Don’t Trust the Internet Today
The morning of April 1 is one of my favourite times of the year. I sit down at my desk with my morning beverage and a leg of lamb (breakfast of champions to the mighty lumberjacks of Canada), ready to see what the internet has in store for its denizens.
It’s when all the companies with a sense of humour litter their sites with fake articles, jokes, and pranks on their userbase for April Fools. It’s the day of the year when you can’t trust anything you read on the internet, and the only thing funnier than the jokes themselves are the people who fall for them.
And the top three runner-ups for Best April Fool Award go to…
I particularly enjoy Google’s April Fools’ jokes, as they put a lot of effort into making them seem like real products and services being launched. Case in point: Their Gmail Motion Beta could have actually been a useful tool, had their demonstration video not been so off the wall and, well, hilarious. The lengths to which they went to integrate the new feature into Gmail made it all the funnier.
Google’s job posting for an “Autocompleter” was another winner, stating that applicants for the position should be able to type at speeds of at least 32,000 words per minute. I sent an email to my colleagues at work telling them that I would be leaving the company to fill this position, and to my delight and surprise, one of them actually fell for it.
I sent this Canon notice to a few of my clients who have Canon copiers in their offices. The new Canon VoiceOver module allows users to scan, print and copy their documents with voice commands. Since the module is still in “learning mode,” it may be necessary for them to repeat their commands several times for them to work. Receiving emails with stories of people standing there, yelling at their copiers, made my day several times over.
My Personal Favourite – Upcoming Features in Microsoft Exchange 2010 SP2
Who says Microsoft doesn’t have a sense of humour? The team responsible for developing the Exchange communications platform published a blog post with details on exciting upcoming features in the next service pack for Exchange 2010. I’ll admit to having been excited to read the article, until realizing a couple paragraphs in that it was an obvious fabrication. But kudos to the Exchange team for a good laugh, and to that one guy in the comments who thought it was real.
Some of the humour here may be lost on those not familiar with running email systems such as Exchange, but here’s an excerpt of some of the great new features they came up with:
- OWA Automobile Edition: Exchange team and a major US automaker will soon announce OWA integration into new line of cars to maximize end-user productivity. Car windshields are to be replaced with LCDs (who needs windshields anyway?) Additionally, when it’s time for oil change, you will get a reminder popup.
- Twitter-Ready Mail: Exchange 2010 SP2 will enforce a maximum email length of 140 characters to ensure all email is Twitter-ready. If you have more than 140 characters of things to say, you are clearly egotistical and self-centered. To help you save the characters, we will also enforce all email to be in clear text format. An 80-page whitepaper with business-ready abbreviations to use will be published at release time.
- Boss OOFs: Out of Office Assistant (Automatic Replies) now has a “boss” feature, which will send a different message to your upward reporting chain in the GAL than everyone else. Now, you can be “out sick with the flu” to your boss while “kicking ass and taking names” in Vegas to your buddies.
- Active Inbox Rules (AIR) Agent: The Exchange engineering team is especially proud of its extensibility features. The AIR Agent is a step in this direction, allowing you to manage users’ email based on their past behavior, and reduce TCO. The AIR agent interfaces with your helpdesk system and reads the number of “I can’t find my email” tickets created by a user. If the message is found to have been automatically moved by an Inbox rule that the user created, the AIR agent automatically creates a server-side rule to move such items back to the Inbox. This should greatly reduce the number of helpdesk tickets created by the user.If the user creates any additional rules to move messages, the agent responds by creating server-side rules to move messages from all folders back to the Inbox. This action is completely transparent to the user.
- Mobile Read Receipts: Given so many of you now consume email on your mobile devices, we are positive you’ll find this new mobile feature quite useful. When you receive a message with a read receipt requested on your mobile device, the mobile email client will activate the camera on your mobile device and transmit a video to the sender, really proving you’ve actually read the message. Mobile Read Receipts are sent with important metadata information such as your expressions (visual and verbal), and your GPS coordinates.