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Method to Detect Inappropriate Screen Saver Behavior

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000123945D
Original Publication Date: 1999-Aug-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Apr-05
Document File: 3 page(s) / 114K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Arning, A: AUTHOR

Abstract

Description and Disadvantage of Prior Art. Most workstation operation systems are shipped with so-called "screen saver" software; this software disables the computer display when it is not used.

This text was extracted from an ASCII text file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 52% of the total text.

Method to Detect Inappropriate Screen Saver Behavior

   Description and Disadvantage of Prior Art

   Most workstation operation systems are shipped with
so-called "screen saver" software; this software disables the
computer display when it is not used.

   The reason to use screen savers is
  (a) to extend the life time of the display and
  (b) to save electric power (which is especially important for
      battery-powered computer displays).

   In some cases, disabling a screen can as well mean to lock
the screen, so the computer can be used again only after entering a
password.  Optionally, the screen saver can as well show a moving
picture which still extends the life time of the screen since this
does avoid to burn constant patterns into the screen surface.

   The main problem of screen savers is that there is no easy
way to decide whether someone is looking at the screen or not;
according to the state of the art instead, the following assumption
is used: if there is no user response (keystrokes or mouse
interaction) for a certain amount of time, no user seems to be
interested in the display either.  Thus, the screen saver software
keeps track of the idle time (which means no mouse movement, no
keystrokes) and disables the display after a user-definable timeout
period.  When any keystroke or mouse movement happens during disabled
state, the display is reactivated (depending on the actual screen
saver implementation, the keystroke that reactivates the display may
be consumed without its normal effect, i.e. without inserting a
character).

   However, in some cases, just watching the idle time is
inadequate; for example, when someone displays and explains a
complex representation of information, this is a situation where no
input happens but the displayed information is of interest.

   Currently, these are the approaches accrding to the current
state of the art to avoid the inadequate screen saver behaviour:
  o  Move the mouse periodically.  Disadvantage: this helps only
     for the defined time interval;
  o  Enter any key of the keyboard.  Disadvantage: this helps
     only for the defined time interval; additional disadvantage:
     depending on the key pressed, this may or may not have an
     unwanted side effect;
  o  Go to the setup menus and either disable the screen saver
     (presentation mode) or extend the interval; however, many
     people do not know where to set this, or they do not want
     to spend the time; and during presentations, this would be
     too distracting and a time consuming action.

   Clearly all of the state o the art approaches to cope with
the inadequate screen saver behavior are inappropriate.

   Description of a Solution

   This motivates the idea of this disclosure:
Most of these inadequate cases match the following pattern:
  1.  The specified timeout interval passed by without user
      interaction;
  2.  The screen was...