Office pranks, online spoofs rule April Fools' Day - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Office pranks, online spoofs rule April Fools' Day

As you are counting down the hours to the end of your work day, people all over the world are celebrating the end of weeks and months of successful planning for office pranks and online spoofs.

Numerous pranks were pulled online Friday in honor of April Fools' Day. Comedy video website Funny or Die, which last year became "Bieber or Die," turned into "Friday or Die." The site's home page was taken over by teenage viral video star Rebecca Black, complete with "Behind the Music"-style featurettes on her song "Friday." Escape was futile: Even pressing "back" in one's browser only added Black's lyrics to the address bar.

Google, always one of the most ardent April Fools' Day celebrators, launched "Gmail Motion," which allows users to mime directions to their email. Google also played a trick on typeface fans, claiming that after extensive research, it would on Monday make Comic Sans the default font across all Google products. Search the more beloved "Helvetica" on Google, and results come in the less esteemed Comic Sans.

Toshiba announced Friday a new 3D monocle coming soon to stores. Called the Toshiba Spectacle, the company said this modern take on the single-lens eyeglass offers you, "one-eyed 3D so real, you'd think you were using both eyes." The company warned customers not to use one monocle in each eye at the same time as this, "may cause each device to render the corresponding 3D image in 3D yet again, resulting in an uncomfortable and infinite loop."

Pricing and availability for the Spectacle were not announced.

YouTube remade viral videos like the Annoying Orange and the Keyboard Cat in scratchy black-and-white silent clips, purportedly from 1911. (Keyboard Cat became Flugelhorn Feline.) Hulu took a similar approach, dating their video repository to the Web's dial-up days of 1996.

The Huffington Post presented one of the most pointed gags in erecting a fake New York Times-style pay wall, but only to employees of the Times. It follows the Times' recent, much-watched shift to charging readers for digital subscriptions.

In a blog post, Arianna Huffington outlined the specifics of the pay wall, including that only the first six letters of each word could be read at no charge.

The HuffPost joke hints at a growing feud between the two media outlets. Times executive editor Bill Keller recently wrote a column critical of news aggregators, in which he specifically cited the Huffington Post (recently purchased by AOL).

Eileen Murphy, a spokeswoman for the Times, said the HuffPost spoof was "funny, but it was funny the first time around." Murphy noted that the political science blog The Monkey Cage already did a very similar mock pay wall - in which it said it would charge Times employees for access - on March 20.

"It seems that the HuffPo even aggregates their quips," Murphy said.

There were further media machinations in other April Fools' jokes, too.

Cable network Animal Planet sent out a joke press release announcing a deal for the famous escaped Bronx Zoo cobra - news that some outlets reported earnestly. Grace Suriel, a spokeswoman for the network, said it was merely "wishful thinking" if anyone took the release seriously.

Most of the April Fools' pranks were harmless, though. The business-centric social networking hub LinkedIn offered unusual connections in its "people you may know" section, including Groucho Marx and Sherlock Holmes.

The software developer Atlassian launched its own version of the enormously popular mobile game Angry Birds: Angry Nerds.


Six Outrageous Office Pranks:

Toshiba Spectacle:

Copyright 2011 WBRC. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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