October 1, 2004
Being Big Brother
With Spector Spyware for Mac, it is now easy to track the computer use of employees, family members, or even unwanted users of your computer. Providing full picture recording and playback of your machine’s daily activity, this application is an efficient way to protect your system against future misuse and damage. The best part is that no one but you will know it’s there. The program is stored as a hidden file, which you can prompt only with an access key and password.
Spector records your computer activity much like a VCR, taking pictures of your desktop as users work or play. You can adjust how often snapshots are taken and how frequently you want to record. Using the toolbar, you can change the playback and recording settings to move from color to black and white, or you can adapt the speed and length of snapshots to get as little or as much information as you want. Other features include automatic resume and suspension of recording, inactivity timeout, and advanced compression. You can also export your recorded snapshots as pictures or movies on your Mac as BMPs, JPEGs, QuickTime Images, and other formats.
The tracking capability of Spector covers both online and offline material. So you can track and view entire e-mail messages, IM conversations, or search engine requests as well as word processing documents, QuickTime movies, or songs played from iTunes. Probably the most fascinating aspect of this software is the keystroke log that allows you to play back every single character that has been typed on your computer in that recording session. Not only can you find out what others have been doing, but it can also help you retrace your steps if you need to recall your own activity.
Spector for Mac requires Mac OS 9.x, Mac OS X 10.2, or greater on G3, G4, or G5 processors, and a minimum of 16MB of memory. Spector uses just about 80MB of space to record a full day’s activity.
This package is quick and easy to install, and it’s inexpensive, so if you’re looking for a pain-free way to spy on employees or loved ones (or are looking for greater computer security), then Spector might be a good place to start. (www.spectorsoft.com; $99.95).