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Don't Forget To Lock Your Computer


I am glad this does not happen where I study. If it did though I would only lock my computer until I got my hand on some wires that I could attach to the keyboard. That would ensure that whoever thought they where funny only did it once. 220V through the fingers does not kill but you fingers will shake for quite some time.

This could even be made safe for me by rigging up some RFID to automatically turn it off.


Here’s what I used do. Since we all usually carry mobile phone all the times , iI use “Float MobileAgent” along with it which locks my machine whenever my mobile phone moves beyond a certain range. Further i can use the same application to control my machine using Phone’s HID Interface.
Neat isn’t it.


The new GNOME has a new feature where you can write notes on a locked screen, e.g. If you meant to catch someone but they were away or, I suppose, if their computer was unlocked you could always lock it for them and then write a warning note…

Not as fun as the clippy parody though! :wink:


Its all a bit school yard isn’t it?

I used to read the daily WTF, but its quality slowly declined. The article they had on goating was the nail in the coffin for me. 200 plus replies of childish pranks, masquerading as security concerns. I unsubscribed after that.

You can do better than this Jeff.


Looking PC doesn’t help sometimes! Someone has joked at some guy in our office by switching two buttons on his keyboard. He did notice this after some time has passed. And just changed his keyboard to the new one one(he was going to change it anyway and keys woking incorrectly were good reason). After that his friend has changed the same keys on the new keyboard! That forced keyboard owner to turn his brain on and find the reason. That was very funny :-))


don’t touch my shit. If you screw with my machine “because you didn’t prevent me from doing so” I’m going to set your mailfile to /dev/null because I can.


I can’t believe the number of people that are offended by this sort of office humor. Fundamentally, what it does is serve to increase the security of the company’s assets by making employees learn to lock their workstations. There is nothing bad about such education! Can it go too far? Absolutely, but changing the desktop background or installing Clippy is an easily undoable thing. The people who consider this “childish” really need to loosen up. In particular, the guy advocating electrocution of his officemates is a psychopath.


Being a student makes things a lot funnier than they really are:

On a VAX system at the university I went to I had found a user that had left themselves logged in and left. Added to their login script an alias such that when they asked for a directory listing, it only showed files that were created 10 years earlier. (ie. showed no files in their account)

The sys-op/lecturer approached me a few days later, saying he “knew” I wouldn’t have done such a thing!! And proceeded to tell me that the user is a niece to the head sysop in the parent university.

He apparently got in trouble for my ‘trick’ because some previous time he had also come across this user left logged in and had shifted all her files off into some system area so she had no files in her account.
She had cried ‘help’ to her uncle, uncle had talked to lecturer, lecturer explained to uncle what had happened.
This time, she complained to uncle, uncle sent a rocket at lecturer, and lecturer explained that he had done nothing this time.

Good thing I got on well with the lecturer.


lol, we do this all the time at our office, too.
Other fun stuff we did:

  • Replacing the Internet Explorer icon with Firefox Icon and visa verca.
  • Replacing the icon of shortcuts on the desktop or quicklaunch menu with something silly like a star.
  • Placing a little bit of office tape underneath the optical sensor of the mouse.
  • Hiding the startmenu and set the desktop wallpaper to an image, which displays the startmenu.


We have a similar practice at my office. If someone doesn’t lock their machine they get “hoffed” and will end up with a new background of David Hasselhoff. It’s quite disturbing.


Clippy parody is just… Brilliant, I’ve just tried. Superb, brillaint.


During an internship a couple of years ago, a couple of people in the group I was in went on holiday for a few days at the same time. For various reasons relating to who had the working builds, they left their laptops in the office and told us their administrator passwords.


We cooked up a small program which would shake an inactive window very slightly every 120 seconds, with the period becoming smaller and the shakes becoming more violent every time. The victim tended to use one almost-maximised window on each of his monitors, which was ideal: it took him about three hours to convince himself that he wasn’t imagining things.

(Switching X and Z also entertained for a few seconds.)


Jeff wrote: Imagine what someone who wasn’t a friend or coworker could do.

I don’t know about anyone else you, but we generally don’t allow random people to roam unsupervised in our office.

I have to agree with Gordon: tampering with the tools coworkers use to do their job isn’t the answer. And this isn’t an issue of being uptight about pranks. As a developer I use my computer for all aspects of my job, and I don’t want it to be jacked up because you’re trying to teach me a ‘lesson’. If physical security is critical in your particular environment, then the IT department should mandate locking your system when you’re away from it. Don’t take it upon yourself to enlighten the world by any means necessary.

A better solution might be making it as quick and easy to unlock a system as lock it (perhaps using biometrics.) Sure it’s only a few seconds to log back in the standard way, but if you roam your office a lot as part of your job, having to type in your ultra-strong password all the time, along with the inevitable typos and re-typing, gets old fast.


Years ago I used to work in a largeish public sectory company who had just moved from dumb unix terminals to windows machines running the dumb-terminal software, all atop a standard corporate desktop.

For weeks staff moaned the new system was slower.

While people were at lunch we had great fun switching monitors on the person opposite and awaiting their return.

For the first few minutes you’d mimic them, and then start to make comments on the work they were doing by tping other things you thought they would be thinking. (“This person is an idiot”) (“It’s time for a coffee break”) (etc)



if you want to have SAFE and SECURE system - don’t use WINDOWS, for start. :wink:



If you work in an environment requiring security I suppose this is a “Nice” way to tell someone to keep things locked up (Nice as opposed to some official warning), however if this caught on a company I worked for, I’d be pretty annoyed.

Generally my PC has no better access than any laptop dropped onto the network. Everyone in the room has checkin/out privileges and stuff.

If someone really wants to read my gmail, go for it. Usually the first thing I do on a company PC is disable the screensaver lock and, if possible, disable the login screen altogether, but it depends on the company/group I’m working with.

I know I’m pretty pissed when I’m helping some paranoid asshole and every time I have to do anything on his PC, he has to reach over and enter the password every couple minutes.


AAAAH memories.

Back in the late 90’s when I was an intern, I wrote a clippyesque prank on one of our Oracle DBAs. Back then, she used the Windows version of SQL Plus (which hasn’t changed in the past 10 years) to interact with our Oracle server (a dual Pentium Pro with 4GB of RAM! Amazing power!)

So I wrote a fake SQL Plus. It would tell her that she needed to get an expensive consultant to execute the commands, or it would tell her thing s like “ORA-02834: An error occurred. Whoops, never mind.”

She actually looked up the first few errors in her manuals before she realized what had been done.


If someone else tells me that I need to lock my desktop at work when I stand up, then the terrorists have already won.


Hey Now Jeff,
I hear you load clear. Windows button L every time I leave my workstation (Win + L). Inverted screen left handed mice are kinda funny too.
Coding Horror Fan,


Back in the early 90s I worked in a *nix shop and we played similar pranks. My favorite trick was to add a nice’d shell to the end of a .login; this had the effect of making all of that user’s processes run at a lower priority.

I remember one particular episode that was less dramatic but highly entertaining for all: a programmer in my dev group was going on vacation and decided to write down his password on a piece of paper so that I could have it ‘in case I needed it’. I took it, copied it onto a much larger sheet of paper, and then stood up in the middle of the dev group, held up the sheet and said, “Everyone… may I have your attention… this is Tracey’s password.” Suffice it to say that he never did that again.