My first impressions of the Redpark serial cable and Get Console

I'm reviewing them together, as I don't see an easy way to use the cable with another app (yet).
My first attempts were hampered by some Bluetooth weirdness between my iPad 1 and my ZAGGmate keyboard. A hard-reset of the iPad seemed to straighten that out. Since then, I have had good luck using the ZAGGmate with Get Console in both portrait and landscape modes. I'm a bit let down that the top speed is 'only' 57.6 Kbps, as I have a handful of console ports running at 115.2 Kbps. That said, it does perform well at those speeds which it does support.
There is no built-in method to email your log files, but you can copy them to the cut-and-paste buffer,and then paste it into the email app of your choice.
It makes the Escape key sequences visible! This is a BIG plus in my book! If you are working with conserver, this will help you spot devices which are prone to fill your logs with extra characters.
The earlier assertion that the application will only work with Cisco devices seems to be incorrect! That is, with a proper adapter, you can connect the cable to almost any device. Using a CFDTE92 adapter, I can connect to the DE9M com port on most Intel-based servers. (Check my Cisco console connection guide page for more clues, http://www.conserver.com/consoles/Cisco/ciscocons.html )
The cable is about 6' long, with a slender cable. The jacket feels a bit like Teflon, and the RJ45M connector has a molded strain relief, which will likely improve the service life. (That would be great, given the cost of the cable!) It is lightweight, and it looks like a high-quality part. The folks at Redpark have been known for the high quality of their products in the past, and I expect good things from this new product.
I have tried the combination with a variety of non-network devices as well, and I seem to be able to talk to them without needing to do any fussing with the signaling wires. I can't promise that it will work with anything, but the Get Console app running 'stand-alone' (without needing to connect to their website) seems to be a useful basic terminal emulator, if you need a wired serial connection. The cable has made a good addition to my iPad gear bag.
Testing the Get Console website service will need to wait for another post.


October Double-header! Two new useful apps!

I finally got a Redpark serial cable, and the Get Console app, and it's almost everything I wanted to make my iPad a quick tool for accessing all sorts of serial consoles!

But, I also finally found the Blogger app, which will make it easier to update my blog when I've got stuff to say. AND, I'll be able to do it from my older, pre-3g iPhone! Thank you Google!

The Blogger app also pointed out that I had yet to actually publish a couple older blog articles! That was easy to fix! Now I can get back to testing the Get Console app and the Redpark cable.

UPDATE, Spring 2012: The Get Console app has been handy on the iPad, and the Redpark cable has been reliable, so far. However, I've run into bluetooth reliability issues when using the Zagg keyboard with the iPad. When the keyboard is working, this threesome is a GREAT combination for field work.


Finally, a serial cable for my ipad!

More precisely, there is a hardware cable (cost is about $60 US) from Redpark, which plugs into the 30-pin ipod/iphone/ipad docking connector, and does all the right stuff to provide an RS-232 serial connection. But, to make practical use of it, you also need the GetConsole iPad application. And it all works without jailbreaking your device!

The application should work on the iPhone as well, but I don't have a cable yet to play with the application. I expect to get them both next month, but I have been tracking the progress getting the cable to the market for a few months!

The Redpark folks have a long history of development for Apple systems, and their legacy includes the Keyspan RS-232 serial adapters, another favorite of mine from many years ago.

The GetConsole application is part of a larger project, though, which may become a great field service tool! I'm a big fan of secure remote access to serial consoles (especially the Conserver console server management application). While the GetConsole application will let you attach your IOS device to the serial console of some other device for local interaction, the application also has the ability to be accessed via the GetConsole website. In this way, a field engineer could use his phone to connect to a serial console, but a senior engineer could then use that the phone network to reach through the phone to interact with the serial port.

I look forward to the chance to play with the cable and the application. I'll likely get the Cisco RJ45 version, since I have a large collection of adapters for them (or you can build your own with these adapter schematics). I'm curious if the application will work on my V2 iPhone (which is limited to running IOS 3.x), or if the application requires IOS 4.x. Either way, I remain excited, and I'll post an update in a month or so.