This came to mind recently when a former colleague directed me to a great Windows utility by BitBoost Systems called PawSense. It detects cat input, blocks it and then tries to shoo the cat away with a noise. Owners can record their own voices or custom sounds.
My buddy thought it was funny. But it's serious.
When cats walk or climb on your keyboard, they can enter random commands and data, damage your files, and even crash your computer. This can happen whether you are near the computer or have suddenly been called away from it. ...
Even while you use your other software, PawSense constantly monitors keyboard activity. PawSense analyzes keypress timings and combinations to distinguish cat typing from human typing. PawSense normally recognizes a cat on the keyboard within one or two pawsteps.
The company points out that with keyboard shortcuts in the system and in applications, it's easy for a cat to do some damage to your files or more likely, open documents. There may be more dogs in the business workplace but for us telecommuters, cats can be an issue. I speak from experience.
Some of you may doubt that cat input can really be recognized or easily differentiated from humans. BitBoost Systems appears to have really looked into it.
Here's a bit of the technological explanation from the FAQ:
If you carefully measure cat paws, you will find that practically all cat paws are significantly larger than a typical keyboard key. When a cat first places its paw down, the cat's weight plus the momentum of the cat's movement exerts pounds of force on the keyboard, primarily through the cat's paw pads. The cat's paw angles and toe positions also undergo complex changes while the paw lands on the keyboard. This forces keys and often key combinations down in a distinctive style of typing which includes unusual timing patterns. Cats' patterns of overall movement in walking or lying down also help make their typing more recognizable.
Now, I really like this program and I might pay for it. It would depend on the performance. Still, I have a pair of large Maine Coon cats who have been known to walk across the keyboard.
But I don't have a choice. There is no Mac version — PawSense is currently for Windows only. The company says it's looking into a Mac version, and there's a link on the FAQ page to request notification if one becomes available. That sounds like a vote in my book, so if you are interested in PawSense for Mac, let them know.
But what are the other missing Mac apps? Let me know. Let's get a list going and see if the developer community can fill the gaps in coverage.