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April 02, 2008

Pure evil...

The Phantom Keystroker sounds like an especially nasty - but funny - little practical joke. I hope no one ever tries it on me.

PhantomKeystroker.jpg

Posted by joke du jour at April 2, 2008 06:38 PM

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Back in the Good Old Days(tm) of MS-DOS and XT's, I worked for a newspaper as a developer. This paper had installed on all their machines the new style keyboards, with real cursor movement keys in between the QWERTY portion and the numeric keypad. Being a Real Developer, I understood this innovation to be nothing but near sacrilege, and set my machine to boot with num lock off, so I could continue to use the real cursor movement keys, which of course were on the numeric keypad doubling as numbers.

My boss had the annoying habit of borrowing my terminal when I was fetching coffee and a smoke or eating lunch, and he would inevitably turn num lock on and fail to turn it off when he left. This annoyed me greatly, so I wrote a tiny little program and inserted it into my config.sys file: I called it numnuts.sys (

Numnuts simply monitored the state of the num lock key and would turn it off if it was ever turned on. This led to much consternation on the part of my betters, and also to much less "borrowing" of my terminal, as it was obviously broken.

So, of course, I modified the code slightly to take a command line parameter specifying the number of seconds it would allow num lock to stay on, and installed it surreptitiously on my bosses machine.

I let him go through four keyboards and a motherboard before I uninstalled the daemon and returned his sanity ...

Be well,
Dave H.

Posted by: Dave H at April 3, 2008 05:06 AM

Pretty funny tale, Dave.

Thanks -

Posted by: JdJ at April 3, 2008 09:18 AM

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