My Favourite April Fool

Since I’m working out of my home office these days, opportunities for April Fool office hijinks are limited. But I can relive past glories…

One of my favourite Fools was, as far as I know, an original one. At the place I worked in the late 90s, when computer viruses were a bit different than those propagating today, I came up with the printer virus. Early one April 1st I printed a few dozen sheets of paper with a single line of Courier text at the top, which said (more or less), “This printer has been infected by the HP-Alert virus… if you can read this it is already too late.” Then I reinserted them into the paper trays at random intervals.

By noon I had had several visits by confused, concerned or just plain irate users from the front office, and even a couple of the software developers dropped by. Shaking my head sadly, I just sighed and muttered something about how printers were getting more sophisticated these days and it had just been a matter of time before someone exploited weaknesses in their firmware.

Around lunch time the problem was completely cleared up with Norton Anti-Virus and a fresh ream of printer paper.

[Update: Here is another cute, albeit much more high tech, printer hack.]

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