Using promiseutil to Find a Failing RAID Member.

Ideally, if a Promise Pegasus has a failing RAID member, or disk, we would want the Promise Utility GUI to report that. But that’s not always what happens.

When Backblaze published the SMART stats they pay attention to a few years ago, I adopted a practice of replacing drives that exhibited non-zero values for RAW_VALUES of the same SMART stats. Backblaze looks at:

  • SMART 5 – Reallocated_Sector_Count.
  • SMART 187 – Reported_Uncorrectable_Errors.
  • SMART 188 – Command_Timeout.
  • SMART 197 – Current_Pending_Sector_Count.
  • SMART 198 – Offline_Uncorrectable.

I’ve never seen SMART 187 or 188 reported by a drive member on a Promise Pegasus RAID, but the other values are there.

We can obtain the SMART status of the members of a RAID like this:

  1. In Terminal, start promiseutil
  2. At the prompt, type smart -v (with the verbose flag on).

The output will show the SMART statistics for each member of the RAID.

So, what does a failing Promise Pegasus RAID member look like?

In this example, the Promise Utility reported the health of the RAID as fine, but the performance of this RAID suggested otherwise. Here’s the top of the log:

 PdId: 2
 Model Number: TOSHIBA DT01ACA2
 Drive Type: SATA
 SMART Status: Enable
 SMART Health Status: OK
 SCT Status Version:                  3
 SCT Version (vendor specific):       256 (0x0100)
 SCT Support Level:                   1
 Device State:                        SMART Off-line Data Collection executing in background (4)
 Current Temperature:                    37 Celsius
 Power Cycle Min/Max Temperature:     29/40 Celsius
 Lifetime    Min/Max Temperature:     19/44 Celsius
 Under/Over Temperature Limit Count:   0/0
 Self-test execution status:      (   0)    The previous self-test routine
                     completed without error or no self-test
                     has ever been run.
 Error logging capability:        (0x01)    Error logging supported.
 Short self-test routine 
 recommended polling time:      (   1) minutes.
 Extended self-test routine
 recommended polling time:      ( 249) minutes.
 SCT capabilities:            (0x003d) SCT Status supported.
                     SCT Feature Control supported.
                     SCT Data Table supported.
 SMART Self-test log structure revision number: 1
 No self-tests have been logged.  [To run self-tests, use: smartctl -t]
 SMART Error Log Version: 1

Hmm…no signs of trouble. We see SMART Health Status: OK, so if we were just grepping or awking for that, we’d assume that all was well. But a few lines down, we find ATA Error Count: 4. This value, doesn’t even appear on a healthy member, even with the -v verbose flag. And that’s followed by four errors.

SMART Error Log Version: 1
 ATA Error Count: 4
     CR = Command Register [HEX]
     FR = Features Register [HEX]
     SC = Sector Count Register [HEX]
     SN = Sector Number Register [HEX]
     CL = Cylinder Low Register [HEX]
     CH = Cylinder High Register [HEX]
     DH = Device/Head Register [HEX]
     DC = Device Command Register [HEX]
     ER = Error register [HEX]
     ST = Status register [HEX]
 Powered_Up_Time is measured from power on, and printed as
 DDd+hh:mm:SS.sss where DD=days, hh=hours, mm=minutes,
 SS=sec, and sss=millisec. It "wraps" after 49.710 days.
 Error 4 occurred at disk power-on lifetime: 34794 hours (1449 days + 18 hours)
   When the command that caused the error occurred,
   the device was active or idle.
 After command completion occurred, registers were:
 40 51 80 80 e7 1c 0d  Error: UNC 128 sectors at LBA = 0x0d1ce780 = 219998080
 Commands leading to the command that caused the error were:
   CR FR SC SN CL CH DH DC   Powered_Up_Time  Command/Feature_Name
   -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --  ----------------  --------------------
   25 00 80 80 e7 1c 40 00   2d+17:20:39.072  READ DMA EXT
   35 00 00 00 44 13 40 00   2d+17:20:39.070  WRITE DMA EXT
   35 00 00 00 35 13 40 00   2d+17:20:39.061  WRITE DMA EXT
   35 00 80 80 25 13 40 00   2d+17:20:39.052  WRITE DMA EXT
   25 00 58 a8 1f 13 40 00   2d+17:20:39.046  READ DMA EXT
 Error 3 occurred at disk power-on lifetime: 34794 hours (1449 days + 18 hours)
   When the command that caused the error occurred,
   the device was active or idle.
 After command completion occurred, registers were:
 40 51 78 80 b2 1e 0d  Error: UNC 120 sectors at LBA = 0x0d1eb280 = 220115584
 Commands leading to the command that caused the error were:
   CR FR SC SN CL CH DH DC   Powered_Up_Time  Command/Feature_Name
   -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --  ----------------  --------------------
   25 00 78 80 b2 1e 40 00   2d+17:20:35.539  READ DMA EXT
   35 00 00 00 ad 1e 40 00   2d+17:20:35.538  WRITE DMA EXT
   25 00 18 e8 e1 1c 40 00   2d+17:20:34.067  READ DMA EXT
   61 80 00 80 ac 1e 40 00   2d+17:20:31.037  WRITE FPDMA QUEUED
   2f 00 01 10 00 00 00 00   2d+17:20:31.036  READ LOG EXT
 Error 2 occurred at disk power-on lifetime: 34794 hours (1449 days + 18 hours)
   When the command that caused the error occurred,
   the device was active or idle.
 After command completion occurred, registers were:
 40 51 a8 58 e2 1c 0d
 Commands leading to the command that caused the error were:
   CR FR SC SN CL CH DH DC   Powered_Up_Time  Command/Feature_Name
   -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --  ----------------  --------------------
   61 80 28 80 ad 1e 40 00   2d+17:20:09.122  WRITE FPDMA QUEUED
   61 80 20 00 ae 1e 40 00   2d+17:20:09.121  WRITE FPDMA QUEUED
   61 80 18 80 ae 1e 40 00   2d+17:20:09.121  WRITE FPDMA QUEUED
   61 80 10 00 af 1e 40 00   2d+17:20:09.121  WRITE FPDMA QUEUED
   61 80 08 80 af 1e 40 00   2d+17:20:09.121  WRITE FPDMA QUEUED
 Error 1 occurred at disk power-on lifetime: 34706 hours (1446 days + 2 hours)
   When the command that caused the error occurred,
   the device was active or idle.
 After command completion occurred, registers were:
 40 51 20 78 c5 1f 0d
 Commands leading to the command that caused the error were:
   CR FR SC SN CL CH DH DC   Powered_Up_Time  Command/Feature_Name
   -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --  ----------------  --------------------
   61 80 e0 80 d8 1a 40 00      01:51:41.474  WRITE FPDMA QUEUED
   61 80 c8 00 d8 1a 40 00      01:51:41.474  WRITE FPDMA QUEUED
   61 80 c0 00 d4 1a 40 00      01:51:41.473  WRITE FPDMA QUEUED
   61 80 b8 80 d7 1a 40 00      01:51:41.473  WRITE FPDMA QUEUED
   61 80 b0 00 d7 1a 40 00      01:51:41.473  WRITE FPDMA QUEUED

All of the errors occurred on a power up of the RAID. So what do the SMART stats for Backblaze’s preferred values (bolded) look like on this drive?

SMART Attributes Data Structure revision number: 16
 Vendor Specific SMART Attributes with Thresholds:
 1 Raw_Read_Error_Rate     
     0x000b  074   074   016    Pre-fail  Always     -            54134415
   2 Throughput_Performance  
     0x0005  139   139   054    Pre-fail  Offline    -            70
   3 Spin_Up_Time            
     0x0007  129   129   024    Pre-fail  Always     -            295 (Average 294)
   4 Start_Stop_Count        
     0x0012  097   097   000    Old_age   Always     -            15544
   5 Reallocated_Sector_Ct   
     0x0033  081   081   005    Pre-fail  Always     -            517
   7 Seek_Error_Rate         
     0x000b  100   100   067    Pre-fail  Always     -            0
   8 Seek_Time_Performance   
     0x0005  124   124   020    Pre-fail  Offline    -            33
   9 Power_On_Hours          
     0x0012  096   096   000    Old_age   Always     -            34799
  10 Spin_Retry_Count        
     0x0013  100   100   060    Pre-fail  Always     -            0
  12 Power_Cycle_Count       
     0x0032  100   100   000    Old_age   Always     -            41
 192 Power-Off_Retract_Count 
     0x0032  076   076   000    Old_age   Always     -            29286
 193 Load_Cycle_Count        
     0x0012  076   076   000    Old_age   Always     -            29286
 194 Temperature_Celsius     
     0x0002  162   162   000    Old_age   Always     -            37 (Lifetime Min/Max 19/44)
 196 Reallocated_Event_Count 
     0x0032  063   063   000    Old_age   Always     -            846
 197 Current_Pending_Sector  
     0x0022  100   100   000    Old_age   Always     -            0
 198 Offline_Uncorrectable   
     0x0008  100   100   000    Old_age   Offline    -            0
 199 UDMA_CRC_Error_Count    
     0x000a  200   200   000    Old_age   Always     -            0

As expected, no SMART 187 or 188 values. And 197 Current_Pending_Sector and 198 Offline_Uncorrectable are both 0.

But look at the RAW_VALUE for 5 Reallocated_Sector_Ct. Not good. And while it’s not on Backblaze’s list, 1 Raw_Read_Error_Rate is really high.

The other RAID elements have no errors. So we replaced the drive, and rebuilt the RAID, and performance returned to normal.

In Which the Promise Utility GUI is Not Showing Stats

You open the Promise Utility to get some stats from the Subsystem (Promise Utility > Subsystem Information), but the Promise Utility displays nothing.

You try the command line. Nada. Zip.

Fear not. Try this (your mileage may vary, entirely at your own risk, if you’re not utterly certain what you’re doing, do not do any of this):

1. Umount your Promise volume(s) first.

diskutil unmount /Volumes/NameOfVolume1

2. Unload and delete the kernel extension:

sudo kextunload -b com.promise.driver.stex
sudo rm -rf /Library/Extensions/PromiseSTEX.kext

3. Delete the Pegasus Utility:

sudo rm -rf /Applications/Promise\

4. Delete the Promise Utility plist:

sudo rm -rf /Users/<username>/Library/Preferences/com.promise.PromiseUtility.plist

5. Delete the LaunchDaemons plist files:

sudo rm -rf /Library/LaunchDaemons/com.promise.emaild.plist
sudo rm -rf /Library/LaunchDaemons/com.promise.bgasched.plist
sudo rm -rf /Library/LaunchDaemons/com.promise.BGPMain_R.plist
sudo rm -rf /Library/LaunchDaemons/com.promise.diskmonitor.plist

6. Delete promiseutil (The Promise Utility installer pkg will re-install this):

sudo rm -rf /usr/local/bin/promiseutil

7. Restart the Mac.

8. Install the Pegasus 6.2.9 driver and the Promise Utility.

9. See if you now have stats for the Promise Pegasus via GUI and CLI.

Scripting Promise Utility Media Patrol

Promise describes Media Patrol as a routine maintenance procedure that searches the physical drives in a Promise Pegasus unit for media errors. If you’ve got a spare drive in the array, Media Patrol can invoke Predictive Data Migration if it encounters a critical error. This seems like a pretty good idea and something we should schedule.

While the Promise Utility app provides lots of functionality, it requires a running console (you need to be logged in) for some of its functions, like the Scheduler, to run. If you log out, you’ll find the Scheduler and any attendant Background Activities will stop running. This is…sub-optimal. So we’ll work around it using promiseutil.

# Runs Promise Media Patrol on a Pegasus2, logs  the run
# Author: AB @ Modest Industries
# Requires Promise Utility for Pegasus2 (, tested with v3.18.0000.18
# Edit History
# 2014-07-19 - AB: Version 1.0.

export DATESTAMP=`date +%Y-%m-%d\ %H:%M:%S`

# Start / finish messages
start_msg="Promise Media Patrol running..."
finish_msg="Promise Media Patrol complete!"

# Promise Pegasus command line utility default path

# ----------------- Check for promiseutil & set up temp files ------------------
if [ ! -f $promiseutil_path ]; then
        echo "$0 ERROR: $promiseutil_path does not exist"
        echo  "Please download and install the Promise Pegasus Utility app from"
        exit 1

unit_ID_tmp=`mktemp -q "/tmp/$_unit_ID.XXXX"`
if [ $? -ne 0 ]; then
        echo "$0: ERROR: Can't create temp file, exiting..."
        exit 1

# ----------------- Run promiseutil, evaluate the results ------------------

# Get Unit ID information for this Promise unit. Includes workaround for promiseutil tty issue.
screen -D -m sh -c "$promiseutil_path -C subsys -v >$unit_ID_tmp"

# Drop the output into a variable.

# ----------------- Build the message_body ------------------

# If there's a problem, build the header.
if [ "$smart_error_flag" ==  "true" ] || [ "$ata_error_flag" == "true" ]; then

        # SMART Health status.
        if [ "$smart_error_flag" == "true" ]; then
                message_body="$message_body\nSMART Health Status is reporting one or more bad drives."

        # Always include the smart_status

        # Then the ATA errors.
        if [ "$ata_error_flag" == "true" ]; then
                message_body="$message_body\n\nOne or more drives has an ATA Error Count and may be failing.\n\n$ata_errors"

#  ----------------- Logging & email ------------------

# Log the results, conditionally send email on failure.
if [ "$ata_error_flag" == "true" ] || [ "$smart_error_flag" == "true" ]; then
        echo "$DATESTAMP: \n\n$message_body" >> /var/log/system.log
        if [ "$send_email_alert" == "true" ] ; then
                "$sendemail_path" -f $alert_sender -t $alert_recipient -u $alert_subject -m "$message_body" -s $alert_smtp_server
        echo "$DATESTAMP: $pass_msg\n\n$unit_ID" >> /var/log/system.log

# ----------------- Cleanup ------------------

rm -f rm -f $unit_ID_tmp $smart_results_tmp

Using your scheduler of choice (cron, launchd), create a schedule for your script (we’re running it every two weeks across a weekend, when activity on the network is light) and you’re done.

One-liner: Check the five, most important SMART parameters on a disk.

A while ago, Backblaze published a report on what they consider to be the most reliable SMART parameters for determining whether a disk is failing. These include:

  • 5 – Reallocated_Sector_Ct
  • 187 – Uncorrectable_Error_Cnt
  • 188 – Command_Timeout
  • 197 – Current_Pending_Sector_Count
  • 198 – Offline_Uncorrectable

For a complete description of these parameters, take a look at the Wikipedia article on SMART.

While our sample of failing disks is no where near as large as Backblaze’s, our results have, unsurprisingly, correlated pretty strongly to theirs.

Note that not all of these parameters are supported by the drive manufacturers and that we typically don’t see many of these parameters on the hard disks supplied in Apple hardware. Additionally, note that SMART is not supported on some drives.

Assuming you’ve got smartmontools installed, this one-liner will very quickly give you a snapshot of the key values we look for as strong indicators that a drive needs to be replaced:

smartctl -a disk0 | egrep "^( 5|187|188|197|198)"



is the disk you’re testing. To get the disks available to test, run

diskutil list

You’ll get back output that looks like this:

   #:                       TYPE NAME                    SIZE       IDENTIFIER
   0:      GUID_partition_scheme                        *256.1 GB   disk0
   1:                        EFI                         209.7 MB   disk0s1
   2:                  Apple_HFS Macintosh HD                 255.2 GB   disk0s2
   3:                 Apple_Boot Recovery HD             650.0 MB   disk0s3
   #:                       TYPE NAME                    SIZE       IDENTIFIER
   0:      GUID_partition_scheme                        *500.1 GB   disk1
   1:                        EFI                         209.7 MB   disk1s1
   2:                  Apple_HFS Storage                 499.8 GB   disk1s2

In the example above, there are two disks to choose from,




Assuming the drive supports all five SMART parameters, you’ll get back something that looks like this:

  5 Reallocated_Sector_Ct   0x0033   100   100   010    Pre-fail  Always       -       0
187 Reported_Uncorrect      0x0032   100   100   001    Old_age   Always       -       0
188 Command_Timeout         0x0032   100   100   001    Old_age   Always       -       0
197 Current_Pending_Sector  0x0032   100   100   001    Old_age   Always       -       0
198 Offline_Uncorrectable   0x0030   100   100   001    Old_age   Offline      -       0

Those trailing zeros are what we like to see. Positive values in the last column mean that the drive probably needs to be replaced.

Sometimes, you stumble on the right person…

…and they reveal to you a bit of magic you didn’t know existed.

In this case, it is an undocumented flag in Promise Technology’s command line utility for the Promise Pegasus2 Thunderbolt RAID, promiseutil.

As previously discussed, it appeared to be impossible to check the status of more than one Promise Pegasus enclosure from inside a script using promiseutil. We had filed a support ticket, hoping for some kind of resolution, but were told that promiseutil works as intended.

On a hunch, I reached out to someone at Promise and asked for their help investigating this issue.  I was pleasantly surprised when the contact not only took the issue seriously, he immediately looped in other support engineers to look at the problem.

After a week of back and forth about what an appropriate solution would be, perhaps a feature request, the support engineer discovered that there is an undocumented flag that allows you to specify the hba of the Promise unit you want to execute a command on.

Here’s an example. Let’s say we want to check the SMART status of two Promise Pegasus from the command line:

 promiseutil -C smart -v

will return the information for the default device only.

If you want to be explicit about which Promise Pegasus you’re checking, first get the hba numbers of the connected units:

promiseutil -C spath

The results will be something like this:

archer:~ admin$ promiseutil -C spath
Type  #    Model        Alias   WWN          Seq
hba   1  * Pegasus2 R4       2000-0001-5558-2fe2  1
hba   2    Pegasus2 M4       2000-0001-5558-3f92  1

Now we use the magic (apparently undocumented) -P (uppercase, not the documented lowercase) flag to specify the unit we want to look at.

promiseutil -T hba -P 1 -C smart -v

which returns the results for the first unit.

promiseutil -T hba -P 2 -C smart -v

will return results for the second unit.

My sincere thanks to the people at Promise who helped us sort this out (you know who you are) and to my fellow bug wrestler, Allen Hancock of Watchman Monitoring.

As always, be cautious with promiseutil. Its power is mighty and Bad Things® can happen if used incorrectly.

Scanning more than one Promise device with promiseutil

So, comes the day when you have more than a single Promise Pegasus attached to a Mac and you’d like to leverage some of your utilities to check the second device.

“No problem,” you think, “I’ll just count the number of devices, then check each one in sequence.”


promiseutil is broken in one, very important way.

From inside promiseutil, the command to switch to the second unit in the chain would be something like:

spath -a chgpath -t hba -p 2

And that command works just fine. But as we’ve seen from previous work, executing promiseutil from inside a bash script requires the use of the screen command.

Executing this command from inside promiseutil run under screen does not work correctly. promiseutil appears to ignore the command and remains on the default device.

The official response from Promise is as follows:

This has been made/designed in a way to work as it is described in the KB article (and it is not a bug,but that’s how it has been designed to work) that was given on my earlier reply and it can’t used in the way that you have given and I am sorry that there are no work around available.

If you know someone at Promise and have any influence, it would be a significant improvement to have this bug removed from the next release of the promiseutil.

Heck, if you’re feeling bored, file a bug report with them here.

10.8/10.9 Security Update 2015-004 & broken SSL.

After updating a couple of 10.8 Macs with Security Update 2015-004, we observed problems with iTunes and App Store. Attempting to update apps in iTunes yielded messages like this:

Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 12.33.50 PM

It took some digging, but we stumbled onto this post that suggested that it may be a problem with Verisign SSL certificates.

When we opened the login keychain, we found two “VeriSign Class 3 Public Primary Certification Authority – G5” certificates. The cert expiring in 2036, with serial number beginning in

18 DA D1

is the certificate you want to keep.

Removing the other certificate immediately resolved the issue.

On affected Macs, problems also appear in Safari and Chrome.  It does seem to be intermittent; we’re not hearing that this is widespread.

On the surface, it appears that this is related to changes Apple made in the certificate trust policy.

Compromised by Siri

As the holiday season approaches, you may find yourself in one or more festive parties, surrounded by strangers.

Here’s a way to get to know them better: Ask them for their iPhone, (locked, of course, because who would hand their unlocked iPhone to a stranger), press the Home button to activate Siri and ask this:

Who owns this iPhone?

When Siri cutely responds, and assuming the ambient noise from the party isn’t overly loud, you’ll be presented with the “Me” card from their contacts.

If they’re like most people, it will not only display their name, phone number and address, but their email addresses and any other information kept in that record, including any relationships Siri knows about (Father: Homer, Mother: Marge). Boom, everything you need to know about them.

This seems like an overly generous amount of information to share with a perfect stranger who is not in possession of your Passcode or thumb print.

If they are like some people, (and where it gets even more worrisome) you may also find that they’ve put password or PIN information into that contact record. Or heck, maybe even the Passcode for their iPhone. Obviously, this presents somewhat of a security risk.

You can repeat this process with any of the relationships on their Me card or even by guessing arbitrary common names that might be in their address book.

The moral of this story would be this: If you allow Siri to have access when your iPhone is locked, don’t store sensitive information in your Contacts. Siri will offer it up without ever asking for your Passcode. And you may wish to create a second “Me” card in your Contacts with considerably less information than you’ve currently got.

The more secure option would be to disable Siri from the Lock Screen like this: Settings > Passcode > [enter your Passcode] then in the “Allow access when locked” section, turn off Siri.

Less convenient? Sure. But you’re making it less likely that a stranger will know anything you don’t share with them over a glass of festive beverage.

Logging time-stamped ping results to a file using Applescript and bash.

I deal with a number of remote workers who, for one reason or the other, don’t work in the company office. Often, they’re using a VPN tunnel to connect to a server back at the company.

Occasionally, we’ll see intermittent connectivity issues from the client. Perhaps it’s their ISP, perhaps it’s the VPN tunnel, perhaps it’s a piece of software triggering IDS on a managed firewall.

In any case, we can triangulate the problem by launching a script on the client’s side that pings endpoints of our choosing to check connectivity. But we also want to time stamp and capture the results of the pings to a text file we can review later.

This is where


is your friend. As the man entry says, tee is a “pipe fitting”.

The tee utility copies standard input to standard output, making a copy in zero or more files.

So, here are our requirements:

  1. Script is user-initiated.
  2. Script gets out of the user’s way.
  3. Timestamps and logs the pings to a text file in a  folder on the Desktop.

This Applescript, which makes a bunch of bash calls, does all of that.

# Simple ping monitor
# A script that pings servers of your choice by IP or DNS name and logs the results to a text file in a folder on the Desktop.
# Written by AB @ Modest Industries (
# 2012-07-25 - AB: First draft.
# 2014-07-25 - AB: Formatting cleanup. 

#Servers to ping. For each server you name here, you'll need to set up a ping statement below.
set server1 to ""
set server2 to ""
set server3 to "

property the_prefix : space

property the_sep : "-"

# Format a date to use as a datestamp.
on myDate()
    set myYear to "" & year of (current date)
    set myMth to text -2 thru -1 of ("0" & (month of (current date)) * 1)
    set myDay to text -2 thru -1 of ("0" & day of (current date))
    set myHours to hours of (current date)
    set myMinutes to minutes of (current date)
    return {myYear, myMth, myDay, myHours, myMinutes}
end myDate

# Check for a folder called Monitoring on the Desktop. If it doesn't exist, make one.
tell application "Finder"
    set the directory to desktop
    if (exists folder "Monitoring") is false then
        make new folder at desktop with properties {name:"Monitoring"}
    end if
    set the_path to folder "Monitoring" of desktop
    set the_name to (item 1 of my myDate())
    set the_name to (the_name & the_sep & item 2 of my myDate())
    set the_name to (the_name & the_sep & item 3 of my myDate())
    set the_timestamp to item 4 of my myDate() & item 5 of my myDate()
    -- set the directory to "Monitoring"
    if (exists folder the_name of folder "Monitoring" of desktop) is false then
        make new folder at the_path with properties {name:the_name}
    end if
    set the_path to folder the_name of folder "Monitoring" of desktop as alias
    set posixPath to POSIX path of the_path
end tell

# Ping servers of your choice. You'll need one statement for each server named above.

tell application "Terminal" to do script "ping " & server1 & " | while read pong; do echo \"$(date): $pong\"; done | tee " & quoted form of posixPath & the_name & the_sep & the_timestamp & the_sep & server1 & ".txt"

tell application "Terminal" to do script "ping " & server2 & " | while read pong; do echo \"$(date): $pong\"; done | tee " & quoted form of posixPath & the_name & the_sep & the_timestamp & the_sep & server2 & ".txt"

tell application "Terminal" to do script "ping " & server3 & " | while read pong; do echo \"$(date): $pong\"; done | tee " & quoted form of posixPath & the_name & the_sep & the_timestamp & the_sep & server3 & ".txt"

# Hide all the windows.
tell application "System Events" to set visible of process "Terminal" to false

# Tell the user it's running.
display dialog "Ping monitor is running!" buttons {"OK"} default button 1

# Switch back to the Finder.
tell application "Finder" to activate

You might want to tweak the dialogue to tell the user to leave the Terminal app running.

Should this be a bash script? Probably. But this works and can be launched by the user and hides most of the gubbins so that the user can get on with their business.