Did you spot these techie April Fools’ gags?
From a subversive Git to Comic Sans at CERN, a roundup of our favourite tech pranks from around the web.
Yesterday was an odious day for tech editors. Every April 1st, trusted sources turn rouge, breaking news reports are tinged with suspicion, and by 3pm, even the most convincing pieces start to look fishy. For everyone else though, it was an internet joy ride (well, aside from anyone who had their Pokémon hunting dreams cruelly dashed by Google. Yet another black mark on my list there for you, Chocolate Factory). From wacky physicists to the unexpected return of a nineties icon, here’s a roundup of some of the best witticisms from around the web.
There were trying times for the Zero Turnaround crew yesterday when a hapless engineer was almost hospitalized as a result of a colleague’s reckless IDE hopping, more formally known as ‘Sudden Application Switching Syndrome’ (SASS). Speaking from a recovery centre deep within the mountains of Estonia, traumatised Oleg Shelajev commented, “When I came in, I saw that Michael’s IDE background, color scheme and font size was completely different than usual. The double-take nearly gave me whiplash…I was like, what the f*ck, is he using MyEclipse?”
JetBrains were quick to step up to the mark with their own personal brand of April tomfoolery. With a 14th birthday approaching, the team wrote that they were mulling over solutions to continue driving the platform forward over the next five to ten years, and had hit upon the idea of a third version of the Commercial IDE: IntelliJ IDEA Lite. Now in its teens, JetBrains is fairly wise to what’s hot right now, so naturally they gravitated towards in-app purchases for the IDE (which the kids love, FYI), paid for by special JetBrains feature credits (JFC for short, or even better, JetCoins), which can then be spent on premium features like refactoring or new color schemes. And if that wasn’t enough, they announced that they’ll be introducing an awesome looking IntelliJ Game SDK, which will make it easy for everyone to embed their favorite games within IntelliJ-based IDEs. But put away the cake and balloons people – this is yet another bitterly disappointing con.
Watt’s that I hear you say? Physicists aren’t funny? The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), who rocked the scientific community to its very core by declaring that henceforth all communications would be written in Comic Sans, would like to refract that opinion. An announcement appeared on the official CERN website yesterday explaining that going forward, the team believe the most effective way to communicate their research into the “fundamental structure of matter at the very boundaries of technology” was by changing their font to the most jovial typeface of all time. CERN Head of Communications James Gillies affirmed that “’This is a serious laboratory, with a serious research agenda…And it makes the letters look all round and squishy.” Other mooted suggestions for revamping the organization’s image include inserting a Justin Bieber selfie into the CERN logo, and giving the Large Hadron Collider a triangular makeover.
The world of version control was thrown into turmoil on Tuesday when an Apache Issue was raised for the migration of Apache Subversion into the Git repository. It sort of makes sense when you consider all the discourse that was swirling around a few years ago pushing Git as a natural successor to Subversion – but don’t worry, it was all just a big elaborate hoax! Subversion project founder Greg Stein has now closed the ticket with the comment, “Resolving as “Not a problem”. We sure as hell don’t want to do this. :-)”. So that’s OK then.
Wearable tech jokes were a recurrent theme this year, from the Twitter Helmet™ to Reddit’s ‘headdit’ gag. Aussie software company Atlassian got on board by posting a supposed crowdsourcing campaign for the ‘BitBand’ – the company’s first ever incursion into the world of hardware. Inspired by the popular FitBit gadget, the BitBand will ‘gamify’ your work by tracking and then comparing all your activities to your colleagues. It’ fits everyone from Starving Interns to Overpaid Hipster Foodies, has an intuitive UI that delivers praise or threats according to personal preference, and has a helpful vibration feature to remind you when it’s time to interact with your fellow human beings. Just watch out for the OKCupid monitoring guys.
Elder statesman Microsoft may have lost some of its lustre in recent years – but remember the glory days? When you couldn’t sneeze on your mouse without an anthropomorphised bit of stationary jumping to attention on your screen? Office.com users were able to luxuriate in a warm blanket of nostalgia this April 1st when little Clippy made a triumphant return to their screens, greeting Word, Excel and PowerPoint users with his trademark perplexed expression and classically unhelpful suggestions. One lucky office was even treated to a unique hardware Clippy update when a single employee went rogue with an army of paperclips. According to the prankster, it took some time to craft 77 real life Office Assistants, but the reactions in the office were priceless, with presumably delighted co-workers exclaiming, “THEY’RE EVERYWHERE!” and “WHO DID THIS TO US??”