When you’re building a chart in Scout, you select metrics from a tree. It branches like this: group => server => plugin => metrics.
This makes it easy to drill-down to a given metric on a specific server. However, it’s very common to compare the same metric across servers. For example: how does our memory usage compare across all of our app servers? Say hello to the new metric context menu:
He’s a useful little guy. After selecting a metric in the chart tree, just click on the icon and select the instances you’d like to see on the chart.
Since we added low value support for peak triggers a few months ago, similar support for plateau triggers has been a common request.
We heard you: plateau triggers now also support low values. You can, for example, be alerted when when Apache requests drop below a certain threshold for 30 minutes or more.
It seems that today, the light at the end of the startup tunnel is either (1) being acquired or (2) a billion-dollar IPO. Let’s just throw out the IPO - it’s incredibly rare.
This means that many startups are created with an explicit goal to not exist in five-or-so years. Does anyone see something wrong with this?
No one talks about starting a company that becomes an extension of yourself. Warren Buffet and Berkshire Hathaway. Apple and Steve Jobs. Starbucks and Howard Schultz. Amazon and Jeff Bezos.
A month ago my family and I moved from one special city to another: San Francisco to Fort Collins, Colorado. While we’ve only lived here a short time, we couldn’t be happier. You probably know many of the one-of-kind-things about San Francisco. Here’s some of the things that make “The Fort” special:
- Bikes – Whether you’re cruising around or hammering, Ft. Collins is an amazing experience on two wheels. Almost every street has a bike lane, and for those that don’t, there’s usually a nearby dedicated trail. The city itself is flat – which is perfect for going to the office – but immediately to the west, the foothills of the Rockies beckon with all the scenic road and mountain biking you could ask for.
- Beer – With 11 breweries, Ft. Collins is the second largest producer of beer in the top-ranked beer producing state (and yes, you can pretty much bike to all of them).
- Tech – There’s a small (by SF standards) but super-friendly tech community in Ft. Collins. I’m working out of Cohere, an awesome coworking space in the middle of Ft. Collins. Conveniently, the monthly Ruby Meetup meets here. Boulder, home to many startups, is an hour south.
- Climate – Winter happens here (it’s mild), but summer does too!
When you combine the above bullets, it’s no wonder Ft. Collins consistently ranks among the best places to live in America. If you’re in the area, don’t hesitate to ping me for a visit!
Ernest Hemingway via Letters of Note
I write one page of masterpiece to ninety one pages of shit. I try to put the shit in the wastebasket.
Sounds a lot like writing code too, huh?
Charts got some updates today:
- More colors available: previously, charts had just six colors and nine shades of gray available for plotting metrics. The new color scheme uses HTML standard colors, and makes it easier to follow lines on busy charts.
- Timeframe selection on dashboards: dashboard charts now default to a 5-hour timeframe. You can easily zoom out all charts simultaneously by clicking the new links at the top. This lets you quickly broaden your view to see what’s going on, without having to navigate to a bunch of charts individually.
- No more iFrames on dashboards: by encapsulating the chart code better, we were able to get rid of iFrames on dashboards. This makes the dashboard page much lighter on memory (a typical dashboard might be 50MB lighter), and also fixes some quirky behavior when you’re resizing a chart.
- Nice looking URLS: chart URLs are prettier and easier to copy-paste—there are no more encoded characters in the URL.
Want to get Scout alerts piped into your Campfire room? You can, thanks to Scout user Gavin Stark’s Hubot script for Scout. Gavin describes the advantages for his team at Real Digital Media:
Our support staff can now see the alerts from Scout as a team. We combine this with other monitoring services that monitor ping-ability and web response speeds.
Getting Scout alerts in Campfire means we can discuss them inline and respond quickly. We’ve found the immediacy of Campfire to be an improvement over email.
Want to get your Scout alerts in Campfire? You’ll need a Hubot.
Need to set up a Hubot?
is a program that listens in on your chat room. He responds to commands and can provide notifications. Your Hubot needs to run someplace. Most people set him up on Heroku, since it’s A) really simple; B) free!
- follow these instructions to deploy Hubot to Heroku.
- once your Hubot has joined your Campfire room and responds to commands (try: hubot help), continue below to configure Scout to talk to your Hubot.
Already Got a Friendly Hubot?
Two easy steps:
- add the Hubot Script for Scout into your Hubot’s
- in your Scout account, click on “Notifications,” then set the webhooks URL to
That’s it! Try creating a Scout trigger that fires immediately to test it out.
Thanks again to Scout user Gavin Stark for writing the Hubot script, and to Hubot maintainer Tom Bell for the quick merge.
Scout’s basic chart functionality has remained the same, with a few enhancements:
- Most importantly, the charts no longer require Flash. This means you can view the charts on your iPad or modern Flash-free browser.
- Charts now show values in a tooltip as you mouse over them (the image above shows an example). This solves a long-standing problem with the old charts, where the legend became unreadable with many metrics.
- The charts feel snappier!
A Note on dashboards with the new tooltip: in some cases the tooltip can overflow from the smallest charts on dashboards. If you encounter this issue, just enlarge your dashboard chart a bit to make room for the tooltip.
In addition to email and SMS, Scout now sports a flexible new alerting option: webhooks. When a trigger generates an alert, Scout can post the alert details to a URL of your choice.
The Simple Process Check plugin takes a comma-delimited list of process names, and alerts you if any of the named processes stop running. It’s an easy way to keep tabs on the essential processes on your server.
What’s New: Track Multiple Processes with Different Arguments
You can also check that a process exists with a certain substring included in its arguments. For example, to check for two instances of node (one with “emailer” in its args, and one with “eventLogger” in its args), set this in process_names:
You can mix and match pure process_names and process_name/args.
Here’s the link to the Simple Process Check plugin again.