Today is April Fool’s Day. Since yesterday, I’ve been on high alert carefully scrutinizing anything that could be a prank. I usually forget about today—being too preoccupied with this, that, or something else, but this year, I was expecting it so I’ve been fully prepared. Although this heighten skepticism has taken most of the fun out of today, I did get a few choice pranks.
Make a Photo without a Camera
The folks at Lomography, makers of analog film cameras for the hip art-school set, has announced a new spray that will allow you to slowly expose an image onto a roll of film.
I fell for this one at first, partly because I saw it on March 31. It seems completely feasible until you read that it takes up to 24 hours for a decent exposure. I thought that was a typo. But the giveaway in this video was in the time-lapse sequence, where the guy stands with the roll of film in the dark. I’m no expert in Greek, but I know you need light to make a photograph.
Canon Wildlife Camera
Speaking of photography, I saw this announcement come across my RSS feed this morning from The Digital Picture, an expert website for Canon photographers.
This is a very compelling prank. A camera like this makes some sense. However, as far as I know, no one has ever made a flagship (D)SLR camera specifically for one application. (Okay, fine, Canon has made two cameras specifically for astrophotography.) As I skimmed the article, I thought it was real, until I realized what day it was.
Bryan, the site’s owner, even included a link to the B&H website so you can pre-order this camera. However, that link takes you to an “April Fool’s” page, revealing that you have been had!
Apple Buys iFixit
A good April Fool’s Prank is one that seems plausible and incredible at the same time. Apple buying the hub for online do-it-yourself repair manuals seems both plausible and incredible. The press release includes some very humorous details, admitting they sold out.
“Everyone has a number”, admitted Kyle Wiens, iFixit’s CEO. “I didn’t think there was a reasonable number that would make me say, ‘You know I was going to change the world with repair documentation but here’s a number.’” In the end, Apple gave us a number that we couldn’t refuse.
I saw this from the spoil-sports at MacRumors, who not only revealed this and other “stories” to be April Fool’s hoaxes, but admitted that they did not intend to “participate” in any prank news stories. That makes sense since some of the rumors they reference are a bit unbelievable, even if some are spot-on.
Hulu Announces New Spin-Offs
Hulu announced two new spin-offs of hit series available on the streaming service, including one where Hannibal gets a cooking show.
The other is, The Field, a spin-off of the critically acclaimed series Brooklyn Nine-Nine, which I haven’t yet seen (shame on me, yes, I know).
Honestly, I figured out that these spin-offs were fake. However, I was very impressed that they went through the trouble to make two very good looking videos.
Fake United Jeff’s Improvements for United Airlines
The Twitter account for the fake Jeff Smisek, CEO of United Airlines, is one of the few Twitter feeds I read like a blog, where I scroll back to each tweet until I read them all. Today, he’s been dispatching fake announcements to improve United Airlines, such as this one to solve the labor dispute between the airline and its two sets of pilots (former Continental and former United).
United announces investment in first phase of ATP Drone, a program to launch passenger service via unmanned drone by 2020. #suckitALPA
— Fake Jeff Smisek (@FakeUnitedJeff) April 1, 2014
Some, however, are more sensible, so much so that you know that they’re fake.
Miss our Saul Bass-designed, award-winning logo from before the merger? It's coming back, modernized for 2014! http://t.co/T8VB8ZHnFQ
— Fake Jeff Smisek (@FakeUnitedJeff) April 1, 2014
I really hate the new logo, and I’m not alone.
EFF Reports that MPAA is to Update its Copyright Curriculum for Kindergartners
The Electronic Frontier Foundation sent out a “very special” issue of its newsletter, the EFFector.
A few of the stories were pretty obvious pranks. For example, they mention an NSA program, IMPENDINGSLUMBER, that is designed to “intercept children’s bedtime stories.” But one was a little too close to reality to be an obvious prank. Here it is in its entirety:
Citing numerous psychological studies that indicate children under the age of eight respond primarily to fear-based cues, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) is adding another character to its “Sharing Is Bad” copyright curriculum: the “Fair Use Creep,” a four-headed monster in a trench coat. “We think these children will respond well to characters like the Fair Use Creep,” said MPAA chief Chris Dodd in a press conference Friday. “And by respond well, we mean cower in fear.”
Doesn’t it seem a bit extreme for the motion picture industry to infiltrate children’s curriculum with lessons on copyright maximalism? This must be a joke, right? Sadly, it’s not.