Break The Caps Lock Habit With This Annoying Buzzer

The much-maligned Caps Lock key has been causing problems for decades, and its continued existence is controversial enough that Google decided to drop it all together in their Chromebooks. Until the rest of the industry decides to follow their lead, they’ll likely be no shortage of awkward emails or overly aggressive comments that are the direct result of this treacherous key.

But [Glen Akins] thinks he has the solution. His creation is a tiny little USB notification device that has only one purpose: to make a terrible noise as long as the Caps Lock key is engaged. Think of it like the little indicator LED on your keyboard, but one that makes a terrible screeching noise that you simply can’t ignore. This is made possible by the fact that the Caps Lock status is handled at the OS level rather than the local input device.

The notifier is built around the PIC16F1459, as it allowed him to implement USB 2.0 while keeping the part count low. Beyond the PIC, the board uses a handful of passives and a transistor to drive the buzzer from a PWM signal. To avoid duplicated effort, everything was designed to fit inside the enclosure he already developed for his single-key keyboard that we covered last year. [Glen] and a fellow coworker from Keysight put together an excellent video on the creation and use of the buzzer that you can see after the break.

On the other end of the spectrum, and even smaller, is the “USB Capslocker” which is designed to weaponize this already troublesome feature of your keyboard.

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The Future Of Annoyance

ae83_phantom_keystroker_v2

[Garrett] posted about ThinkGeek updating the Phantom Keystroker to support random capslocking. You may remember that [Garrett] built the Stealth USB CapsLocker for April Fool’s day. The tiny device would randomly turn on the victim’s Caps Lock. This update to the commercial product has inspired him to refresh his own design. He suggests few possible options: random inserts, erratic volume control, or random sleeps. He’s also planning on making it more accessible to hacking. What would you add?

INTERNATIONAL CAPS LOCK DAY


As you can plainly see, we’re embracing International Caps Lock Day with full gusto. Go ahead, try it out in the comments. Caps lock is the cruise control for cool. Surprisingly, there are quite a few full time haters of the key running campaigns: CAPSoff and anticAPSLOCK actually united to form CAPSoff.org to further development of a caps lock free keyboard.

Once you’re tired of yelling at people online (like that’ll happen), you might attempt to do something useful with the key. In OSX, you can remap the caps lock key in System Preferences > Keyboard & Mouse > Modifier Keys. You can make it an extra Command, Control, Option, or select No Action. If you want to map it to another key entirely, try a program like fKeys. You could map it to Esc to make Vim—THE BEST TEXT EDITOR EVER—easy to use. In Windows, try this handy guide from TechRepublic for remapping your keys.

If ease of use is not your goal, you could always make a random caps locker hardware dongle.

[photo: catcubed]

Random USB Caps Locker


This is one of the most original April fools gags I’ve seen. [Garrett] sent in his USB caps locker. It’s built from an ATTiny45 and puts out an intermittent signal to set the caps lock key. Considering what day it is, it appears to be legit. After you’re done screwing with your co-worker for the day, you might be even more interested in the easylogger project that it’s based on.