent. 1Kb equals 1024 bits SI. It's easy to use and offers a wealth of conversions.