This month’s tip is about some great new (since I last wrote about it) CI apps for the iphone/iPod touch. I would like to pass along my experience with two iphone apps that I use all the time in the field and I think you’ll find very helpful. A network test app and an audio test app.
Network Testing in Your Pocket
I came across iNet earlier this year. It is a network scanning app that I use almost daily and certainly many times in the field on every job.
iNet’s main feature is scanning the network (subnet) it is wirelessly connect to and showing all connected devices (device or router) along with their name, IP address, MAC address, and vendor. It tries to find the subnet router and if successful the router is shown with an “earth” icon. I assume it uses the network address assigned to the iPhone to ping all 255 addresses in that subnet range.
Obviously, to work, the iphone needs to be able to connect through a WAP since there is no wired ethernet connection for the iphone. This is usually not an issue since I’ve never been on a job that didn’t have one. BTW, as a sub-tip, you can always carry a WAP to sites with an existing network that are wired only (a retrofit job) or one’s where you can’t get into the existing WAP because of an unknown password or encryption type.
This app is great for finding devices with a DHCP address that you can’t determine, or static IP devices whose address you lost or you didn’t configure. When installing new networked devices, it gives instant indication they are on-line and accessible. In the list of devices the scan produces (below), you can see the name, IP address, and number of Bonjour services. By clicking on an item, you get more details of the device and you can also scan it for open ports. You can also select a device and perform a ping, or ping an address that doesn’t show up.
An iNet network scan is amazingly fast, usually it will complete in about 5-15 seconds depending on network size. When you’re working with a highly networked automation system, this gadget is great!
iNet is made by Banana Glue in Germany, www.bananaglue.de, It comes in two versions, a basic $0.99 version and a fancier iNet Pro $4.99 version. At these “noise level” prices, just get the pro version. Search for “iNet” on iTunes.
Audio Testing in Your Pocket
The next app I’d like to recommend is AudioTools by Studio Six Digital (www.studiosixdigital.com). This app is really a package of professional-grade audio and acoustic analysis apps bundled together. First I want to say that this app is a lot of fun to use. The graphics are very realistic and, I swear, the SPL meter (see below) looks and acts so much like the real (Radio Shack) thing I can’t tell em apart.
The basic app goes for $14.99. This gets you a basic analog SPL meter, nice 1/3 octave graphic RTA tool, line level input meter, line level output signal generator, a cool digital oscilloscope (using the mic or line-level input), a signal generator, mic monitor, a set of audio related calculators (I really like the room standing wave calculator), and a recorder. All the other modules range in price from $3.99 for speaker polarity tester to $59.99for the impulse response test. I see they are constantly updating and adding new modules so check out the site for current offerings.
I’ve been using several of the modules for about a year including the RTA tool and pink noise signal generator the most, but also the line-input module and SPL meter.When you consider what the cost of this stand-alone equipment would be, the price is a no-brainer.
The app works with iPhone 3G, 3Gs, and 4, and iPod Touch using the built-in microphone or you can use your own mic with an adaptor cable. (1st gen. iTouch did not have a built-in mic, so needs external). Their web site gives some tips on the accuracy of the built-in mics. Needless to say, they all have crummy LF response. There is a microphone setup/calibration module that comes with the basic app as well as a line input and line output setup modules to help get the results more accurate.
The company also sells a professional($249) mic and line in/out module,iAudio Interface, that adds the missing link to make the app into a fully professional test tool when used with an iPod Touch (for some reason, site says it does not work with iphones). I haven’t used this gadget yet…maybe this xmas!
The iTunes store has several other audio and network related app I haven’t tried yet, so it’s worth doing a little search and experimenting. If you find a good app you think is worth letting others know about, please send me an email about it.
If you have any questions about anything in this TIP, drop me an e-mail at email@example.com I will actually answer it!