Swiss army knife treats for tool lovers

We love tools, whether they are hardware or software. We suspect it is something to do with that Tim Allen guy thing. Anyway, a few tools have landed on our desks with a delightful thud and we decided we needed to share them.

First up are two updates from Tsarfin Computing: NetInfo 4.9 and IPMonitor 4.9. NetInfo is a Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2000/XP/2003 Swiss army knife kind of utility that provides a suite of functions for discovering TCP/IP network information (see Presented with a tabbed interface -— one for each function — NetInfo provides tonnes of useful information.

There’s local info (such as host name, user name, media access control address and IP address); connection data (active socket addresses, protocol, address connected to and socket state); ping; traceroute; lookup (which returns forward and reverse DNS lookups, lists aliases and provides mail exchanger or MX records); finger; whois; daytime (time from other network hosts); time (time from time servers); and quote of the day. And you can retrieve raw data, including the header, from a URL. NetInfo also can scan an IP address range for hosts; scan a host for active sockets; test an e-mail address; and, as if that weren’t enough, once you register the software (for a mere $US50 for enterprise use) you can use the online services of the Web Centre, a collection of news services and tools.

The other Tsarfin tool, IPMonitor, is priced identically to NetInfo IPMonitor, which, like its sibling, runs under Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2000/XP/2003, can keep tabs on the health of up to 500 network devices or services using TCP, User Datagram Protocol (UDP) and Internet Control Messaging Protocol, and although IPMonitor is simple to use, it is really quite powerful.

It can run as a system-tray application that is loaded on start-up, support customised alerts for each monitored resource, raise audible alarms, send e-mail alerts and run other applications when server outages are detected. It also provides real-time reporting and status logging.

Our final tool in this roundup is LanHound from Sunbelt Software ( LanHound is a network monitor and protocol analyser tool for Windows 98/NT/2000/XP. You can use LanHound As a monitor to baseline your network, find traffic bottleneck points, segment your bandwidth by protocol and rank hosts by bandwidth use. LanHound’s protocol analysis lets you monitor exchanges between devices, resolve routing and compatibility issues, and diagnose application and service problems. In short, LanHound is another Swiss army knife but one focused at a lower, more detailed level.

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