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#1
Old 03-02-2007, 05:09 PM
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Is there a program that can wiggle my mouse every 5 minutes?

Ugh, my place of employment recently implemented a patch that locks our Windows XP computers after five minutes of inactivity, thus requiring us to re-login.

That would be find and dandy if my specific job didnít require me to be away from the computer at about 6 minute intervals multiple times per hour. In short, relogging back in gets really annoying.

The only way around this, that I can think of, is if I got a wireless mouse and carried it with me wherever I go, clicking one of the mouse buttons every 4 minutes and 59 seconds to avoid my computer from locking.

But that really isnít that practical. So is there a program that can do something similar automatically? Perhaps a little automatic jitter of the mouse, or the pressing of some benign key (such as the Print Screen key) to prevent my comp from locking itself?
#2
Old 03-02-2007, 05:18 PM
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It would appear that programs do exist for your exact situation. Just Google "mouse jiggler". A question: Does your company allow you to install software?

Otherwise, get a hyperactive dog.
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#3
Old 03-02-2007, 05:22 PM
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Oh yeah, we can install pretty much whatever we want, so far as I know. This was just a system wide update, that covers thousands of users, that sadly doesn't jive with all of our work duties.

I imagine it's to prevent confidential information from being access whike someone is away from the computer, but in my work, I don't deal with any of that.
#4
Old 03-02-2007, 05:25 PM
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Hmm, I tried the Google search, but it's just giving OS X applications; are there any Windows Xp ones?
#5
Old 03-02-2007, 05:44 PM
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Yeah, I'm only finding the Mac OS one as well. I'll keep looking.

I did find one reference to 'stay online' apps that, essentially, do the same thing, though for a different reason. Such as this one.*

*I just found it while searching; I have no knowledge as to its performance, security, or reliability.
#6
Old 03-02-2007, 05:54 PM
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Are you able to change your screen saver settings (in the Display control panel)? If so, changing that timeout may solve your problem. Where I used to work we could set the timeout and the screen saver to whatever we wanted, but if they were outside company specs they'd get reset to company defaults the next time we logged on. If that happened to be the case in your situation, you could just twiddle things to your liking once a day (or however often you log on).

However, remember that it is never wise to call down the wrath of IT gods.
#7
Old 03-02-2007, 05:54 PM
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This one looks interesting:

http://freedownloadscenter.com/U...use_Mover.html
#8
Old 03-02-2007, 06:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canadjun
Are you able to change your screen saver settings (in the Display control panel)?
Sadly, it seems that I can't. It's locked at "15 minutes," although I think the screensave comes on even sooner. Thanks anyway though.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Scruloose
This one looks interesting
Thanks Scruloose, but it looks like it's not longer an active download

Hopefully I can find that program elsewhere though. Thanks for helping me out
#9
Old 03-02-2007, 06:05 PM
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I've never heard of any such patch - it sounds more like something like a security policy your IT department would have had to explicitly choose to install, in which case circumventing it like this seems like a bad idea.
#10
Old 03-02-2007, 06:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scruloose
Otherwise, get a hyperactive dog.
If you tied a piece of string between one of these and your mouse, perhaps with a few pulleys and such to keep things cyclical, you could keep your mouse moving whenever you are away from your desk.
#11
Old 03-02-2007, 06:32 PM
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get some connex? connects? those legoish things with little motors and gears and build yourself an automatic mouse jiggler from scratch. (in all seriousness there was a guy who did this in everquest, he made a machine that would fish for him even when he was sleeping)

http://ergodex.com/mainpage.htm
get one of those, you can make a macro that will run for up to an hour. you dont need a mouse jiggle (its one option) you could make a macro that tabs a few times or maybe alt+tabs a few times and just run it whenever you get up. (yeah its expensive but it will change your gaming experience forever...and its good for stuff like work.
#12
Old 03-02-2007, 06:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Squink
If you tied a piece of string between one of these and your mouse, perhaps with a few pulleys and such to keep things cyclical, you could keep your mouse moving whenever you are away from your desk.
OK, the pixelated plug in the video is freakin' hilarious.

And if all else fails, plan "C".
#13
Old 03-02-2007, 09:45 PM
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If you know a little scripting/programming try AutoIt

If you don't know any programming and send me an email, I might be able to dig up an old script of mine that'll work.
#14
Old 03-02-2007, 10:28 PM
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If you know any engineers, I'm sure you could get them to design a capable machine. It would look cool to boot!
#15
Old 03-02-2007, 10:50 PM
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Saver Starter might do the trick for you. It lets you manually disable or run your screen saver.
#16
Old 03-02-2007, 11:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yag Rannavach
If you know a little scripting/programming try AutoIt
A scripting language such as this is the way to go, IMHO.

I've never tried AutoIt; I use AutoHotKey for my scripting needs. It's free and easy to learn, and can make standalone .EXE executables that don't need the Autohotkey program loaded in order to run.

RedBarchetta, I recommend that you try the following steps (less than 5 minutes total). You can try it out at home first, then install the resulting .EXE file on your work computer tomorrow.
  1. Download AutoHotkey from this page, and install it on your PC.
  2. Create a new text document using Notepad.
  3. Copy and paste the following code into the new text document:
    Code:
    StartWiggling:
    SecondsDelay=1
    Distance=1
    MouseGetPos,OldMouseX,OldMouseY
    MouseMove,OldMouseX+Distance,OldMouseY
    MouseMove,OldMouseX,OldMouseY
    sleep SecondsDelay*1000
    goto StartWiggling
  4. Save the file as "WiggleMouse.ahk" (note the .ahk extension -- it's important!). You can save it to any directory that you want, or on the Desktop.
  5. To test the program, double-click on "WiggleMouse.ahk" in Windows Explorer (or on the Desktop icon if that's the path you chose). You should see a new icon in your PC's Task Tray -- it'll be a green square with a white "H" in it. Look at the mouse pointer carefully; it'll wiggle one pixel to right -- and rapidly back -- once per second. The one-pixel wiggle is set by the "Distance" parameter in my above script, and the delay between wiggles is the "SecondsDelay" parameter. [I found that the one-pixel wiggle didn't affect normal operation at all, since anything that you're aiming at is bigger than one pixel wide, so you can leave the program running all the time at work.]
  6. Kill the program by right-clicking on the "H" icon in the Task Tray and left-clicking "Exit".
  7. Once you've seen it work, open up the "WiggleMouse.ahk" in Notepad (or right-click it and select "Edit Script", which is the same thing). Change the "SecondsDelay" value in the second line from 1 to 240. Save the script file again. Now, when you run it, it's wiggle the mouse every 4 minutes.
  8. If you want to save it as a stand-alone executable for use at work, click "Start -> Programs -> Autohotkey -> Convert .ahk to .exe". Load the "Source (script file)" field by Browsing to the "WiggleMouse.ahk", leave the other fields blank, and click the ">Convert<" button. You'll get a "WiggleMouse.exe" in the same folder as the .ahk file.
  9. e-mail "WiggleMouse.exe" to yourself at work, download it, and try it out! If all is fine, install it in the "Startup" folder so it launches in the background on bootup.
The script took me about 2 minutes to write and test -- much less than the time to write this post! It'll be easy to modify if it doesn't quite work the way you want it to (for instance, if your work's XP patch doesn't recognize a single-pixel wiggle, we can make the wiggle bigger). We could also try making an .EXE that takes command-line parameters. However, this quick-and-dirty version should work for you.

Don't worry about having it running in the background all the time; on my PC it takes up 2.6MB of RAM when running, and consumes less than 1% of the CPU time (i.e. it reads as 0%) even running at one wiggle per second.
#17
Old 03-03-2007, 01:13 AM
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I seem to remember autoit and autohotkey being related sometime in the distant past. The last time I went looking was around two years ago though, so I might be misremembering.
#18
Old 03-03-2007, 01:27 AM
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I always thought one of these drinking birds might do the trick.

On second look, it takes water to work.

Last edited by Ruby; 03-03-2007 at 01:30 AM.
#19
Old 03-03-2007, 04:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yag Rannavach
I seem to remember autoit and autohotkey being related sometime in the distant past.
You're correct. The Help File for AutoHotKey says:
Quote:
A special thanks to Jonathan Bennett, whose generosity in releasing AutoIt v2 as free software in 1999 served as an inspiration and time-saver for myself and many others worldwide. In addition, many of AutoHotkey's enhancements to the AutoIt v2 command set, as well as the Window Spy and the script compiler, were adapted directly from the AutoIt v3 source code. So thanks to Jon and the other AutoIt authors for those as well.
The C++ source code for AutoHotKey is available, which I don't think is true for AutoIt (for what that's worth).

Red Barchetta, after playing around with the script I gave in post #16, I decided to tighten it up to solve two potential slight (and extremely unlikely to occur) problems. I prefer this, which uses inherently relative mouse positioning, (and is one line shorter!):
Code:
SecondsDelay=1
Distance=1
StartWiggling:
MouseMove,Distance,0,0,R
MouseMove,-Distance,0,0,R
sleep SecondsDelay*1000
goto StartWiggling
[This is for the 1-wiggle-per-second test version. Replace the "SecondsDelay=1" with "SecondsDelay=240" to give a once-per-4-minute wiggle rate as before.]
#20
Old 03-03-2007, 04:44 AM
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Thanks everyone for the help, but damn, extra special thanks goes to Antonius Block for that awesome program that works perfectly! I can't wait to get this running on my work machine.

Only on the dope can you find such helpful people. Thanks so much Antonius!

Last edited by Red Barchetta; 03-03-2007 at 04:44 AM.
#21
Old 03-03-2007, 10:48 AM
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If the software doesn't work, I've heard of a lady who used a clock. Rigged the second hand to jiggle a lever/ruler or some such against the mouse. Apparently it was enough movement to prevent the computer for logging off.

Out of curiosity are you in the travel industry? (SABRE has implemented just such a system wide requirement, to log of users after a set time period).
#22
Old 03-03-2007, 11:07 AM
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And here I thought "wiggle my mouse" was some new euphemism.
#23
Old 03-03-2007, 12:46 PM
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Probably not addressing the OP's needs, but I had a need to do this sort of thing from java a few months back. FWIW, there's a java.awt class that can manipulate the mouse and keyboard, actually intended for writing automated test harnesses and demos, and it's very simple. It can do screen captures as well. It's been around since JDK 1.3.

import java.awt.Robot;
import java.awt.event.KeyEvent;

...

Robot robo = new Robot();

...

robo.keyPress(KeyEvent.VK_SHIFT);
robo.keyRelease(KeyEvent.VK_SHIFT);

The above simply presses the shift key, which I found to be sufficient to convince SETI to stop when my automated tasks written in java ran.

http://java.sun.com/j2se/1.3/docs/ap...awt/Robot.html

Last edited by yabob; 03-03-2007 at 12:48 PM.
#24
Old 03-03-2007, 01:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Antonius Block
Don't worry about having it running in the background all the time; on my PC it takes up 2.6MB of RAM when running, and consumes less than 1% of the CPU time (i.e. it reads as 0%) even running at one wiggle per second.
2.6MB for that!? And to think I once had a boss who said that any program worth writing could be coded in less than 4K. Times sure have changed!
#25
Old 03-03-2007, 01:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mangetout
I've never heard of any such patch - it sounds more like something like a security policy your IT department would have had to explicitly choose to install, in which case circumventing it like this seems like a bad idea.
I'm afraid I'm going to have to be that tiresome guy and agree that circumventing an implemented security policy of your organisation is probably not something you want to be doing.

A large proportion of security problems are caused by users circumventing rules that are in place for very good reasons. If you feel that the rule is interfering with your job the correct solution is to bring it up with whomever is in charge of your organisational security policy. Changing a time-out from 5 to 10 minutes in response to an organisational need such as yours is a pretty small and reasonable request that is unlikely to raise the kind of hackles that will be raised if your IS people catch you running code to end run around their security.
#26
Old 03-03-2007, 02:08 PM
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Guys, I asked a specific question. What I am not looking for are opinions on the ethics regarding what I want to do; I'm more than capable of deciding that for myself, which I already have.

Last edited by Red Barchetta; 03-03-2007 at 02:10 PM.
#27
Old 03-03-2007, 05:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Barchetta
Guys, I asked a specific question. What I am not looking for are opinions on the ethics regarding what I want to do; I'm more than capable of deciding that for myself, which I already have.
There are certain specific questions for which it is inappropriate to withhold such comment, for example "I intend to drill a hole in my head; should I use a spade bit, or an auger?". Your question simply falls into this category.
#28
Old 03-03-2007, 05:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mangetout
There are certain specific questions for which it is inappropriate to withhold such comment, for example "I intend to drill a hole in my head; should I use a spade bit, or an auger?". Your question simply falls into this category.
Are you seriously treating the two questions as equals?

Regardless, I've made it clear that I do not wish to discuss the merits of what I intend to do, so I would appreciate it if you respected that wish, because at this point, it would be "inappropriate" to do anything else.

Last edited by Red Barchetta; 03-03-2007 at 05:55 PM.
#29
Old 03-03-2007, 05:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mangetout
There are certain specific questions for which it is inappropriate to withhold such comment, for example "I intend to drill a hole in my head; should I use a spade bit, or an auger?". Your question simply falls into this category.
I know this is straying outside the bounds of GQ, but which one is better for self-treating a demonic possession, and which one is better for removing memories of magical numbers and formulas?
#30
Old 03-03-2007, 06:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Barchetta
Are you seriously treating the two questions as equals?
No, and I didn't say I was. they happen to fall into the same category, that is the category of questions where it is inappropriate to withold unsolicited advice as to the wisdom of the stated action. That's all.

Quote:
Regardless, I've made it clear that I do not wish to discuss the merits of what I intend to do, so I would appreciate it if you respected that wish, because at this point, it would be "inappropriate" to do anything else.
I don't care. It was a salient point, regardless whether or not you've considered it, or think you have, or think it doesn't matter.
#31
Old 03-03-2007, 06:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mangetout
I don't care.

Great, then stop crapping on my thread.
#32
Old 03-03-2007, 06:08 PM
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Ok.
#33
Old 03-03-2007, 06:19 PM
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I figured that you had already asked yourself the question "Is this a wise thing for me to try?", Red Barchetta.

I certainly hope that the program works as desired -- let us know on Monday! However, one must take caution from Robert Burns, here :
Quote:
The best-laid schemes oí mice aní men
Gang aft agley,
Aníleaíe us nought but grief aní pain,
For promisíd joy!
So, if you get fired or your workplace vanishes into a pan-galactic anomaly, the SDMB will disavow any knowledge of your actions! We beg you not to install that program! [ ]

Quote:
Originally Posted by Musicat
2.6MB for that!? And to think I once had a boss who said that any program worth writing could be coded in less than 4K. Times sure have changed!
I know you're being tongue-in-cheeck, but I'd point out that the 2.6MB is the amount assigned by my OS when there's oodles of Ram to spare. The executable WiggleMouse.exe is ~200kB on disk (still horribly bloated, but not unusual for a small program that nevertheless uses Windows API calls). The source code for my script can be brought down to about 64 bytes by hard-coding values and shortening the loop's name.

I'm usually strongly against bloated code, which is why I use PowerBasic whenever possible; WiggleMouse.exe would be a few kB with that. An assembly-language WiggleMouse.exe would be a few hundred bytes (mainly just entry/exit code required by any Windows .EXE). However, for Red Barchetta's problem it seemed that a "quick-'n'-dirty" solution -- using a freely-downloadable compiler -- was the order of the day. Plus, it showcases the ease and usefulness of simple scripting languages to solve repetitive problems...

[Of course, back in the DOS days, a TSR doing the same thing would only be about 20 bytes!]
#34
Old 03-03-2007, 06:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yag Rannavach
I know this is straying outside the bounds of GQ, but which one is better for self-treating a demonic possession, and which one is better for removing memories of magical numbers and formulas?
Well, a spade bit for the latter. But for the former, it's best to use a hammer drill with a masonry bit.
#35
Old 03-03-2007, 06:26 PM
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In general, the Straight Dope prefers that questions about how to defeat computer security, how to pick locks, how to download copyrighted material and other such bothersome topics, not be posted.

This one's closed.

samclem General Questions Moderator
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