simon

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!

Simon 2.5b2 released

Simon version 2.5b2 has now been released:

  • Added a Drive Status service. A script service to check drive capacity threshold, S.M.A.R.T. status, and RAID health. A more comprehensive check than the S.M.A.R.T. Status service. Results in a failure if a problem is detected. Kindly written by Scott Haneda.
  • Added Automatically add www. and .com if omitted checkbox to the Web plug-in's Service options. It is on by default, but you can turn it off to disable this automatic formatting if you need to enter a URL without a top-level domain, e.g. for WebDav.
  • Fixed a bug in the previous beta where a URL was incorrectly required in the New/Edit Service window for the Web plug-in.
  • Fixed a bug with loading new default services and notifiers, where they could vanish after relaunching if no changes were made manually after updating. If you deleted any of these, they may re-appear with this update; just delete them again, and they won't re-appear.

Download Simon now!

Simon 2.5b1 released

Simon, my flagship product to monitor websites and servers for changes and failures, has been updated to version 2.5b1, the first beta release of a feature update.

This update includes several great improvements:

Services and Notifiers:

  • Added a SMS notifier plug-in to send Simon notifications as text messages to your phone. It has two modes of operation: via the Clickatell SMS gateway service, or via email to your phone provider. For both methods, this plug-in enables you to easily add multiple phone numbers to send messages to, and you can pick them from your Address Book if desired. Clickatell is a paid service; you need to sign up for an account with them, and they charge for each message. The email mode is free, other than any charges you may incur for receiving text messages. This plug-in was kindly written by Daniel Ellis.
  • Renamed the Basic plug-in as Web, and extended it to also act as a notifier. So you can now use it to get or post to a web page when a change, failure or recovery occurs, e.g. to run a PHP script to log a failure or perform some other action.
  • Added a S.M.A.R.T. Status service. This script checks the S.M.A.R.T. status of all mounted disk volumes, ignoring volumes that don't support reporting S.M.A.R.T. status. Results in a failure if a problem is detected.
  • Added a Pulse service. This script simply causes every check to result in a change. This can be useful, for example, to have Simon email you (via a change notifier) at a desired frequency, to reassure you that Simon is on the job.
  • Added a Post to Simon Wall notifier. This is a demo of the Web plug-in operating as a notifier. It does a Post to the Dejal website, adding a line to the Simon Wall page. You are welcome to use this notifier if you wish, or can duplicate and modify it to post elsewhere.
  • The E-mail notifier now alerts you if the To or From fields aren't filled in, since that is a common cause of issues.
  • Changed the E-mail notifier plug-in when using the Automatic method to connect to the sender's SMTP server instead of the recipient's, since that is more correct.
  • Fixed a bug in the Web plug-in's handling of the parameters and cookies tables, where an exception could prevent adding new ones when editing existing tests.

Reports:

  • Changed the URL display in the Save Locally report plug-in to be an editable URL, like in the Upload to Remote Server one. This enables you to edit the URL if you have a domain name for your local machine, or want to use a different variation of a file:// URL, perhaps to use localhost instead of the machine name. Clear the field to go back to an automatically determined URL.
  • Changed the Save Locally report plug-in to replace any periods in the machine name with a dash, to avoid an invalid URL.
  • Added LastChangeTextWithHTML and LastChangeTextWithoutHTML report variables for the Test block, so you can display the full text of the test output (between the Start and End Smart Change Detection blocks, if any).
  • When a report is deleted, it now immediately stops outputting and removes its timer to avoid reporting again, as you'd expect.

Other:

  • Added a Convert Domain/IP command to the Edit menu. If a field with a domain name or IP address is active, this command will change the domain name into the corresponding IP address, or vice versa. If there are multiple possible matches, a menu is displayed to enable you to choose the best one. Note that converting a domain to an IP then back to a domain may result in a different domain, if it is on a shared hosting server.
  • Changed the Add/Remove buttons below tables in the Preferences, Web (HTTP) and Script plug-ins to use small square buttons instead of round ones, to fit with the modern convention.
  • Fixed a rare issue where some plug-in settings could be unexpectedly modified when canceling an editor.
  • Fixed an issue with the Preferences window, where edits might not be saved when quitting with the window still open (specifically when an edit is still active).
  • Removed the old crash reporter, since it doesn't support Leopard crash logs.
  • Updated the built-in Kagi purchasing tool to the latest version, which fixes some issues with Leopard.

Download Simon 2.5b1 now!

Mac Bundle Box 2 now available!

Mac Bundle Box

The second Mac Bundle Box, a collection of 10 great applications, is now available!

The bundle includes a Basic license for my own Simon, plus nine other excellent applications from independent developers, including several very popular titles:

  • Simon: normally $29.95
  • ShoveBox: normally $24.95
  • Invoice: normally $125.00
  • AppShelf: normally $7.00
  • GraphicConverter: normally $34.95
  • 1Password: normally $39.95 (and highly recommended!)
  • Process: normally $39.00
  • YummySoup: normally $20.00
  • Mental Case: normally $25.00
  • KavaMovies: normally $35.00

$341.80 worth of software for the low price of just $49.00! An amazing deal. If you want Simon Basic, and If there is even just one or two other apps in the bundle that you also want, you'll be saving lots of money.

You'll get a fully-functional copy of Simon Basic. If you need more tests, you can easily upgrade to Simon Standard via the Dejal Store at any point.

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

Simon, Caboodle & Narrator on MacUpdate Promo

Did you miss out on Dejal Simon on MacUpdate Promo recently? Never fear — I've agreed to list it at a great price in their extended deals section.

What's more, Caboodle, my handy app to keep snippets of text, images, PDFs, etc organized, and Narrator, my fun app to speak text in multiple voices, are also still available via MacUpdate Promo special deals, for a limited time:

Simon Basic on MacUpdate Promo

For the next 24 hours only, you can get Dejal Simon, my website and server monitoring tool, for half price — only via the MacUpdate Promo site.

The promotion is offering a Basic license, which allows up to seven active tests, for just $14.95 (normally $29.95). I'm practically giving it away!

Dejal Simon

Check out the MacUpdate Promo page now!

Simon 2.4.2 released

Dejal Simon has been updated to version 2.4.2.

This bug-fix release includes some important fixes in the Mount, Twitter and Port plug-ins, plus report improvements and other changes, as detailed in the release notes. It is a recommended update for everyone.

  • Updated the Mount service and notifier plug-in to work around an Apple bug that sometimes causes remote volumes to not unmount properly.
  • Updated the Twitter service and notifier plug-in to the latest version of the Twitter engine.
  • Now bundles the latest version of the iPhone report template; previously was bundling an older version that didn't work quite right.
  • Fixed an issue with the RSS Feed report template, where the pubDate value wouldn't validate in some RSS feed readers.
  • Fixed a bug in the Port helper that prevented it from working properly with slow servers.
  • Added more logging to the Port helper to help diagnose difficulties sending text to the remote server, that solved the above issue.
  • Added a hidden preference to output debug information from the helper for the Upload to Remote Server report plug-in. It can be activated by entering "defaults write com.dejal.simon2 RemoteWebDebugMode YES" in Terminal.
  • Fixed a bug with setting the TestLastRecoveryDate and TestLastRecoveryTime notifier variables that caused them to output the previous recovery date and time when a recovery occurs.
  • Improved the date variables to output "never" when appropriate (instead of a date in the distant past), e.g. if outputting the failure date when the test hasn't failed yet.
  • Fixed a bug in the Spanish localization that prevented the Check for Updates feature from working.

Download now!

Simon tip: check and notify with Twitter

Version 2.4 of Simon, my website and server monitoring tool, added a plug-in to support the popular Twitter service — where short messages can be posted to tell your friends and associates what you're up to throughout your day.

The Twitter plug-in in Simon works both as a service, that a test can check, and as a notifier to alert you to events for any tests. It was kindly written by Daniel Ellis.

When used with a test, you can monitor Twitter updates, direct messages, friends (people you follow), followers (people who follow you), and more. This is handy to simply track when Twitter is down (or experiencing the "fail whale"), or learn when someone un-follows you, or other events:

A key benefit of Simon is its notifiers, which alert you via email, sound, speech, and more when something interesting happens with a test. Now you can also post an update (public message) or direct (private) message to Twitter. If you're an avid Twitter user, Simon can keep you informed right in your Twitterfeed.

As with a number of other notifiers, you can include custom text in your tweet, including variables for the test name, the kind of event, the date and time, the URL, and much more:

Learn more about using Twitter as a service and notifier via the Simon User Guide.

I have a special Twitter account for Simon notifications, which alerts of Dejal blog and forum posts and comments, and a few other events: the SimonBot. You're welcome to follow it to hear about new blog and forum posts, if you wish.

I also use Twitter myself; you can follow me for insights into my life.

Scripts for Simon: email on counter change; get screenshot of website

One of the major strengths of Simon, my website and server monitoring tool, is the flexibility it offers through the ability to write custom scripts in many scripting languages. Simon is plenty useful with the built-in services and notifiers, but the ability for customers to enhance it themselves makes it even better.

Recently, two notifier scripts were added. Notifier scripts enable you to provide new ways of being alerted to changes, failures or recoveries of tests.

Firstly, a useful Ruby script called "Email on Counter Change", to notify you via email when a numeric value changes. It was kindly written by a Simon customer, Wade Maxfield. He wrote it work with the output of the MySQL service, though it could be used with other services, and/or customized for different behavior. He describes it thusly:

Parses the results of the test for name/value pairs and then notifies by email if any of the values differ by more than the warningThreshold since the last check. Use a negative number as the warningThreshold if you want to check for values that decrease over time. For use with the MySQL service, and queries like SHOW global status WHERE (variable_name LIKE "Qcache%")

Requires Simon 2.4.1 or newer.

As an example: Set up a Test and Notifier to check if MySQL has restarted. For this test we will check the value of the Uptime status variable in MySQL. Since it shows the current uptime in seconds, it should not decrease, if it does send a notification email since MySQL must have restarted.

In a MySQL Service test set the Server, Port, Database and Security values to whatever are required to connect to your MySQL server, then set the Query to SHOW global status WHERE (variable_name="Uptime"). Add Notifiers for Change and Failure, and set both to use the Notifier you have setup with this script.

In the Notifier, set the mail options as needed. Set the warningThreshold to -1, then if the Uptime variable is ever lower that the previous check, MySQL must have restarted, so this script will send the notification email.

Secondly, I wrote a very simple notifier script called "Show & Screenshot" in answer to a forum query:

Opens the page in the default web browser, waits a few seconds for the page to render, then takes a screenshot of it. Enter the path of a folder to save them to (the folder must already exist). Also specify how long to wait before performing the screenshot, in seconds.

You can download these scripts and much more via the Notifier Scripts section of the Simon Extras page.

Enjoy! And if you create a useful script for Simon, please share it with others!

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