No mentions across the site? Really? Has no one heard of this before? March 11, 2009 6:43 PM   Subscribe

Does anybody here have a WhatPulse profile? Would anyone be interested in a MeFi team?

The premise is basically that you install a client on your computer that runs in the background and tracks 1) how many keystrokes you've made, 2) how many mouseclicks you've made, and 3) how far your mouse moves in terms of distance. It also provides the option of joining a group (for no real reason that I can see other than to look at your friends' statistics).

I'm pretty sure it's safe; it's been around for a fairly long time and I'm sure it would've been outed by now if it was actually a keylogger. As far as community solidarity goes, this is sort of lame, I know. But I figured, with so many of us being intrigued by random pieces of useless and/or fascinating statistics and data, MeFi might be interested.
posted by Phire to MetaFilter Gatherings at 6:43 PM (33 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Ici, c'est moi, FWIW.
posted by Phire at 6:44 PM on March 11, 2009


Sure, there's a small risk I could be unwittingly sending them my credit card information. But think of the payoff if they are legit!!
posted by DU at 6:56 PM on March 11, 2009 [6 favorites]


Premium Services? Are you kidding me? These people want me to pay two bucks a month to install software that records every keystroke and mouse click and sends it to them? Isn't that, like, the definition of malware?
posted by dersins at 7:02 PM on March 11, 2009 [3 favorites]


Too meta.
posted by iamkimiam at 7:07 PM on March 11, 2009


The basic tracking doesn't actually require payment. But point taken, DU.
posted by Phire at 7:08 PM on March 11, 2009


Is it cool if I just keep track on my own and mail you an update every once in a while?

(87)
posted by drjimmy11 at 7:19 PM on March 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


Mostly I just count my keystrokes in sets of 140 now. Or less.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 7:28 PM on March 11, 2009


INVISIBLE KEYLOGGER
posted by cowbellemoo at 8:01 PM on March 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


In theory this is a fun idea but not to a bunch of hyperparanoid nerds who already have stuff like this installed on their machines so they can see what their partners are up to.
posted by turgid dahlia at 8:14 PM on March 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


No takers on the Comet Cursor Coffee Club? How about the Gator Getogether Group? My Bonzi Buddy Bowling league? Cydoor Knitters? No? Anyone?
posted by Rhomboid at 8:26 PM on March 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


I suggest we all join this awesome site. No installation required!

PS: Sign up screen will load after a brief intro
posted by special-k at 8:51 PM on March 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


Something something million monkeys on one million keyboards something.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:54 PM on March 11, 2009


Another great thing to check out is this. Seriously, I show it to pretty much everyone I know.
posted by turgid dahlia at 9:09 PM on March 11, 2009


from the site: And for all you people who are thinking "oeh mi god a keylogger, no way!", well, exactly, No way. WhatPulse is not and never will be any sort of keylogger, it does not collect the keys you type, but only how many keys you type. (see our Privacy Policy)

'Hello there, would you like to play a fun little game? See, I have this fun game where I hold a gun to your head and pull the trigger. Oh, it's not loaded - it'll just make a funny clicking noise! It's just that I like the feeling of the gun in my hand, and the clicking sound is rather alluring. It absolutely, positively has nothing to do with wanting to shoot you in the brains. I promise.'
posted by koeselitz at 9:19 PM on March 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


This seems strange and odd.

27

no, 29

no, 34

aaaaaaaaaaargh
posted by pompomtom at 10:33 PM on March 11, 2009


Why the hell would anyone want to do this?
posted by dunkadunc at 4:57 AM on March 12, 2009


If you were to put little power generating things on every keyboard in the world (so that every key you hit had a bit more resistance and generated electricity) what could you power?
posted by Grither at 5:28 AM on March 12, 2009


I'm not the only person out there that can't stand tinyurl (and those other similar services), right? I suppose they have some purpose, but 99% of the time, why not just link to the actual site?
posted by inigo2 at 6:07 AM on March 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Because our sole purpose in life is to piss you off.
posted by turgid dahlia at 6:10 AM on March 12, 2009


Don't let that apology thread get to your head, now.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:39 AM on March 12, 2009


Tinurl is good when you can't make a link (as in some email clients) or when you want to hide the target for a nefarious or humorous purpose (as in the comment you are complaining about).
posted by DU at 6:50 AM on March 12, 2009


That name again was "Tinurl". Another good one is Ironurl and Alurlminurlm.
posted by DU at 6:51 AM on March 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


My grandfather couldn't carry a web address to save his life. He always claimed it was cause he had a tinurl.
posted by Spatch at 7:26 AM on March 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


The only way I'd ever do this was to set up a machine specifically to become a statistical outlier. No keystrokes, no mouse-clicks, but a mouse travel distance of here to the moon.

Just so people would look at it and wonder what the hell I was doing all day.
posted by quin at 8:03 AM on March 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


WhatPulse

What, indeed.

I can maybe understand the curiosity at the personal level to see how much I am typing, but the "social" component of this completely baffles me, and the "trust us, we're not logging keystrokes" angle without open-sourcing the code borders on the brain-dead.
posted by mkultra at 8:20 AM on March 12, 2009


I can see running races with friends. But yeah, the closed source is a big red flag. I mean, what proprietary business secrets could be in there? "Ah, so they are calling the MouseMove API! Now I can destroy them in the marketplace!"
posted by DU at 8:24 AM on March 12, 2009


But yeah, the closed source is a big red flag. I mean, what proprietary business secrets could be in there?

That was my first thought too, but it makes sense if you consider that cheating is a big problem with this kind of thing. If someone can easily see how the reporting works, they can also easily report false statistics up to the server, thus ruining the game for everyone.

So instead they have secret convoluted anti-cheating logic that would require a significant amount of work to reverse-engineer and defeat. Security through obscurity is a pretty dumb idea in general, but for this kind of project I don't think they have too many other options.
posted by burnmp3s at 9:11 AM on March 12, 2009


tracks 1) how many keystrokes you've made, 2) how many mouseclicks you've made, and 3) how far your mouse moves in terms of distance.

At what point do you get a treat?
posted by octobersurprise at 9:23 AM on March 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


WhatBrainwaves
posted by Sys Rq at 9:41 AM on March 12, 2009


Are there already Mefi groups at SETI@home and Folding and, uh, whatever the rest of those distributed-computing things are?
posted by box at 3:54 PM on March 12, 2009


Just disable all your anti-virus and ad-ware removal software and you have the same thing. How the hell did you get suckered into "pulsing"?
posted by hal_c_on at 8:53 AM on March 13, 2009


Haha, fair enough. If it vindicates your ire, it's since been uninstalled and disabled.

Full disclosure: The first time I joined, I hadn't discovered MeFi yet, and generally tended to believe that people on the internet were friendly. Then I switched computers, and forgot about it until another online community of mine started talking about it, so I naively brought it over here.

That said, should anyone program (or know of) an offline app that doesn't require server-side communication that nevertheless counts keystrokes and clicks and whatnot...
posted by Phire at 11:56 AM on March 14, 2009


Huh. If I was going to make a keylogger trojan, I wouldn't advertise it as an everything-but-a-keylogger.. I'd make a sweet sidescrolling video game or something, you know? There's a reason it wasn't the Trojan Life Size Soldier that the Greeks dropped off, but to each his own. *shrug*
posted by niles at 3:55 PM on March 14, 2009


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