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February 16, 2007 8:43 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for an OS X utility that will capture and discard all keyboard and mouse input until I tell it to stop.

Typical use case: I want to play a movie without the cat or baby interrupting it by banging on / walking on the keyboard. Bonus points if it also prevents the screen saver kicking in.
posted by Armitage Shanks to Computers & Internet (17 answers total)
 
How do you plan to tell it to stop?
posted by edd at 8:56 AM on February 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Not totally sure what you mean. But here is Keyboard Cleaner. For Mac, though:

http://jan.prima.de/~jan/plok/archives/48-Keyboard-Cleaner.html

Good luck finding a Windows app to do it. I would try some googling with the words "keystroke, cleaner, freeware."
posted by sneakin at 9:04 AM on February 16, 2007


How do you plan to tell it to stop?

Voice recognition, Apple remote, remote ssh login?

OK, "discard all keyboard and mouse input except for the keyboard and/or mouse input specifically designated as the signal to terminate said discarding activity".

But here is Keyboard Cleaner.

I looked at Keyboard Cleaner, but it blanks the screen. I just want to prevent unintentional keyboard/mouse activity from having any effect.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 9:09 AM on February 16, 2007


It seems like the simplest way to start and stop it would be a long keypress (holding down the o for 8 seconds toggles it on or off). Or a little USB dongle (physically plugging and unplugging turns it on or off), which would also take care of storing the capture. Sory I don't know an existing product, but those are two easy ways to start/stop.
posted by allterrainbrain at 9:13 AM on February 16, 2007


usb keyboard + usb extension cable

Just unplug it while watching something?

This is definitely clumsy and low tech, but if you cant find anything else it might be just the thing.
posted by utsutsu at 9:14 AM on February 16, 2007


Does the OS have an option to ignore input from the existing keyboard & mouse when an external keyboard & mouse are plugged in? That would solve the unwanted-input problem but not the data-capture problem.

Do you really want to "capture" this data? (Maybe you just mean "trap so it can be ignored"?) Usually in this context "capture" means "preserve a record of."
posted by allterrainbrain at 9:18 AM on February 16, 2007


Get a KVM switch. Allows you to switch keyboard/mouse input from computer A to computer B. Except there is no computer B. When you want the keyboard and mouse to "work" again, throw the switch back to A.

Most video-playing software has an option to disable the screensaver while a movie is playing.
posted by jellicle at 9:25 AM on February 16, 2007


Usually in this context "capture" means "preserve a record of."

Yeah, that's why I wrote "discard" even though I knew somebody was going to ask how to make it stop :)

Here's a more specific use case: I'm on an airplane with my two-year-old son who is being mostly pacified by watching Finding Nemo on my laptop which is on the seat tray in front of him. I just want the movie to play without being affected by an occasional whack on the keyboard or touch of the trackpad. If I hit a difficult-to-accidentally-input key combination (hmm, like, say, Command-Q), everything goes back to normal.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 9:26 AM on February 16, 2007


This actually sounds like a pretty good idea. If no one has stepped forward with a pre-existing solution by the time I get back from my classes tonight, I will start playing around with making a program that does this.
No guarantees, though-- I have done very little programming for OS X.
posted by ckolderup at 10:14 AM on February 16, 2007


PawSense is software made to recognize and ignore keyboard inputs from cats. I imagine it would work on babies as well. Unfortunately, there is no Mac version available yet, but you can sign up to be notified when there is.
posted by geeky at 10:24 AM on February 16, 2007


One way I can imagine doing this would be to create a transparent full-screen window sitting in front. One downside to that is that background windows don't usually update as quickly on OS X, so video playing underneath might be less smooth.

Thanks geeky, I've been trying to remember the name of that app.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 10:45 AM on February 16, 2007


I suggest google search "disable keyboard children," no quotes (check it out, linkylinky)

ckolderup, some DIY efforts there you might want to modify/improve if you are working on this, particularly this one which I actually got out of my first attempt, "application disable keyboard"

So often it comes down to the correct word, in this case being "disable." Most difficult example of this I ever toiled to discover? Lenticular. I'm going to be completely honest here: it was mostly luck.
posted by nanojath at 8:43 PM on February 16, 2007


ach, missed the OSX requirement. Which seems to make things difficult though I didn't check all the possibilities.
posted by nanojath at 8:58 PM on February 16, 2007


ckolderup, some DIY efforts there you might want to modify/improve if you are working on this, particularly this one which I actually got out of my first attempt, "application disable keyboard"

Which isn't much use given that the original question and ckolderup's response both specifically refer to OS X.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 9:00 PM on February 16, 2007


Note to self: always hit Preview one last time.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 9:03 PM on February 16, 2007


QT Kiosk might work in the specific case of playing a movie for a toddler.

I haven't used it, but sounds like it may do the trick.
posted by dweingart at 12:43 AM on February 17, 2007


Okay, sorry I didn't report back sooner, but I couldn't connect to Metafilter for a while and then I got invited out to see a movie. Anyway, I did some playing around and I ran into some problems.
DVD Player won't let you Cmd-Tab to another program while you're in Fullscreen mode. If you do, it exits full screen.
VLC, however, WILL let you Cmd-Tab (and plays DVDs from any region) but then you get the menubar on the top of the screen. I'm not sure if that's acceptable, but here's what I did and as long as you're okay with the menubar, here's a really quick fix:
1. Open VLC and TextEdit.
2. Start your video in fullscreen mode.
3. Cmd-Tab to TextEdit, then hit Cmd-H or Cmd-M to get rid of the new document.

Pretty much any single-key input at that point won't mess with your playing video. You could also probably go into VLC's configuration and delete all of the various keyboard controls (play, pause, skip, etc.) except for fullscreen (cmd-F) and then just use the GUI controls for controlling the DVD when you need to do so.

Also, I noticed no one mentioned disabling the screensaver. Most video players do this automatically when you're in fullscreen mode, but if they don't, you can always set "Hot Corners" (I think it's under the Expose menu in Preferences, but I don't have a Mac in front of me at the moment) to disable the screen saver if you put the cursor in the corner of the screen.
posted by ckolderup at 9:02 AM on February 17, 2007


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