April Fools from the tech industry

Roku, Reddit, Lyft, Netflex all get into the April Fool's Day act for 2017

There’s nothing like a giant, powerful technology company really letting its collective hair down with a goofy April Fools’ announcement. Do you think that we’re fooled, giant, powerful technology companies? We see you there, lurking behind your jolly masks. Anyway, here’s the 2017 installment of this collective exercise in well-choreographed image management. Enjoy.

The iFixit micro toolkit

The specialist tools that iFixit uses for its widely watched teardowns of most major smartphone and tablet releases are neat, without question – so here’s a teeny little set of them, meant for use by hamsters. No, really. Watch the video.

Personally, I think these could have been smaller. Soon we’re definitely going to have pet wearables, and how will we take those apart without microscopic spudgers and screwdrivers?

The T-Mobile ONEsie

Yep, it’s a connected onesie, using body heat and movement to keep your phone charged, track your biometrics, and provide improved coverage for you and anybody nearby. We at Network World have ragged on John Legere in the past, but full props to him for getting into the ONEsie.

The essence of a good April Fool’s bit is commitment, and T-Mobile did a great job here, with not one but two professionally produced video promos. It helps that the ONEsie is completely ridiculous to look at.

Netflix Live

You had us at Will Arnett. Seriously. It’s literally just 48 minutes of Will Arnett watching stock footage and making loopy comments on it in that crazy low voice of his. Go watch it immediately. Who doesn’t have a Netflix subscription these days, anyway?

An overlooked Netflix fact is that the streaming service has a lot of low-key weird content available these days – including stuff like a full-length train journey through Norway and something called “national firewood night,” which is just six hours of the camera staring at a fire.

Lyft Mono

Kinder, friendlier ridesharing service Lyft rolled out the “Mono,” a piece of hardware that looks a lot like a hitchhiker’s thumb that you can use to hail a Lyft just by sticking it in the air.

“Hail Yes,” and “Be Unopposable” are very good taglines, for the record, and the production makes this look strangely like a product you’d wear over your T-Mobile ONEsie, if you wanted to look like a walking guerilla marketing campaign for Pepto Bismol.

Reddit Place

Oh, Reddit. What can’t you turn into a massive, crowd-powered ball of weirdness? This isn’t exactly a prank or joke, but it’s certainly strange and unusual.

Here’s the deal – you can place pixels on a giant grid to create artwork in collaboration with other Redditors. You will be stunned – STUNNED – to learn that has mostly resulted in national flags, video game references, and dopey memery (see image at top of this story).

But individual subreddits have done strong prank work on their own – r/baseball changed everybody’s flair into something likely to insult their favored team and appended silly extra lines to the end of every comment, for example.

Petlexa

Yep, it’s Alexa for your pets. The video’s pretty funny, even if it’s missing the most interesting potential use cases, like figuring out exactly what in the hell our cat is thinking when she charges headlong onto the bed when we’re trying to make it and sits there purring like “I’m helping!”

Pets were something of a theme this year, as Google did a pet-related gag as well. We like Petlexa – and another pet entry farther down our list – better.

Honda emoji horn

So, obviously, this is horn sounds tailored to different emotions that you may want to express while driving a car – the smiley face plays a jaunty little tune, the laughing one has little parps of laughter, and so on.

It all sounds kind of like amused robots chatting to us. As Network World is based near Boston, we think the available range of emotions needs to be focused a little bit more. Where is the “motorcyclist weaving through Storrow Drive traffic” button, for instance? (That one would be a combination of concern, alarm and irritation.)

Roku SnackSuggest

Roku’s streaming services will now come with snacking suggestions, “like fine wine and cheese pairings,” according to the company. The sample suggestions are mutton, chicken wings and ale for Game of Thrones, garlic fries and red velvet cupcakes for Vampire Diaries, and so on. We kind of don’t want to know what it suggests for shows like Stranger Things or the OA.

Our own pairings: Shrimp and Tres Comas tequila for Silicon Valley, Narragansett and hot dogs for Red Sox broadcasts.

OneLogin Pets

Identity management services provider OneLogin has come up with Pets-as-Factor Authentication, or PaaFA as a way for enterprise users to log into their managed endpoints. Simply make your pet bark, meow or hiss to verify your identity. Probably doesn’t work with fish, we’re guessing.

The smartphone that prints money

Australian bank ING Direct announced the release of the iTM, a smartphone that allows you to withdraw money from your bank account by printing it out of your smartphone. We’ll take that over Apple and Android Pay, although Australian dollars would be awkward to spend in the U.S. Excuse us while we Google the exchange rate.

(H/T: News.com.au)

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