New Clock Idea: The Ghost In The Machine

I came up with an interesting (I think) idea for a clock. I made a quick proof-of-concept which you can download here: mouseclock.exe. When you run it, it registers “CTRL+T” as a system-wide hotkey, and when you press it, it “writes” the time onto the screen with the movement of the mouse cursor. It does it in my handwriting by the way, done with a simple motioncapture program I wrote as well (which you’re welcome to download), and I’ll admit that I didn’t really go to very much effort in making sure my handwriting was neat. But as a proof-of-concept I really had fun putting this together and I hope it amuses someone. If anyone is actually weird enough to think it’s useful, I’ll happily clean it up and maybe even integrate the mouse recorder a bit more nicely so that you can program it with your own handwriting.

Download the mouse cursor clock!

Other than that, and much more excitingly, we’re headed off to the airport to pick up Nefarious shortly, which means that we finally get to open our Christmas presents. I also have a package waiting for me at the post office for tomorrow, so the presents don’t end tonight. They should have though, because there was an “attempted” delivery note on the front door, and we’ve been here all day and there was no doorbell ringing. I think a lot of the time they just knock and don’t push the button, which is kind of annoying since the door is too far away to hear. I think I’m going to put a really obvious note on the front door that points at the doorbell and says “hey! please ring this if you want my attention!” or something.



  1. Shannon wrote:

    btw even though I am not sure that anyone has any interest, my after-nefarious’s-bedtime project was writing a new and much better version of this, which has a great editor in it so you can create your own mouse fonts and so on… it’s very cool. feel free to download this but i will post something MUCH nicer probably tomorrow.

    Monday, December 28, 2009 at 10:53 pm | Permalink
  2. steph wrote:

    You know Shannon I am convinced that Canada post just doesn’t even bother to try and deliver anything. At least not in Montreal. I had a package arrive 2 weeks ago claiming on the notice “no answer” when I was home all day and no one knocked or rang my doorbell :p

    Tuesday, December 29, 2009 at 1:34 am | Permalink
  3. Ed wrote:

    I’m not sure how much flexability you have with your apartment space — but maybe you can place some sort of motion detector unit outside your door so that if anyone comes near the door you have 2 things that happen: 1) a buzzer alerts you, and 2) a mini camera showing you the area near the door, so when the buzzer goes off you can verify it isn’t a false alarm, and you can see who is there.

    Just a thought :)

    Catch ya later,


    Tuesday, December 29, 2009 at 1:59 am | Permalink
  4. Ed wrote:

    I’d suggest something that dealt with the postal person — however, I don’t know if that would work
    If it is anything like the situation I have with the public meter reader, nothing will work if it depends on the worker to do anything
    A few weeks ago I came home to notice someone was parked in my reserved parking spot (which as a sign stating that it is a reserved parking spot)
    After contacting the landlord’s assistant (that lives in the complex) – we found out that the “genius” that parked there was the public meter reader.
    Nothing beats the irony of a public meter reader that cannot even read a sign :P
    The landlord’s assistant made a point of telling the meter reader about it. We’ll have to see if the meter reader does it again — the reading will be due coming up soon.


    Tuesday, December 29, 2009 at 2:05 am | Permalink
  5. DON wrote:

    We don’t really need a doorbell – we have a dog that barks at everything that moves in the street, irrespective of whather they’re delivering to us or one of the neighbours!

    Tuesday, December 29, 2009 at 2:50 am | Permalink
  6. Ian wrote:

    Cool program, but when I go to run it and hit ctrl+t it doesn’t write the last number of the time. For example, I just tried it and it wrote 11:2, not 11:25

    Tuesday, December 29, 2009 at 9:25 am | Permalink
  7. Shannon wrote:

    Weird. In the next day or two I’ll post a new version that I’ve been working on that lets you record your own motion paths for the mouse — I wrote the editor last night, so I may even post that the evening.

    Tuesday, December 29, 2009 at 9:31 am | Permalink
  8. Twwly wrote:

    If our carriers have a parcel for us and we are home, or our driveway is clear for them to drive down, we get our parcels. If the mail has to go to the post office for pick up, it’s a total crapshoot. I have had to claim insurance on half a dozen parcels that have gotten delivered TO the post office, but get irretrievably lost in the Bermuda Triangle of their (SMALL!) sorting room.

    OH the hellish stories I have of post office trials. Have you seen the “Bulldozer Rampage” guy on YouTube? Well, every time I have to coax a parcel out of my local post office I think of that guy.

    Tuesday, December 29, 2009 at 10:38 am | Permalink
  9. jinn wrote:

    Now you know why Winnie the Pooh has the “Ring also” sign outside his door. People here will do everything BUT ring the bell.. bang on the wall/windows. But we also have a dog who barks if the wind blows, so we don’t miss much.

    Tuesday, December 29, 2009 at 11:01 am | Permalink
  10. Jesse wrote:

    Out an an extremely nerdy limb here, would you have any interest in designing an iPhone app possibly?

    One for a card game described in the Star Wars universe.

    Tuesday, December 29, 2009 at 12:26 pm | Permalink
  11. Shannon wrote:

    Jesse, I don’t have an iPhone. But it would be a fun platform to do aps for… I really like some of the augmented reality things people have been doing, as well as the fun of writing for something that can detect motion.

    Tuesday, December 29, 2009 at 2:25 pm | Permalink
  12. Jesse wrote:

    Well the app I have in mind wouldn’t have anything to do with the accelerometer nor augmented reality, but I figured it was worth a shot.

    Thanks for the response though, if you do start working on app’s I’d be excited to see the results.

    Tuesday, December 29, 2009 at 5:31 pm | Permalink
  13. Delta9 wrote:

    Nice app,

    Hard to make out what the pointer is ‘saying’ but fun all the same :D

    Wednesday, December 30, 2009 at 8:07 am | Permalink
  14. Shannon wrote:

    Check out the new version; it lets you make your own character sets plus it lets you add trails, which makes it really obvious what it’s saying.

    Wednesday, December 30, 2009 at 3:04 pm | Permalink
Wow Shannon, that's really annoying! What is it, 1997 on Geocities? Retroweb is NOT cool!

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