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Apps of the Week: Decaf Monitor, Star Trek

ZDNet UK presents a round-up of the best mobile apps around. This week: manage your server remotely, find your closest cell tower, and give your iPad a 24th-century upgrade
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By Staff on
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Read It Later

ZDNet UK is now recommending an App of the Day. It seems only polite, now we have our own app, to take a deeper look at this lively area of mobile tech — and, of course, we'll do it with the needs of enterprise IT at the top of the list.

Sign up to our News Update email to receive our daily recommendations. Alternatively, check out our weekly round-up of the best mobile apps for Android, iOS, BlackBerry, Windows Phone and more:

1. Read It Later
Mobile browsing has its frustrations — most notably, when you've found something good but don't have the time (or the screen space) to read it properly. You can share it via email or Twitter/Facebook, but that's fiddly. Read It Later uses the 'Share Link' mechanism that's standard in Android, but one touch moves the link to a list. You can go back to this list when you like or, via a Firefox add-in, check the list on your computer or other device. The keywords are speed, simplicity and usefulness. Free version is fab, paid-for version is cheap and adds list management.


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Cell Tower Monitor

2. Cell Tower Locator
Stuck somewhere with a lousy signal and want to know where it might be stronger? Have regular data blackspots on your commute? Just plain nosy? Cell Tower Monitor gives you a whole new sense — that of where your mobile phone is getting its signal from. Combining mast location databases and your GPS location, with an intriguing set of tower ID and signal strength data, it shows where on the local map your active cell is centred, together with its distance from you. Move closer, get more throughput.


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Decaf Monitor

3. Decaf Monitor
Once, being in charge of a server meant being tied to a pager and a bunch of people back at HQ. Now you can tie yourself to your Android phone with Decaf Monitor and let it keep an eye on your servers, zapping you with an alarm if something's gone wrong that you need to fix. With logging, ping/URL checking, HTTP GET, SSL support, and a life-enhancing threshold setting that keeps those 3am false alarms from dragging you back from dreamland, this app may save your users, your sanity and your job. Not bad for free.


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Thinking Space

4. Thinking Space
Thinking Space for Android provides a way of mapping out projects in a spider-diagram fashion. Once you've created your mesh of ideas, the Pro version lets you add hyperlinks to files, then export the whole lot and send it via email. Ideal for brainstorming that nagging new project on the train. You can even save your preferred style of 'mind map' and use it again the next time.


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Star Trek PADD

5. Star Trek PADD
It's been said that Apple's iPad bears a passing resemblance to the flat-screen PADDs (Personal Access Display Device) used by the crew of the USS Enterprise on Star Trek: The Next Generation. So it makes perfect sense to port the distinctive LCARS display to the iPad. The Star Trek PADD App (by CBS Interactive, publisher of ZDNet) is a Trek encyclopaedia with sound effects and voice lifted from the TV series. And the LCARS display still looks remarkably futuristic, 20 years (gosh!) on.


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