This week's book giveaway is in the OO, Patterns, UML and Refactoring forum. We're giving away four copies of Refactoring for Software Design Smells: Managing Technical Debt and have Girish Suryanarayana, Ganesh Samarthyam & Tushar Sharma on-line! See this thread for details.
I believe "top" extensively uses "curses"... so it may be difficult to just run it, and read the standard output. You might want to use some lower level applicatios like vmstat, netstat, or ps, instead.