Three New Tools in my Mac Toolbox

By Andre Bullet_white Posted in Development Bullet_white Comments Comments

It’s always satisfying to find tools that make your workflow smoother. Here are three that I started using recently:

iTerm2 is a Terminal replacement with a ton of features. The three that make the most difference in my workflow are search, mouseless copy, and tabs which you can tear away into their own windows and easily recombine. I haven’t gotten into some of the other features yet, like a hotkey-driven HUD-like terminal, Expose for your tabs, and autocomplete. The few that I am using make the switch worth it. And, the price is right (free).

Kaleidoscope is a very well-implemented diff tool. Kaleidoscope isn’t free, but it’s worth paying for: it starts up quickly, looks great, and integrates seamlessly with git.

Mouse Locator highlights your mouse pointer after it’s been still for a period of time. The use case for me: when I have multiple command line windows open (especially on a multi-monitor setup), I frequently lose the pointer in the dark windows. Mouse Locator solves that. I set the trigger delay time to about 1 minute (so it activates the first time you move the mouse after a minute of inactivity), and a very short display time (it fades out immediately). Once you set it up, you never have to think about it again. Mouse Locator is also free.

Your Recommendations?

Word-of-mouth from like-minded users is a great way to discover new Mac tools. Got one you really like? Let us know in the comments!

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JMX Monitoring

By Derek Bullet_white Posted in Plugins Bullet_white Comments Comments

JMX Monitoring

One of the features Java Management Extensions provides is the ability to add instrumentation to an application. While this makes collecting metrics straightforward, it doesn’t address storage for these metrics. Enter David Dossot’s JMX Monitoring Scout Plugin.

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The Only Two Business Metrics That Matter

By Andre Bullet_white Posted in Business Bullet_white Comments Comments

How do you spot a successful business? It’s easiest to think in terms of size: Google, Starbucks, and Berkshire Hathaway are successful.

If you’re a small business and fixate on size alone, you’ll drive yourself crazy. I will never run a Starbucks-scale company, nor do I want to. But do I want a successful company? Definitely!

Here are the two business metrics that matter at Scout:

  1. Income per employee
  2. Employee happiness

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Detect and Fix HAProxy+Apache+Passenger Queue Backlogs

By Derek Bullet_white Posted in Development, HowTo Bullet_white Comments Comments

To inspire hard work, some young men hang a poster on their wall that includes: (1) an exotic sports car (2) a scantly clad lady and (3) a beach house. My inspirational poster would be much less attractive: a friendly butler who offers time-honored wisdom (with an accent because people with accents are smarter) and absolutely loves running errands for me.

I don’t like running errands because I don’t like waiting in lines. My nightmare: having to pickup groceries during a busy weekend afternoon. There are 3 queues at the grocery store that can cause a delay:

  • Finding a parking spot
  • Getting a shopping cart
  • Checking out

Modern web apps face the same queuing issues serving web requests under heavy traffic. For example, a web request served by Scout passes through several queues:


That’s Apache (for SSL processing) to HAProxy on the load balancer, then Apache to Passenger to the Rails app on a web server.

A request can get stuck in any of those five spots. The worst part about queues? Time in queue is easy to miss. Most of the time, people look at the application log when they suspect a slowdown. However, a slowdown in any of the four earlier queues won’t show up in your application log. Just looking at your application and database activity for slowdowns is like recording the time it takes to get your groceries from the time you grab the first item on the shelf till you start waiting to checkout: you’re leaving out the time it takes to find a parking spot, get a cart, and checkout.

Now, before you start worrying about queues, take a deep breath. First, each of these systems are super reliable. For the most part, they just work. Second, it’s much more likely your application logic is the cause of a performance issue than a queuing problem. Look there first.

Third (and most importantly), each of these systems handles queues in remarkably similar ways. Understanding some basic queuing concepts will go a long way. Let’s take a look at some basics and then specific examples for Apache, HAProxy, and Passenger.

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Fullscreen Charts

By Derek Bullet_white Posted in Features Bullet_white Comments Comments

Nothing says “I’m a professional and in charge of important things” more than a full screen chart on an external display. We’ve made it easier to look pro with Scout. You can now toggle Scout’s chart display between normal and fullscreen views:

Scout ~ Chart

Let us know if you run into any issues.


You Are Making Scout Even Better

By Andre Bullet_white Posted in Plugins Bullet_white Comments Comments

A huge thank you to Scout users who have sent us plugin fixes and enhancements! It’s really a pleasure to see the plugin library grow and improve. Here are the latest updates:

Memory Profiler

Solaris Compatibility added by Ankur Bulsara

URL Monitoring

Better exception handling for bad hostnames and request timeouts – Eric Lindvall and Venu Keesari

Disk Usage

Cleaned up some metric parsing – Michael Grosser

MongoDB Slow Queries

Added ability to read from replicas and silenced warnings in older mongo gems (<1.1.5) - Niels Meersschaert and Chris Griego

RabbitMQ Queue Details

Compatibility updates for version 2.3 by Chris Griego and Doug Barth

Passenger Status

Hiding metric output for servers you aren’t using (Apache or Nginx). Added metrics on the largest Passenger process memory size. By Chris Griego.

MySQL Stats

Added connections and max used connections metrics – Eric Lindvall

Delayed Job

Fixed “Oldest waiting delayed job” metric – Eric Lindvall

Device I/O

Fixed warning – Valery Vishnyakov

Ruby on Rails Monitoring

Added compatibility for Request Log Analyzer 1.10.0 – Chris Griego

How to update your plugins.

From any server page, click Plugins, and see if any are listed with update available:

Click through on the “updates available link”, then click the “Update Code” button. You’ll get the latest code.

Got an update, or an issue?

Send us a plugin support request if you have any issues. Got an update or a fix? Send us a Github pull request!

Thanks again to this round of plugin contributors!


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