Monday, April 07, 2008

Accountability Software, Part 1: X3 Watch

X3 Watch - Free

“This free version of X3Watch gets you the basics. It records the possible objectionable sites with the date and time they were visited. Reports only go to the chosen accountability partners and information is not stored or used by XXXchurch or any other organization.”

Very basic protection. Mac version runs as the root user, uses your administrator password, and does not offer an option to use a separate password, so your administrator always has the ability to turn it off, although your partners are notified of changes. It is not ideal for anyone who needs to have administrator privileges for other reasons, but is also tempted to uninstall or disable the software. Also, its sensitivity to questionable material is a bit dull -- it doesn’t always recognize things that are mildly inappropriate.

The PC version does not require any sort of password for install/uninstall, which means it can be disabled/enabled at any time with no consequences. This is not ideal for anyone who might be tempted to uninstall/disable it.

X3 watch is very unobtrusive. It is easy to install and uninstall, it just requires the root password. Many of the other software solutions block things they shouldn’t, and always remind you that they are watching you. Depending on your computer usage this could be good or bad.

The upgraded version ($20) offers Myspace monitoring, 3 accountability partners, tech support, weekly or bi-weekly reports, multi-user options, full detailed reports, and built in help.

Sensitivity: Low
Blocking: None
Difficulty: Low
Invasiveness: Low
Bugginess: Low
Reporting: Weekly

Conclusion: This is the software that I use personally for lack of anything better. It doesn't do a lot of the things I would want (more sensitive reporting, adjustable web blocking), but it uses very little resources and doesn't get in my way, which is perfect for me because I have such a diverse use of my computer for my IT work, and I cannot be slowed down because some software incorrectly blocks websites I need to go to.


seanp said...

Hey man,

Thanks for the post. I downloaded the free software. Word upper.

Luke Gilkerson said...

Have you heard of Covenant Eyes accountability software? Unlike X3, you can have multiple user accounts and separate passwords. Another difference is that the log of Internet activity is stored on the Covenant Eyes server, which ensures that it cannot be erased or modified by the user. It also means that the accountability report can be read online by an accountability partner 24/7.

Another difference is that Covenant Eyes is very sensitive and has a scoring system. EVERY ULR is logged, not just questionable ones, and EVERY URL is rated. This allows nothing to get past the accountability service.

Covenant Eyes is very difficult to circumvent, unlike X3.

There are a number of other features that differentiate it from X3. I'd love to hear your response to one of my latest blog posts about the differences:

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I'm a full-time lover of Jesus. I work, learn, and pray at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City. I live simple, and seek God with all my heart.

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