Saturday, December 13, 2008

Bluetooth Autolock for Windows

Are you having to lock your laptop/PC when you leave your place and again unlock it everytime you come back? Are you tired of unlocking your comp everytime? (arae yaar, say "yes"). Then this app is for you. This app would automatically lock your comp when you move out of your place and unlock it when you are back :) sounds useful? Technically, this is not exactly what is possible. This app actually shows up a screen saver hiding the whole screen when it detects that you are away; saying like 'You know what? Gerald is away so this comp is autolocked' -- fancy enough?

when you are back the screen saver is automatically closed and you are back to where you were.. uhhh!! wait wait... it will really lock your comp when it detects any keypress or mouse movement while you are away -- ok so you are safe. It is technically impossible to unlock a machine programmatically (even if the password is known), so this is the max that can be done. So incase if someone intrudes when you are away, the computer is locked and you will have to manually unlock it; but all in all you are safe still. And nothing needs to be installed on your mobile device.

A snapshot would help you follow further

(btw, the hardware id shown is not my phone's -- in case you thought about it)

The whole idea is to track the user by bluetooth. You need a mobile (or anyother device that supports bluetooth modem (DUN) or bluetooth serial port (SPP) profile) with bluetooth enabled. Almost all mobile phones with bluetooth, support atleast one of these -- so don't worry if you have a mobile phone. Your bluetooth device/dongle on the computer should be powered by Broadcom's (previously WidComm) bluetooth stack (this is most common, it is more likely you already are running on this) -- sorry to BlueSoleil/Windows stack users. (I will post a workaround for you people later).

As it is clear from the UI, just configure the COM port in which your bluetooth modem (or bluetooth serial port) is installed on your computer. The application automatically detects the available COM ports and lists only them (actually I've disabled this feature for the moment, as this adds up to the application startup time and hits by debugging latency). Next is to type in the bluetooth hardware ID of your mobile (as shown in the example). Now using your widcomm bluetooth application, pair your computer and your mobile phone (by typing the passkey etc). All set!

One optional thing is the sensitivity. Based on how enclosed/open your cubicle is, and when you would want yourself to be called as "away", you might want to tune the sensitivity. The 'status' button shows the current status as seen by the software; either "reachable" or "not reachable". This should help you to tune your sensitivity level and also to make sure you configured everything right.

When it's all done, just press AutoLock and forget the fear of locking/unlocking the computer.

I had to go through a number of prototypes before zeroing on this. I also have a working version which tracks the user through Wifi. The wifi chip is power-hungry and it is not practically affordable to run wifi continuously on your mobile (possibly resolved with the new invention from broadcom). Anyways for now, no no no! So I had to fallback to bluetooth for usability, inspite of losing precision.

This app is in my labs for more than a week now and is doing well with ongoing fixes.. Will post an update once I'm convinced that I should release ;) I will also post a separate blogpost about the technical details behind this app -- for the developer audience.

No comments:

Post a Comment