This morning, before brewing the standard oil barrel of coffee that it takes for me to function, I started up my Macbook and found myself staring bleakly at a computer that told me that my internet connection was deader than Lindsay Lohan’s career, post-Fornarina. Even though the modem itself indicated otherwise. The modem and I decided to communicate in Morse code for a while, with me blinking my eyes and the lights on the contraption flickering away in response. And then I did one of those things that the manual usually tells you to do when it seems the end of the world is near. And luckily, harmony was restored. Nevertheless, this is an example of a foul, humorless April Fool’s Joke conjured by a lazy witch who would’ve been better off taking lessons from Bette Midler in Hocus Pocus. Less effective pranks also include the Conficker worm (which is not a new aid in composting) and YouTube’s upside-down viewing. A roundup of above-average April Foolery after the break.
● Today The Guardian — that precious, erudite compendium of culture — trades in the failing newspaper format for a Twitterized new appearance, because experts say all pertinent news can be described in 140 characters or less.
● Meanwhile, TiVo introduces the DVR-SuperAdvance, which not only allows you to fast-forward through live TV broadcasts, but also lets you enjoy primetime programming before they’ve finished airing. So no longer do you have to sit through the 28 minutes of filler that makes up the bulk of a standard Gossip Girl episode. You can enjoy the tart-tongued previouslies, the exposition, and the conclusion and go one to find that cure for cancer that you’ve been meaning to discover before Nate Archibald’s dreamy countenance came along.
● Google, hot off the heels of last year’s Google Custom Time advent, has engineered Gmail Autopilot — which should be a boon especially to the few 9-to-5ers who’ve been negotiating four times the workload since that awful thing with the banks happened last fall. Gmail Autopilot helps overworked full-timers manage their inboxes by issuing personalized responses to everyone from Nigerian scam artists to Betsy Lou, who’s been passively aggressive since you got to go to The Maldives on vacay while she was stuck in Astoria with her scrubby boo. Especially in the case of nasty nutters like Betsy Lou, Gmail Autopilot also advises you to de-friend her on the intonation of her e-mails. Not just from Facebook, but life.
● More encompassing is new Google AI sweetheart CADIE whose primitive homepage gives 1993 a run for its money. CADIE’s top accomplishment: Google Brain Search.
● Such a workaholic! CADIE’s also offering 3D web-browsing.
● Not to be outdone, Opera (that’s the browser people use if they’re not using Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer or, Jim Clark forbid, Netscape) has announced Face Gestures — a feature that lets you command your web browser with simple facial ticks.
● Also in news of faces comes Amazon’s Floating Amazon Cloud Environment, or FACE for short. Using the convenience of modern, unmanned airships, the e-tailer brings a large bunch of computers, or more technically, a “cloud,” to your general air space, should you require such a service.
● Intriguing, but most probably unreal, even as pranks: new features on Tumblr, like Racist Tirades and Add a Ransom Note.
● But probably the most April’s Fools-iest of them all is the latest set of tweets from Britney Spears, which include choice bits like, ” You guys continue to make me SOOO happy! I truly have the best fans on the planet! CAN’T WAIT for TEXAS tomorrow… – Brit” and “Had a great dinner with all of the dancers last night! -Britney” — which is hard to believe in light of this letter. Still, kudos to Brit-Brit for being on the ball, Aprilly Fooling all of us well before today.