Code by Kevin

Code by Kevin, Programming, code, business, and other pursuits

Your Host
Kevin Walzer, software developer.


Subscribe to RSS Feed
Get a syndicated feed of my weblog.



Privacy Policy

Site design: Skeleton


Fri, 05 Jan 2007

PacketStream 1.0

The biggest milestone today is the release of version 1.0 of PacketStream, a network monitoring application. (It's a GUI that wraps the Mac's built-in tcpdump command-line tool for monitoring network traffic.) I've written a bit about the development of this application from a technical perspective. I'd like now to talk about some of the business reasons for developing this program.

A few years, I noticed a huge spike in traffic on my server: instead of blinking, the little traffic lights on my AirPort base station were solid white. I wanted to find out what was causing the traffic, but I wasn't sure how. A bit of Googling showed me that my Mac had a command-line program called tcpdump that could display what was coming in over the network. I tried tcpdump, and got it working, sort of, but it was hard to use.

I wondered if a GUI tool was available. A little more Googling turned up a program called MacSniffer, which is a GUI for tcpdump. I downloaded the beta version (the developer had suspended the $15 registration fee) and gave it a try. It made navigating the network traffic a lot easier, and I soon found that someone had hacked into my server and was using it to upload warez to a hidden directory. (FTP has never been open on my server since.)

MacSniffer, in short, is a great tool. But it hasn't been updated since I used it three years ago, and for whatever reason, it doesn't work on OS X 10.4, at least very well. And while there are other, free, Unix-based GUI's that can also display network traffic (I've even written launcher applications for these Unix tools), they are painful to install and use, and just aren't Mac-native.

Hence, PacketStream. It's as easy to use as MacSniffer, works well on OS X 10.4, and will have cool features added on a regular basis (that MacSniffer and the other programs out there lack). It's the network monitoring tool I've always wanted--and I hope you find it useful as well.

[/software] permanent link

Updates, updates, updates

Today I've released updates for PortAuthority, VuMan, and NameFind.

The VuMan update is significant because it now supports native Mac OS X printing; thanks to Mats Bengtsson for his great work on the MacCarbonPrint library for Tcl/Tk, which allows native printing on Mac OS X. (Before, VuMan used the Mac's command-line lpr tool for printing.) I contributed a patch to the MacCarbonPrint code base that makes printing text a simpler process.

NameFind and PortAuthority have bug fixes and updates to the documentation.

Finally, I've raised the prices of VuMan and NameFind to bring them in line with PortAuthority.


[/software] permanent link