Ready for Windows 10: Introducing OL Monitor 2.0!

(Still fully compatible with Windows 7 of course)

It’s here!

After months of coding the new OL Monitor is ready.  2.0 sports the Windows 10 look and also now supports Windows 7 styles as well.  Some key new features have also been added along with one that I had previously believed was not possible.  This is just the beginning as more new features will be added soon. 

New look

New OL Monitor (bottom picture), supports the Windows 10 flat style.  Fonts are easier to read and borders are less jarring.  Part of reason for enabling these aesthetic styles was to be compliant with recommended Microsoft program guidelines.

Here is a demo:

Row Backcolors

But what’s probably really standing out are the row backcolors.  This is one of the most commonly requested features.  It was previously not possible with the standard Microsoft listview control.  This control has been updated and replaced.  It is now possible to specify a backcolor with each of your Turn-Around-Times, but that’s not all!

Filter colors and alert messages

New users of OL Monitor often get confused about the difference between filters and TAT’s.  We do coloring with TAT’s and filter in/out tests using filters.  Well it’s about to get more confusing (and more fun).  There are many situations where you might want to throw in coloring with your inclusive filter.  In addition, it would be very useful to use the more flexible filter language to define colors for special situations.  Now all that and more is possible.  The filter tab now has a new form where you can define a color for your inclusive filter.  Or you can define filters that simply affect color, and do not include or exclude a test.  How’s that for flexibility?!

The new filter color form allows you to see what your color combo is going to look like.  Since there is the possibility of a conflict between the TAT coloring and filter coloring, you can choose whether to override the TAT color.
Notice also that you can have a MessageBar message pop up when the filter condition is met.  The possibilities are endless here.  You can inform techs about important issues at exactly the right time and under certain conditions.  To help the tech quickly identify what test matches the condition, the MessageBar message color will match that of the filter color. Finally these messages will disappear after 15 minutes if not cleared manually, so that the screen does not become cluttered with old information. 
I have a few more features planned for this including the ability to add info about the test into the message with variables such as %AccNum% etc.

What’s happening to current (Ol Monitor 1.X) versions?

OL Monitor 2.0 is a major version upgrade and thus is not a free update.  Development of further features for OL Monitor 1.X has now ended.  Ol Monitor 1.X will still be supported.  Any support issue that cannot be resolved quickly (5-10 minutes) via email will require an extended support plan or support ticket opened.

Price changes

  • At this time pricing for new OL Monitor licenses will remain the same.
  • Is my 1.X OL Monitor license transferable to 2.X?
    No, but you can get an upgrade to your current version at a discount.  To get the discount you must discontinue use of your current version after receiving the replacement 2.X version.  Here is more information about the upgrade offer.
  • Discounts for upgrades scale down as time passes, but you can lock in your savings by requesting a quote now (quotes remain valid for 3 months)
  • As announced in the August 2018 newsletter, there will be a small maintenance fee required for each Ol Monitor license purchased/upgraded hereafter.  The maintenance fee has long been avoided but is necessary to help cover the costs of maintaining the website, documentation, development, etc.

New Years ProcTime fix

Every January 1st after midnight, OL Monitor incorrectly calculates the ProcTime on previous year’s tests due to the fact that the Collect Times and Receive Times appear in the logfiles as month/day only, not specifying year. Year is pulled from log date but on New Years Day (and beyond if tests hang unresulted) this produces a nonsensical negative number. This was pointed out by a member of the Facebook group: “Medical Laboratory Scientists – MLS/MLT(ASCP), AMT, AAB”. (I highly recommend this group for any MLS’s/MLT’s/Lab personnel as it is very informative and entertaining.) As promised, the bug has now been fixed in version 1.90q.

Before:

After:

This issue hasn’t gotten much attention in the past since labs with OL Monitor typically get tests turned out lightning fast, but finally one tech was fast enough to catch it.
Many thanks to the group member for pointing out this long-ignored bug!

Getting past SSH prompts in OL Monitor macro. “Stringwait has timed out”

Previous versions of Smarterm had a pretty involved series of steps to save the SSH connection password.  This appears to be gone in recent versions and we are presented with a new step in the login process:

So what a lot of people are running into is that the macro will hang up at this point and you start getting errors like
“Stringwait has timed out 4 times. Retrying”, “Loops exceeded, aborting.”, and/or “OL >Report menu loop: timeout”.

The prompt will be different for your server.  The workaround to this is to use the custom prompt/reply feature in OL Monitor settings.  To resolve the issue:

  1. Let the macro run to the point where it hangs up as above.
  2. Copy the prompt text Ex: “<ALAB>@<laklabtemp>’s password: “
  3. Paste the text into the custom prompt box in OL Monitor settings
  4. Type in the password in the custom reply box in OL Monitor settings

The macro should reload with the new settings after about 10 seconds but you may still need to close OL Monitor and restart to get the macro working.

New updater and update notifier for OL Monitor

Youtube demo on Updater/Notifier: https://youtu.be/FsPZEVhrKaw

The old updater that was integrated with the installer was having a number of issues.  Although it seems to be working now, I felt we could do a lot better.  Now included in versions 1.90m and higher is a new and vastly improved updater:
Features of updater:

  • Checks your current version and lets you know if a new version is available.
  • Downloads and launches new version installer if you click yes on update.
  • Keeps a list of your downloaded versions in case you want to rollback later.
  • After downloading the new version, you can click on “What’s new” to see changes between your current version and the new one.
  • Several command line switches for IT pros to utilize.

To use the new updater from OL Monitor (if you have version 1.90m or higher), just click Help-Check for Update:

Don’t have version 1.90m or higher?  No problem, you can get it with the Update Notifier tray application!  The notifier adds a lot to the updater.
Features:

  • Periodically check for updates and get notified
  • Notifications via Windows Tray popup or OL Monitor messagebar
  • Can have updates automatically install
  • Stays out of the way as an icon in Windows Tray

To learn more about these applications see the online help here:

These apps are for registered users of OL Monitor only, contact me for information.

 

Problems with the Public folder

Symptoms of this problem:

  • The Smarterm session is trying to connect to the wrong IP address.  You have set the IP address in Ol Monitor setting but Smarterm is not using that IP.
  • Ol Monitor not refreshing.  Getting message “unable to locate…”
  • Ol Monitor is losing settings changes and you have been using ini file for your settings locations
  • Lots of little issues can crop up when access to this folder gets limited.  Ol Monitor can be working fine and the issue waits to come up after changes were made, Ol Monitor was reinstalled, or the pc was rebooted.

Lately this has been happening more and more.  The problem is that the Public folder was designed to be accessible to all users, making it ideal for storing Ol Monitor’s files which are typically shared between users.  Sadly the the scourge of malware and viruses have found ways to exploit the geniality of the Public folder.  So as part of IT security policy it is getting locked down.  So a call to IT may be necessary to restore access to this folder.  They can specify which programs need access to the folder and avoid opening it up to all users.  The programs which need access are Olmonitor.exe and Stoffice.exe (some other versions of Smarterm may not be named Stoffice.exe)

Below is a workaround that may work for you if you have enough security to change folder access.  Otherwise it should give the IT analyst an idea of what the problem is.

OlMonitor needs access to the following folder:
“C:\Users\Public\Documents\OlMonitor”
You may be able to do this yourself or you might need to get IT to do it for you.

Here are some brief instructions if you are familiar with this.  Otherwise you may want to get IT to help you because sometimes even if you are an admin user they seem to still restrict certain things.

Browse to the folder:

Right-click OlMonitor and select properties.
In the properties box select security:

Then click Edit and you should get this window:

Click Add and the following box comes up.

This is where it gets a little tricky, you can put your username or email into the box and click Check Names.  If you got it right it will underline your name:

Otherwise you will get an error box.  You can try using your windows logon name or your email if your system uses that.  Another thing you could do is add full control of the folder to the USERS group.
It’s a bit of a hassle and takes trial and error and sometimes you end up having to get IT to help anyway if they haven’t given you total admin power over that pc.

Ol Monitor Updater error messages

   Lately there have been some issues with the Ol Monitor updater.
The short answer is: a: click past the error messages, be unreasonably patient, and it eventually works, or
b: use the direct download links I sent to you in email.

If you use the updater here is what to expect:
1. You will get a box saying “Validating AutoUpdater”.

At this point one would assume it has frozen because the validation takes a long time (About 120 seconds), but it has not.

2. You will get the first error box.  Although it recommends ‘No’, click ‘Yes’:

3. Another wait box appearing to be frozen:

This took about 120 seconds on my pc.

4. 2nd ‘error’ message.

This time it recommends ‘Yes’ and it finally takes you to the update.

What happened to the updater?
Thraex software has sadly closed shop.  Thraex produced the Astrum installer software used to install and update Ol Monitor.  As installers go, Astrum was the best and slickest in my opinion but I guess they weren’t marketing enough.  Since their website is down the updater is unable to connect to update itself, but it still works just fine to update Ol Monitor.  I haven’t found a suitable replacement for Astrum as of yet.

Ol Monitor OverSeer

Previously only mentioned in the Spring 2013 newsletter, OverSeer takes more of a hammer approach to OL Monitors having issues.  Recently (OverSeer versions 1.0.5 and above) OverSeer has been refactored and a number of issues fixed.  OverSeer can be useful if you have an OL Monitor that crashes occasionally and just needs a restart.  Although it’s best to get with the programmer and solve the issue, OverSeer can keep the lights on in the meantime.  In addition OverSeer can send OlProcessLog debug files and diagnostic information automatically thus saving you time and effort during troubleshooting.

Features:

  • Monitors Ol Monitor.  Several items are watched to determine whether Ol Monitor has frozen or just isn’t working.
  • If Ol Monitor continues to appear stuck, it can shut it down and restart it and, if you enable the option, email a status report.
  • Checks for it’s own updates, and also checks for Ol Monitor updates.  If you choose to update Ol Monitor it launches the updater for you.
  • Keeps out of the way, minimizes to the system tray, and any message boxes that pop up will close themselves after 10 seconds or so.
  • If you are having trouble getting the OlProcessLog.txt file to me you can click the ‘Email Now’ button and it will encrypt and attempt to send the file.

In the grid you can see 5 items that can be monitored.
The Status column is a quick indicator of whether the item has recent activity.
When you start OverSeer do not be alarmed if you see red in the Status column.  Give it a minute to do it’s checks.  OverSeer does it’s best to stay low-key and not do too many things at once.

At this point all OverSeer isn’t going to do anything.  If you want it to monitor one of the items you must enable them.
Click on any item to see it’s settings.  (I suggest OlMonitorLive to start):

Take action: This means that the item will be restarted if applicable.   So if OlMonitor stops updating (freezes, crashes, etc.), OverSeer will attempt to close and restart it.
For the Smarterm items it will do the same for Smarterm.
OlMonitorLive is a little better than OlMonitorProcess alone, since it can also detect when OlMonitor is running but has frozen.  (In previous versions of OverSeer you needed to have them both enabled to restart OlMonitor).
OlMonitor sends a ‘still alive’ status about every 60-120 seconds, so set the thresholds above 120.
Generally we don’t really want OverSeer to step in too soon on any item, because sometimes OlMonitor may be busy processing a long log.  Smarterm may take a long time to capture a long log, or sometimes the Sunquest server is bogged down during a backup or peak times.  Finally another process on the machine (such as a periodic virus scan) can slow the pc to a crawl and make OlMonitor take a long time.
Send report:  When you are having issues with an Ol Monitor it can be a pain to get on the pc and send the OlProcessLog file.  You can get a report sent when the item exceeds the threshold.  OlMonitor info in the reports is encrypted.
Please note it’s still likely the automatic email report will be blocked by the firewall.  Also you need to check with your IT department before enabling reporting.
There are several security features you can enable to prevent/protect PI in Ol Monitor logs:  Logging and security features

Other item recommendations:

Item: Description: Recommendation:
SmartermProcess Monitors whether the StOffice.exe process is running.  Can restart if Take Action is enabled. Probably redundant: Ol Monitor itself already keeps close tabs on Smarterm and can close and restart it.  If OlMonitor is having trouble launching Smarterm you can try the Alternative ST Launch option.
OlMonitorProcess Monitors the OlMonitor.exe process.  Can restart if Take Action is enabled. Probably redundant:  OlMonitor Live item is usually better.  But if OverSeer is having trouble reading settings info this one is better.
NewCapturedLog Checks the OlMonitor log folder for new file creation periodically. Probably overkill: This is just another option to monitor activity that hasn’t found a good use case yet.
SmartermStatus Updated Checks the active settings location (registry or ini), for status update from Smarterm macro. Could be useful: Ol Monitor keeps tabs on Smarterm already so there’s probably no use in enabling this item.

You can try it out here:
http://www.synapsonic.com/OlMonitorOverSeer/publish.htm

New feature added–Filter Toggle

A user had a great idea for a feature to quickly turn on/off individual filters from the main window.  This might be useful to handle workload during different times of the day or shifts.  This feature is available in versions 1.89k and higher.|

<—The checkmark indicates the filter is active.  Here the filter MDIFF has been disabled.

New HRP options and Order Entry Error Report. OL Monitor version 1.88j.

Adding the OEE HRP report to Ol Monitor caused a cascade of changes to the macro and options window.  The following changes appear in version 1.88j:

  1. Toggle OL log report from Misc tab:

    You can now turn ON/OFF the OL log from the Misc tab.  Previously this was present in both the HRP and PL options, which was a little confusing.
  2. New fields for OEE HRP report:

    The checked fields are available for the OEE report.  The last 4 fields (EP. LOC, REQ#, CLIENT ID, & ORD.DIAG) were added specifically for OEE.  The fields Msg# and Message were already present for the ADT report but not visible.
    The Status field is a default field that defaults to ‘O’.
    The Test field will contain a copy of the Msg #.
    The HID field is the Patient #.
    On the sample report I received, the following fields were listed but no info was present: SPEC ID, UNQ #, CPY PHYS, ORDER LOC, EP ID, & REQ #.  If any of these fields are present on your OEE log they may not show up on OL Monitor since I was not able to test them.  Please contact me if you would like these fields to work and I will fix them.
  3. HRP options menu changed:

    In previous versions there were 3 options at the top of this menu- OL Only, OL and HRP, and HRP Only.  Again this was a little confusing so those were removed.  (To turn off the OL report and use HRP only go to the Misc tab.)  Use the checkboxes to choose which HRP reports to pull.  It is possible to have ‘Use HRP module’ checked but pull no reports if none are selected.  You can pull all 3 HRP reports and even the PL and OL reports together.
    When you click on a report in the list, the corresponding options will be loaded below.  To change the options click Modify.
    *Note: You MUST click Done to save the changes to your options.
    The POD options are only for the ONP report, and will not appear when you click the ADT or OEE reports.
    Report option: Previously it was important to know what numbered option your report menu was in the Sunquest roll-and-scroll menu.  Now the macro will attempt to automatically select the correct number for your selected report.  However as a backup you can input the report option here.
  4. PL menu change:

    The 3 confusing report options (OL only, PL and OL, and PL only) were also removed from the PL menu.
  5. Smarterm macro changes:
    Many changes have been made to the macro that mostly affect only the HRP report.  The macro is automated and you do not have to interact with it.  However if the macro behaves badly after this update please contact me immediately.