Activity Monitor 4 User Reviews
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"The features it has are great, but the features it lacks are glaring"
Version: Activity Monitor 4
The interface is quite nice. Except for the new "SoftActivity Log Viewer", which has a skin that cannot be disabled. I despise skins to the utmost. The whole log viewer application has a look and feel that is very much out of place on Windows XP.
The new features that log chat conversations and email are nice. Activity Monitor uses a driver for this functionality (version 3.x did not use a driver at all). I tested with Miranda IM using the ICQ protocol, and it worked as advertised.
Unlike some competitors (i.e. Desktop Scout), Activity Monitor can log web sites viewed in Firefox. This is good. Why any monitoring software would work ONLY with Internet Explorer these days is beyond me (and inexcusable).
The biggest shortcoming of all, from my point of view: Logs and screen shots are STILL not encrypted; they are stored on the computer(s) being monitored in plaintext, just waiting to be discovered, reviewed, or edited.
This version STILL does not allow you to exclude specific users from monitoring. You can either monitor all users on a system, or none of them.
The Activity Monitor agent (it's the server, though for some reason, they insist on incorrectly referring to it as the "client") still does not run as a service.
The screen-viewing feature has no remote-control capability. Unlike several competitors (Net Spy Pro, NetVizor, Desktop Scout, etc.), it is view-only.
Screen viewing is restricted to, at most, a refresh rate of once every three seconds. Compare this to Desktop Scout (and some others) that display the screen in a smooth, real-time sort of way.
If you have the Activity Monitor viewer configured to download logs periodically, it causes an annoying window to flash on the screen repeatedly each time this occurs--something I tend to find very annoying. This happens even when the viewer is minimized to the tray.
The SoftActivity Log Viewer provides no way to view captured screen shots. You still need to rely on an external viewer for those.
The price for Activity Monitor 3.x was $90. At the time, I thought the price was excessive. But now, I am quite shocked to see that the price has DOUBLED to $180! This means that after the one-year period of updates expires, previous users (who get a 50% discount) will have to pay as much for the new version upgrade as they did to begin with!
Given how much competition there is in this category, there is absolutely NO WAY I would ever recommend for someone--ANYONE--to pay $180 for Activity Monitor. It's a nice application, but it has serious, persistent shortcomings that defy its sky-high price.
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