Yes, it is April 1st, the day that you have to read the news with just a little more skepticism than usual as the pranksters roll out their made up stories. Some are so close to the truth that it is hard to actually tell they are gags at all, of course. The best April Fools' Day pranks to have emerged this year, in my opinion, are the ones that combine both a hint of possibility with a dash of stupidity and in so doing ensure the reader has to do a double take. Here are my IT related favourites for this year.
A special mention has to go out to DaniWeb writer Ken Hess who managed to publish a new story revealing that "IBM Buys Linus Torvalds" which is patently, obviously wrong but such a great headline that you are drawn into wanting to read more. When you do, you discover a very well crafted piece of writing that is just full of the kind of subtle with that much AFD writing lacks. I loved the line that informed us how "Novell and Hovespian made an unsuccessful bid for Richard Stallman earlier this year" for example and how Torvalds will "be required to appear in IBM commercials and promotional materials" as well. Nice one Ken.
But my favourite AFD gag so far this year, as someone who specialises in IT security issues, has to be the official news release that arrived in my mailbox this morning which carried the headline "ElcomSoft to Recover Passwords with a Tambourine."
This is a classic piece of PR agency pranking, and because companies in the realm of IT PR so often send out genuine releases which are very hard to believe it adds a certain inevitable stamp of possibility to such nonsense. I say nonsense because the Password Recovery Tambourine of which it talks is said to be a "supernatural amulet to recover lost passwords with a 100% guarantee."
My favourite excerpts from the press release? How about "The new tambourine is produced with genuine deer skin and requires training supervised by a qualified Yakutsk shaman" or how the company went on "a quest to develop a universal cryptanalysis method that is at least as effective as rubber-hose, but comes with no penalty of being inhumane or restricted to exclusive use by government agencies" for starters?
Of course, as the day unfolds I confidently expect some even better AFD pranks to be revealed. So, go on, tell us your favourite for 2009.