Simon

Questions specific to Simon.

Can I get Simon to periodically e-mail me to reassure me it is still working?

Yes, you can do this by using the Pulse service, with the Change filter. The Pulse service simply outputs the current date and time, so the output is always different. Then the Change filter detect that difference, marking the test as Changed.

You could also do this by adding a test for a frequently-updating page, like http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/, which changes every second.

Either way, check it at whatever frequency you want to be e-mailed, and have an E-mail notifier for changes. You can customize the e-mail message to say "I'm alive!" or whatever you like.

Can I get more voices for the Speech Notifier, or voices in different languages?

Yes! A third-party company called Cepstral LLC supplies several high-quality voices, both in US English and several other languages. See the Narrator Voice Talent page to hear samples, and for links to download or buy the voices.

Can I word notifications differently based on status?

Yes! There are two ways to achieve this:

Firstly, you can add two (or more) notifiers (e.g. email), each with the desired text, and assign one to changes, failures and/or recoveries, as appropriate.

When adding notifiers, you can specify on the Options page what kind of status they're available for (they can be for multiple kinds, too), then in the Edit Test window's Notifiers page you add multiple rows, each specifying a different status and notifier.

Secondly, you can use variables to use one notifier for different statuses.

For example, the variable {TestStatusPhrase} will output a word or phrase like "failed" or "recently recovered".

See the Service variables, Filter variables and Notifier variables in the Simon Help for lists of available variables.

Can Simon check that an application is still running on a different computer?

The Application service can only check for applications running on your local machine. But if you enable the Remote Login option in the Sharing system preferences on the other computer, you can use the SSH service to log in to the other computer and execute commands on it by modifying the SSH service to issue the "ps -A" command after logging in, then use filters to look for the application you want.

You can try it in the Terminal to see what such a session might be like, or just use Simon's Capture Session feature to generate the session.

Can Simon give a success or failure based on essential text missing?

Yes! The Filters feature includes Find Required and Find Unwanted default filters.

So for example, if you do a telnet Script-based check, you'd want it to be considered a success only if this is output:

Escape character is '^]'

Then if that text isn't found (as would occur if telnet couldn't connect to the server), Simon will log a failure.

How can I check that a Notifier is set up correctly?

You can quickly test any notifier by clicking the Notify Now toolbar button in the Notifiers window. It will perform the notification with placeholder variable values, so for the E-mail notifer, it will send the message, if set up correctly.

Is there a shortcut to enter URLs for Web (HTTP) tests?

Yes, you can enter URLs with very minimal text, and Simon will fill in the rest when you click OK. It automatically adds the default protocol ("http://") and the "www." and ".com" if necessary.

For example, typing "apple" (without the quotes) will be saved as "http://www.apple.com/". Similarly, entering "dejal/simon" will end up as "http://www.dejal.com/simon/".

What do the status icons mean, and can I just make it green and red?

By default, Simon uses time-sensitive status icons to indicate whether tests are successful, a failure, or recovered.

These icons start off as gray upwards-facing triangles, which turn bright green () when a change occurs, and gradually fade through shades of green back to gray over time if no further changes occur. If a failure occurs, a red downwards-facing triangle () is used. When the test recovers from the failure, an orange upwards-facing triangle () is used, which also slowly fades back to gray over time.

These icons provide a lot of useful information just from their colors. But if you'd prefer to keep things simple, you can do so. Go to the General Preferences, and choose the Use simple status icons option. That will make Simon display a green icon when the test is successful, or the bright red icon when it is failing.

What does "active test configuration" mean? Is it a subscription?

No, it isn't a subscription. You're licensed for life, for the current major release version. (When there's eventually another major upgrade, e.g. to version 4.0, that'd likely be a paid upgrade... but you don't have to upgrade, of course.)

A "test" is a configuration or setup, containing a URL, location, or other attributes. Basically saying what to look for.

A "check" is what Simon does with a test: it periodically runs the test to see if it is successful or a failure, and optionally if it changed.

If you have a license with 40 active tests, that means that you can have up to 40 tests that are not paused. It doesn't count paused tests. Each test can be checked any number of times; there's no limitation on checks.

What's the equivalent of Smart Change Detection in version 3?

The old Smart Change Detection feature in version 2 has been replaced by the more flexible Filter feature in version 3, but it still supports the same change detection functionality, plus much more.

You can read about the Filters feature in the help book.

The replacement for the old Smart Change Detection feature is the Block filter. It works the same way, with Start and End text blocks, but has some extra options for more flexibility (hidden away till you need them). Your version 2 tests will have been automatically upgraded to use the Block filter if you specified Start and End text, or the Change filter if you didn't. (The Change filter is actually based on the Block filter plug-in, but omits the Start and End text fields, so it just looks for any change.)

Read about the Block filters in the help book.

Where is the Simon data stored on my computer?

The data is stored in a folder within your Application Support folder. The preferences are stored in your Preferences folder, naturally. The locations are as follows, where "~" means your home directory:

"~/Library/Application Support/Dejal/Simon/"
"~/Library/Preferences/com.dejal.simon.plist".

Why isn't my E-mail Notifier working?

I seem to get more queries about the E-mail notifier than any other feature. Usually, it comes down to not filling in all of the fields, or setting the wrong authentication.

So the first thing I'd recommend is checking that both the To and From address fields are filled in with valid e-mail addresses.

If that doesn't help, check that the Outgoing Mail Server is correct in the E-mail Transport Options panel - if you use .Mac, make sure you enter just "smtp.mac.com" (without the quotes), and not the colon and username following.

If still not working, try each of the Authentication options in that panel, with the appropriate User Name and Password entered. Also try turning SSL off. It's not always easy to tell which will work.

Why isn't the Automatic transport for the E-mail Notifier working?

Firstly, you need to have set up a valid mail configuration in Apple Mail (or possibly other mailers). You also need to make sure that the From address you specify uses the same server as one of your Mail configuration, as it finds the configuration based on the server domain.

I have another question about Simon; where can I find out more information?

Check out the Simon Help; it includes lots of information about the application.