Stuck at work while the boss goes out for a flutter on the horses? Here's the five best tech pranks you can play.
There's no problem that technology can't solve, it seems, even if those problems are of the classic PEBKAC (Problem Exists Between Keyboard And Chair) end-user variety. PEBKAC problems require a delicate touch, but when diplomacy fails, sometimes, you've just got to satisfy yourself with some good old fashioned revenge, best served cold. Take, for example, the BSODomizer
, which we stumbled across on Gizmodo this morning. It's a small dongle that sits between a VGA port and the monitor cord and inserts random blue screens into a user's display. This priceless fun can be yours for just $US79!!
Still, actually using technology that's been specifically bought to engage an IT prank? Seems like too much hard work to us. In that spirit, here's five easy pranks that don't involve dropping extra money, or for that matter, that much effort. Note: APCMag.com feels obliged to point out that any and/or all of these pranks could result in disciplinary action, and we're not talking about ladies of negotiable virtue in leather costumes here. Proceed at your own risk -- we take no responsibility for your sudden loss of employment.#1: Input Error
The classic prank, and one that, even given other office workers are generally more tech-savvy these days, is even easier to engage in. Got an office full of wireless keyboards? A little simple USB dongle switching can have you typing for your colleagues with ease, while they scratch their heads in confusion. A mass switchout of recievers could be enough for an entire afternoon off.
If you're still in a wired keyboard world, it's easy to plug your own wireless mouse or keyboard into someone else's system -- the USB ports at the back of a desktop are ideal for this -- and then engage in a little friendly input war.
Speaking of input devices, there's the optical mouse. Most offices have plenty of optical mice, and plenty of Blu-Tack. In
order to glide properly, the optical sensor in most mice is slightly
recessed... and just the perfect size for a custom moulded blob of
blu-tack. Small enough to hide without stopping the mouse from moving across a desk,
but big enough to send the mouse more than a little crazy. Just remember not to leave fingerprints in the BluTack.#2: Screen dumping
Another classic, and not much tougher than minimising everything onscreen, hitting print screen and setting the resultant saved image as the desktop while hiding the actual onscreen icons. A tweaked version of this little number -- especially if your victim uses the desktop rather than the start menu exclusively -- is to leave a single working icon, but mix up the link behind it, so they launch the company accounting package, only to find that it's forevermore MS Paint.#3: Fun with Paste
Gluing up USB ports is, admittedly a teeny-tiny bit destructive, but then it's worth mentioning as it's apparently normal operational procedure for some companies wanting to limit use of flash drives and iPods on company USB ports. A gunged up port is pretty basic security, but it's also within the remit of a good prank. If you do actually want to get fired, distract your suspect for just a few seconds before smearing superglue in the relevant port. Not only will it get locked up -- it'll also take rather permanent ownership of anything plugged into it.#4: Czech, Mate -- AKA Surrendering to the French.
Annoyed by that office mate that attacks their keyboard as though it was their mortal enemy, sending sounds not dissimilar to a General Electric MiniGun through the office? Here you'll want to enlist the help of continental allies. Say, like US native (but Czech in origin) August Dvorak, an educational psychologist who designed an alternative keyboard layout back in 1936. Suddenly having to correct everything they type -- because there's pretty much no letters struck where they "should" be -- should slow them down somewhat. For added pranksterism, while your heavy-hitting colleague is off berating the IT department about their faulty keyboard, switch it back to QWERTY. Once the IT heat is off, switch it again... but this time to the very Gallic (but not very gallant) popular-in-France AZERTY layout.#5 Email obsession solved
If you're stuck next to someone who checks their email obsessively, and clicks like a 21st Century Pavlov's Dog whenever they hear the familiar chime (or whoosh) of incoming mail, this subtle little trick might just cure them of their mania... or send them over the edge.
Change every single other system sound to whatever their incoming mail sound happens to be. This way, every time there's a system event, they'll go to their inbox... and find nothing. Even better, when there's a critical system error, they'll be notified of it... but it'll sound like mail was coming in at that exact moment, and they won't be able to access it at all, and when their system reboots, the mail will be "missing". Be sure to casually lean over and ask if their email is working fine today, as "you've heard IT is having problems with it". Within a couple of days, they'll go from slobbering like Pavlov's Dog to just plain howling at the moon.
That's really just a start -- we haven't even delved into the world of RickRolling, Goatse, TubGirl or the like (most of which would or should get you fired). What's the best IT-related prank you've ever hit or been hit by?