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CNET Top 5: Tech practical jokes

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CNET Top 5: Tech practical jokes

2:38 /

April Fools' Day is a national holiday for geeks. Here are some of the best ways to celebrate.

Welcome to CNET Top 5, home for wayward lists. I'm Tom Merritt. April Fool's Day is something of a national holiday for geeks. It's fool or be fooled, my friends. One of my old favorites is editing the autoexec.bat file to cause a constant loop. But there are better and more modern ways. We've collected some of the most popular ways to trick your friends. Let's count 'em down. At No. 5, the annoy-a-tron. This handy little device from ThinkGeek is just a bit bigger than a quarter and emits a random beep every 2-5 minutes. It's guaranteed to drive co-workers, friends, and family to distraction. I had a Nokia phone that did this once when the battery was low. Coming in at No. 4, novelty USB drives. These drives don't look odd, they install odd things on the target's computer. My favorite? The one that randomly presses keys and moves the cursor. Up to No. 3, rearrange the keyboard keys. Harder to do on some keyboards these days. If skillfully done, the "fool" won't notice right away and can be immensely effective. Sliding in at No. 2, the old mouse madness trick. Put some tape or even a post-it note over the LED light on the bottom of the target's mouse. You'd be surprised how long it takes some people to figure this one out. Before we get to No. 1, time for another lame prize. You'll have to work a bit more for this one. Be one of the first 10 people to go to blog.cnettv.com and describe how the autoexec.bat trick I mentioned earlier works, and you could be selected to get this entirely fake music player that is not in any way an iPod Nano. All right. Let's get to our No. 1. By far the most commonly mentioned tech practical joke At No. 1, it's...the desktop screenshot. Use PRT SCRN to capture the target's desktop then set that image as the desktop wallpaper. Then hide all of icons and the taskbar. The screen will look like it always does, but clicking the will not make anything happen, because, of course, it's just a picture. Computers freeze often enough that it can take hours before they figure it out. Just don't let them call I.T. Well That's it for this edition of CNET Top 5. Don't forget to describe the autoexec.bat trick for a chance to win the non-Apple totally unauthorized replica music player. I'm Tom Merritt. See you next time.

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