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May 25, 2006 11:16 AM   Subscribe

Jedi schmedi! Do something useful, and smack your Mac! (In public, even.)
posted by eriko (18 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

I just saw this somewhere - looks cool. I was worried that it was going to be turning off the HD every time, but it uses a custom script to read the horizontal accelerometer. Cool idea... maybe i'll give it a try once it's not just a mess of code on his page.

(just got my macbook pro this morning)
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 11:22 AM on May 25, 2006

That's pretty cool, but I wonder what sort of damage repeatedly smacking your laptop can do?

Before I opened this, I was thinking someone made their Mac scream in pain anytime it was banged around. For some reason, I think it would be extremely satisfying to hear my computer cry when I hit it.
posted by Crash at 11:23 AM on May 25, 2006

That's so cool that it makes me wish I knew how to do it. I fonly I didn't have to learn a bunch of new stuff, I'd be all over it.
posted by OmieWise at 11:23 AM on May 25, 2006

Don't worry, omiewise, if you have the hardware then sooner or later someone will release something easy to install and easy to use. That's the miracle of our modern, nerdy age.

And mathowie, that alarm looks excellent, thanks for the link... I'm going to be travelling soon and I don't want to be the guy who takes his laptop into the bathroom with him. Unseemly.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 11:27 AM on May 25, 2006

I put it on mine this morning and have been enjoying it immensely.

It doesn't take a large whack, generally a light tap will do the trick, nothing strong enough to do damage.
posted by bitdamaged at 11:29 AM on May 25, 2006

How about tapping the top to hide the current window?

I really wish you could retrofit the sensor. My 12" Powerbook is ideal, otherwise. Well, mod the currently failing hard drive, but the replacement is on the way, and since (despite documentation to the contrary) it has no problems booting off a USB 2.0 hard disk, all my data is safe and the machine's running like a champ.

Not exactly portable, alas, but we'll fix that.

Otherwise, it is more than fast enough, and small enough to be road worthy, and I still don't trust the Intel Macs.

Grumble! Whine!
posted by eriko at 11:40 AM on May 25, 2006

First impression: Cool!

Second impression: This technology has some really interesting long-term implications for computer control and interaction. I honestly think that the interface applications of the sensor technology are going to be wider-ranging than hard-drive protection. So far we've seen some interesting toys like the jedi sound-effects, but hacks like the screen switch and the alarm are going to (hopefully) change the way humans interact with their computers.
posted by lekvar at 12:25 PM on May 25, 2006

so i dont know... on my macbook the sensors are having a hard time distinguishing a tap on the left edge from a tap on the right edge. and the x/y sensors are not accelerometers, they are tilt sensors. so picking up the macbook and tipping it will cause it to switch desktops all over the place...

anyway, its still pretty darn cool.
posted by joeblough at 12:25 PM on May 25, 2006

I would be all about getting one of these, but the macbooks have GLOSSY SCREENS. I haven't forgiven apple for that yet. GLOSSY! Who wants a glossy screen? The glare! I don't understand! Isn't a glossy screen a cheap screen? You can opt for a matte screen on a pro, but not on the macbook. Wah. Pout.

posted by Hildegarde at 1:47 PM on May 25, 2006

The glossy screen is fine. I was using mine in a cafe today and I never even noticed it.
posted by mathowie at 3:12 PM on May 25, 2006

Really? Well, that's good news. I haven't actually seen a mac glossy screen yet, but all the cheapass laptops that come into my place of work on a daily basis can't be anywhere near a window for the glare.

But I trust your judgement, Matt. My heart rate has lowered significantly.
posted by Hildegarde at 4:37 PM on May 25, 2006

That is fucking cool. I smack my winbox all the time and all it does is crash.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 6:13 PM on May 25, 2006

It's like Andy Hertzfeld's 1985 vintage mac app, Switcher, for OS X.
posted by D.C. at 8:21 PM on May 25, 2006

(Not that virtual desktop apps are new. But this implementation has a coolness that Switcher had when it was new.)
posted by D.C. at 8:26 PM on May 25, 2006

joeblough wrote: on my macbook the sensors are having a hard time distinguishing a tap on the left edge from a tap on the right edge.

That's to be expected. The sensor isn't designed to be a user input device. It's only supposed to park the disk and update the CAL.
posted by ryanrs at 8:50 PM on May 25, 2006

The sensor isn't designed to be a user input device.

It wasn't designed to park hard drives either.

It's a simple, cheap 3 axis accelerometer. That misses the miracle -- "simple" and "cheap" have never combined with "accelerometer" until MEMS came along.

They're quite common in cars, for airbag deployment, and auto GPS systems, where they track the car's motion when the GPS lock is lost.

All it does is measure accelerations along the X, Y and Z axis, and report that. The one in the Powerbooks is quite good -- works well at low G inputs, and can easily output at 1μs resolutions, though you'd spend a fair amount of CPU dealing with the datastream.

If the slap isn't working well, the sensor probably isn't being read quickly enough. I do know at least one Mac notebook with AMS/SMS output the X axis reversed from the others, which would mess things up as well (I think it is the iBook, but I'm not sure.)

There's more than enough resolution available from the device to use it as an input device.

D.C -- yeah, reminded me of Switcher right off the bat -- the screen motion, though, reminded me of the Amiga's workspace, esp. the "grab the bouncing ball demo, pull it down to reveal the workbench."
posted by eriko at 4:53 AM on May 26, 2006

I'm kinda surprised nobody suggested smacking Mac fanboys instead of Macs... not that I would say such a thing myself, mind you... :)
posted by Foosnark at 6:23 AM on May 26, 2006

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