Boss key

A boss key is a special keyboard shortcut used in computer games or other programs to quickly hide the program and possibly display a special screen that appears to be a normal productivity program (such as a spreadsheet application). One of the earliest implementations was by Friendlyware, a suite of entertainment and general interest programs written in BASIC and sold with the original IBM AT and XT computers from 1982 to 1985. When activated (by pressing F10), an ASCII bar graph with generic "Productivity" and "Time" labels appeared. Pressing F10 again would return to the Friendlyware application.

In computer games

The purpose of the boss key is to make it appear to superiors and coworkers that an employee is doing his or her job, when they are actually playing games or using the Internet for non work-related tasks. This was a fairly common feature in early computer games for personal computers, when most boss keys were used to show dummy DOS prompts. The use has faded somewhat as modern multitasking operating systems have evolved. However, some programs still retain a boss key feature, such as instant messaging clients or their add-ons. The "Los Angeles Times" has announced that the Innertube software which will display streaming network television will have a boss key. [ [http://www.thedeadbolt.com/news/111595/cbsonlineepisodes.php CBS To Stream Episodes Online - The Deadbolt ] ]

Certain computer games have taken the idea of the boss key and used it to comic effect. Sierra On-Line's comedy/sci-fi adventure game Space Quest III had a so-called boss key available from the game's pulldown menu. However, when the user selected it, the screen would cut to black and inform the user that his or her boss wouldn't be happy if he or she knew how long the user had been playing the game. It then displayed the total elapsed game time. Another Sierra game, the adult-themed Leisure Suit Larry 2, had a boss key which would hide the game and show a screen designed to act like a Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet. Upon closer inspection, however, the spreadsheet was not exactly boss safe, being populated with order status on adult items. Upon trying to return to the game, it would say that when it panics it forgets everything, and the player must start over.

Many Freeverse Software titles include a "Boss Coming" command, which functions as a Boss key.

On web sites

Web sites include boss buttons or boss keys also. A brief list:

*The NPR radio show " [http://www.cartalk.com Cartalk] " includes a " [http://www.cartalk.com/ct/boss.jsp Boss button] ".
* [http://www.donsbosspage.com/protector.shtml Don's Boss Page] has a sole purpose to be a boss web site.
*The [http://content.zdnet.com/2346-10532_22-58884-1.html NCAA web site] (courtesy of ZDN) includes a boss button, also.
*The Buffalo Wild Wings website includes a " [http://www.buffalowildwings.com/ Boss button] ".

Alternatives to the boss key

On modern operating systems, applications may be minimized or switched to the background with a keyboard shortcut. Under desktop environments with multiple workspaces, one possibility is to maintain one "boss" workspace, and switch to it when the boss is coming.

The Ghostzilla browser is a special version of Mozilla for Windows that is nearly invisible on one's desktop.

References


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Boss-Key — Als Cheftaste (auch Boss Key oder Anti Boss Key genannt) wird eine Funktion (meistens eine Tastenkombination) in einem Computerprogramm bezeichnet, die verhindern soll, dass eine Person, die neben dem Monitor steht, erkennen kann, dass dieses… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Boss key — Une boss key (terme anglais qui signifie littéralement « touche [du] patron ») est un raccourci clavier présent dans certains jeux vidéo et permettant, par la pression d une touche du clavier, de mettre la partie en pause et de masquer… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • boss key — ● ►en loc. f. ►JEU touche ou combinaison de touches permettant de passer rapidement à une fausse feuille de calcul ou à un faux traitement de texte, quand on est en train de jouer sur son lieu de travail, et permettant donc de ne pas se faire… …   Dictionnaire d'informatique francophone

  • Anti-Boss-Key — Als Cheftaste (auch Boss Key oder Anti Boss Key genannt) wird eine Funktion (meistens eine Tastenkombination) in einem Computerprogramm bezeichnet, die verhindern soll, dass eine Person, die neben dem Monitor steht, erkennen kann, dass dieses… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • boss — ● ►en n. m. ►JEU Le personnage principal rencontré à la fin d un niveau, dans un jeu. Généralement, il est plus coriace que les autres, c est d ailleurs pour ça que c est le boss. Parfois, le tout dernier méchant, à la fin du dernier niveau, est… …   Dictionnaire d'informatique francophone

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  • Boss & Co. — Infobox Company company name = Boss Co. company company type = Gunmaker company slogan = foundation = 1812 location = London, England key people = industry = Firearms products = Firearms revenue = operating income = net income = num employees =… …   Wikipedia

  • key — key1 /kee/, n., pl. keys, adj., v., keyed, keying. n. 1. a small metal instrument specially cut to fit into a lock and move its bolt. 2. any of various devices resembling or functioning as a key: the key of a clock. 3. See key card. 4. something… …   Universalium

  • key — I [[t]ki[/t]] n. pl. keys, adj. v. 1) bui a small metal instrument specially cut to fit into a lock and move its bolt 2) any of various devices functioning as a key: the key of a clock[/ex] 3) something that affords a means to achive, master, or… …   From formal English to slang

  • Boss Game Studios — Infobox Company company name = Boss Game Studio company company slogan = company type = foundation = | location = Redmond, Washington, USA industry = Computer and video game industry revenue = | operating income = net income = num employees = key …   Wikipedia

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