Introduction: Gaming at Work? Secret Panic Button!

Picture of Gaming at Work? Secret Panic Button!
Your fingers are pounding on the board at such a speed it sounds like a single note, your score's flying towards your hi-score, a bead of sweat runs down your brow as you twist those blocks in to the perfect spot all the while keeping an eye out for the boss. BAM another four rows with a long brick, the BEEP BEEP BEEP sounds like victory as the wall crashes down, along with your previous record.

You've already got the next set lined up, you slam a square brick in to place when you see it - your stomach drops, your skin prickles and you imagine the scenario playing out already, all in a nanosecond, the wiley old man has seen all your tricks, no shortcut can save you now.

You calmly reach over and tap on your biscuits. The browser's closed, your spreadsheet on the cost analysis report for the filing system of the accounting department is sitting there, as uninteresting and soul crushing as ever, but you know, you know that you've shattered your favourite score, enjoyed honing your tetris skills on their time and you aren't caught.

You too can live this life now!

This little button is essentially an Alt+F4 button, you can use this technique to make any button or buttons you want and it'll work on any computer* you need it to with no installation.

You can read more stuff like this on my website - including my Blog which makes as much sense as I do. 


*This is true, though PS/2-USB adapter may be needed.  

Step 1: Materials Etc.

Picture of Materials Etc.

You'll need: 

 - An old keyboard, this one donated to my CAPS LOCK KEY BADGE after it broke from being in the dishwasher
 - Tin Foil 
 - Glue
 - Scissors
 - Bits of wire - use single core if you have it - I grabbed an already chopped USB cable to scavenge wire and stranded is far trickier for this
 - some card
 - A crisp packet/biscuits pack/envelope - an appropriate hiding vessel

Step 2: Wires!

Picture of Wires!

I'm not sure what keyboards are like in terms of uniformity but I've marked the pins you need in the image below... 

Until the image notes bug is fixed just look at where the wires are coming out of, those are the ones you want. 

This is a Dell USB keyboard from a few years ago. 

If you want to make a different purpose button or have a differently made keyboard you'll need to trace the pins combinations yourself, it's not hard but it's boring... 

If you find a keyboard with wired keyswitches you're in luck, you can make this thing in a single step by only keeping the two switches... 

I threaded the wires through the holes above the pin connectors and just twisted them up and glued them, mainly because I couldn't find my solder and this works fine since they're under no strain really and they take up the entire hole meaning constant solid contact... 

Step 3: Start the Switch

Picture of Start the Switch

Cut one of the squishy spring things from the keyboard's innards and a piece of card. 

Leave some flat space on the spring for sticking it on later. 

Step 4: Pokin' Holes

Picture of Pokin' Holes

Poke four holes in the card and thread the wires through them. 

Step 5: Tin Time!

Picture of Tin Time!

Glue four pieces of tin foil, one for each corner over the wires. 

They should almost meet in the middle. 

Now glue a piece of foil in to the springy thing's bottom as shown... 

It should be wide enough to span the gaps between all four... 

Step 6: Assemble the Button

Picture of Assemble the Button

Glue the spring over the tin foil contacts like the picture. 

Plug it in to the computer and test it out on an open window... 

Should do the trick - if not check all your connections... 

Step 7: Hiding It.

Picture of Hiding It.

Cut a hole in the bottom or back of your chosen hiding place and thread the USB cable through it... 

Now pull it through and arrange inside. 

If you're having trouble hiding it you can always tape the wires down - same for the USB cable... 


lbrewer42 (author)2011-03-17

And someday when you are paying workers to do their job - will you fire people who use this at work?

MaXoR (author)lbrewer422011-03-18

I was thinking the same thing... I guess some people really don't realize what roll they play in a company, or that their job is still important.

Good side to that is, if you're gaming all the time that you need a panic button, then you likely don't have the throughput to keep the job anyways for a extended period of time.

I just don't get why this ible couldn't have said "Never get caught watching porn" or something like that, at least then people wouldn't be getting the idea it's a good practice to game at work.

Good ible, horrible application in my opinion

killerjackalope (author)MaXoR2012-02-07

Just saw this comment, well the last line mostly. I was going to go down the porn route instead but I wanted to write a fun intro and going in to detail about that probably would've been kinda nasty... Plus family site, so...

Aww hells yeah!

I'd let them simmer and be like how did you know? Then just login in front of them...

patriots8888 (author)2011-05-14

for macs it's command + F3

Or cmd + Q.

that quits it if you just wanna hide it then press cmd f3

xavec (author)2011-08-11


mgalyean (author)2011-06-23

This is entirely meant to be positive and constructive. While I understand the lightheartedness of your post, I'll bet there is someone in your area who'd love to actually do what you are paid to do and not play games instead. ;^) Someday when running a biz of your own and trying to find good help you may understand what I'm getting at. Not trying to be mean, but several months of unemployment have changed my outlook on people "pretending to work". It isn't a matter of not getting caught, it is a matter of either earning your paycheck, or getting it through a confidence scam and who/what you want to see in the mirror. When your job goes to India or China you will have plenty of time to think on what you could have done differently. This is entirely meant to be positive and constructive and to save you and those readers who could damage their incomes some grief.

killerjackalope (author)mgalyean2011-06-24

It is entirely lighthearted, I don't work in an office in fact I work for myself at the moment, certainly slacking at work is a bad thing, especially for your job security - at the moment I'm job hunting for something for some extra work (a steady paycheck is hard not to miss) and I won't be playing games at work...

Deus (author)2011-03-18

if you make a foot pedal out of it, it will be even more hidden. Great Instructable though

killerjackalope (author)Deus2011-03-18

Yeah it's been mentioned a lot in comments - my thought is that sticking it under the desk as a knee button would also be good...

leiamme (author)killerjackalope2011-05-31

But if you needed to hit it with your knee wouldn't your boss ask why you just spasmed and banged under your desk???

killerjackalope (author)leiamme2011-06-01

It doesn't need to be hit hard, granted if you freak it's just going to look really weird... Not so much suspect

Gergohogbeido (author)2011-05-21


aseaheru (author)2011-03-17

doom? what if someone trys to clean it up? also, what if you hit it by mistake?
several companys make foot pedles that can be programed so when you hit it, a command is sent.......

pdub77 (author)aseaheru2011-03-17

This site is about building and making things. You can buy everything under the sun, or you can make it, which is way more fun. And that rhymed, so It has to be true! =)

aseaheru (author)pdub772011-04-18

good point

killerjackalope (author)aseaheru2011-03-17

About half the pedals I've seen need installed - also this is made from a dead keyboard which most people can find easily so no money down.

The not needing installed and being a standard keyboard to the computer means that it's more likely to work in work too...

pdagrizley (author)2011-03-17

I applaud you for being so clever

Thankyou good sir...

I was wondering. Why was it in there?

In where?

Dishwasher question - keyboard was sticky because I spilled beer, so I put it in the dishwasher...

Biscuits, because I had a pack of biscuits on my desk...

I would have just used some soap and a sponge. They have to say "dishwasher safe" for a reason.

Most keyboards can survive a run in the dishwasher, I threw it in with normal dishes so I probably but it on too strong a cycle, ruining the film contacts a bit...

The circuit's fine...

I couldn't be bothered taking every key off. Also plenty of stuff is dishwasher safe that doesn't happen to say it...

You could have just taken off the plastic as a whole. Just take the screws out of the back and only put the plastic in.

Well usually the keyboard survives so I didn't see the need to bother...

Assuming you've taken out the circuitry.

berky93 (author)2011-03-20

I made an autohotkey script once that, when I pressed f6, hid (not just minimized, but removed the taskbar icon of) my browser and my games and switched to microsoft word. Pressing f7 brought it all back. Worked like a charm

killerjackalope (author)berky932011-03-31

Nice one, but then you don't get to eat a packet of biscuits :p

berky93 (author)killerjackalope2011-03-31

true. Next hardware project I solve using a software based solution i'll be sure to reward myself with some.

killerjackalope (author)berky932011-04-01

Now that's a plan...

Luckybutterfly (author)2011-03-28


Ha epic...

killerjackalope (author)2011-03-31

Indeed, would be a good way to make a more permanent version...

RLRRLRLL (author)2011-03-31

here's a crazy idea, try not playing games at work. it's always worked for me.

camp6ell (author)2011-03-19

Two words: [ALT][TAB]

killerjackalope (author)camp6ell2011-03-19

You could do this with alt tab instead if you wanted - closing's just the safer option in a lot cases, since the program will still be in the taskbar...

Vyger (author)2011-03-19

Anymore most business networks have remote monitoring built into them. What that means is that the person who is in control of the network can call up your desktop remotely and see displayed on his screen what you are doing. If you look like your changing your screen every time somebody walks by chances are good they will start monitoring you. Big brother is watching. (cover your web cam with electrical tape if you have one. )
I did the IT consulting for a school district for several years and I even had the ability to shut down workstations from my house by remotely loging onto the server, running a utility that told me everything that was still running and issue a shutdown command to turn it off. It saved a lot on the power bills and eventually convinced teachers to shut down at the end of the day.
Never forget --- If its not your computer its not private, don't forget that and you will stay out of trouble.

jkhan-1 (author)2011-03-17 ...... ?

killerjackalope (author)jkhan-12011-03-17

Jesus that was a spectacularly bad website with really stupid nineties sound and effects...

That thing does a different function but similar idea...

MaXoR (author)killerjackalope2011-03-18

lol, if that is a bad website, I hope you never get bored and actually SURF the net... that site was well done compared to the atrocities you can find in the top links of google alone!

Mind you yeah, it does look like that video was designed in the 90's, and same with the layout, but as a web designer (lol, but not HIS web designer), you're comment could be very cruel, especially considering you're site is nothing to write home about either.

killerjackalope (author)MaXoR2011-03-18

I know there are far worse out there in the world of the web but I really despise autoplaying sound effects and background music on sites...

Oh dear, mind your feet on the be nice policy, however what makes you that then?

If it's the fact that it's very basic then I'm not bothered... Do need to get round to sorting out the font issues too...

MaXoR (author)killerjackalope2011-03-18

A web designer? The fact I've designed websites for clients, been paid, and currently have my own self made website.

However I'm not trying to be the "Big Dog" here, just saying you're comment was a little cruel, and you're site wasn't anything special either.

If it's the autoplaying sound effects ( and video IMO) that is annoying, why not just say that in the beginning, instead of saying the ENTIRE site was "spectacularly bad"

Those were my only points, and if I offended you through my comment, I'm sorry for that.

Although if you're having a font problem, feel free to ask me some questions, I may not be a master at web design, but I've picked up a few things over the years.

killerjackalope (author)MaXoR2011-03-18

Sorry that should have read what makes you say that - rather than what makes you that?

Ah the font problem was me forgetting to check whether one of the fonts used was a normal one, it didn't matter much as it's mainly used in images, I keep meaning to change it but have been too busy to FTP all my pages. I take it there isn't a way to display fonts in normal text on any computer unless they've got them installed.

It defaults to Times New Roman on most computers...

It was pretty cruel, I really didn't like the site design in general but you're right it's far from the worst out there...

You have just reminded me that I need to add two albums and update a whole bunch of stuff :p

xvicente (author)2011-03-18

You know, reading the intro I didn't recognize Tetris at first. I thought Breakout.

killerjackalope (author)xvicente2011-03-18

I kept it a bit vague, I was tempted to write it about space invaders but then I'd still be writing it...

Biggsy (author)2011-03-15

AWESOME welldone :)

High Five for you

killerjackalope (author)Biggsy2011-03-15

Ha, thanks biggsy!

your dog (author)killerjackalope2011-03-15

its too small....

About This Instructable




Bio: A Northern Ireland based maker with a propensity to cause trouble and freshly constructed family.
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