Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Five Favourites: IT pranks (!)

Just a quick heads-up before we start: I'm in the process of switching back from an AZERTY to a QWERTY keyboard, so please forgive any wonky typing...
(Given around 30% of my typing happens in French, I miss the accent keys, but it's pretty hard to get a non-QWERTY keyboard over here, and I couldn't really wait until our next trip to France to replace my dysfunctional computer. I am aware that none of this is likely to interest anyone but me, but this is my blog, so NA.).

I'm not an IT whiz or anything, but I do enjoy winding people up from time to time, and my favourite way of doing it is by interfering with their computers. I have used all of these methods at one time or another on unsuspecting friends and family members (obviously, people close enough for me using their computers to appear completely normal). I suspect some of them could be quite fun with teenagers, too, but I won't have any of those here for another nine years yet.

NB: Discretion should be used in attempting any of these, especially if your target is in the middle of some Really Important Work. Also, try to be around to "fix" the computer afterwards! ;-) 

1. The auto-correct modification.
Go into the auto-correct options in Word, and create a few new (and random) entries; for example, replace the name of the person's hometown with "Mordor", or the word "more" with "more cowbell", or "next week" with "Zombie apocalypse". Simple, but effective.

2. The desktop transformation.
Take a screenshot of the person's desktop. Now, create a new folder and put all of their shortcuts into it. Finally, replace the desktop photo with your new screenshot. The desktop will look exactly as it did before, but none of the shortcuts will work.

3. The Scouse computer manipulation.
In the dim and distant past, I worked in the warehouse for a small tech parts firm with two men in their late 50's, who both left early on Fridays. One Friday evening, I replaced all the classic Windows sounds with other sounds taken from my brother's Lemmings disc. When the others started up the computer on Monday morning, instead of the usual Windows sounds, it shouted "Eeeeello!" in a strong Liverpool accent. I claimed ignorance, but I think they knew it was me.
NB: don't do this to a work computer unless you know your colleagues and your company's IT policy really well, or you could get into a lot of trouble, and we wouldn't want that.

4. The Kindle communication.
I've been modifying the device name displayed at the top of my Dad's Kindle screen on a regular basis for months now, so it looks like Amazon are sending him random, and sometimes mildly provocative, messages ("name, have you STILL not finished Middlemarch?). He still hasn't twigged. One of my sisters is helping, too, so there's no obvious connection between us visiting and the message changing.

5. The phantom mouse configuration.
This one requires a bit of hardware, but it's fun. Install a wireless mouse on the computer in addition to the existing mouse. Stick around, then have fun moving the cursor round the screen when your target is attempting to use the computer. Make sure you check the range of the wireless equipment beforehand, and find somewhere to work from where it won't be obvious what you're up to.

All of these are most effective if you're NOT an IT geek or known for playing pranks on people. Have fun - and let me know if you have any success!

Linking up with Bonnie for Five Favourites.


1 comment:

  1. This is HILARIOUS!! My husband's done the phantom mouse thing on me and it was so creepy! And hilarious once I knew what he was doing! I should definitely do this to him too! Awesome faves! Thanks for linking up!