Tuesday, May 19, 2009

SwitchPortMapper.com redesigned

I finally redesigned SwitchPortMapper.com so that it's more than just one ugly cluttered page. It now has several pages -- hopefully more informative and better organized.

This redesign was my first real serious use of Expressions Web. I'm not used to CSS, so it's taking me a while to get it working right. I have a new respect for those who can build fancy sites with CSS.

I still want to improve it with some additional graphics, but that will be in the next revision.

Drop by and have a look: http://www.switchportmapper.com/

Monday, May 18, 2009

Managed Switch Port Mapping Tool v1.98 Released

I recently found out that if a non-English, yet valid character from another European language was part of the c:\documents and settings\ path, the Switch Port Mapper might not be able to open the SQLite database files. Or even create the user database file for that matter. This is because SQLite expects the filename to be UTF-8. So I fixed that problem in 1.98.

I also added in better results grid column sorting and export of the Switch Properties report to a text file. SQLite and the databases were updated.

If you have the software, please click on Help/Check for Update or visit http://www.netscantools.com/switchportmapperdownload.html

Friday, May 15, 2009

NetScanTools (tm) Basic Edition Released May 14, 2009

What? another NetScanTools?

Yes. When we stopped producing NetScanTools Standard 5.1 in August 2004, we left a whole lot of registered users without any alternative. Business users who wanted to move up opted for NetScanTools Pro, but many, many home and small business users could not justify or afford the upgrade, so they either kept using on NetScanTools Standard (yes, we still hear from people who have used it for years) or they found something else.

Two weeks ago we decided to make a new program using the latest Visual C++ 2008 compiler along with an updated interface -- that's right two (2) weeks ago. Now there is a new program created from almost scratch and it is completely finished! And it works fine on Windows 7, Vista 32/64, 2008, 2003, XP and even Windows 2000.

This new tool has simplified versions of six tools: Ping, Traceroute, Ping Scan, Graphical Ping, DNS Tools and Whois. They are very usable versions of more advanced tools found in NetScanTools Pro. There are embedded web pages comparing the NetScanTools Basic versions of the tools with the NetScanTools Pro versions. Plus we show you what other tools are available in NetScanTools Pro -- just in case you are interested.

It is now our entry level program.

And it's freeware. Try it. Enjoy it. And don't forget to give us feedback on the About NetScanTools Basic page.

You can find it here:

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

2001 Prius Mileage

This is completely off topic, but I've wanted to say this for a long time.

I bought a 2001 model Prius new in November 2000 and I now have 105,000 miles on it, so I would call myself an experienced owner. Not too long after I bought it a leading consumer magazine stated that their measured combined city/hwy mileage was 41 mpg. This is something that has stuck with the 1st US generation Prius and is still widely reported.

Let me just say that if our Prius ever averaged as low as 41 mpg, I would have it back to the dealer for repairs. In fact, I cannot recall ever filling up and getting below 40mpg. I have had as high as 51 mpg as measured by a fillup -- the display mileage is a good indicator, but not always correct, it has read as high as 54mpg which I do not believe.

As an engineer I know that in order for my mileage to be valid, I should reduce or eliminate as many variables as possible. Since I live in a small town, I always fill up at the same Chevron station (except on trips). Usually at the same pump so the angle of the car is the same. Another variable in computing mileage is the time of year. Gasoline formulation changes throughout the year -- winter blends are different than summer blends.

Oh, and don't forget that blasted ethanol blending encouraged by people who want to see their food prices go up. When I first got the Prius, the Chevron pump did not have a 10% ethanol blend sticker on it. A couple of years ago (or so) it appeared and the mileage promptly went down a couple mpg, never to come back up. Refiners here seemed to be late in adding ethanol because we get our crude from Alaska and the ethanol has to be shipped here.

But the blend is only part of it: that model Prius is appears to be highly susceptable to temperature.

My observations are that when the temperature is below 40F, the mileage goes down to the 43mpg vicinity. When the temperature is above 60F, the mileage goes up into the high 40s.

Most of my driving is at county road speeds, a bit of highway and a bit of 10-25 mph retirement town crawling. Our elevation varies from sea level to 250 feet. And I replaced the OEM tires that wore out quickly (we went through two sets way before 50K miles) with Les Schwab TOYO 800 Ultras several years ago -- the TOYOs supposedly have a higher rolling resistance than the OEMs, but I didn't notice any mileage differences. I keep them at 40 psi and try to check them once a month. A before you say that my speedometer/odometer is wrong because of non-OEM tires --Sequim just installed 2 traffic radar units in front of the high school to tell you to go 20 mph -- the speedometer matches the radar units displays.

All this is to say that the magazine ran some tests, probably in the winter with ethanol in the gas at an unreported altitude higher than sea level and forever pronounced it to be 41 mpg combined. They would be surprised to learn that I filled up last week and got about 47 mpg which is not bad for a 9 year old car in late April/early May.

Perhaps they should consider testing cars at more than one location and at different temperatures for a more accurate report.

Monday, May 4, 2009

More on Graphical Ping

We've always wanted to produce a good graphical ping tool and now I think we've finally got one. Enter an IP and press start -- and away it goes. The cool thing about it is that you can monitor congestion, in other words you can watch the round trip travel time go up and down as you browse the web. If dropouts occur, you get a little red triangle appearing in the graph where a packet should have been.

The graph is cool because you can see at a glance what's happening. Did I mention you can print it? yes you can, but you have to stop it from collecting data first. And you can also 'window' the graph. What I mean is that you can enter in the maximum number of points you want to see and then the older points drop off the left side. The older points are not lost because they are saved in the database.

The database is cool because you can export it in native format or in tabbed delimited format. If you export it in native format, you can import it back and review a previous ping session in the graph later. You can also do two reports. The first gives a list of all dropped packets. The second is a list of all packets with a travel time longer than what you specify -- this shows a list of slow packets.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

NetScanTools Pro 10.90 Released on May 2

This new release has a new cool tool: graphical ping. It works by pinging an IP or host on a periodica basis, then displaying the packet travel time vs the time on a graph. You can print the graph in color. The packet travel times are saved in a database for later analysis. There are two reports that can be shown in your web browser based on the packet info in the database. The database can be saved and reloaded later for further analysis.

The second major improvement is to NetScanner Ping Sweep tool. Previously the NetScanner tool was taking about 20-30 seconds to scan a 254 IP linear range of IPs on your local subnet. By making some changes, I was able to get this down to the low 6 second range. A speed improvement of about 4 times.

There are a number of other improvements that you will run into: ARP Scan now has a hostname column, Domain Keys now query on default._domainkey. etc., SMTP Email test now can request receipts and set priority at urgent, plus you can add a custom header item.

I'll get a page together and post a video soon about the new Graphical Ping tool.