Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Harmless Computer Practical Jokes

I have to admit I love to play a good practical joke on my friends as long as its harmless. The problem is, how do you make sure that you don't hurt the victim, computer, or its data.

Below are a few suggestions for some computer practical jokes. If you have any suggestions, please post them in the comments:

Note: Perform these practical jokes at your own risk, I am not responsible for the results.

Keyboards and Mice:
  • Remove the ball from the computer's mouse on the older mechanical mice. If its the newer optical mice, stick a small piece of tape over the optical sensor.
  • Unplug the mouse and/or keyboard from the back of the computer. If its a wireless keyboard or mouse remove the batteries from the device.
Cables
  • Almost every computer is a rat's nest of cables, removing the right cable (power, network, keyboard, etc.) can cause frustration for the computer user.
  • Any good computer user will have a surge suppressor power strip where their computer is plugged into. Some of these power strip have a breaker, sometimes they manually allow you to blow the breaker. This will basically make the power strip a useless piece of junk until the breaker is reset.
Desktop
  • This trick will drive the end-user mad, they will try to click on the desktop and believe the computer is frozen when nothing works. I have seen people reboot their computer several times before they figured out what is wrong. Use with caution, save all the user's work before using this trick.
    • Take a screen shot of the computer's desktop (press PrtSc screen button). You might want to try taking the screen shot with open application windows, it might add to the realism.
    • Then open a graphics program like MS Paint (under Start menu | All Programs | Accessories) and Paste the image into the application. Save the file into the C:\WINDOWS\ directory as a bitmap file (.BMP) and set it as the desktop background. (Note: if you're using MS Paint there is a command under the File menu to do this.)
    • Then remove the icons from the users desktop, put them in a folder under the user 's'My Document' folder. You can right-click an empty space on the user's desktop, and uncheck 'Arrange Icons By > Show Desktop Icons' (Note: you may have to cycle through [press Alt-Tab] an application that fills the screen to force the desktop to refresh it self)
    • For extra realism, you can hide the taskbar at bottom of the screen. (Hover the mouse over the top edge of the bar until you see the up/down arrow, then click and drag the taskbar to the bottom of the screen)
Miscellaneous:
  • Turn the speaker volume up real loud on their computer and walk away.
  • Try playing with the computer settings, such as the monitor, cursor, mouse and keyboard configuration in the Control Panels.
  • Change the startup or other event sounds (such as changing the new mail sound, to something like the sound of someone passing gas [you know what I mean])
  • Embed the following link into an email, and send it to your friends (http://img89.imageshack.us/img89/891/3dtetris8yi.swf). I promise they will hate you after you send it.
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