Scott Hanselman

USB Wireless Security - Call For Plugins

September 20, 2005 Comment on this post [13] Posted in Coding4Fun
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WirelesspclockBryan and I are going to try and release an update to the USB Wireless Security Lock (Froogle) that I wrote about in Coding4Fun and Bryan wrote about in MAKE Magazine.

Consider this a Call For Plugins. If you've written a Plugin for USBWiSec, please let Bryan and I know so we can collect them into a USBWiSec-Contrib package and distribute them.

If you haven't heard about this little enterprise, well, click on the links above as we really think the potential for this device is great.

Remember, "USBWiSec - Replacement Sofware for your USB Wireless Security Lock: Sucking Way Less Since 2005!"

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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September 20, 2005 15:20
So what's going to be updated? Any luck on it logging you back in automatically? I've done some research and it seems you'd have to use some sort of customized gina dll. Also has anyone else had problems with word crashing when it tries to log you out?
September 20, 2005 15:29
The Word crashing thing is being caused by the Media Player Plugin using WindowMessages. That's been fixed.
September 20, 2005 17:20

I have just release my plugins on my site. The link is

They are not jaw dropping/awe inspiring/nirvana attaining plugins but they do a decent job. :-)

Plug-ins I've Written

Email - Will send an email when you lock and unlock the workstation.
Empty Clipboard - Empties the clipboard when you lock the workstation.
Empty Recycle-Bin - Empties the Recycle-Bin when you lock the workstation.
Speech - Speaks to you and tells you when it Locks and Unlocks the workstation.
Defrag - Defrag a designated drive (or multiple drives) when you lock the workstation.
Drive Cleanup - Perform Drive Cleanup when you lock the workstation.

Let me know if there is anything else I can do.
September 20, 2005 22:15
I just wanted to add that I got an email from a Tobias Muller about some work he has done, which I would like to integrate into the coming release:

"I found your USB Wireless Security a few days ago and couldn't wait until I was finally able to try it. After playing a bit with the software and the device I added a type of "priority queue" to the Lock/Unlock events the software sends to its plugins, which should make a new type of plugins possible. Reason for this was that I read somewhere that someone was working on a "start screensaver plugin" which would start the screensaver after xx minutes. I myself was working on a Logoff Plugin (Logoff, Standby,
Hibernate,...) which would also implement a deleayed reaction of the Lock/Unlock events.

So I looked at the code and implemented a delayed processing for plugins in general. The user is able to specifiy an amount of seconds after which the plugin gets the "lock" message. The unlock message goes only to those plugins which already got the lock message before unlocking occured.

This makes it possible to setup something like this:
- LockWorkstation (after 0 seconds)
- Hibernate (after 900 seconds -> 15 Minutes)

Quite usefull for me (plugins are processed by delay amount). I don't know if it is any usefull to you but I wanted to let you know.

I also changed the settings format (for the programm settingsVX.xml) to be more general for further additions and included a SettingsConverter class which is currently able to convert V2 settings. Furthermore I added a few UI things, like move the window to the bottom right corner (needs some work for other taskbar layouts), resizing the window does resize its content (listviews are updated so the will only present a vertical scrollbar), setting for BallonHint. Sorting of the plugins is now done on 1. enabled/disabled 2.
Delay, contextmenu shows configure only on those plugins which use a configuration dialog,...

Ok, if you like any of the features above, feel free to add some of those to the main source ;)"
September 25, 2005 21:17

I've got a few new ideas regarding new plugins for the USB Wireless Security device.

Security Plugin - Using a web camera and face detection algorithms, capture and save an image of any face found near your computer when it is locked. On Unlock, show the pictures so you can see if someone was trying to mess with your computer. This is great for the office environment especially if you have anonymous pranksters. Now you can find out exactly who they are and exact your revenge. :-)

Boss Mode Plugin - When another device comes in range, switch focus to a full screen application immediately so that you don't get caught surfing the web, messaging or whatever else you do. Handy if your boss or coworkers have a USB device too. (Idea courteously from Daniele Pagano)

To Do List Plugin - In the morning, when you get to your computer, show your To Do List/Appointment Schedule/Itenerary. (Idea courteously from Elizabeth's friend whose name I can't remember).

Currently, I've got the Security Plugin part almost complete. I'll try and release that sometime this week.

Let me know what you guys think of these ideas. :-)
September 27, 2005 20:16
Well, with a cool custom gina dll from Nathan Yocom and some work, I've been able to get the device to login me in automatically. I'll have to get some stuff cleaned up, and I'll send it out. Only thing I see some people not liking is the fact that you have to turn off the requirement for ctrl-alt-del in the OS, and of course somewhere your password will be visible, much like it is using the MS Powertoy to enable autologon.
September 27, 2005 21:58
Wow Nice going Steve. Your right in saying that people might have a problem with turning off CTRL-ALT-DELETE. I'm assuming thats for Win 2003 because I never use that keystroke for XP.

I'm still working on the face detection. I'm trying to use OpenCV to do some stuff but its screwing up. I'm hoping to find a fix for it by tomorrow. I'll keep you all posted on progress because everyone likes face detection...right?
September 28, 2005 0:14
Sushant, you could even use the custom gina.dll I'm using so that when you sit in front, it would log you in, oh wait, then you wouldn't need the usb key then huh, hehe. Oh, that is unless someone has a photo of you then they could get in too.
September 28, 2005 2:11

Thats a great idea. I've always wanted to do something like that. Do you think I can get the code for that from you? My lab has already got a prototype that can detect and speak the correct name for a face (We are the Center for Cognitive Ubiquitous Computing @ ASU). Since we work to develop technology that helps individuals who are blind, this could be a cool "addon" for a computer and I'm sure it would be cool for others too :-)

Seriously, I can get the code for the face detection and recognition and if your willing, I can use your code to write this.

Let me know what you think.

Ps. I've got the face detection working and all thats left is to add it to the Plugin code.
September 28, 2005 15:05
Here's where to get the files to build and use the custom gina and updated USB Wireless Security App.
September 28, 2005 16:40
Hey guys, won't this custom gina.dll be problematic for people that already have a custom GINA - like some VPN solutions, or single sign-on?

What about kicking off a screensaver when it should lock the PC and the screensaver looks for a message when the fob comes back into range?
September 30, 2005 12:39
Anyone know how to start and stop a screensaver with .net? I've thought that you could just call the file from the batch plugin, but that won't stop it when you come back though, right?
February 01, 2006 15:08
I wrote a start screensaver plugin using C# (calling the windows API.) Download here:

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.