April Fool's Day Content
April Fool's Day Content
April Fool Categories
April Fool: Recurring Pranks
April Fool: Regions
April Fool: Perpetrators
April Fool's Day Archive, Contents:
|Before 1900:||Origin of April Fool's Day | 1700-1799 | 1800-1899|
|Early 1900s:||1900 | 1901 | 1915 | 1919 | 1920 | 1923 | 1925|
|1930s & 40s:||1933 | 1934 | 1936 | 1937 | 1938 | 1940 | 1949|
|1950s & 60s:||1950 | 1957 | 1959 | 1960 | 1962 | 1965 | 1969|
|1970s:||1970 | 1971 | 1972 | 1973 | 1974 | 1975 | 1976 | 1977 | 1978 | 1979|
|1980s:||1980 | 1981 | 1982 | 1983 | 1984 | 1985 | 1986 | 1987 | 1988 | 1989|
|1990s:||1990 | 1991 | 1992 | 1993 | 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999|
|2000s:||2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009|
|2010s:||2010 | 2011|
Left-handed Cellphone (2004)
Virgin Mobile announced that it would be offering a left-handed Sony Ericsson LH-Z200 mobile phone: "Designed with a reversed keypad layout, the buttons are switched from right to left instead of standard left to right… This simple but clever design makes dialling, texting and menu navigation quicker and easier for anyone left-handed." A number of technology sites fell for the joke.
The Sun reported that hawks outfitted with miniature cameras would be used to catch speeding drivers:
Shake Your Mobile (2004)In an update of the Instant Color TV prank from 1962, Sweden's largest newspaper, Dagens Nyheter, reported that Hubert Hochsztapler, a researcher at Sweden's top engineering school, had made a surprising discovery: "if you shake your GSM, or second-generation, phone hard enough, you can access the new high-tech third-generation (3G) frequency which is only supposed to be available to 3G phones." This would allow users of older-model mobile phones to watch movies on their phones simply by shaking them.
PC EZ-Bake Oven (2004)
Thinkgeek.com, an online retailer of offbeat gadgets, continued a multiyear tradition of posting fake gadgets on April 1st. This year's roster included a PC EZ-Bake Oven: "It fits in a 5 1/4" drive bay and plugs right into your power supply with the included Molex connector… The PC Ez-Bake oven can even be used to cook your Pop Tarts, Bagel Bites, or any tiny or flat food. YUM!"
The Remote Control Gastron Hunger Elimator: "Simply swallow the tiny non-digestible Gastron base station and use the remote to adjust your personal hunger level. The base station inflates to fill your stomach, giving you that satisfied full feeling with zero calories."
CaffeDerm caffeine patches: "They easily apply to your shoulder and provide a steady dose of caffeine throughout the day. These calorie-free fixes are just enough to keep you from ripping your teeth out without generating any brain fuzz so you can actually present yourself as a sentient!"
Human Gets Computer Virus (2003)The website BetterHumans.com posted news of the first case of a human catching a computer virus:
"A software developer from Houston, Texas has become the first human to contract a computer virus, microbiologists have confirmed. John Newman, an employee of vTouch Systems, came into contact with the virus through the use of a neural interface that his company is developing. Avril DuChamps, a spokesperson for vTouch Systems, confirmed yesterday at a press conference that Newman had come down with the virus. All activities at vTouch have been suspended until further notice."
George Foreman USB iGrill (2003)
Thinkgeek.com introduced the George Foreman USB iGrill, the "low-fat, high-bandwidth solution to your networked cooking needs":
Shellac, Sound of the Future (2003)
National Public Radio's All Things Considered ran a segment about the efforts by preservationists to transfer audio recordings to a durable medium that would last far into the future. The medium they had decided upon: shellac (what Edison used when he first invented recording technology back in the nineteenth century). Rick Karr reported:
And so works such as Vanilla Ice's debut CD were being painstakingly transferred onto shellac. The report concluded: "If funding levels can be maintained, experts estimate the archiving project can catch up with recordings made before 2003 by April 1, 2089."
In late February a Dutch company calling itself The Honest Thief announced that it would host a new, totally legal file-sharing service. It explained that it was able to do this, despite the lawsuits facing other file-sharing networks, because: "The Honest Thief is the first Dutch company to take advantage of a recent Dutch appeals court ruling that paved the way for the Netherlands to become the world's first legal haven for file sharing companies."
Large amounts of press attention followed, including an article in the Wall Street Journal. But visitors to The Honest Thief website on April 1st were met with an announcement: April Fool! There was no legal file-sharing network. The hoax was a stunt to promote a book of the same name (The Honest Thief) by Pieter Plass.
Astro Boy to the Rescue (2003)
The Tokyo Shimbun reported that the Japanese government was planning to send robots modelled on the 1960s cartoon character Astro Boy to assist with post-war reconstruction in Iraq. They noted: "It is partly aimed at showing the world the right way to use science technology following the loss of confidence in US high-tech weapons."
Google revealed the secret at the heart of its search technology: PigeonRank. Clusters of pigeons had been trained to compute the relative values of web pages:
PigeonRank's success relies primarily on the superior trainability of the domestic pigeon (Columba livia) and its unique capacity to recognize objects regardless of spatial orientation… By collecting flocks of pigeons in dense clusters, Google is able to process search queries at speeds superior to traditional search engines, which typically rely on birds of prey, brooding hens or slow-moving waterfowl to do their relevance rankings. When a search query is submitted to Google, it is routed to a data coop where monitors flash result pages at blazing speeds. When a relevant result is observed by one of the pigeons in the cluster, it strikes a rubber-coated steel bar with its beak, which assigns the page a PigeonRank value of one. For each peck, the PigeonRank increases. Those pages receiving the most pecks, are returned at the top of the user's results page with the other results displayed in pecking order.
Cybrary (2001)The British Observer revealed an exciting new idea sweeping through the internet community — a "cybrary," or cyber-library. The idea, dreamed up by London dot.com entrepreneur Lee Peters, was to "store, on paper, all the books available on the net." Peters explained that he wanted to add a "tactile dynamic" to the internet experience. He prophesied that one day millions of people would be able to go "to a public building and handle the texts, creating for the first time a real physical interface." Peters admitted that storage space would be a problem, but he revealed that he was already in talks with a number of London councils which had recently closed their libraries who were willing to offer space to the venture.
Kencom Limited (2001)The Sunday East African Standard in Kenya printed an advertisement and a back-page story profiling a new mobile phone service provider called Kencom Limited. The new mobile phones would come with built-in scratch cards, internet service, videocams, and TV screens. What's more, service would cost a low rate of only four shillings per minute. To make the service even more attractive, a coupon was offered with the enticement that the first 3,000 people to submit the coupon would receive free phones. By noon, over 5,000 entry forms had already been submitted to the East African Standard Town Office in Nairobi. Among the hopefuls dropping off coupons were said to be top military personnel, politicians, and businessmen.
Telepathic E-Mail (1999)Red Herring Magazine ran an article profiling a revolutionary new internet technology called Orecchio (Italian for "ear"). This technology used the TIDE communications protocol (short for "Telepathic Internet Data Exchange") to allow users to compose and send e-mail telepathically. To e-mail telepathically users would wear a device nestled between their ear and skull. The company developing this device was Tidal Wave Communications, led by Yuri Maldini, a computer genius from Estonia. Adding credibility to the story was a reference to some real research at Emory University in which researchers had allowed a paralyzed man to move a cursor across a computer screen by implanting a device in his brain. Mr. Maldini, who had once been employed by the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence, claimed that he had developed the idea for Orecchio from the encrypted communications systems he had put in place during the Gulf War and the conflict in Somalia. Nevertheless, despite the revolutionary potential of telepathic e-mail, skeptics abounded. Clarence Madison, managing partner of New World Associates, was quoted as saying, "I know crap when I see it. This is crap." Ignoring such critics, Mr. Maldini was pressing ahead with his plans to commercialize Orecchio. He even was anticipating future features such as telepathic web browsers and word processors and the ability to receive e-mail telepathically as well as send it.
At the end of the Red Herring article the reporter recalled a moment when he asked Mr. Maldini how big the market for such a product might be: "Mr. Maldini falls silent. He stares vacantly for several moments out his office window and then says, 'I just sent you an email with my answer.' Upon returning to our office, we find the response waiting: 'It's going to be huge,' reads the email. 'Simply huge.'" Red Herring received numerous letters from readers admitting they had been fooled by the article.
Accompanying the ads was a letter from a company called Hoffman York Plc that claimed to be an information-gathering service. Executives were invited to phone the 1-800 number to learn how Hoffman York could obtain information about products that might pose a competitive threat. The material provided was offered as an example. Over 30 people called the number, including three high-level executives. Hoffman York was really an advertising agency. The ads were April Fool's Day publicity stunts.
Y2K solved (1999)The Singapore Straits Times reported that a 17-year-old student from Singapore called Jack Hon Si Yue had created a small computer program that could solve the Y2K problem (caused by the inability of older computers to distinguish between 1900 and 2000). The teenager, described as being camera-shy and a C student, was said to have worked out the Y2K solution in 29 minutes while solving an algebra problem for his homework. Jack showed the solution to his father who, in turn, presented it to a technology consulting group known as Gardner. The student's family and the Gardner group then formed a joint venture called Polo Flair to commercialize the solution. Revenues from the joint venture were expected to top $50 million by September, 1999. The Straits Times received numerous calls from journalists and computer specialists seeking more information about the story. One television journalist wanted to know if Jack Hon Si Yue could be persuaded to go on TV, despite the fact that he was camera-shy. Clues that the article was a joke included the name of the joint venture, Polo Flair (an anagram for April Fool) and Jack's name, Si Yue, which means "April" in Chinese.