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I do system administration for small networks (typically 5 to 30 PCs, with a server on-site).

I'm having an issue at one client that is a recurring issue with a particular software package. There are 30 PCs at the site running this software.

We need a tool to tell us how bad it is, and when we make changes, if things are improving (it's a somewhat complex software, and thus a complex problem.) We're trying to see if changes in the environment causes the crashing to occur more or less frequently.

Right now, we're using sticky notes. This works terribly -- nobody wants to take the time to scribble down what was happening when the program crashed, froze, etc. Also, what do you do with a pile of sticky notes once they're generated? It doesn't answer the question "were things better today than yesterday?" very effectively.

I imagine a software tool would make this easier. Simply instructing people "If anything goes wrong in Application X, just press CTRL+ALT+F12 and it'll be documented automatically". We can then analyze who our biggest problem users are, whether things are worse than usual or just average, etc., very easily. Also, we'd get a precise timestamp, and possibly even a screenshot if we wanted to, which we could compare to error logs on the server.

I've dabbled in software development, so I can see how I would write a tool like this fairly simply. But it occurs to me that probably somebody already has written a tool like this! Anyone know of an existing tool designed to fit this type of problem?

For clarification, I'm NOT looking for trouble ticketing solutions. The time it takes to fill out a full-fledged trouble ticket is the issue. I'm simply looking to get error frequency reported and then aggregated into a central database (or even a CSV file) where we can then get useful info about how often we're experiencing the issues. A very simple MySQL / PHP project with a small app

Basically I want to give all our end-users an "angry button" and see how many times they press it.

Any ideas? Is there a tool out there that already does this?

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1 Answer 1

Candidates for you to consider:

Loggly

Loggly is a cloud based logging platform. Loggly collects and centralizes all of your logs and makes them searchable in a simple user interface.  We make looking at logs fast, fun and easy

Splunk

Splunk collects, indexes and harnesses all the fast moving machine data generated by your applications, servers and devices - physical, virtual and in the cloud. Troubleshoot application problems and investigate security incidents in minutes instead of hours or days, avoid service degradation or outages, deliver compliance at lower cost and gain new business insights.

Papertrail

Papertrail helps detect, resolve, and avoid infrastructure problems using log messages. Papertrail's practicality comes from our own operational experience as sysadmins, developers, and entrepreneurs

With all of these, I think you'd probably have to do a little work to hook up your Angry Button, but at least they seem to do the hard work of storing the log info and providing analysts tools.

(If you do end up having to write something to handle the keystroke, I'd suggest having a look at AutoHotKey)

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