simon

Simon 2.6 progress report

Since people have been asking and are eagerly awaiting the forthcoming Simon 2.6 release, I thought I'd give a progress report.

Simon 2.6 is coming along nicely. Software development takes time, and the filter feature is quite complex, but the infrastructure is finished, and the Block plugin (which implements the existing Smart Change Detection and more) is done, plus Script plugin support is implemented and being tested now. I then want to add a couple more plugins, though I might do an alpha release once Script is finished.

Here's a teaser screenshot of some filters used in the Edit Test window; notice specifying the input text for each, and advanced options on the second filter (the third one doesn't actually have any additional effect; the Block filter detects changes too):

And the Edit Filter window showing a Script-based filter, which will look familiar to existing Simon users, since it's quite similar to Edit Service etc:

As useful and powerful as the new filter feature is, it isn't the only change in 2.6 by a long shot.

Here are the current release notes, as a sneak peek of the goodies coming in this new version. More stuff will be added before the first beta release, too:

Filters:

  • Added a new Filters feature, replacing the old Smart Change Detection feature in the Edit Test window. The Block filter performs the same function as that old feature, plus several other filters are supported to do other analysis of test output, and you can write custom scripts to create additional filters.
  • Added a Filters window listing the available filters, and enabling adding, editing or deleting them.
  • Added an Edit Filter window to add and edit filters, much the same as the Edit Notifer etc windows. It includes options to configure how the filter is used, plug-in-specific controls, and auto-pause settings.
  • Added a Block filter plug-in to support the old Smart Change Detection functionality. It extracts a block of text between specified start and end text.
  • The Block filter also supports new options to search from the start or the end of the input text, and search for a specific occurrence of the text, e.g. start from the 3rd occurrence from the end of the text.
  • Extended the Script plug-in to work as a filter, too. This enables you to create your own custom filters using AppleScript, Perl, PHP, Python, Ruby, or unix shell scripts.
  • Added a checkbox to the Script filter editor to control whether to merge or override the result of the script with the status of the service and any previous filters.
  • Added a VariablesCSV variable, that outputs a comma-separated list of all other variable names. Potentially useful when debugging your scripts.

Services and Notifiers:

  • Enhanced the Web (HTTP) service plug-in to include checkboxes in the Cookies table: checked cookies automatically update their values (as before). Cookies with blank values are now also supported; they are not sent. New cookies are recorded automatically. So you can prevent a cookie from being recorded by listing it with an unchecked box, e.g. to send the same value every time. Session cookies are now recorded as unchecked with blank values (so are not sent or updated).
  • Reworded the TestStatusPhrase variable to eliminate the word "just", since the event may have occurred a while ago, if it is an ongoing failure.
  • The new VariablesCSV variable is available for services and notifiers, too.

Other:

  • Added a File > Save Log... command to enable saving the current log information to a tab-delimited text file. It saves just the selected lines if there are at least two selected, otherwise all lines. (You can already copy selected lines, too.)
  • Separated the Pause and Resume commands in the menu and toolbars, so it is easier to pause or resume all tests when there is a mixture of paused and active tests.
  • The Pause interval is now remembered as a default for next time, even across launches of Simon.
  • Added optional support for Wi-Fi hotspots. When enabled, Simon tries to fetch a known value when it is first launched or after the Mac wakes from sleep, and goes into a "hotspot" mode if it receives something unexpected -- probably a hotspot login page. This will avoid having false failures when you have an internet connection but need to log in to the hotspot. This feature is disabled by default, but can be enabled via a new General preference if you have Simon on a laptop.
  • Sorting on the Status column in the Monitor window now sorts so checking is at the top, followed by failure, changes, recovery, and paused at the bottom (with time-sensitive statuses in chronological order).
  • Improved handling of sorting all table columns.
  • Many other behind-the-scenes improvements made possible by dropping Tiger support.
  • Now requires a minimum of Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard).
Additional planned filter plugins include:
  • Keyword: looking for a single bit of text.
  • Regular expression: using regex to match text.
  • Number: detect if a numeric value is greater or less than a reference value or the previous value, optionally by a threshold amount.
  • Link Validator: check for broken links on a web page.
  • Concatenate: combine the results of two filters.
  • Result Override: change the status (failure, unchanged, changed) into another status.

Some of those might be deferred till a future release, depending on how long they take. But with the Script filter, you'll be able to create your own filters as easily as you can create service and notifier scripts.

I hope you're as excited by Simon 2.6 as I am! It'll be a great release. Follow @dejal on Twitter, like the Dejal Facebook page, or read this blog for more news on development progress and the forthcoming alpha and beta releases.

Simon Standard featured in both VoteBundle and TheMacBundles

I'm pleased to announce that Dejal Simon, my flagship server monitoring app, is now featured in two bundles: the existing TheMacBundles collection, and an innovative new VoteBundle.

VoteBundle started out with 20 apps, and 40,000 Mac users cast 200,000 votes for which apps they most wanted in the bundle. The most popular 10 apps remain, including Simon.

Dejal Simon is the essential site monitoring tool for Mac OS X. It checks servers for changes or failures, and notifies you via e-mail, sound, speech, Twitter, or other means. You can use it to track updated sites, and to alert you when an important server goes down or recovers.

Both bundles include the full Simon Standard license — normally $59.95!

You can see more of the application on the Simon pages.

Version 2.6 is currently in development, and a beta will be out soon. It includes a powerful new Filter feature, enabling much more flexible analysis of test output, plus cookie management and many more enhancements. Version 2.6 will be a free update for all licensed Simon users.

Each bundle also includes several other fine apps. TheMacBundles includes 12 apps for only $49.95, and VoteBundle includes 10 apps for only $39. A bargain! Especially since you're getting a Standard license for Simon — for less than it normally costs by itself. Why not buy both bundles, and get 21 great apps for just $88.50?!

Visit TheMacBundles.com and VoteBundle.com to learn more about each, or to take advantage of one or both of these great deals.

Vote for Dejal apps in VoteBundle

The people behind the popular Mac Bundle Box promotions have launched an innovative new bundle concept: the VoteBundle.

Three Dejal products are in the running: Simon, my tool to monitor websites and servers for changes or failures; Narrator, my fun app to read out stories in multiple voices (soon to move to Mariner Software); and BlogAssist, my handy tool to make marking up HTML easier. As I write this, Simon is doing quite well, though could certainly use more votes, while the other two are trailing. If you like these apps, please vote them up!

Here's an intro video (not iOS compatible, unfortunately):

VoteBundle 1 - www.VoteBundle.com from Christian Owens on Vimeo.

Welcome to VoteBundle the very first community driven, democratic Mac software bundle. Cast your votes now, www.VoteBundle.com

Simon Standard featured in TheMacBundles

I'm pleased to announce that Dejal Simon, my flagship server monitoring app, is featured in the TheMacBundles collection.

Dejal Simon is the essential site monitoring tool for Mac OS X. It checks servers for changes or failures, and notifies you via e-mail, sound, speech, Twitter, or other means. You can use it to track updated sites, and to alert you when an important server goes down or recovers.

The bundle includes the full Simon Standard license — normally $59.95!

You can see more of the application on the Simon pages.

Version 2.6 is currently in development, and a beta will be out soon. It includes a powerful new Filter feature, enabling much more flexible analysis of test output, plus cookie management and many more enhancements. Version 2.6 will be a free update for all licensed Simon users.

This bundle also includes 11 other fine apps, for only $49.95. A bargain! Especially since you're getting a Standard license for Simon — for less than it normally costs by itself.

Visit TheMacBundles.com to learn more, or to take advantage of this great deal.

Simon 2.5.7 released

Simon, my flagship Mac app to monitor websites and servers for changes or failures, has been updated to version 2.5.7. It includes just a couple of changes, but is a recommended update for everyone:

  • Fixed a bug in the Port plug-in where it would misbehave if the text to receive or send started with a "-" character. This could affect many people, as the default Incoming Email (POP) service uses this when the server doesn't accept the login.
  • Fixed an issue where a notification could fail if the TestChangeCount, TestFailureCount or TestRecoveryCount variables are used.

Please note: version 2.6, currently scheduled for release in July, will require Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) as a minimum OS. So (unless there are any further bug-fix releases) this will be the last version that supports Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger).

Download Simon 2.5.7 now!

Simon 2.5.6 released

Simon, my essential server monitoring tool, has been updated to version 2.5.6. This update is recommended for everybody, and includes:

  • Changed the reports to trim off the filename for the OutputLocation report variable when using the file:// protocol, to avoid breaking reports like the iPhone template.
  • The License window is now brought to the front when the application is activated, if it is open, to avoid it being mistakenly hidden behind the Montor window (e.g. if it is automatically hidden).
  • Fixed an issue with counting the number of active tests, where it was mistakenly counting "waiting" tests as active, even if they're normally paused.
  • Added a hidden preference to output debug information about the internet connection (for use with the automatic offline mode). It can be activated by entering "defaults write com.dejal.simon2 InternetConnectionDebugMode YES" in Terminal.

Download Simon 2.5.6 now!

Simon 2.5.5 released

Sometimes I'm just too clever for my own good. Or more likely, not clever enough.

My apps have a handy license lookup feature, where you can enter your name and licensed email address and click a Find button to look up your license if you ever need to re-enter it, without having to store the serial number somewhere. But it's long had problems handling diacritical characters (e.g. "é") on the server side, so in Simon 2.5.4 I made a change to solve that. However, that change inadvertently broke another aspect of the license lookup.

So, here's version 2.5.5. I really dislike having to do a bug fix to fix a bug fix, both because releasing is a fair bit of work, and I know that people don't like having to download an update too soon after another one. But in this case it's unavoidable.

The problem didn't affect many people, but it's the kind of problem that must be fixed even if only a few people are affected — can't have licensed users unable to enter their licenses!

Anyway, many apologies to those affected, either experiencing the problem themselves or having the hassle of downloading another update so soon. You can skip this update if you like; if you've already added your license, there's no need to update. If you're still evaluating, you could skip it too, though will probably need to upgrade if you are on 2.5.4 when you do purchase.

Download Simon 2.5.5 now!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Please note that Dejal support will probably be delayed over the next couple of days due to Thanksgiving events, but I will catch up with all queries as soon as possible after that.

Simon specials ending soon

Simon, my website and server monitoring tool, is available for discounted prices from a few places for just a little longer.

  • TheMacBundles includes a Standard license for Simon (normally $59.95) as part of the bundle — which only costs $49.95, so they're effectively paying you $10 and giving you 10 other handy apps for free! But this bundle expires in just a few days, so hurry!
  • Simon Standard is available by itself from MacUpdate Promo's extended deals for just $44.96 (25% off) for a limited time.
  • Simon Basic is also available from MacUpdate Promo for $22.46 (25% off, retail $29.95).
  • Simon Enterprise is similarly available from MacUpdate Promo for $146.25 (25% off, retail $195.00).
  • Not to be left out, existing Simon customers can upgrade from Basic to Standard or Standard to Enterprise for much less via the Dejal Store coupon "MUPUPGRADE", only till the end of the month.

Hurry, don't miss out on these great deals! This range of specials has never occurred before, and may never be repeated!

Simon 2.5.4 released

Simon, my website and server monitoring tool, has been updated to version 2.5.4. This is a minor bug-fix update, but recommended for everybody.

  • Fixed an issue with the Calendar plug-in that caused a conflict with the SMS plug-in on Snow Leopard.
  • Fixed a bug in the license regeneration feature that could cause minor back-end issues when diacritical characters are used.

Download Simon 2.5.4 now!

Simon Standard & BlogAssist featured in TheMacBundles

I'm pleased to announce that Dejal Simon, my flagship server monitoring app, is featured in the fifth TheMacBundles collection. Plus, for a limited time, Dejal BlogAssist, my handy HTML markup tool, is also included as a bonus app.

Dejal Simon is the essential site monitoring tool for Mac OS X. It checks servers for changes or failures, and notifies you via e-mail, sound, speech, Twitter, or other means. You can use it to track updated sites, and to alert you when an important server goes down or recovers.

The bundle includes the full Simon Standard license — normally $59.95!

BlogAssist is a handy tool to help weblog and website editing by making HTML markup easier. comes with several useful operations, including web and e-mail links, bold/italics/strikethrough/etc, LiveJournal tags, and more. But you aren't limited to those — you can add, change, or remove them via the Operations Preferences.

You can see more of them on the Simon and BlogAssist pages.

This bundle also includes 10 other fine apps, for only $49.95. A bargain! Especially since you're getting a Standard license for Simon — for less than it normally costs by itself.

The included apps are:

  • iPhoto Library Manager
  • MYStuff
  • MyTunesRSS
  • PDFClerk Pro
  • Simon
  • Spyder
  • WebPrint Plus
  • Yum
  • Yummy FTP

Plus bonuses:

  • A-Dock X
  • BlogAssist
  • FolderGlance

12 apps for just $49.95 — a saving of over 85%!

Visit TheMacBundles.com to learn more, or to take advantage of this great deal.

Simon, Time Out, Caboodle & BlogAssist releases for Snow Leopard

Snow LeopardAnnouncing maintenance updates for Dejal Simon, my essential server monitoring tool, Time Out, my break reminder tool, Caboodle, my lean clean snippet machine, and BlogAssist, my handy HTML markup assistant.

Each update includes improvements for Snow Leopard (Mac OS X 10.6) compatibility. I'm not aware of any remaining compatibility issues with these products — please let me know ASAP if you do find anything.

Note: Narrator is still partially incompatible with Snow Leopard. It all works, except it can't open documents saved in its native format (but can still open other kinds of documents). I have a Developer Technical Support incident request in with Apple's engineers to help me solve this, but I'm sure they're swamped with queries at present, so who knows how long they'll take to come up with a solution. The last word I have is that it seems to be a bug in Snow Leopard... so we might have to wait for 10.6.2 or later, but I'm hoping that a workaround can be found. [Edit: 10.6.1 doesn't fix it, either.] I'll do a free update as soon as a fix is available. Sorry for any inconvenience in the meantime!

In addition to Snow Leopard compatibility, Simon also includes some other changes:

  • Updated the iPhone Report Template to improve the behavior of the back button and other aspects.
  • Added a hidden preference to output debug information from the E-mail plug-in. It can be activated by entering "defaults write com.dejal.simon2 EmailDebugMode YES" in Terminal.
  • Also added a hidden E-mail plug-in preference to use the recipient's SMTP server instead of the sender's, via "defaults write com.dejal.simon2 EmailUseRecipientServer YES".
  • Added Japanese localization, thanks to Koichi Matsumoto.

Download now:

Dejal apps on Snow Leopard

Snow LeopardGood news: most Dejal apps work fine on Snow Leopard (Mac OS X 10.6).

One issue that you may find with Caboodle and BlogAssist is that the Services menu has been enhanced, and the items for those apps might be disabled by default. You can re-enable them via the Keyboard Shortcuts page of the Keyboard system preferences.

However, it's not all good news. Narrator seems to be broken on Snowy. Opening a document fails, whether it was saved on Leopard or Snow Leopard. The document opens, but no content is loaded. It still opens version 1 documents fine, but not version 2's, which is rather a problem.

I've spent several hours last night and this morning trying to figure out what the problem is, without any luck so far. I'll keep on it, but just wanted to warn anyone using Narrator.

Help cure cancer with the Pan-Mass Challenge software bundles

Once again, Seth Dillingham is offering bundles as a fund-raiser for the Pan-Mass Challenge, which supports cancer research and treatment. A very worthy cause.

Unlike typical software bundles, where hundreds or thousands of people might get a fixed collection of apps at a discount, this one is a bit different: you can use his Bundle Builder site to make your personal ideal bundle of iPhone and/or Mac apps, and offer your own price for it.

I am happy to participate in this effort again this year. A Standard license is available for Dejal Simon, my essential server monitoring tool, along with licenses for Dejal Caboodle, my lean clean snippet machine, Dejal Narrator, my fun app to speak stories in multiple voices, and Dejal BlogAssist, my handy HTML markup tool. Plus hundreds of other great products from other developers.

Go ahead, take a look, and put together your ideal bundle of apps, and help fight cancer!

Last chance for the Mac Bundle Box!

[Mac Bundle Box]

The Mac Bundle Box promotion is almost over! Last chance to get Simon Standard and 11 other apps for just $49.00!

This great bundle expires in just a couple of days, so if you've been thinking about it, wait no more!

The bundle includes a Standard license for my Simon, the essential website and server monitoring tool. Use it to watch your own sites for failures, or others' sites for changes, and get notified via Twitter, email, sounds, speech, or other means.

Simon Standard retails for $59.95. This is the first time it has ever been included in a bundle. If you're at all interested in Simon, you'll save $10 and get 11 apps for free by buying this bundle... if you hurry!

Other apps in the bundle include:

  • Freeway (normally $79.99)
  • Keynote Themes (normally $39.00)
  • DEVONthink (normally $49.95)
  • myNotes (normally $24.95)
  • iCash (normally $60.00)
  • DaisyDisk (normally $19.95)
  • Web2Delight (normally $19.95)
  • Chronicle (normally $19.95)
  • xHub (normally $24.95)
  • Stomp (normally $29.95)
  • Exces (normally $30.00)

Visit the Mac Bundle Box site now to take advantage of this great deal. Don't delay!

Mac Bundle Box 5 now available!

[Mac Bundle Box]

The fifth Mac Bundle Box, a collection of 12 great apps, is now available!

$458.59 worth of software for the low price of just $49.00! An amazing deal. Plus 10% of each sale will be donated to Charity: Water, a very worthy cause.

The bundle includes my own Simon, the essential website and server monitoring tool. Use it to watch your own sites for failures, or others' sites for changes, and get notified via Twitter, email, sounds, speech, or other means. The bundle includes a Standard license, which retails for $59.95 and enables up to 20 tests. If you need more, you can upgrade to the Enterprise license for much less than the normal standalone price. So you can get 12 amazing apps for less than the normal price of a Simon Standard license! It's a no-brainer.

Other apps in the bundle include:

  • Freeway (normally $79.99)
  • Keynote Themes (normally $39.00)
  • DEVONthink (normally $49.95)
  • myNotes (normally $24.95)
  • iCash (normally $60.00)
  • DaisyDisk (normally $19.95)
  • Web2Delight (normally $19.95)
  • Chronicle (normally $19.95)
  • xHub (normally $24.95)
  • Stomp (normally $29.95)
  • Exces (normally $30.00)

Buy Simon Standard from the Mac Bundle Box, save $10, and get all these other apps for free! :)

Visit the Mac Bundle Box site to take advantage of this great deal, while it lasts!

Simon 2.5.2 released

Simon, my essential website and server monitoring tool, has just been updated to version 2.5.2. It includes a number of fixes, and is a recommended update for everyone:

  • Added exception handling to the Web plug-in, to catch any low-level errors that occur there. Mac OS X 10.5.7 seemed to introduce a bug with URL connections that could sometimes get stuck when reading cookies.
  • Added a hidden preference to output debug information from the Web plug-in. It can be activated by entering "defaults write com.dejal.simon2 WebDebugMode YES" in Terminal.
  • Updated the Twitter plug-in to use the latest version of the MGTwitterEngine, which fixes issues related to the Twitpocalypse. Simon wasn't affected, as it always fetches the latest tweets, but good to be up-to-date anyway.
  • Changed the Report output to avoid making URLs lowercased when outputting the Location variable.
  • Fixed an issue that could prevent finding licenses in very rare circumstances.

Download Simon now!

Simon tip: watch MU Promo sales

As you may or may not know, MacUpdate Promo is having a fantastic bundle of 13 apps for just $49.99. Unfortunately, they somehow missed Dejal apps from the bundle, but maybe next time.

Anyway, Christian Owens, the mastermind behind another great series of bundles, Mac Bundle Box (which I have participated in previously, and will again for the next one), alerted me to a handy use of Simon: watching the sales figures for the MU Promo bundle.

I've long used Simon to watch download rates, reply counts, and other information, but this is another great example of how useful Simon can be. It looks at a specific portion of a page, and lists the new values when they change. By checking at a fixed interval, e.g. every 15 minutes or half an hour, you can see how fast it is selling, in this example.

[Simon Monitor]

Setting it up is simple: just enter the URL and the HTML source on either side of the interesting value. That's easy to find, too. While the Add Test window is open, click the Preview button to show the Preview window, Cmd-F to find the value, then select some distinctive text before it, and click the Copy to Test button to copy it to the Start text field. Repeat with text after the value, and Simon is smart enough to copy it to the End field. That's it!

[Simon Preview]
[Simon Edit Test]

Easy, and very useful.

Got a favorite trick with Simon? Let us know in the comments or Simon Forum.

Dejal products are tweeting!

If you haven't been living under a rock, you've probably heard of Twitter, the service where you can post updates on what you are doing in 140 characters or less, and follow "tweets" from whomever interests you.

If you've been following this blog for a while, you probably also know that Dejal is on Twitter — I post tweets about company topics, product releases, and personal events — pretty much any topic, though typically not very often.

Well, it seems that three Dejal products have developed some personality of their own, and have snuck onto Twitter! You can follow them to learn about releases, usage tips, and whatever else they have to say. Probably best not to ask them for support (the Dejal Forums remain the best avenue for that), but hopefully they'll be worth a follow. You never know, they might just drop hints about updates and future ideas on occasion.

There are a couple of other Twitter accounts, too:

Simon 2.5.1 released

Thanks to a post in the Simon forum this morning, I've traced and fixed a bug in the new SMS notifier plug-in. Plus a couple of other tweaks:

  • Fixed a bug that could sometimes prevent the new SMS notifier plug-in from loading.
  • Minor tweak to the SMS plug-in UI layout.
  • Removed the Spanish localization, since it hasn't been updated (if anyone wants to take over maintaining it, let us know).

Sorry for a bug-fix update in the same week as the general release... I wish we'd caught this during the beta cycle. But I felt it was an important enough issue to get a fix out immediately.

Download Simon 2.5.1 now!

Simon 2.5 released

Announcing the release of Dejal Simon version 2.5. Simon is my flagship Mac app, a very flexible server monitoring tool.

This update includes lots of great improvements. Some of the highlights include:

  • New SMS notifier plug-in, to send text messages via Clickatell or e-mail.
  • New Web notifier plug-in (like the Web service) to post to a web-based script.
  • Added S.M.A.R.T. Status, Drive Status, and Pulse services.
  • Added a Post to Simon Wall notifier.
  • Several enhancements to the reports features.
  • Added a Convert Domain/IP command to change a domain name into the corresponding IP address, or vice versa.
  • Plus many more improvements and fixes; see the release notes for details.

This is a free update for licensed Simon 2 customers.

Download Simon 2.5 now!

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