Staples Easy Button hacking

easy button

Hack-A-Day reader [al cohen] was pretty perturbed by Staple’s Easy Button campaign since nothing in business is easy. So he decided to modify their cute button (PDF). He replaced the guts with a cheap recording circuit from RadioShack. He also added a 1/8 inch jack so you can record directly from the computer. The new button doesn’t need a separate mic either; you can record by speaking into the speaker. As a final touch Al ground off the easy, polished it and made the button evil. You can watch a video of the button declaring his distaste for Spam. You might have seen Jeff Caylor’s previous abuses of the Easy Button on Make. My roommate thought it would be funny if someone wired it to generate the “shift+delete” key sequence.


  1. koft says:

    Must not be all that skilled in business, even for those 25 years. I mean, how does this hack make any money? wft, no leds? no <3

  2. ayeyen says:

    Damn! Another WEEK and I would have hacked this baby. My server’s CMOS battery is dead, so I was going to wire the easy button up to a keyboard matrix to press F1 during POST. :-)

  3. alex says:

    i’ve got 2 of em…i bought one on impulse and then my mom, who knows me oh-so-well, bought me one for the holidays. So one sits at home and the other at the office. i think we’ve found a fate for at least one (probably the work one).

  4. roberto says:

    nice. we have on of these at the front desk at work. It might have to disappear one night and be back in the morning…

  5. Gen0cide says:

    |0|, Thats cool

  6. Derwin says:

    My favorite “evil” appliance is when you rig “The Clapper” up to someone’s PC.

  7. Matt says:

    Um, daft question, but, whats an Easy Button?
    What does it do?

  8. Jozer says:

    Thats no “Evil” button! Evil buttons don’t go on rants about technology. A good “Evil” button would do the following:

    “EVIL” lettering is actually a conductor. When button is pressed, it triggers the discharging of 4 disposible camera flash capacitors in parallel through the users hand. Functionality of the appendage may or may not return within a week.

  9. trebuchet03 says:

    #8 – the appendage itself probably won’t return at all :P let alone the functionality of it :p

    amusing nonetheles

  10. Ben says:

    #9 – surface burns only, possibly some scarring, but the worst injury I’ve gotten from a regular disposable camera is a constellation burn from showing people it wasn’t that dangerous. 4 at a time over a wider area won’t be life changing or threatening unless you press it with both hands making a circuit through your heart.

    although a scar on the palm of your hand that says evil backwards…

  11. i am having problems with the links. when i click on a link the same page loads again.

  12. Pick says:

    #7: An easy button is made by Staples, when you press it, it says “That was easy” (“That was easy” is Staples slogan.). Go to to see the page for it on Staples web-site.

    “My roommate thought it would be funny if someone wired it to generate the shift+delete key sequence.”
    It seems easy to do, all you have to do is wire a button to the contact points on the keyboard. Look at for more info, yes, it maybe for MAME arcade machines, but it will tell you how to do it.

  13. Chuck says:

    This is the most worthless thing yet on hackaday that I’ve seen.. there’s something to be said for a site that has a build your own CNC router one day and the next day they’re hacking easy buttons

  14. Matt Sandy says:

    Good job man… you made the front page of digg.

  15. dan says:

    what does the shift-delete sequence do?

  16. conor says:

    shift+delete permanently deletes files

  17. Ehh, no, it’s not permanent. Shift-Delete has the same result that emptying the recycle bin does (it just deletes the thing that points to the data). Data is almost always not permanently deleted.

  18. conor says:

    #16 You’re right…my bad grammar…I just meant in the n00b sense of the word permanent

  19. MIke says:

    I would like to let every one know staples does not make any money off of the easy button. Staples donates the proceeds to the boys and girls foundation. So they are doing a good deed. I have always had great service there my self.

  20. eVAN says:

    its not that they hate staples, just the button. Its annoying and pretty much mocks you.

  21. uncle joe says:

    boring hack (more like a case swap)
    still some for someone to reflash or something else creative.

  22. Frogz says:

    ‘that was sleazey’ all i gotta say

  23. colonel62359 says:

    In Canada we send the proceeds to special olympics (yes I’m a staples sales associate). I proposed this mod to one of the guys in furniture, who wants to mod one and keep it around in the area… I think some of the female colleagues in the store will WTF at this. You’d be surprised at how many of those tricks we sell though…

  24. jim says:

    This rocks!

    I would have mine give off a evil laugh… after doing a shift+delete!

  25. rdriver says:

    I see a couple already hacked on ebay.

  26. Benzmx5 says:

    This should be part of a 2 part hack. First you have to hack a wireless keyboard, so that you can insert the SHIFT + DEL keys and the wireless function into the EASY BUTTON. Then you hack the easy button to use the shift + Del and send it wirelessly to the usb dongle. Now you have a recipe for EVIL.

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