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Welcome To "Bug Off"
Copyright © 1993-94 by Herb Otto
All Rights Reserved.
And Yet It's Freeware!

This package was developed to keep unauthorized people from gaining access to my computer system while I'm away from my desk. It does not utilize a sophisticated protection scheme but rather a simple effective deterrent. This keeps the occasional "...looking for a Mac to do a quick edit..." user off the system. The goal in developing BugOff was a safe and low-cost package with ease of use. Since I'm not charging for it, you can't beat the price. ENJOY!

BugOff provides a system startup password as well as a built-in screen saver with password
dismissal. It allows for 2 passwords, the first being the system administrator or Owner which
allows complete access to the system. The second lets users access the system with the exception of being able to open the preferences or have access to folders specified by the owner. It also provides a simple messaging system allowing users to send short messages to other people on their network.

As a screen saver, it will not interrupt any background processing. For instance, if you're in the middle of a modem transfer, it will continue even though the screen saver has activated. Processing will only be halted during the iris close of the screen. (trés cool effect)

In The Beginning

BugOff has an interesting development history. It started out as a simple access control package and turned into the program from Hell: Access Control (multi-user), Folder Watching, Network Messaging, etc. It's my goal to keep adding to this application and thereby create a useful shell of various functions in a single package, ("'s a desert topping, no it's a floor wax...") The tough part about developing this "simple" little screen saver was knowing when to shoot the engineer and get it out of design/beta. The requests have already started to roll in: Post-it notes, duplex active "talk" mode, et al, all under Owner/User access control. Got any more ideas? I'm open minded.


System 7 is a requirement! If you are not using it and try to boot the package, you will be
presented with a warning. Color Quickdraw is not required, so it will work on PowerBook 100s and such. If you want the option to have your reminder messages be spoken, you must have Macintalk installed. BugOff supports both the old and new versions of Macintalk.

I recommend putting BugOff in the Startup Items folder or at least an alias to it. BugOff is a
System 7 application so it should be relatively "friendly" (famous last words) when dealing with other programs.

If you are running any other screen savers, you should disable them when using BugOff IF you are using the BugOff screen saver function. In the future I hope to add the ability to add your own screen saver module resources.

Balloon Help

If you need detailed help regarding the various functions in Bugoff, turn on the balloon help.

Screen Saver

This checkbox enables/disable the screen saver. You can specify a time in minutes before it kicks in during (hopefully) idle activity using the popup menu. To prevent the screen saver from becoming active at any time place the cursor in the upper left corner of the display. If the mouse is placed in the upper right corner, the screen saver will dim in approx. 2 seconds.
NOTE: If you leave your Owner (Admin) Password field blank, this package will never present the password dialog and acts solely as a screen saver (boring).

Guest Default

If checked, no password will be required whenever the screen saver is dismissed, the system access will default to guest privileges. If unchecked, you must enter an Owner or Guest password to dismiss the screen saver. While this function is enabled, the Owner can still access all privileges by selecting Unlock BugOff... under the File menu. To re-protect everything simple re-enable the screen saver, the next time it's dismissed guest access will be active.

Status Window

Checking this box will provide the user with time remaining feedback before the screen saver will enable. A small window will be displayed in the lower right corner of the screen.

Low Priority

This checkbox will let you specify if the screen saver is to sacrafice its smooth graphics for processing time given to other applications in the background. If this box is checked, you'll notice "jerky" graphics while BugOff is giving most of its time to other applications. If this box is unchecked, minimal time is given to the others, but you're still be able to print/copy/etc. Normally, you may want to keep this box unchecked. You should only check it if you notice an application slowing to a dead crawl while the screen saver is running.

Iris Effect

If this box is checked, you'll see the slow decaying iris effect when the screen saver starts to kick in. If unchecked, the screen will immediately blank. The iris effect is especially handy if you have a password enabled to dismiss the screen saver. It then gives you a chance to abort the dimming process if you happen to be nearby the system.

Activity Log

To keep a log of BugOff activity such as incoming/outgoing message times, logon attempts, errors, reminders, etc, check this box. The file will be called "BugOff Log" and will be stored in your Preferences folder. This file may grow greater than 32K which prevents TeachText from opening it, so you may want to periodically delete this file to keep its size down. This function has been added simply as a debugging aid in case the user has problems, I don't recommend leaving it on indefinitely since the log file has a tendency to grow quite rapidly.

Logon Tolerance

Is the number of attempts the initial logon will tolerate before performing a system ShutDown. The ShutDown function is not enabled while the screen saver is running.

Admin "Owner" Password

This password is usually the machine owner or system adminstrator. It allows access to preferences to change passwords and specify protected folders, etc. If you open the prefs after having previously entering a password, the characters will have been replaced with '€'. To view the password you entered, click in the desired password field while holding down the Option key. With this in mind, don't allow other people access to your preferences by leaving it unattended. Always close it and invoke the screen saver before leaving your computer.

NOTE: Keeping this field blank will disable all protection capabilities and you will always have access to all BugOff functions. I don't recommend doing this in an office setting. Also, if you have messaging enabled with remote access control checked anyone on the network running BugOff will be able to Restart or Shutdown your machine without warning...not a good thing. So the moral of the story is...Enter A Password!

User "Guest" Password

If you want to give access of your system to someone, but not let them modify the settings,
this is for them. Only the administrator can change the User password! You can leave this blank if you want to restrict access to just the administrator. When the User logs on, they will not be able to see the folders specfied in the "Protected Folders" list area. It doesn't matter if the User logs on initially at startup or if the Owner walked away from their system and the screen saver is running. The folders are hidden/shown whenever a User/Owner password is entered.

Startup Password

If you want BugOff to request a password at startup, check this box. If unchecked, the password dialog will only appear when the screen saver is dismissed.

Protected Folders

This contains the full directory pathnames of folders the Owner wants to keep from the User's
view. Simply use the Add button to place a folder in the list. To remove an entry, hilite the entry and click Remove.

Folder Protection Info

BugOff just sets the "invisible" bit of the folders, it's quite safe and you can use any available utility to reset this bit if you happen to run into problems. If for some reason your folder doesn't come back into view, open BugOff and select the folder with the Add button. Close the prefs dialog and reopen it. When BugOff opens, it automatically unprotects all specified folders.
You can also use the Unprotect & Quit menu item under the File menu. This will unprotect all folders listed in the list and quit BugOff. Normally when BugOff quits it uses the Quit selection under File and protects all folders before exiting.

Please remember, this is not a very difficult protection scheme for the knowledgeable Macintosh user to circumvent, it's simply a deterrent.


BugOff has the ability to send messages to other people on your network also running BugOff. To enable the receive function, simply select the Messages check box in the preference settings dialog. Only the Administrator will be allowed to see the incoming messages. The messages will be queued while the screen saver is running. You must dismiss the screen saver with the Admin password in order to view messages. Set Program Linking On in Sharing Setup in order for this to work. Under the "Users & Groups" control panel, open and select "Allow guests to link to programs on this Macintosh". When you send messages, simply click on Guest rather than entering a username and password. The maximum size of a message record is currently 32K.

Remote Options

Located in the upper right of the message dialog is a popup menu containing remote functions. Shutdown: If you know the Owner password of the remote Macintosh, you can shut it down.
Restart: Same as ShutDown command but performs a system reboot.
Send Beeps: Will command the remote system to play a specified number of beeps.
Command Sound: If you happened to know the names of the sounds on the remote system, you can specify the other computer to play one.

To prevent access to any of these functions from a remote system - uncheck the Remote Access box in the preferences dialog.

Auto Open Msg

Checking this box will instruct BugOff to display a blank message dialog when it's brought to the front. It will display the dialog only if messaging is enabled and no messages are currently displayed. This is handy if you find yourself constantly selecting Send Message... under the Network menu whenever you select BugOff from the finder's application menu.

Msg To Front

When checked, BugOff will attempt to make itself the frontmost application whenever there is an incoming message from a network user. If unchecked, the messages will remain in the background. The incoming message sound is played in both cases.

Folder Watch

With System 7, a very simple mail system can be created by allowing "guests" to logon to your system and drop files/folders into "drop only" folders. The only thing needed is an indication that new files arrived. BugOff will check for files in the folders you specify if you select Folder Watch under the Options menu. Use the directory list to specify the folder(s) to monitor. A notification will be presented to you when the folder contains 1 or more files/folders. The folders are checked every 30 seconds.

Only the system administrator will be notified of new arrivals!

Once you have been notified, the files must be moved out of the folder so the item count returns to ZERO, otherwise BugOff will not notify you of new files.

Auto Shutdown

This feature will allow you to specify a time to shutdown the computer. Very handy for unattended operations. When the Auto Shutdown box is checked, the computer will perform normal housekeeping and turn off at the specified time. Identical in operation to selecting ShutDown from the finder Special menu. If the Do only once box is checked, the auto shutdown flag will be cleared the next time the program restarts. Uncheck this box if you want the shutdown to occur the same time each day without manually setting it.

Using Sounds

Selecting Sounds... under the Options menu will allow you to assign sounds to various BugOff functions. The sounds will be loaded from your System file. If you would like to keep a separate suitcase of sounds just for BugOff use, you can put a file in the Preferences folder located in your System Folder called "BugOff Sounds". I recommend creating a file with Type: 'zsys' and Creator: 'MACS' using your favorite utility.


In keeping with the tradition of ever growing applications, I decided to include a simple reminder package. Selecting Set Reminder... under the Options menu will present you with a dialog to define different reminders. Just like all other specialized BugOff functions, only the owner has access to reminders. If a guest is logged in, the reminders will be queued. If the screen saver is active, the password dialog will keeping displaying with a clock icon indicating a pending reminder. The owner password must then be entered in order to view the message. Currently, BugOff supports 100 messages. That should be enough for most people. For more information regarding the individual functions, activate balloon help and checkout the reminder dialog. Sounds can be assigned as well as Macintalk can be commanded to say the message, provided you have it installed. If you use the memory intensive high quality voices, you may need to increase the amount of memory allocated to BugOff (450K should do it).

Cast of "Characters"

Teri Spradlin - Initial Idea/Beta Tester
Dave Sterner - Flying Lines/Floating Time
- Beta Tester
Cristina Mickley - Logo Design

Special Thanks To:

Ted "Bug Hunter" Bauer, Lawrie Daub, Bob Degenford, Mike Dewey, Bonnie Fedarcyk, John Habicht, Jay Kurtz, Bill Maselko, Dale Milnes, Stephen Shiller

Machines Involved: (OS System 7.0.1 & 7.1)
LC-III, IIci, IIsi, IIfx, PB-100, Duo-210,
Quadra's 610, 650, 840av, 900, 950


BugOff may be distributed freely for non-commercial use only. It is copyrighted! This program may not be sold or included with any other software collection (CD ROMs, etc) without my written permission. Do not alter the copyright notices or any other portion of this program.

I claim no responsibility to damage induced by this package to your system. The user will be using it AT THEIR OWN RISK.

If anyone has suggestions or comments I can be contacted via the following online services:


CompuServe: 72257,1133