'Pranks' for the memories: The best of April Fools 2010

Did you get any work done yesterday? Cringely didn't. He went trolling for April Fools' Day jokes. Here are some of his faves

My head is throbbing, my skin feels like sandpaper, and my mouth tastes like the entire Russian army retreated through it on its way back to Moscow.

No, it was not from those Jagermeister and NyQuil jello shots. That was last week. It's a hangover from overindulging on April Fools' Day pranks yesterday. It's my favorite holiday, and I just don't know when to stop. Here are the ones that stuck most in my memory, or what's left of it.

1. Google = Topeka

Last month, in an effort to show just how desperate it was to get Google to build it a free, superfast, fiber-optic network, Topeka, Kansas, officially changed its name to "Google" for the month of March. Yesterday, Google returned the favor. Per the Official Google Blog:

"Google employees once known as 'Googlers' should now be referred to as either 'Topekers' or 'Topekans,' depending on the result of a board meeting that's ongoing at this hour. Whatever the outcome, the conclusion is clear: we aren't in Google anymore."

Of the many pranks Google has pulled over the years, this may be my favorite, just because it's so simple and perfect.

2. Hulu wants brains

If you visted Hulu yesterday, called up a video, and hit the 3D option, you'd be presented with a pop-up window labeled "Hulu Confidential -- For Internal Use Only." A 10-minute "Lost"-inspired training video featuring Alec Baldwin doing his best Rod Serling imitation:

"The content kept on coming and the channels kept growing, many of them beamed directly from space, culminating in the phenomenon dubbed 'Reality TV.' A scriptless, plotless, pointless, thoughtless, relentless genre that dished up all the experiences humans missed while sitting on their couches: their lives. And yet, no one cared. Why go to the exhausting effort of living a life when you could absorb one on TV?"

The video features some surprise cameos, including one from the Fake Steve Jobs. Yes, TV is rotting your brain -- and that's a good thing, because it's so much more delicious that way.

3. Ben & Jerry's "Ice screen"

Yesterday, B&J's UK division introduced an "amazing new invention [that] allows you to taste a scoop of Ben & Jerry's on your PC just by licking the screen." Given how gullible many Netizens are, you know somebody tried it. Every time I think about this I have to go rinse out my mouth.

4. Wedding Wire's "WedRoulette"

Fans of ChatRoulette would appreciate Wedding Wire's take on the random video chat service, which is a dead-on copy of CR, save for the lack of semi-comatose males typing with one hand (if you know what I mean).

5. Starbucks goes big and small

The Wal-Mart of brewed beverages scored by introducing two new sizes: Micra (2 ounces) and Plenta (128 ounces), along with some convincing PhotoShop work:

"Recognizing the potential impact the Plenta™ presents for municipal waste collection, Starbucks is also suggesting several subsequent uses for the Plenta™ cup post coffee enjoyment. Suggested usage options include popcorn receptacle, rain hat, perennial planter, lampshade or yoga block. The Micra also serves as a convenient milk dish for kittens, soft boiled egg cup or paper clip holder."

Dishonorable mentions

I also liked Google's Gmail vowel outage and its Translate for Animals Android app, eSarcasm's convincing mock-up of TechCrunch, and Qualcomm's video exposing bizarre random butterfly attacks.

Nicely done, everyone. Now get back to work.

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Robert X. Cringely

InfoWorld
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