April is here, and that can only mean one thing… practical jokes. Tuesday was April Fools day, and as usual, the jokes and pranks were out in full force. Some of them elaborate, some of them simple, and most of them funny. One of the more elaborate ones this year was a promotion done by the Nestle corporation.
Nestle had displays made up containing rebranded Butterfinger candy bars. The announcement on the display read that effective immediately Butterfinger candy bars are to be known as “The Finger” and to search the phrase in Yahoo to find out more. What was impressive is that the display actually contained a number of “The Finger” candy bars and they were giving them away for free. A great publicity stunt for April Fools day. Searching for the finger on April Fools day on Yahoo gave a link to a video on Yahoo! Video that outed the joke. It may be stupid, but at least I got a free candy bar out of it, as well as a chuckle (just for the record, I wasn’t fooled for a moment, it was obvious to me that it was a joke, though apparently some people thought they were serious).
The internet of course was filled with April Fools Day jokes, the most popular of which was a joint joke by Google and the Virgin group, that they had come together to form Project Virgle, a Martian Colonization project. The project was impressive, and almost believable (if it wasn’t April Fools Day, but then again, Google has been known to make unbelievable announcements on April Fools day that turned out to be true).
Youtube contains video greetings from both Richard Branson of the Virgin Group, and Larry Page and Sergey Brin of Google to make it all the more impressive. The clincher on this joke was a request for video applications from hopefuls wanting to join the project and go to Mars.
There were a number of other google April Fools jokes, including gDay™ with MATE™, a google search feature that lets you search the web the way it will be tomorrow; Yogurt, the temporarily renamed Orkut social networking site, and GMail: Google Custom Time, which allowed you to mark your message as being sent in the past and have it already marked as read when your recipient checks his inbox (a feature I wish really existed sometimes).
I have a tradition for several years now of visiting ThinkGeek on April Fools Day. For several years now, TG has put up a page of fake products that appeal to geeks, as well as offering one free real T-Shirt with purchase of other real products. This year’s jokes were as always comical (although nothing will beat the April 1st several years ago when I sent Mike to the product page for WheatoniX, the Operating System created by Wil Wheaton, and he actually fell for the joke and tried to buy it). I particularly liked the idea of a Betamax to HD-DVD Converter to convert between one format-war loser to another. Just like last year they put out a product as a joke that was so cool the users begged and pleaded with them to make it a real product, so it’s only a matter of time now before the Personal Soundtrack T-Shirt is actually made into a real product.
A few days early, to meet with their posting schedule, Diggnation announced that Revision 3 had been bought out by Fox, and that Diggnation was going to become a show on Fox News, a “political version of Diggnation” with no alcohol. This was of course a joke, and they couldn’t even keep the joke going for more then 2 minutes before they blow the joke.
Another fast one to blow the joke is Ryan Seacrest, who came on the American Idol stage and announced that due to a complication with their Vocal Coaches, American Idol had been preempted and that in it’s place would be a celebrity edition of The Moment of Truth featuring Simon Cowell. He actually starts to walk off the stage before turning around and shouting “April Fools.”
One online site that I generally go to for April Fools day fun, was sadly very lacking this year. Granted, I wasn’t really expecting to see anything on startrek.com, due to the fact that CBS Interactive fired all of the startrek.com staff back in December and have not been actively working on the site all year (there isn’t a single news article in 2008 on the site, and the home page still has a banner advertising the next star trek movie coming out in December 08 instead of May 09 as it is now slated to come out. Sadly there were no jokes on April Fools day on startrek.com this year. My Favorite Startrek.com april fools day joke was in 2004, when the joke went so far as to include a video of Billingsly (Phlox) talking about the season finale, only to be drowned out by static so that nothing could be heard, ending with the phrase “and then I die.”
So by this point I’m sure you are wondering if I pranked anyone on April Fools Day myself, the answer is no, I did not pull anything over on anyone. The one thing I did do is a HogwartsLive tradition, of using the “April Fools Day” HolidayTexts LoGD module to change everything said by every user on the site so that it reads like dialog written for the Sweedish Chef.