After Hours

April Fool's Day pranks prove some corporations have a sense of humor

Some industry giants yesterday proved that they actually had a sense of humor with the April Fool's Day hijinks they took part in.

If you let this April Fool's Day pass without pulling some kind of gags, then shame on you. Some industry giants yesterday proved that they actually had a sense of humor with the hijinks they took part in.

Qualcomm "announced" a new wireless phone it called HandSolo. The chip is implanted in customers' pinky fingers, and then it turns their hands into a cell phone and an MP3 player. Here's the company's video about the HandSolo product.

The folks at Google were working overtime on their pranks. First, they announced Google's plans to colonize Mars. That might be funnier if it were entirely out of the realm of possibility. Then, the company debuted "Gmail Custom Time," a feature that lets users send e-mail messages with time stamps from the past.

And who knew NASA had a sense of humor? Its Web site featured a new space station robot named Dextre, which demanded that astronauts refer to him as "Dextre the Magnificent."

TechRepublic's Mark Kaelin reports that Blizzard Entertainment also got into the spirit with its April Fool's Day "announcements."

Have you heard of any other good pranks? Maybe one from your own office?

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

25 comments
dukethepcdr
dukethepcdr

When I was working for the USDA at a field office, I was the most computer savvy person in the office. The other co-workers, even the supervisor, were always asking me to help them with computer and printer problems before they called IT. We had a secretary who was especially computer-phobic. She wouldn't even turn her computer on in the morning because she was afraid she'd mess it up! One year for April Fools Day, I took the ball out of her mouse (yes, we still had the ancient ball mouse since they were cheeper) before she got to the office. You should have seen her try to get her mouse to work. She shook it, cleaned off the mouse pad, wiped the bottom of the mouse etc. She never noticed the ball was missing. She finally called for me and it was all I could do to keep a straight face as I listened to her panic-filled questions. When she was all done explaining what the problem was and what she was doing when she noticed the mouse wasn't working etc. (I had trained her by that time to take note of what had happened just before and any recent changes she could think of whenever she had a computer problem), I then turned the mouse over and unscrewed the bottom. I said something like "Maybe this is the problem, your mouse has no balls" :) Then she was looking all over the place for the ball and wondering how it could have come out. After she looked for a bit, she gave up and whent to get a drink. While she was gone, I got the ball out of my pocket and put it back in the mouse. When she came back I told her to try the mouse one more time. Then it worked and she figured out (finally) that someone had messed with it. I never told her who and she suspected another co-worker who was a bigger prankster than I was. She asked him about it next time she saw him and of course he denied it (but then he denied all the pranks he did so she didn't believe him) so it was a real classic.

Paymeister
Paymeister

I tried to get our IT guy to send out a memo to everyone, but he elected to only try to wind up the facilities manager. It's old, but might supply a chuckle (or an idea for next year). --- begin quote --- [name of Facilities Manager], Sorry this is last minute but it???s taken on a life of it???s own since the executive visit and we need to get this pushed through immediately. I specifically need you and your guys to get the plastic bags out to all of the floor locations (trash or Ziploc bags will work). Here???s a copy of the email that I???ll be sending through shortly. Thanks, [Name of Sr IT Manager] All, In recent months you may have noticed degradation in voice quality on our telephone lines and slower-than-normal response time for some of your applications. While changing the layout at the east end of the building we examined the lines and connections and were surprised to find that wire installed in 2000 was already exhibiting significant signal loss. Further investigation revealed a need for a stepped-up telephone line maintenance procedure, which we had originally scheduled for 2015 or later. Tonight after COB the IT department will be purging the telephone lines by injection of high pressure inert gas at the main distribution room. In order to prevent the distribution of particulate matter throughout your workplace, just before you leave please place your telephone in a plastic bag provided by facilities (see [name of Facilities Manager] if the custodial staff hasn???t delivered it by the end of the day), or place the unit in your wastepaper receptacle. Through this process, we anticipate a 10???15% improvement in voice quality, and hope that some of the longer response times for various software applications may be improved as well. Thank you for your cooperation, -[Name of Sr IT Manager]

mmoran
mmoran

Here's a classic that's older than some of you "less seasoned" folks hereabouts ;>) www.national.com/rap/files/datasheet.pdf

dcrew
dcrew

check this out. so i am clicking around youtube and what do i find but a trailer release for a new ZELDA FILM!!!!! i watch this thing in amazment and after watching the whole thing and getting all exited about it i go on IGN to learn more. that is when i see the editors note below the clip on the following page. http://movies.ign.com/articles/863/863492p1.html The clip was well done and looked great, now someone really does have to make a Zelda movie!

jasondlnd
jasondlnd

I would pay good money to see that film. The trailer looked amazing. I would improve on the makeup that Gannondorf had, but it looked amazing. I agree, someone should really make that film!

babylexei
babylexei

I thought the Gmail Custom Time was for real! hahahah!

stephenmj
stephenmj

Well these gags, I pulled at office, were not originals but we had some really good laughs at my office. We've got 2 doors leading to our division... about 25 ft apart. On both doors I stuck a note saying, "This door's lock mechanism is not working. Please use the other door." It was too funny seeing people walk up to one door and then walk again up to the next one. Even the VP of my division fell for it. Thankfully he has a sense of humor... which is why I'm still writing this out! :-) ... and if that wasn't enough I stuck a small bit of post-it note under everybody's optical mouse. Some of 'em even called up the IT dept thinking that something actually happened to their PCs! lol...

jruby
jruby

The company I currently work for does not have ANY sense of humor when it comes to it's technology resources, so rather than pulling any stunts with servers or users' pc's, I had to drop back to good old paper and ink. We have an area that's currently in the last stages of being remodeled, it's at the stage that people are able to come in and start planning how to put things into their cells, er, I mean cubicles. There's still a few workmen around with their equipment putting on the finishing touches, which provided me with the prime opportunity to sneak in early in the morning and put up some homemade but very professional looking (thanks to my wife's art skills, not mine!) signs that said: DRY PAINT Ok, so I'm too easily amused..... Jim /* Yep, we fixed that problem last week, where were you? */

nosayba.ae
nosayba.ae

Hahaha seriously, I love the first prank, the door's lock mechanism is not working.. lol. I can only imagine them walking back and forth until they realize what's going on.

alex.a
alex.a

At a previous firm we had a time entry program that we developed in-house. I once rewrote all the menu choices in pseudo German as an April Fools prank, viz.: Enter time = Putten in der Tempus Edit time = Maken zie Changes Submit time = Senden fur der Bye-Bye

CG IT
CG IT

That's hilarious... should have videod the expressions on peoples faces. Love the last two Kaen zie changes & Senden fur der bye bye..rofl...

alex.a
alex.a

I was taken to task for interfering with the program at close-of-month time.

ConnieS
ConnieS

Back in the day, when I was at corp level, I did all I could to maintain that sense of humor and youthlike playfulness when it came to such things. Jealous I hadn't dreamed them up, but I was already bad enough along those lines anyway. Too many take themselves, and their positions, too seriously, especially lower and middle management, but laugh when telling others, regardless of how they treat those who they deem beneath their position. If all would lighten up just a touch, this would be a far more enjoyable life, country and world. We take ourselves and everything far more serious than we truly are. CJ

jrandom42
jrandom42

Some time ago, I think it was National Semiconductor announced a new type of memory chip, they called write-only. It was only after numerous queries and prospective orders that they announced it was an April Fool's kple.

aekblade
aekblade

I set everyones homepage to www.iloveponies.com and changed some user's signatures to have a unicorn imbedded! lol They loved it.

toni.bowers_b
toni.bowers_b

Some industry giants yesterday proved that they actually had a sense of humor with some of the hijinks they took part in. Take a look at what they did in this blog: http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/career/?p=289 Did any of you pull a memorable prank?

ozi Eagle
ozi Eagle

Sooldered about 2metres of tinned copper wire to co-workers spool of solder. You should have seen him try to solder with it, had to check the iron if it was hot etc.

GSG
GSG

We had a federal mandate to implement tamper proof paper for all prescriptions by April 1. This meant that we had to install extra drawers on all of the printers in our clinics, and test each one to make sure that all prescriptions would be routed to those drawers containing the tamper proof paper. Additionally, we had to do a few extra things for the ER and the main part of the hospital. This was a tremendous amount of work, and quite expensive (of course no one offers to help pay for this, but that's the fed gov't for you). Three of us got together and found the official website, saved it, edited it in Front Page, to say that the government changed it's mind, then got one of the Senior leaders to attach the edited page to an email and send it out to the IT Department and select people in Administration. The very last line read... "This is your 2008 April Fool's joke." Of course, people started reading it, and went nuts before they read the last line. Some of them had to be prompted several times to read the whole article.

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