Some guy named Andre Torrez (the same Andre Torrez who made the often imitated Filepile as well as the nifty Nutshell Toolbar for Internet Explorer) recently released an ingenious Windows program designed to fool your boss into thinking that you can’t do anything but helplessly wait for your PC to finish copying an endless number of files. As the majority of bosses, even the relatively smart ones, can’t seem to operate a typical office PC without some level of guidance, this is an especially clever work-avoidance device.
It’s actually the latest manifestation of an old and hallowed computing tradition. Back in the 80s, some computer games included a feature called the boss key. If the boss happened to walk up on an employee who was slacking off with a game of Leisure Suit Larry or Leather Goddesses of Phobos, the worker could hit a special key combination to instantly bring up a screenshot of a spreadsheet or database, leaving the boss none the wiser.
Me, I’m too much of the anxious sort to comfortably play videogames while at the office. If the boss happens to stroll into my cube while I’m posting cat photos or stealing music, though, I simply rest my forehead against the edge of my desk and begin to sob violently. A decidedly low-tech bit of fakery, but an effective one, and like all good lies, it works because only half of it is acting.