- The affordable price, password-protected "visible mode", Web-based monitoring
- Doesn't prevent children from reaching Web sites in sensitive categories
Solid watchdog tool gives a remote, over-the-shoulder view of the PC under surveillance.
Price$ 39.95 (AUD)
SpectorSoft's eBlaster 6.0, currently in beta, isn't as aggressive as Sentry Remote, but it is pricier: the company says the final version will cost $99.95 for one licence when it's available later this month. eBlaster acts as a forwarding service that e-mails chat logs and e-mail logs, plus data on keystrokes, programs used, Web sites visited, peer-to-peer files downloaded, and log-on/log-off activity. Unlike Sentry Remote, eBlaster does not alert children that it is enabled, and it is accessible only via a preset hot-key that brings up an authentication box for an administrator password.
Getting it setup is a breeze. The control panel features a three-tab interface for tweaking the report delivery options. You can use one-click on/off check boxes to determine the extent of recording violations and sending alerts, as well as computer-usage restrictions. You can ask to be alerted when certain keywords appear in a chat session, but you must select those keywords yourself; unlike Sentry Remote, eBlaster does not include a list of suggested cringe-worthy keywords.
The beta worked well, and the program offers the ability to change any configuration setting remotely when direct access to the computer is impossible, but it falls short on true remote monitoring of PC use. Also, the use of e-mail as the sole delivery mechanism for reporting violations is less convenient than Sentry Remote's Web-based approach.
Sentry Remote's Web interface -- and lower price -- makes it the winner over eBlaster. And its password-protected "visible mode" is appealing for parents who need monitoring software but are wary of invading their children's privacy.
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