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Third Party Apps

Figure 20 shows the six apps from third-party developers that were announced at the CCC product launch back in April. Of those six, only NetProofer and Twonky Video are available on the Android platform.

Currently available Apps for EA series routers

Figure 20: Currently available Apps for EA series routers

I gave most of the apps at least a cursory check out. My experience with each follows.

Block the Bad Stuff

This is a $0.99 app written for the iPhone.  It also works on the iPad in both 1X and 2X modes, though you have to turn your screen vertically.  This application is a front end for Norton’s free ConnectSafe – a DNS-based web filtering product that provides functions similar to OpenDNS.  If you want to save yourself $0.99, you can view setup instructions here

You have three levels of protection:  Security (malware, phishing and scam sites), Security + pornography, or Security + pornography + non-family friendly sites.  Depending on the level you choose, you are redirected to a different DNS server.  Figure 21 shows the GUI for setting the level and activating the filter.

Block the Bad Stuff

Figure 21: Block the Bad Stuff lets you select the level of protection you want and to activate it.

HipPlay

This is a free media player application from Axentra.  Axentra provides multimedia software to many NAS manufacturers.  HipPlayer, as shown in Figure 22, can retrieve media from your Dropbox or Facebook accounts or from storage attached to your App-enabled Cisco router.  In this example, “CleverPenguin” is a Cisco EA4500 router.

HipPlayer

Figure 22: HipPlayer can stream media from multiple sources

Unfortunately, I had multiple issues with HipPlayer.

  • When trying to play music from storage attached to the EA4500, HipPlay appeared to take quite awhile to properly enumerate music by artist, genre, all songs, etc.  (There are 1227 MP3’s on the attached storage.)  After tapping “all tracks” several times, all of the tracks finally appeared.
  • As shown in Figure 23, it didn’t find any media when clicking on the icons at the bottom of the screen (All, photos, Music, Videos, Docs).

HipPlayer fail

Figure 23: Searching for media using he buttons at the bottom of the screen didn’t appear to work
  • When attempting to play MP3 files, the player hung with the rotating “wait” circle.
  • Some video formats, such as .avi and .wmv, wouldn’t play even though other iPad players had no problems playing the same file.

Even though it is free, the app was a disappointment, and I’ll probably uninstall it.  For now, I’ve settled on 8Player, a $4.99 app.  It’s a bit on the pricey side, but it played almost everything (except .m4v files) that I tried to play on the storage attached to the EA4500.

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