How to administer a web server from your iPhone
If you run your own web server or have the need to access a remote server over SSH while away from your desk, you may have wished your iPhone had an application to let you securely log in and access the command line.
This became very real to me when I received a text message alerting me to a web server crash. I was away from any computer with a SSH client already loaded, and so had no way to reboot the server for several hours.
That's until I found TouchTerm.
TouchTerm isn't the only SSH-capable application available for the iPhone, but it's probably one of the cheapest (99c/59p) yet offers the basic functionality you'll require.
The Touchterm user guide is comprehensive, so here are just a few tips to get you going. Once you've downloaded the software you can tweak it to your heart's content.
- Make sure your iPhone and the Touchterm application are secure:: Having two levels of security (a passcode for the iPhone and a password for the application) will keep most people away from the sensitive passwords you may wish to store in the app so you can automatically log in to server sessions.
- Set up common commands as aliases: You'll save a lot of time if you set up aliases for common commands and locations in advance.
- Set update delay based on bandwidth: When operating over a 3G or slower network, you may be able to perform the tasks you need with a slower update speed. For example, when I'm monitoring the "top" command I can get by with a delay of 10 seconds.
- Don't rely on colours: At present, Touchterm won't display colours, so don't rely on them in any command line application you execute.
- Use modifier keys: Though the built-in iPhone keyboard lacks many of the keys you need in order to execute commands and move about, there are a selection of control, function and arrow keys available from the top row, including a dedicated button for the often-used "Control-C". These can be shown and hidden as required, as can the keyboard, as well as various levels of translucency set.
- Don't forget to log out: Logging out of a session, and hence closing the connection, is the only way to get back to the main menu without restarting the app (though you may have to do this if your terminal session hangs). The top-left button will change from "Clear" to "Close".
Touchterm is a pretty versatile yet easy to use application that could well get you out of sticky server situations while on the move. Check it out.
The touch screen on the Sony Ericsson Kurara far out performs that of the iPhone
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