About

What is MagicFlute good for?

Watch the YouTube videos. It will give you some ideas. Mothers can use it to monitor what their kids are doing. Engineers could use it as a tool to better understand which devices consume the available Wi-Fi bandwidth. Security applications would make use of the presence detection and recording functionality of MagicFlute.

What is MagicFlute not good for?

MagicFlute cannot be used to see which websites someone visits. It can also not be used to read email messages, see pictures or decode any other content going over Wi-Fi. MagicFlute only notes that communication takes place and how much of it. It feeds exclusively on meta data.

How does it work?

Mainly magic but putting the Wi-Fi card in monitor mode helps too. Want to know more? I recommend reading ‘Monitor mode’ on Wikipedia. By the way, did you know that many phones emit wifi signals even when wifi is turned off?

Can this be legal?

No idea. Big companies sell similar software for all sorts of debatable purposes, so the correct answer is probably ‘it depends’. If you find out that it is illegal where you are, delete MagicFlute immediately and never mention my name. If you use MagicFlute at home to check if your daughter is watching videos online or doing her homework, you are probably ok. MagicFlute does not analyze the payload of Wi-Fi traffic or store any of the wifi packets it observes – it just counts them. So how can you know that the kids are still watching YouTube at midnight? It is explained in the videos linked to above.

Worried about installing MagicFlute?

Speaks for you. Especially since the MagicFlute installer requires an admin password. I don’t like that either, but there is no way around that on MacOS, if you want to monitor Wi-Fi traffic. What I can offer is transparency: you can find all the code for MagicFlute on GitHub. Also, a complete uninstall of MagicFlute is easy: just delete the MagicFlute app in the applications directory. Your own data is stored in the MagicFlute folder of your Library directory in case you want to make back-ups or just poke around a little.

Pricing

Relax, it’s free. I might charge indecent amounts for later versions but for now, I keep my day job. If you want to help me in my quest to build something useful, let me know what does not work as it should. Oh yes, that would be very helpful.

What is PacketMozart?

It’s just a silly domain name that was available. MagicFlute wasn’t. That domain should belong to Mozart, who wrote an opera with that name, but someone else was faster. Did I mention that the logging system which does the Wi-Fi packet catching in the background is named Papageno? The Papageno character in Mozart’s opera plays the flute to catch birds. If you write software, you can give it silly names too.