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Our roundup of some of 2011's Internet-based April Fools' pranks should get you in the mood for this year's inevitable crop. Get ready to wince.
The IETF can always be counted on for a knee slapper or two, at least in the eyes of those zany Request for Comments writers. In 2011, the IETF double dipped, with phony RFCs for conducting regional broadcasts using an "atmospheric link layer" -- RFC 6217 -- that works with a physical layer "made up primarily of nitrogen and oxygen" and another fishy document -- RFC 5984 -- proposing to use extrasensory perception to achieve "infinite bandwidth" in IP networks.
While you might think there's a Starbucks on every corner, there are still a few barren corners. For this untenable situation, Starbucks introduced on April 1 its Mobile Pour service, where you can dial up instant service via a barista on a scooter.
Kodak introduced Relationshiffft Automated Person Purge, which supposedly lets you gracefully erase icky people from your photos and videos. "Kodak is pleased to announce a new app that helps you take managing your relationships to a new level. We protect precious memories of the places you have been and the people you shared them with, minus the person with whom you just changed your relationship status -- we call it Relationshiffft." Kodak might not be in such a joking mood this year though, given that it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January and announced plans to exit the camera-making business.
Google spends more time on April Fools' pranks than most of us spend on ... everything else, and with some good results. Among them, Chromercise, exercises to ensure your fingers can keep up with the super-fast Chrome Web browser, of course.
Wikipedia used April 1 to put the spotlight on the fine art of fanny scratching. Since it was on Wikipedia, it must have been true, even though it was April 1, right?
Groupon joined the patent madness last April 1 by announcing it had snatched the patent on April Fools' Day itself. "Now, when you think of Groupon Presents April Fools' Day™ (the holiday's officially sanctioned title), you'll think of Groupon -- because you and your favorite corporate entities are barred from creating or participating in any April 1 prank without the express written consent of Groupon."
Thecus Technology, a Taipei NAS company, used April 1 to give storage pros a wakeup call with a combination NAS device and coffee maker called the AFD42000 Deluxe Coffee Edition. "Thanks to the new smart coffee device, the TTCDE is able to deliver 3 cups per minute. RAID function is also available, allowing your coffee to be fresher or faster, depending on your needs."
You're really not a Web or tech company if you don't spring an April Fools' Day joke or two, or so it would seem. Google has established itself as Jester No. 1, though it has plenty of competition, including an increasing number of companies that are going the multimedia route.
Paradox Interactive concocted a vision of two eras clashing in its April Fools' Day release of a brand spankin' new roleplaying game called "King Arthur II: Vietnam."
LinkedIn greeted users with a real who's who of People You May Know.
Security company F-Secure warned readers of its blog last April 1 that hackers had changed millions of passwords to "password," and yes, that sadly, only a little more than a third noticed.