When it comes to April Fools jokes, nerds just do it better than everyone else.
One year, it was Google rolling out a feature in Gmail that could turn back the date on a handful of sent messages. Another, it was a Kodak camera that clips onto your glasses. And this year, some of the most popular sites on the Web have one-upped themselves with April Fools pranks. Check out some of our favorites.
Topeka, Kansas isn’t the only one that can change its name on a whim. Or with a sense of humor. After the Kansas capital switched its title to Google for the entire month of March, Google honored the city by switching its own moniker to Topeka for April Fools. Or, if you believe its blog entry, forever. That means Google News is now Topeka News, Google Maps is now Topeka Maps, and if you perform a search on a subject, you “Topeka” it.
Much like Gmail’s infamous Gmail time warp feature, ThinkGeek’s iCade iPad arcade cabinet is probably one April Fool’s day prank you’ll wish was real. The $150 spoof accessory allows you to drop your iPad into a miniature arcade with real buttons and a joystick to play titles like Donkey Kong, Dig Dug and Qbert. ThinkGeek describes it as a “beautifully retro styled, handcrafted wooden tabletop arcade cabinet and MAME emulator for your otherwise useless iPad.” If it’s anything like the tauntaun sleeping bag from April Fools day in years past, there’s even some possibility it could end up as a real product – if Apple ever drops its ban on emulator apps.
This one wasn’t visible to the open Web, but we have to give credit to Digital Leisure for brightening our packed, humorless inboxes with it. In a faux press release, Digital Leisure claims it will release a full-size “Plasti-Copter” accessory to go with Copter Crisis on Wii. “Once comfortably seated and Copter Crisis started, the player will instantly feel they’re part of the action as they guide the on-screen copter with their remote,” the press release reads. But the real seller is in the picture.
Fans of ASCII art will love YouTube’s new TEXTp – a play on 720p and 1080p – that purports to reduce bandwidth as much as possible by substituting colored text for pixels, saving YouTube “$1 a second in bandwidth costs.” The really amazing part: They actually implemented it, and it looks phenomenal. You can append &textp=fool to most videos to try it out.
In a slightly more political twist, CollegeHumor brings us this Orwellian landing page warning that your IP address has been logged by the United States Department of Information. Why? CollegeHumor is under investigation for “harboring un-American sentiment and will remain offline until an official review can be conducted.” Even more sadistic: The crew paraded around NYC pretending In-N-Out Burger would be arriving there for the summer of 2010. Absolutely cruel.
If you don’t doubt the credibility of Wikipedia already, the site’s clever April Fools front page may change your mind. Although it might pass for the same page you always see on login, links to articles on wife selling, humpbacked elves and people being sent back in time to 1999 may warrant a double take. Amazingly enough, though they’re all intentionally misleading, there’s a kernel of truth in every one that you can find out more about by clicking through to the actual articles.
Those who don’t keep up on the latest teen sensation of the month might be at a loss on Justin Bieber, so a little background: After a sketch on Funny or Die lampooned the 16-year-old singer’s single “Baby,” the comedy site today claims he has bought it and converted it to Bieber or Die, where anything that isn’t Bieber dies. The update includes a landslide of horrendous videos from Bieber himself, a Bieber-themed design makeover, and a pop-up images of the cherub-faced Canuck plastering over everything.
If you think Starbucks has no sense of humor about its pretentious and confusing drink sizes, think again. A post on the company’s blog post for April Fools extols the virtues of its new “Plenta” and “Micra” drink sizes – which contain 128 and two ounces, respectively. Photoshopped images of a popcorn-bucket-sized coffees really round this one out.
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