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Monday's Mac Gadget
by John F. Braun

OTSessionWatcher: What Your Mac Says To The Internet
OTSessionWatcher 2.0 ($35, Shareware)
Stairways Shareware

Ever wonder what is really going on when your send and receive lights are blinking? Even if you are one of the unlucky ones :) that has a direct network connection (and hence no cool lights to watch) you may still want to know what data your Mac is sending to and receiving from the network and/or Internet.

Just like the recent concerns about identification information being stored in Office 98 documents, TCP/IP applications may be sending data that you don't know about. Some of this information can be useful, such as the initial exchange between a web browser and web server shown below. The server can learn information about the browser's platform and customize things accordingly, and the browser can tell when the document was last updated. But some applications may have less than noble purposes.

If you want to find out what your network applications are saying, OTSessionWatcher will let you listen in. You must first drag the "OTSessionWatcher Module" and "OT AutoPush Support" files to your Extensions folder. Restart, and then launch OTSessionWatcher.

You have several options that affect which information you'd like to capture, and how you'd like it displayed. You can toggle the display of UDP and TCP packets. Each data stream can be opened in a separate window (not good for active connections) or a single window. The data display can be set to automatic (which works well) or you can choose text or binary modes. Finally, there is a selection (not explained in the documentation) which will let you view either data, important, or all packets.

Learn the myths and realities of what your Mac is saying to the world with OTSessionWatcher. You may be surprised.

Useful Links

OTSessionWatcher Home Page

Open Transport Info

Internet Standards

Look at All That Data!

Monday's Mac Gadget is here to help you with those cool things that we all just have to have on our Macs. Shareware, Freeware, Postcardware, Emailware, and even commercial apps, Monday's Mac Gadget is here to help you find and use the best of these programs.

John is a software engineer who works in the corporate R&D group of a Fortune 500 company, focusing on all aspects of communications technology. He has several degrees that claim he knows what he's doing when it comes to computers. After watching co-workers reinstall Windows, search for device drivers, and experience other horrors during the day, he's glad that he comes home to a Mac (compatible) computer. Have any comments, suggestions, or favorite Gadgets? Drop John a line at

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