Utility software recommendations

There were some useful posts buried in another topic that seems like they should be in their own post.

@gdmccormack provided the following suggestion:
My free advice for owners: place your cell phone or tablet in the exact spot you’re planning to put your GF and run a WiFi scan to (hopefully) find a relatively clear channel and a strong signal from your router. If you do this in advance of delivery, you’ll have time to clear any issues.

To which @tbelhumer added:
I haven’t searched to see if there’s another thread this is or should be posted in, but here is a great android app. For monitoring wifi channels and signal strength. WiFi analyzer I know there are Apple ones also.

Are there other useful utility software (as opposed to design software that’s discussed on several other threads) that you’ll be using to prepare for or as part of your workflow?


@dan confirmed in another topic that GF will be strictly wireless. I’m still trying determine how robust or fragile the link will be between the GF and the cloud server - that will drive how vigilant one needs to be in protecting the GF’s WiFi connection. Aside from running a WiFi analyzer, running upload/download tests (like Speedtest) would also confirm the link capacity. There should be some sort of site-prep document that should preceed delivery of the GF. By then, there should be more comprehensive guidelines for setting up the data connection, operating environment, etc.

As for other utility software… We’re not supposed to need anything more than the GF app and a Sharpie, right? :wink:

I have used the online http://www.speedtest.net/ to test connection speed from the laptop, and the correspoding free iOS app on my iphone. I have not tested them against any other speed test software, so I can’t really say how well it does in comparison.

As for other utility apps, I have had Units loaded on my iPhone for several years. It is a very helpful free conversion app, everything from Length and Volume to Shoes sizes, Musical Notes, and Currency. There is also a premium version which disables ads, but I haven’t been bothered (yet) by the small adspace at the very bottom of the free app.

Units is great, but I now use Google Search for just about all my conversions (even on iOS). It nails my conversion acid test: “speed of light © in furlongs per fortnight.” Siri has no idea.

On the other hand, Siri now can apparent beatbox on command

Another great general utility for heaps of science & technical stuff is Wolfram Alpha (both the website and the free mobile app). One little-know trick is to convert a Alpha search into a short url, e.g. http://wolfr.am/9IjJS5in expands to info on the ever-popular PVC…

Modern Google Search is the best thing since… no, better than sliced bread!
But it only works when, you know… Internet. For those times when no internet, it is nice to have apps that still work!
(Doesn’t happen as much anymore since I moved from the edge of nowhere to the center of town, but still can be hard to get a signal inside several of the big stores around here, especially Costco and Home Depot)

(edit, Wolfram looks interesting… and now I know that PVC is an airport in Mass!)