The tech world is filled with rumors but if there is one day that no one buys into rumors (not even the Apple echo chamber) then it is April 1st. The day has turned into when the techies have some fun. Engineers at Google have come up with a bunch of April Fool’s pranks, my favorite being the 8bit Google Maps. The folks at Microsoft have shown their funny side and here are three that I’ve come across so far.
The Next Language
An alleged new .NET programming language from Microsoft called Db aka Dflat. This was quite an elaborate prank by the folks behind it. Australian Softie Andrew Coatsy seems to be the guy behind it. A top level domain at thenextlanguage.com, a Metro inspired website with most links you’d expect on a dev tool website; including blog posts.
Here’s a screenshot:
The prank in itself is quite nerdy. Db or Dflat (D-Flat) is a musical note that can be “replaced” by C Sharp which is, well, the popular C# language. Well done.
The Fastest Way To Access SkyDrive
Old school? The team at SkyDrive came up with a Command Prompt interface for SkyDrive. Housed at SkyCMD, the website is the familiar Command Prompt window using the good old cd, dir, mkdir commands. Here’s a screenshot:
The prank is real. The “April Fool’s” project SkyCMD is made using SkyDrive’s APIs and is proof of concept application about what can be done using the APIs. Cool indeed.
The Windows Pager
SkyDrive wasn’t the only team that went down memory lane. The Windows Phone group did too. For those who remember calling an operator to push a message to your father about what vegetables to bring, you’re fun. Others, that’s what a Pager was used for. Today, of course, the device is still used in hospitals (or at least House uses it). The Windows Phone team unveiled a Windows Pager with metro inspired interface. The Pager has nothing but the Email hub. Image:
Just a prank but… not a bad concept if Microsoft comes up with a iPod Nano competitor.
EA (specifically its subsidiary Bioware’s game Mass Effect 3) is fair game these days it seems – what with the extremely unsatisfying ending, obvious greed with Day 1 DLC as well as numerous reports of Bioware blocking legitimate customers from Origin for allegedly trying to mod the single player (which is precisely the point of owning a game on the PC). Many of the gaming industry’s terrible policies originate from EA, Activision and Ubisoft. However currently EA is leading in the douche-race by a large margin.
So Blizzard, the developers of Starcraft and World of Warcraft (and, ironically, partners of Activision in the publishing business) have put up an entire mobile-game website for a game called Starcraft: Supply Depot 2 with the following description:-
It is a dark time for the galaxy. The alien forces of the savage insectoid Zerg and ancient, militant Protoss have threatened the Terrans for years – but the threat is finally over, and we have lost the war. The time of the descendants of Earth is at an end.
The Terrans pin all of their hopes on a champion – a pillar of war unlike any other before or since. He is all that stands between the advancing hordes and a safer tomorrow, and he will defend the future with his very existence.
Sounds familiar? Yep, that sounds almost but not quite unlike the plot of Mass Effect 3. It is also adorned with many “features” such as “Ridiculous Amounts of Action” and “Fascinating Dialog” and more. Notably these stand out:
Multiple color coded and unfulfilling endings!
Even more endings via revolutionary Democratic DLC™!
Hilarious. Play the game (apparently Android and iPhone versions will be out soon!) here.
They also have some other games “in development” such as Blackthorne 2: Thorne Harder which is a dig at either the Modern Warfare series or the Battlefield series (probably the latter as Activision owns Call of Duty) and Queen’s Quest which features, among other things, a sweeping orchestral soundtrack and this rather simple DRM protection:-
- Sweeping saxophone soundtrack
- Literary consultation from “A Couple of Dudes from Mar Sara”
- Comes on 17 floppy disks
- A revolutionary Digital Rights Management (DRM) scheme in 5 easy steps:
- Open the Spin-A-Spacer DRM application on any smart phone*
- Line up the spacer faces to reveal the page/word matrix value
- Consult your player guide / lore manual, and turn to the appropriate page
- Use the special 3d lenticular glasses to decode the margin text and find the keyword passphrase
- Enter the special passphrase into the on-screen prompt
- Speak “OK” clearly and audibly into the device’s audio input
- ENJOY! (Occassionally, you may be asked to call a toll-free 800 number to verify your identity)
A++ will buy again!