Wednesday, February 25, 2009

MaxSmash – Yet Another Babysmash application

My son, Maximilian (age 1½ years old), is (not unlike his father) a big fan of technology and computers. In fact, every time I open my laptop at home, he’ll notice, stop doing whatever it is he is doing and run to me, climb on my lap and start pounding the keyboard. While at the laptop, these are the things he prefers to do:

  1. Send messenger/skype messages to whomever I was talking to like this “lkhdsalnhjkdnnn vvvcccccccc……”
  2. Code in visual studio – unfortunately he hasn’t really grasped the entire “syntax” concept yet.
  3. Look at pictures of himself or other family members and yell out their name in an excited high pitch voice if he sees someone in the pictures he recognizes.
  4. Watch old russian cartoons on YouTube. At the moment his favorite is this:

To try to protect my computer, coding projects and messenger conversations I’ve been a big fan of Hanselmans Babysmash application that locks down the computer and lets a kid smash the keyboard all he wants – and see various figures, sounds and characters being displayed.

However, after a while Max started getting bored with it – so I’ve made my own that instead of characters and sounds simply display random pictures of people he knows. That’s a big hit at the moment.

All configuration (like setting up paths to image folders, cache-usage, etc) is done in an xml config file.

Once it’s running you have to hit ALT+F4 or CTRL+ALT+DEL to get out – everything else should be locked down.

Download it here

Comments are welcome!


fritzen said...

The program fails is there are too many pictures

Anonymous said...


1. let it initially display random images.
2. record sound

Depending on the presence of a "pitched voice" it will prioritize images into a "max's favorites album"


Anonymous said...

I wrote a program like that for my (then) 1 year old daughter back in 1992 using ASCII graphics characters on my impressive computer 386/16 w/1MB RAM and Hercules monochrome graphics.

Some things are classic for any generation. :)