Tracking Application Usages

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During a Twitter conversation aka mini conversation with Marnin I mentioned that I used ARD’s reporting feature to build a report per machine during a specific time frame and then merged all the reports together to get last academic usages on public machines, he pointed me to the Google’s crankd way of tracking the same thing.

I have played with it for a couple of days and me thinks is worth mentioning. The tool monitors the notifications sent to NSWorkspace both when an application opens and closes and then it writes this information to a sqlite database located at /var/db/application_usage.sqlite

Here an example of how the database looks like

To play with it I have packed all in one installer (instaDMG friendly) that looks like this and you can download by clicking on the image

I have yet to find a way of sending the database to a central location, maybe some web server with cool graphics and stuff but I don’t think the feature is that important to spend much time with it.

Anyway with this you can have another method, less intrusive than ARD, to track usages without even recording who is using them. Hopefully helpful for someone