One of my favorite pastimes has to be pulling pranks around the office. The pranks may leave a sour taste in the mouth of the recipient for a few days, but in the end they often lead to some good laughs and classic memories.
April Fools' Day naturally lends itself to a flurry of random jokes and pranks, so I took the liberty of rounding up some tech-inspired pranks. I hope you find a way to put one, if not all of them, to use--heck, it doesn't even have to be on April 1!
Here, let me Google that for you
Do you have a co-worker who refuses to look anything up on the Internet for himself? Do you often feel like your name should be "Google"? On April 1, send the lazy Web searcher a link to LMGTFY; perhaps he'll learn a thing or two.
To use LMGTFY, visit the site, type in a search query, and click on either search button. You will then be presented with a link to copy and send off to the unsuspecting recipient. The link you send will then open a Web page with an animation teaching the recipient how to use Google. After the site automatically fills in the search bar with the query and clicks on the search button, he will be redirected to the actual Google search results.
After sending a LMGTFY link a few times, he is going to learn how to search for stuff on his own, or give up asking you. Either way, you win!
Post a 'rickroll' QR code around the office
Name one thing more annoying than QR codes. You can't? I can: getting "rickrolled." Combining the two most annoying, tech-related things I can think of only seems natural. (Although, I can't take credit for the idea, you have been able to purchase a QR code rickroll shirt for a while now. Hat tip to CNET's Jeff Sparkman for this idea.)
You can either save the QR code I posted here, or create your own code. Change the content's drop-down to URL, paste in the link to the YouTube video of your choice, (Rebecca Black's "Friday," anyone?), and save the code that is generated. You can then print it out, post it on the office bulletin board, or e-mail it to your coworkers.
The iPhone's autocorrect feature has become infamous for creating some very awkward and downright embarrassing moments by changing just one word in a conversation. With iOS 5's new text Shortcuts, as well as the BlackBerry's Word Substitution feature, you can help create some of those misplaced words.
For example, changing a simple "Hi" into something like "I love lamp" would confuse anyone. You can get as creative with this prank as you would like, but try to keep it clean. It could be someone's mom on the receiving end of the message.
The trickiest part of this prank is getting enough time alone with your target's smartphone. Creating a text shortcut on iOS (remember the device has to be running iOS 5) is as simple as launching the Settings app and then navigating to General > Keyboard > Shortcuts. Add the phrase, and the word that will trigger the autocorrect replacement, and press save when done.
On a BlackBerry, creating a word substitution depends on what OS you are running. BlackBerry 5 and below refers to Word Substitution as AutoText. Navigating to Options > AutoText or Options > Typing and Language > Word Substitution should get you in the right area.
That's not my name, Siri!
Siri will do anything that's commanded of it, including calling its owner the name of his, or his friend's, choosing. If your friend or co-worker is constantly using Siri, why not throw him off a bit by changing the name Siri calls him? Unlike the autocorrect prank, you will only need to get your hands on his iPhone 4S for a few seconds.
Launch Siri by holding the home button on the iPhone for a few seconds. Once Siri is ready, simply state: "Call me ___." The name you give Siri will be repeated back to you, asking you to confirm the name.
This prank is fun, and easy to do, just try not to create an Internet-wide controversy by stealing your nephew's device by accident.
You broke my screen!
Android users will be able to pull one over by either installing a free app on their targets' device, or by installing it on their own device. What does the app do? Well, it simulates a cracked screen. A search of the Google Play store returns a healthy amount of cracked screen apps, some better than others. My personal favorites are any of the apps that have a timer feature. Launch the app, set a timer of 15 seconds, hand your device to your target and watch his horror as the screen cracks while he is using it.
Where's that beep coming from?!?
In an office or house full of electronics, from time to time things are going to beep--it's expected. What happens when the source of the beep can't be found? Borderline hysteria, that's what.
ThinkGeek sells one of my all-time favorite prank machines, the Annoy-a-tron. It's a small device, containing a battery, a magnet (to aide in hiding), a speaker, and a couple of switches. Once you turn it on, you can hide the device nearly anywhere. It will beep every 2 to 8 minutes, never keeping the same interval to keep your target on his/her toes. The battery life of the device is roughly a month.
I have had great success with this device in the past. I took apart a phone jack, and stashed the Annoy-a-tron inside. I was able to go through two batteries (two months!) before the office figured out where it was hidden. We had desks turned upside down, power to the entire complex turned off as everyone sat in the dark for 2 hours as they searched for the source. I highly recommend this prank.
The Annoy-a-tron will set you back $9.99, or you can spring for the even more annoying Annoy-a-tron 2.0, which is $12.99.
Then, of course, there are the classic pranks such as the upside-down computer screen (Ctrl+Alt+down arrow on some Windows machines). Or, you can take a screenshot of a desktop, hide all files/icons, then set the desktop background to the screenshot.
Perhaps you have some Photoshop skills? Why not alter a photo of a friend, slightly, then post it to Facebook?
Bonus: Solar Charger
Solar Charger is an Android app that magically transforms your device's screen into a solar panel, which in turn charger your Android device. After installing this app, you will no longer be a slave to electrical outlets! You can charge your phone whenever you want, wherever you want! Don't believe me? Just read the reviews.
Well, at least that's what you can tell the person you want to install the app. The fact of the matter is the app doesn't do anything at all. Big thanks to Ed Rhee for throwing this app in the mix.
If you have a favorite prank, or pranks, share them in the comments below. I'm sure all of us would love to hear some funny stories, or even more ideas how to punk some noobs on April 1!