Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Happiness is a Warm Gun

One of the chat sites I surf asked for examples of computer pranks we've played on people of the years. That got me reminicing about one I played ten years ago...

When working for a family-owned newspaper, I managed almost everything - including tech support (which mainly involved me calling people that had answers, but I disgress). My dad sent me this nifty little program online that made your cursor a crosshair, and clicking the mouse caused the computer to emit a rifle sound and produce a "hole" in the screen.

I installed it on the owner's computer (whom shall be refered to as Medusa from this point on), and left it running untouched. She'd come in once a week to look important to the rest of us and spend her time there daytrading on her PC.

A couple of days later, I hear KABOOM! KABOOM! KABOOM!, and then my name at the top of her lungs. I come into her office and Medusa glares at me stonily and asks, "What did you put on here?"

With my best acting skills, I reply "What are you talking about?", then she shows me where she blew a hole in her internet icon. I shoo her out of the seat, shoot a few more icons out of existance, then make a big show of being puzzled. She's not convinced however - but a true bullshit artist never gives up!

"Have you been to any daytrading sites in the last week?" I ask, which derails her for a minute. "Um, yes, why?" I press on, sensing weakness - "Last week all those site were hit with the Going Postal virus - and it does pretty much what your cursor is doing now."

"What does it do?" she timidly asks. Hook, line and sinker...

"It was featured on page six of the Wall Street Journal last Friday. Basically every icon you click on, it erases that program from your computer. Worse yet, it physically damages the hard drive to the point that no data is recoverable. You'll have to buy a new computer, I'm afraid."

Only after much freaking out on her part did I finally let her in on the joke - it could be turned off by holding down CTRL and hitting the Escape key. Medusa wanted to throttle me, but even she eventually laughed at the joke.

Turns out, however, that it was probably truer than I thought after reading this link:

Ahh well, she deserved it.

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