Yaware Time Tracker review

The crowded field of screenshot monitoring software is getting even more crowded with a new contender from Ukraine – Yaware Time Tracker. Lets review how it works and how well it matches with our current favorite – Screenshot Monitor.

Getting Started

After a single sign up you are greeted with this simple option screen on Yaware website:


Client application

Like the majority of competitors, Yaware Time Tracker offers Windows, Linux and Mac clients. Let’s install the Windows agent and run it. The Yaware setup runs without asking any questions or a login and then just slips into the tray. When you click on it, it shows this:


Well, I am confused. Is Yaware Time Tracker connected to my account? Does it track, doesn’t it track?


Let’s get into the Settings in the Yaware dashboard. We see that screenshot monitoring is disabled by default, lets enable it along with Webcam Snapshots (scary!). This is what we see:

settingsIn most of other similar applications users start and stop monitoring themselves. In Yaware Time Tracker it is done the opposite way – it is running all the time by default and users are allowed to pause for up to a day.

There’s also an option not to display the tray icon effectively making the agent to run in the spy mode:


Well, at least the default settings still display the tray icon.

There’s nothing to see in the reports so far, so while we are continue being confused and waiting for something to appear, lets check what options they have in the control panel.

User management on Yaware website looks like this:


Would be nice 10 years ago but now frankly unimpressive. Not a deal breaker either as probably gets job done.

Categorization options try to put all of applications and URLs into categories like Accounting, Development, Games and set their productivity as Productive, Neutral and Distracting:categories

The immediate question that such approach raises – is it realistic to classify everything that matters. Most probably users will just use whatever default settings they get and majority of application and settings fall into neutral category, thus defeating the purpose of such classification. Probably better approach would be to create such classification in a single database on the web and let users deal with exceptions only.


Case in point – we’ve returned to Dashboard to see what data was collected:Dashboard

It shows the time I was active at the computer, but with everything is uncategorized  and grey, how to make sense if employee was working or not? A click on the bar brings us to a screen that details more specifically what applications and URLs were most used:



Let’s get deeper into Reports menu. Most of the menu options have so little information and make so little sense that they do not even deserve a screenshot.

Here’s the Timesheet page that is way to complicated for me to figure out, but potentially could be useful for office attendance tracking:


Here’s another failed attempt in Report By Categories to categorize the activities:


Finally let’s get to the interesting part – the Screenshots:


If you click on individual thumbnail – it is presented in a larger version:


How can anyone find it useful just baffles me! The image is still so tiny that it makes no sense. Screenshot Monitor allows you just to click on it an see the image zoomed 100% – why such basic functionality is missing here?!!

Webcam snapshots did not work at all – probably require additional configuration:


And frankly for the better. This functionality creeps me out.


If I was an employee –  I would vehemently hate Yaware Time Tracker that can run in a spy mode, can take webcam snapshots without my knowledge and can not be shut down, only suspended for some time. It probably violates a whole bunch of privacy laws (especially in Europe), breaks all the rules of ethical employee monitoring, gives bad name to employee monitoring software and sets unhealthy mistrustful work environment.

Yaware Time Tracker is useless to freelance or remote employee tracking since with so little control from employee no one in their right mind would want to run it on their computers outside of office. It is squarely focused on office attendance and activity tracking. Despite snazzy public site, the internal (control panel) website has outdated interface, screenshots are not useful, reports are plenty, but not well thought out. The approach to make user classify all of applications and websites is questionable and in our opinion less than optimal.  Yes, the product can be sold and used, but if companies review the competition – 9 out of 10 would be better served with something like Toggl or Screenshot Monitor. The real question is will this startup have enough time to develop into something meaningful before they run out of money. In its current shape and form Yaware Time Tracker is not competitive.

Read More

Best screenshot monitoring software

Screenshot MonitorScreenshot Monitoring is important. That is why the major freelancing sites including oDesk, Elance, Guru, Freelancer – each and every one of them have a built-in tool for time tracking and screenshot monitoring.

The freelancing sites are ideal for finding the right person for the job. However if you already have been working with a freelancer for a while, it makes little sense to continue paying  ~10% commission to these sites.  You can find dedicated software that does the same thing much much better and for the fraction of the cost. Below we have tried to compile all the tool that provide this functionality.  The programs are ranked in the order of most to least useful in our opinion (more…)

Read More

Toggl review

Toggl Tracking

Toggl is a cool time tracking application by a company in Estonia that seems insanely simple. It allows you track time right from a browser, computer or a smartphone. The main premise is that you just type what you are working on, hit button Start and a timer starts ticking. When you are done – hit Stop button.

For up to 5 users you can use either Free or the Pro plan. If you have more than 5 users, you have to use the Pro plan that is $5/user/month. The Free plan leaves you with no Excel exports, no company logo on reports, no Tasks, no report sharing, it is harder to calculate billable times, no option to limit who creates the project and no integration – compare the plans for more details. It is available for every platform. Below is a detailed Toggle review with a lot of screenshots and text – if you are in a rush – just skip to the Summary


Read More

Right and wrong of using employee monitoring software

Wathcing through blindsEmployee monitoring software became commonplace. Many apps take monitor screenshots, capture keystroke and mouse movements, monitor active applications and visited sites and in extreme cases can even take pictures using webcam. It seems to be fair to track what your employees do when they are being paid for their time. After all, if they exchange their time for money, it seems fair for the employer to know what they are paying for. So why does it still feels morally inappropriate in some cases? The question is far from being just theoretical. If a wrong decision is made, a company may suffer from lawsuits, experience a backlash and productivity drop (opposite from what was intended) from their employees or suffer a damage to the company’s image. Let’s review in more details what employee monitoring practices can be considered valid and what should be avoided.


Read More