My Take on April Fools’ Day

closeThis post was published 11 years 7 months 18 days ago. A number of changes have been made to the site since then, so please contact me if anything is broken or seems wrong.

So the last couple days have been full of lots of jokes and pranks, at least in the technology world. Google pulled several, including a Gmail hoax I actually found amusing, and a slew of other sites posted their own jokes.

Notice that I didn’t pull any pranks of my own. The reasoning for that is twofold. First, I didn’t really have any good ideas. Second, the whole boatload of other pranks out there requires that some bloggers stick to their usual routine.

You see, I view April Fools’ Day as just another day. There is a bit of annoyance when people make jokes that aren’t easily distinguishable as such. The date, April 1, when applied to anything written online, means you should take what you’re reading with a large grain of salt. Chances are it’s a joke.

Fortunately, most (if not all) Internet big-timers are back to their usual business by now. That means I can turn on my feed-reading eyes for real and not worry about being hoodwinked. Maybe.

Actually, the one day of joking around is kind of fun. I saw some pretty cool pranks (Matt Cutts was right up there with his iPhone-plugs-into-anything hoax). The real irritation came from the fact that all this started on March 31. April Fools’ Day has gotten too big for one day, apparently. Now it’s two days. That’s twice the amount of time one must go not being able to trust anything one reads online.

So to summarize, I like April Fools’ Day pranks in moderation, when they’re confined to the actual Day. And a prompt admission right after the fact couldn’t hurt.

Incidentally, since the Day started a day early, the Google Gears API Blog seemed to feel it necessary to post that no, the announcements about Google Docs getting offline access were not an elaborate hoax complete with video. That’s what you get for announcing something near the day your company is known for, eh? That in and of itself was funny, and scary at the same time. Google Blogoscoped included the Google Docs offline announcement on a list of April Fools’ Day pranks, which scared the heck out of me when I read it before I remembered that it had been announced before the Day and had already been covered by several reputable news outlets. Fortunately my confidence was well-placed. I might have had to alter my own coverage to add a note that it was a big joke from Google…

dgw

I am an avid technology and software user, in addition to being reasonably well-versed in CSS, JavaScript, HTML, PHP, Python, and (though it still scares me) Perl. Aside from my technological tendencies, I am also a theatre technician, sound designer, violinist, singer, and actor.

3 Comments:

  1. April Fools’ day is both amusing and incredibly irritating to me. On the one hand, some gags are funny and I do like. On the other hand, a lot of the time I don’t have my April 1st filters on. As a result, I swallow things hook line and sinker.

    April 1st is pure torture of gullible people.

  2. alexanderpas

    The real irritation came from the fact that all this started on March 31. April Fools’ Day has gotten too big for one day, apparently. Now it’s two days.

    It looks like two days when you view it from the internet perspective, however, due to timezones differences, April 1st starts at 12:01 UTC on March 31, and ends on 11:59 UTC on April 2.

    Yes, this is 48 hours, but remember, not everyone is in the same timezone!

    Americans complain that it starts on March 31, while Australians complain it continues until April 2 and Europeans are annoyed as it starts in the evening of March 31 and ends in the Morning of March 2.

  3. Well, I really don’t see the harm of April Fools Day. It gives us another day to break out of the repetition in our lives.

    …and what’s the fun of moderation?

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