Typing By Slamming Your Laptop Closed. Repeatedly

Do you sometimes feel that your custom mechanical keyboard is not quite loud enough to proclaim your superior hacking powers? Or do you need a more forceful way shout in all caps at someone who is wrong on the internet? For all this and more, [Jesse Li] has got you covered, with a set of bash scripts that allows you to type by slamming your laptop closed repeatedly, using Morse code.

Not the fastest way to type, but definitely the most forceful

The scripts are quite simple, and work receiving the lid open/close events from ACPI (Advanced Configuration and Power Interface), recording the open and close timestamp and converting the timing to dots and dashes. After slamming to the required rhythm, you keep the lid open to see the character appear.

Why would want this? Well, you can now type the letter E by closing your laptop, instead of locking it. Maybe use it to send an emergency message while you’re being held by terrorists in a B-grade action movie. Otherwise, we think this is just an entertaining little hack that’s probably the product of quarantine induced boredom.

Morse code, otherwise known as CW, is still in surprisingly widespread use by ham radio operators, because it’s good at getting messages across intercontinental distances when signal conditions are bad and CW-only ham radio gear is cheap and easy to build yourself. We’ve also covered the Koch Method of learning CW, so don’t be afraid to dabble a bit during the quarantine.

26 thoughts on “Typing By Slamming Your Laptop Closed. Repeatedly

    1. It’s a ThinkPad. They are designed for the business world. They are probably the best in terms of reliability, and they carry a cult following over on reddit. I love mine. I’m sure they can handle just about anything.

      1. they made a few good laptops like 20 years ago, today the brand doesn’t mean much in reality, its a china company that makes some good laptops and some that make 199$ acer’s feel like bentleys. I actually broke a screen in a Lenovo Think pad that came with some equipment cause the screen flexed so bad opening it, it snapped the glass

        1. YMMV then, I have a mid-class Ideapad that’s definitely built like a tank, not to mention the current and previous generation of thinkpads, which were definitely sturdier.

        2. Yea, I don’t know how you did that. I’m sitting here trying to figure out in my head how you could open a laptop and break the screen, unless you were trying to open it from the side like a doof. If that’s the case, it’s on you. Lenovo bought IBM and maintained the build quality and aesthetics of the ThinkPad because they retained the guy who originally designed them. There’s a reason they are still used extensively in business, and it’s why HP tries to mimic them (We use HP’s at work and they suck!) I tend to tell people to steer clear of the Lenovo non-ThinkPad branded laptops, as those are garbage just like the entry-level $300 laptops at big box stores. By chance, was this an X1 carbon?

    2. none of the good laptops use FPC cables for the screen hinge (yes, I’m looking at you, Apple!), most transition into a bundle of thin cables, go through a tube in the hinge and then transition back into FPC for this very reason. This type of arrangement almost never fails, it’s usually the connectors at the ends or the hinges ;-)

      And I do not know of any laptop that uses slip rings, can’t imagine who would be crazy enough to do that :D

      1. I wonder if you could hack the internal µC (afaik there is some small µC to handle power management but you can always add your own) to make it accept a password as morse code on the power button to connect a small, encrypted µSD card /USB stick to the system. This could be useful for places where encryption is not allowed and/or you want to hide stuff.

  1. My SO used to enjoy slamming the lid down on her notebook when she was pissed because it made me cringe. She finally managed to screw up the panel or the backlight or the cable. I dunno. She treats her notebook like that, she can deal with fixing it. I get a lot of mileage out of notebooks, mostly because I am nice to them. I will admit there have been a few times with the one I have been using for the past year or so now where I went whew! and I was *really* happy that I have an SSD in the thing. But they were accidents, not hissy fits.

    1. I’m actually going to have to be more attentive when I get a new, new one. Somehow the current “full size” good one ended up with too much wired into it, so has been mostly in desktop replacement mode, meanwhile I picked up netbooks and a chromebook for pennies on the dollar and pimped them out and they are literal chuck around systems. Just their smaller size and weight makes them more durable. They were already a bit dinged up when I got them, so no worry about the first scratch etc. Also two c2d class that are sturdy-ish that I got free get (ab)used still. (Doesn’t help that one of them has it’s drive come loose on the SATA connector and I have to drop it on it’s end to get it seated again LOL) Anyhoo, I might have trained myself out of being careful. Saying that though, anything I’ve paid good money for has not died from anything I did, so apart from a couple of self desoldering BGAs and a dead backlight the rest remained in tip top shape.

      But anyway, not sure that Thinkpad actually needs slamming per se, it’s probably a magnetic switch, be easier to wave your pickup tool or magnetic screwdriver at it.

      1. IMHO the Thinkpads tapped out with the old A series. I ponder getting a used toughbook, but I have a few Fujitsu lifebooks and I have really taken a liking to them once you get some memory and an SSD in them. It is oddly relaxing surfing CL in tablet mode, and priceless watching peoples reactions when you twist the display around backwards. My good notebook is an HP elitebook, but it needs the fan replaced. It makes my blood boil that HP created a high end notebook where you have to field dress the damn thing to change the fan.

        Anybody got a toughbook out there? If so how do you like it?

        1. IMO also at their best several years ago, also they have just entered the edge of mainstream awareness so the refurb/used pricing isn’t as good as it used to be. I’m pondering the Dell XFRs myself.

        2. Thinkpads are still good, i’ve torn down quite a few. They are still built like tanks. They have to be, they are business class. When they moved away from the older style keyboards, people complained but they are actually much nicer than most other offerings. My gripe with them is the fact that they have a proprietary power plug. You absolutely can’t use anything but the brick they sell you and a few aftermarkets. Why it couldn’t be a DC barrel jack is beyond me.

          1. My thinkpad uses USB-C for charging. (I think it’s an A485? The AMD one.) The dock has a proprietary connector but I think that’s because its power supply is rated to 130W.

  2. At least this technique will increase the demand of laptops because the hinge is the weak point of a laptop and slamming the lid often will decrease the laptops live time.

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