Review – MacCoach 2.0

MacCoach Picture 1

MacCoach 2.0
Company: Neuron Data Systems
Estimated Price: $99.00

When it comes to maintaining a stable network server, a scenario such as the following is every technician’s worst nightmare: There is a class in session that needs files on the file server to take a quiz. You are at home, it is late at night, and the server is crashed. Worse yet, there is nobody around to restart the thing! Sound familiar? If so, you definitely need to check out MacCoach from Neuron Data Systems.

MacCoach uses a combination of hardware and software to avoid such a situation. MacCoach fully monitors all activity on your system in the background, and, if it detects a problem, it will automatically restart the machine, which means that you can be confident that your server will have the maximum amount of up-time possible.

The Magic
While the hardware actually does the restarting, the software that comes with MacCoach is what really makes it shine. Its control panel is clear and straightforward, and gives you such options as maximum allowable boot time and maximum reboot attempts. It also allows you to set how long to wait before rebooting if the system is not responding.

What’s more, MacCoach provides application crash detection, which, by monitoring all running application for crashes (even crashes such as Type 1 errors that don’t hang the system), will restart the server if one of your applications crashes or “unexpectedly quits.” The best part, however, is that MacCoach does not require applications to be rewritten to work with it. No plugins, no nothing. Just seamless integration and crash detection for all your applications.

You can choose to enable application crash detection in one of two ways. In a Finder Restart, MacCoach will allow all running applications to quit themselves before restarting the machine. This is the equivalent to choosing “restart” from the special menu. In a Direct Restart, the machine restarts without quitting all running applications. This is essentially the equivalent of the “three finger salute,” which is command-control-power.

The Report
One of the best and most appreciated features in MacCoach is its system log. The log is comprehensive and reports every action the machine takes. It also reports how applications crashed, and gives the error type. This is invaluable to me as a technician, as I can take the error message and try to determine what is wrong with the system. The system log is presented in a list view window (shown below). It can also be generated in HTML for easy viewing from anywhere in the world!


MacCoach Picture 2Requirements
MacCoach requires Mac OS/System Software 7.5.3 and a Power Macintosh with an ADB port. According to Neuron Data Systems, MacCoach will work on most 68k Macs also, but it is a good idea to make sure your 68k machine is compatible, as some older machines have a separate ADB protocol that does not work with MacCoach.

The Summary
MacCoach is a wonderful product. Its hardware-based system and application crash detection is unsurpassed by any product on the market today. Best of all, it’s easy to install, and it works like a charm, restarting our file server every time an application misbehaved. If you manage a file, web, FTP, or any other kind of Macintosh server that needs to be running 24/7, you should look into MacCoach. I guarantee you won’t regret it. MacCoach is very deserving of my highest recommendation.

MacMice Rating: 4

Adam Karneboge

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