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One of the famous features of the iPhone is its Accelerometer. This feature can detect whether the gadget is at the horizontal or vertical position. The original purpose of this feature is to make the phone automatically change the screen orientation according to the position of the phone.

Somewhere in the path of iPhone software development, Apple opened its door and invited programmers to create applications for the iPhone. People began to create applications (mostly games) using the accelerometer feature. Users then could control the movements of the game character just by slightly tilting the position of the phone.

There are other Mac products with similar features, but overshadowed by their little siblings’ popularity, the feature is less known by the general public.

Brief history of Accelerometer

Accelerometer technology was first introduced by Apple to its laptop products (iBooks and Powerbooks) around March 2005 – way before iPhone’s first “public appearance” in January 2007. However, the Accelerometer feature on Apple laptops goes under a different name: Sudden Motion Sensor (SMS).

This feature is built to protect the hard drive and all the data inside by automatically locking the hard disk if it detects sudden physical position change – something like “heavily bumped”, “dropped”, “˜thrown”, and such. You get the idea.

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Now, every Mac laptop (Macbook, Macbook Air, and Macbook Pro) are equipped with the SMS feature. Yet, there are only a few applications developed to utilize this feature. Most are just for fun, some are even completely useless, but there are also SMS-based applications that are actually useful.

Installing The Anti-Theft Alarm

One of the most common problems for mobile gadgets – especially the mouth watering ones like Macbooks – is theft. The mobility makes them an easy target to be stolen. It’s true that the only way you can make sure your gadgets will never be stolen is by never buying them, but as the wise man says, “A little protection is better than no protection at all.”

Speaking of Mac laptops, I found several similar SMS-based applications to help you prevent thievery, such as: JackSMS, iAlertU, Lockdown, and MultiAlarm (abandoned but still useful).

The first time JackSMS is opened; it will automatically display the Preferences screen. Here users can set several things according to their preferences.

Some of the settings are:

  • Whether to launch the app automatically at every login
  • Whether to set the sound every time the application is on or off.
  • If user uses Apple Remote control, choose which button of the Apple Remote Control to use to activate/deactivate the app.
  • Adjust the sensitivity of SMS and the duration of the alarm.

There are some special settings to choose to be implemented when the alarm goes off:

1. Send mobile text. Only applicable for US mobile numbers.

2. Email picture captured by iSight, to help you identify the thief.

Anytime you need to reconfigure, the Preferences is accessible through the menubar icon.

JackSMS also comes with sample AppleScript and PhoneEvents script for Salling Clicker and BluePhoneElite.

This application will be perfect as an automatic anti-theft alarm when paired with the Proximity sensor.

In the next part of “Utilize Your Mac SMS”, we will take a look at some games and fun SMS-based applications.

  1. kazana
    May 14, 2009 at 10:10 am

    Is there any JackSMS howto guide? The software seems to work alright, however, it doesn't send out an email (although prefs are set correctly). I suspect it's because I don't have any mail accounts set up with the default mail app. But there's no way to be certain.

    I was just wondering if there's any documentation explaining the app in a bit more detail.

    • Jeffry Thurana
      May 19, 2009 at 7:55 pm

      I tried to Google a bit about your request, most of the links I found is either the "(almost not) paraphrased version" of this article :-) or something related to Cell Phone's sms. No luck on more detailed explanation, sorry.

      But there are other articles mentioning JackSMS, maybe you could check them out:
      from Matt Hamlin, from TheMarktrix and from The Mac Observer.

      Anyone else could help?

  2. JBB
    March 25, 2009 at 3:18 pm

    Okay, I was frustrated that you went from talking about accelerometer to sending a text message to my phone. After today's article, though, I understand that SMS is in this case the Sudden Motion Sensor.

    *sigh*

    • Jeffry Thurana
      March 25, 2009 at 6:24 pm

      Yes, it's confusing how two different things like 'short message service' and 'sudden motion sensor' are abbreviated the same way. :)

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