Originally Posted by BrentDC
I have a contact at TealPoint, and I'll point him to this thread (he's actually one of the devs).
Thanks BrentDC for this link. Talk had quieted down a little on your TealTalk forum, so it's good to find a group of really technical users to keep the momentum going here.
First, some background on TealScan:
Ever since NVFS came out, we've been building a wishlist in our heads of utilities we wished existed, such as tools to help track down NVFS crashes, corrupted databases, and such. Some such tools exist here and there, but many are missing or are lacking features we wanted, so we decided to write our own utility that handled all this functionality. It is of course still an early version and stuff we're doing is very tricky, so the usual disclaimers apply.
Unstable Background apps
The background app scanning lists to see what apps have registered for system notifications through a direct function pointer, but have not protected their application databases or have not locked any code records. We still need to do further testing on this feature, but we think the info it's returning is fairly reliable. It's possible that a few developers copy their relevant callback functions to separately allocated locked memory chunks (which we currently cannot track), but for the majority of apps, an unprotected database or unlocked records indicates a real problem.
Updated Application tracking
A couple of other apps try to inform you when updated applications are available, apparently through user reports or scraping of online web sites. TealScan takes a different approach that is intended to give more accurate information from a wider spectrum of software. In TealScan, individual users contribute to the online database whenever they download a new database themselves. Part of the download link actually uploads (anonymously) version and creatorid information for one or two apps on their device. We've seeded our current database is over 2000 entries from apps we've batch loaded into the simulator, and the list will grow as the program is used.
While this means that the database is slow to grow when the base of users is still small, it guarantees more accurate information than hand-typed user submissions and includes apps that may not be available at the big download sites.
For example, our online database is also used to do orphan data/prefs tracking (more on this below). In doing online testing, we found that one similar product that relies on manual submissions incorrectly lists CreatorID of almost every TealPoint product, starting them all with TIxx (with a capital 'i') instead of Tlxx (with a lower case 'L'). The latter is correct. Other CreatorIDs there are attributed to the wrong program, or list inaccurate guesses for a file's purpose, making their database unreliable.
In TealScan, we want to take a different approach, limiting manual input to keep the database as accurate as possible. We match CreatorIDs to actual filenames, not user-submitted descriptions. We let the program user make the judgement on whether a potential orphan file is deletable or not.
Database download problems we've seen have been almost exclusively due to bugginess in Palm browsers. When you download a database, TealScan just creates a URL and passes it to the browser for download. Different versions of Blazer, however, have numerous lame bugs, from misidentifying the file type and/or size to crashing if a filename in the http header is (correctly) enclosed in quotes. The URL is also very long so that can cause problems if the browser is badly written. If you run into a problem downloading the database, please email us the specs of your exact device and browser and we'll have you try some alternate URLs to see if we can work around the problems.
By 'orphan' data in TealScan, we mean any app that creates data or a prefs entry that is of a different CreatorID than the main application. There are occassionally valid reasons for doing this (such as data shared between programs), but most of the time it is poor programming in our opinion. Because of this, data that is marked as "orphan" does not always indicate that it can be deleted (maybe we'll reword it as "potential orphan" to be clearer) but if it positively matched to an app you know you've stopped using, then it can be deleted.
If you find more instances of orphan creatorIDs, please let us know so we can add an entry in the database to link them to the correct "owning" app.
We're currently renaming the "updates" tab to "tools" and are in the process of adding special handy tools like ones to replace area codes, lock program resources, or delete PIM entries based on content, date, or size. Give us feedback as this continues on what further tools to add.
The best place to reach us in on our tealtalk forum, as that is the one we check regularly.