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Don't Forget To Lock Your Computer


I believe that the term “Goating” is in reference to “Getting your goat”. The full definition is here: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=get+your+goat.

“Goating” in the context used, would be defined as “laying bait in order to attract someone’s goat”. This practice happens in all areas of life, mind you; not just the workplace.



There is an actual bluescreen screensaver that is much more realistic than I suspect you can do. No offense or anything, but this thing is amazing. You can find it on microsoft.com. :smiley:


My favorite is to append this to the bottom of the victim’s .bashrc file in the Linux lab at my school:

alias bash=“xeyes bash”


Used to do this years ago- Typing MODE CO40 at the dos prompt was an old fave… Back in the days when locking your keyboard involved using a key.


I am glad I read this so I know what kinds of things can happens when one is surrounded by insensitive louts in an office setting, and the manpaper.com link, which has some awesome pictures of guys, in fact, I would not be upset to find most of them on my desktop! Of course I would have to change it at the office, but install it at home.
OF COURSE I had to look up the goatse thing which turned out to be pretty hilarious, I am keeping that one too.
But beware! Touch my PC and it’s WAR, and I won’t stop at your unlocked PC, I have 1001 uses for things like super glue and more! We will see if you are still laughing when it’s all been done. Better yet I am very good at being sneaky, so you may NEVER figure it out! I may even get the evidence to point at your rival or best friend instead. I have EVERY RIGHT, after all you let your guard down didn’t you?
It’s all for the sake of teaching you a much-needed lesson in proper respect for your co-workers in the workplace, so you can hardly get bent out of shape for my kindness and concern in this matter can you? If so you just need to LOOSEN UP! Like that -um- reciever at goatse.
Which will NOT be quite so horrifying by comparison after I finish my “lesson”.
Sleep well tonight little pranksters… I could be lurking in the next cubicle down…


Hi Jeff, long time reader of your blog - some great stuff in there!

In case you haven’t heard this news story across the pond, the UK government has been learning the hard way about some other security issues:


I’m reminded of your post on rainbow tables and how easily password protected data can be cracked, and to know that my details could very well be going to the highest bidder in a few days is not fun :frowning:

Maybe I should take a leaf out of your book and install ‘Clippy’ on some of the Home Office computers!


Hah, I submitted that Jargon File entry back in Summer 1999 from Fitten 411 at Georgia Tech. Good times, Shouts out to my roommate Marcus Kwok!


If goating becomes an issue at a workplace, I recommend a proximity sensor like what Blackberry offers. They have a Bluetooth smartcard reader that offers some decent security functionality. Step away from the desk, your screen locks. Walk back, screen unlocks ready to continue.


I think the thing that all the people who like shit, superglue, and so on are missing is ease of reversibility. My wallpaper’s changed, it’s a second to change back, porn or not. My icons are shuffled around, it’s a few minutes to find them all. In situations like that, I can laugh, because it’s not something that harms me or wastes significant amounts of time.

Formatting? Feces and glue on the keyboard? How could you possibly think that’s on the same magnitude as moving a few things around?


At my previous job we used to send out e-mails from unlocked PCs in huge pink letters saying stuff like george michael fan number one and such.
Until it got old, and then I introduced the un-goating. This is when you don’t do anything but warn the person (before they go back to the computer) as if you did. Then laugh as they rush to their place…

In college we were less prudent, often adding hard core pr0n sites to each other’s bookmarks (hotmale.com was a favourite)…

GoatSing, not that’s a whole different story :smiley:


Personally I remain a big fan of sending an email to the rest of the team offering to bring pastries the following morning. :wink:

Works like wonder


Here’s a really annoying prank to play that takes no time at all to do.

Just press ALT+SHIFT in any (windows) application that the person will be typing in and it will change the keyboard layout.

It only persists until they restart the application, or you press ALT+SHIFT again, but it will have them screaming at their keyboard for a while.

Because of the way I use the keyboard I used to do this to myself all the time. Had me scratching my head every time until I worked out how I was triggering it.


unblock it


I’m a technician working in pharmaceuticals. Corporate policy is that we lock our computers when stepping away, even for a moment. (Not that my department deals with anything private or sensitive, but still.)

We do this all the time. Mostly we use the corporate instant messaging client of the victim to send a potentially embarrassing message to someone else in the department. (‘i luv you man!’ is pretty common. Or proclaiming the greatness of a sports team the computer owner hates.)

There are a few (previously) unspoken rules:

  1. Never send anything outside the department.
  2. Never, ever, ever send anything to the boss. (Like ‘I quit’, for example.)
  3. The message should be pretty obviously not sent by the computer owner.
  4. The message recipient should always pick on, make fun of, and generally ridicule the computer owner / apparent sender.
  5. Don’t do anything permanent, non-obvious, or difficult to undo.

As you can imagine, our computer security is considerably better now than before we started doing this…


All these years and I’ve been pressing ctrl+alt+numpaddel. winkey+L means I don’t have to move my arms as much now!


It’s a shame +L doesn’t go back to the unlock dialog though


it’s a shame the no html rule also removed my angle brackets in the first comment and ‘winkey’ in my previous comment


I hadn’t seen the Clippy parody. I wrote a macro which I’d add to the default document template at unoccupied workstations with similar behavior - he’d pop up at random intervals and say “This document is no good.” Very rarely, he’d bounce around the screen, pong style, and cycle through random animations (and there are lots of them). I think I was the only one who was sad when Clippy was removed from Office, as that prank was now worthless.

A co-worker at an old job pulled a great goating prank - he installed a windows service which allowed remote control (via browser) of the audio playback volume. His cube was in the same room as the victim, who loved to listen to techno on his headphones. The perpetrator would slowly tweak the volume louder, louder, REALLY LOUD… then when the victim lowered the volume, he’d keep making it quieter and quieter. He had fun with that for months - when the victim figured that out, he hacked the other guy’s website. It was the start of an entertaining, sort-of-friendly-ish war.


Another classic is to create a transparent icon and then set this as the default icon for all mouse cursors.

I had a friend at work go through about 3 mice declaring them all broke last time I did this :slight_smile:


I can’t believe how seriously some people seem to take themselves. At our office you will generally just end up with a my little pony wallpaper or a very sentimental email going out to your team.

Also, to the guy who said they don’t need to worry about it because their office building has a lock on the door and former employees wouldn’t have a key card to get in, good luck with that. Given your attitude about locking your computer, I’m guessing you aren’t that well trained on not letting someone into the building because they happen to be walking behind you when you use your key.