EP315 – Website Pranks for April Fools Day

March 29, 2019

On this episode of WPwatercooler, the conversation took quite a few interesting turns. We kicked things off discussing the peculiarities of having a birthday on leap year, which only rolls around every four years—talk about a unique celebration! The topic then veered into the world of prank gadgets, specifically the “annoy-o-tron,” a device designed to emit annoying noises at random intervals. But pranking isn’t all fun and games; we delved into the complex office dynamics that come into play. Is it ethical for someone higher up in the hierarchy to prank an employee? In the age of remote work, even the nature of pranks has changed, shifting more towards the digital realm. And let’s not forget the unique environment where Jason works—a church. While the setting might not lend itself to elaborate pranks, a small, light-hearted jest could still be in the cards. All in all, it was an episode filled with laughter, thoughtful insights, and even a few cautionary tales.

00:00 Introduction
02:15 Leap Year Birthdays
05:30 The Art of Pranking
09:00 Annoy-o-tron: The Ultimate Prank Device
13:45 Office Dynamics and Ethical Implications
19:20 Remote Work and Digital Pranks
23:00 Jason’s Church Work Environment
26:10 Cautionary Tales in Pranking
29:08 Closing Remarks

Join us around the WPwatercooler and talk about April Fools pranks!


Episode Transcription

(00:00) this is WP water cooler and this is episode number 315 today we’re going to be talking about something that’s near and dear to a lot of our hearts and something that’s gonna be happening pretty soon here which is April Fool’s we’re going to talk a little about April Fool’s and how you can totally pull your customers your clients your um your totally you can totally jack up all of your SEO you could do all that fun stuff and so I thought we’d just spend a little bit talking about that and just
(00:27) kind of see what we can get ourselves into in discussing this sort of thing so let’s go around the room real quick get everyone introduced hey Reed tell us about yourself hi my name is finger and I’m County and I’m pretty chill dudeee say Reed I teach WordPress WordPress sleep WordPress WordPress run WordPress walk WordPress drive WordPress and I’m savory media on all the things I’m Jason Tucker you can find Jason Tucker we do a couple shows every week when you do WT blab which is yeah and then we’re doing WP water
(01:26) cooler which you’re watching right now Jason Tucker what about yourself I’m Jason Cooper what do I do i I’m awesome come on the show every single week and I bring you the very best of all the cool things that are happening in WordPress let’s see here I got a good web liquid web doesn’t do some pretty cool stuff with that I don’t have a funny name to go with it though darn it [Laughter] alright so we let’s talk a little bit about this stuff before we get into that I didn’t want to let you know that
(02:09) desktop server and server press are sponsors of this particular show make sure you go over to their website over at server press calm and desktop server feel free to go take a look at their stuff they do some amazing work over there and they help us out but you know the live stream this every single week so thank you very much for helping us out with that thank you we appreciate you shout out a quick shout out to mark benzocaine his team played my team last night and it’s something that we talk about basketball
(02:46) music alyssum head cut it off and weird stuff going on there so during the pre-show we talked a little bit about different places that people typically go to during during a April Fool’s and one of my favorites absolute favorites to go to is thinkgeek I love thinkgeek and I love looking at the stuff that they pull they come up with and pull off in every single year it’s just one after another of just funny products that that they make and some of them they actually make but most of the time it’s just like
(03:22) a funny product that they’re like okay we’re selling a Lamborghini but it’s not it’s whatever or they always come up with some little goofy thing that there’s just no way that they’ll be able to sell but they they put it out there and you know there’s there’s those sorts of things that people are doing out there I have not checked this yet but I’m the biggest fan of not just the cards against humanity’ game but cards against humanity’ the company because they are putting out clever hilarious
(03:50) things and I’ve bought various ones of them including their package last year that included when they bought a small team in Chicago like a minor league baseball team and then gave everyone tickets and fun fact my husband and my brother who I gave the package to for the year they went to Chicago and went to a game of the thing so how many people use those tickets but they did awesome that’s cool how did how did that how did that come about for you where were you just digging around online and found that particular one was
(04:29) it something you were looking at me it was Christmas 9 not um the other thing April Fool’s the thing we’re talking about it wasn’t that big but they’re just that kind of company so I always tend to forget that April Fool’s Day is coming up and like until the day of but I’m gonna check it out this year so I’ll tell you what not to do don’t know don’t be like Elon Musk I think he tweeted last year earlier for Fool’s Day that Tesla was bankrupt right and as well there’s their stock price
(05:03) like your son your stock gift a little bit don’t don’t do that probably a great rule of thumb just to stop there he smoked pot for the second time and then he goes and says that right is that is that what happened there I’m guessing that wasn’t the second time he smoked pot it just was the second time you smoked pot publicly but so this year did you guys read I’m sure Microsoft has pledged to not participate in any of the tech April Fool’s Day shenanigans they said they’re not doing it anymore cuz you know
(05:49) Microsoft is always known for being the super fun company it’s like ooh that was shocking Microsoft you came out and said we’re not gonna have fun anymore interestingly if I were correctly a little product from Google called Gmail was launched on April Fool’s Day the over-under is like what product will they cancel this April Fool’s Day and then it’ll turn out to not be because that’s just what Google does that’s really more of their everyday operation right I’m tired of getting teased by
(06:40) Google I was really into inbox and I’m kind of pissed or not that was a really good program and I’m sad about it didn’t didn’t didn’t and my remembering this correctly but didn’t work press joke they got acquired was that last year the year before there there was a joker I couldn’t find it but there was their way maybe it wasn’t work pressed but there was a there was a joke like that again don’t joke with things like that on April Fool’s Day those those can have negative people don’t know they don’t
(07:17) remember the day not everyone takes it seriously and so like I think it’s actually pretty dangerous when Google started really doing that like you know it it’s we’re in this weird culture this hoax culture now which you know it’s like no one really knows what’s real anyway and the real things or fake things and the fake things or real things and it’s like do we really need as a whole like you know do we need the biggest global company in the world like pranking us that what we need right now
(07:46) is a kind of country as a as a society I don’t know actually I just remembered a few years ago on April Fool’s Day if you use wordpress.com or the jetpack stats package they showed a small traffic spike for every site on April Fool’s Day [Music] spirited Steve what’s the best April Fool’s Day prank you’ve ever done I’ve got a good one so two years in a row I pulled pranks on both of my business partners so many of you know Jeff Turner from the heat from the industry right Jeff Turner and I had I would not have
(08:40) another business had other business called real estate shows and we had another business partner named Bill so the first year of our existence on April Fool’s Day leading up to April Fool’s Bill had had trouble with his email he’s the older guy not very tech savvy and so it was always just something we made fun of him for because he always had trouble with email so I was the I was the email admin and so on April Fool’s Day morning I just got up and changed his password and so he immediately is soon anyway except for
(09:16) ilysm immediately calls me as soon as it gets up this and a just a whole string of curse words this email is he just was personality I said I said bill like I’m gonna loss I just don’t know what’s happening anymore I I really I don’t think we can solve this problem right and so that was that was an easy one right that was it was he was an easy target and we let it let it go on for about five minutes and then I just told what was going on that was an easy one leading up to April Fool’s Day the next
(09:44) year right Jeff had this he had this idea in his head that we were gonna get hacked that the site was gonna get hacked and I think he had gotten the joke or he was just condone oh no he was just concerned about hacking was concerned about security right and so I think we had got an email threatening to hack us or or somebody I don’t remember exactly what led up to it so I I don’t again there was something there was some sort of incident that went up to this so I decided on April Fool’s Day I was gonna
(10:20) hack our site and so what I did is I called rocky his wife the the week before Fool’s Day and I got Jeff’s IP address at the house right so what we did is we hacked real-estate shows we put a complete hacked version of real estate shows together only for his IP address right and so real estate shows was fine personalized personalized prank so the team actually spent a week putting together a brand new design based on hacked pages that we’d found on Google we built a hacked version of real estate shows complete with dancing
(11:03) babies and you know and also and it said really large at the top you have been hacked right maybe actually I think it said back sword right we must it was legitimate and we put it we put it online I put it online around I don’t know four or five a.m. I got up really early because I knew Jeff gets up early and it was on it was on just for his house and waited he normally he would log in every morning he’d go look at some shows he’d see what happened the night before it took until like 10:00 a.m. to finally sit down the computer
(11:36) plug in and he called me immediately and he started going off and not only they call me but he also and no I didn’t tell bill or the business partner and so not only did he call me but he called me said hang on any conference did Bill you know he starts going off on me and he who’s yelling at me so loud because at that point when he kept talking about security and I kept blowing him off a securities no big deal he was literally just he was livid he was going off on me for a good five minutes until I finally
(12:14) said you know Jeff I think I know the problem April Fool’s he goes no we got hacked on April Fool’s Day I get it it’s a perfect time for tonight no no no it goes mean it just occurred to me that’s awesome I haven’t III did a Facebook prank one time where I said that my very gay friend and I had had a baby and I used his a picture of him as a zombie and me you can do those things where you like merge you like merge faces and see the kid that it’s gonna be or whatever so and people took me seriously I really
(13:05) thought it was so extreme that like obviously like first of all you know it’s really gay so like I thought everyone knew that and like I was like you know obviously this is a joke like we didn’t have to explain that but now people were serious they were emailing me and like they were like no come on this one’s a gimme that just it shows you though this it’s dangerous like this this idea like people take the world really seriously the world around them and like you know not everyone’s on the same page with
(13:40) this stuff anymore we don’t all have the same holidays we don’t all have the same background like people don’t realize that Google’s joking sometimes well I mean yeah but I mean so it’s still a factor right like I think if there’s a responsibility factor that that like like especially since you can’t you it doesn’t usually have like a disclaimer at the bottom you don’t I mean if there’s like some small print like haha this is a joke like then then it’s okay then if someone sees it they’re like oh
(14:14) but like a lot of the time a lot of the pranks don’t have that component they’re just like it was broke wank waste so speaking of zombies one of the one of the smartest guys I know in the SEO business his name’s Gaylord Dewalt his name his company’s called thought faucet I don’t know if he’s ever been on water coolers been on yeah before yeah yeah Gaylord is amazing right and so I’ve had past employees and I won’t name names but I’ve had past employees who would rate each of our offices so if we were
(14:46) looking at an office right so he moved probably maybe three times maybe four times over our 25 years right but when we give me office they would actually go into the office and the offices we were looking at and rate the office based on escape ability in a zombie apocalypse okay [Laughter] front door and a back door right is there’s a hatch in the roof right how can I get out it’s got one door that’s that’s a that’s a very low rating you’ve got one exit right and so it’s all actually not a bad thing to look at
(15:21) Sambi apocalypse or not totally totally right and so you know this became a running joke but these people were pretty serious about the zombie apocalypse so Gaylord created a site it’s no longer online anymore anymore but he actually created say at the time called zombie score calm and he was rating he was rating real-estate based on me in case of a zombie apocalypse I thought that was genius you should have totally hooked up with your other company and you could have had zombie zombie real estate shows or
(15:57) whatever a toe shows well our very own our very own debut water cooler actually did an episode where we pretended that we were we were that you know that we were pretending that we were going to be a Drupal a drupal podcast and that was that was super fun enough you guys remember this or not I do like so young is is Drupal so we were googling what to say that was insane that was an insane an insane day that was a good look at this is tripping me out this is like a trip
(17:02) down memory lane it was episode number 28 no it just it’s just gotten worse and worse a degraded a little bit over the past few years oh man now we’re just all doop cake this is one of those in-between episodes like where it’s just like what do they call those like like a like a clip show maybe bit like sitcoms wherever it’s not like the full story line it’s just like a sideline story what is that called I get what you’re saying by don’t I don’t know what the words are I’ve never worked in the industry so
(17:56) when they come back to the running story line all time but then they go away to do separate storylines they’re talking about yeah or they just have like you know it’s like a character development episode like in Star Trek like instead of like confronting a thing it’s just like you know Riker and Troy back then water cooler was it was on Mondays and so Mondays Mondays I mean Mondays has most of the you know most the holidays fall on a Monday so it ends up working out pretty it worked out pretty good for
(18:29) us because we we celebrated a whole bunch of different days you know different holidays because of it on Monday the well I don’t remember but if so if it was a Monday how was that like isn’t it seven years every seventy or six years or something like it repeats because obviously that was on a memo and that was episode 28 so that was our first year that we were working on that and that means we’ve gone full circle through the whole week yeah that’s crazy I don’t think it exactly works out like
(19:12) that over seven years this leap year there’s a leap year but other than the leap year it is the same so that’s why it’s six and not seven hey speaking of leap year let’s see here Wow I had something I can’t remember it now okay sorry Dave Jesse’s birthday is on leap year Oh February 29th yeah that’s right and I remember we celebrated his birthday if I remember right on one of those episodes well an actual birthday yeah if you were trying to say something I was I was gonna say – I
(19:55) yeah he was awesome yeah so I was gonna say that to get back to the spirit of April Fool’s Day if we want to talk about dock firing pranks to come back in on thingie they used to they might still sell this device it is a small board that has magnets on it and effectively plug a battery in and it makes that mosquito noise that only quote-unquote like Millennials like people under a certain age can hear so it just every random bit of time it just makes this kind of like whoa is that the one that you like hide up in a thing yeah so
(20:40) basically what I did I was like I’m being clever I go and I duck down to hide it under someone’s desk because the little Ikea desk crossbar I don’t hide it under the youngest person in the office desk to just play and what I did not realize is that the structural integrity of my jeans was not up to par split out the mass of my pants my mind you I showed up to work early to pull this prank before anyone I’ll stop there and I did not have time to run at home I had taken the subway and to work that
(21:25) morning so I did not have time to run a home and change into a new pair of jeans I basically had to dive into the swag closet tuck a t-shirt in the front and back of my teeth like a wine cloth and then proceeded to work in the rest of the day that way so the joke was true so you do yeah the noise annoy-o-tron is what is what it is it’s like ten bucks and you can just hide it under somebody’s desk it it just makes this little annoying beep like random crazy does a beep cat meow a door knock a cricket a
(22:12) doorbell and random random noises I think it should have set – I like all of the cell phone rings it does it has iPhone a desk phone a nokia phone a blackberry vibrate which is probably the worst one of them all because that one would drive everyone nuts if all you’re hearing is libs I think so my favorite pranks are actually on the office the things that Jim does – Dwight I just posted a list of that and one of my favorite lines is actually it’s number two on this list that that I just sent you is the one
(22:50) where he becomes Dwight for the day he buys Dwight’s outfit and he acts like Dwight for the day okay so he’s got the he’s got the exact same shirt and ties got the glasses and at the beginning the episode he says something like he listed all offices this entire ensemble 18 dollars the best Jim prank and it’s one that took a minute on the office my favorite is when he’s listing off like we’re listing off they’re talking to HR listing off like all the pranks that jim has done and there’s one where he’s like
(23:25) he figured out how to get me to hit myself in the face with my phone and he goes it’s really clever what I ended up doing is disassembling this phone and adding nickels waiting the handle so he got used to it then I took all the nickels out so when he answered the phone he’d pick it up that is almost sociopathic that is long game right there wasn’t theory a Pavlov’s dog experiment that he did without toys we need like great ding it was like a bell or a sound and give him an Altoid right and then he did it a whole bunch of
(24:05) times and then he rang the bell and didn’t get an Altoid anyway this is something I’ve always thought about with the office you know obviously HR was not really paying attention if you’re pranking your other business partners that’s one thing but what do y’all think about like basically like the office dynamics of especially in 2019 of someone with more authority or more power pranking someone under like that works under them and the kind of the of the ethical implications of that or like the workplace implications of
(24:46) that type of a thing hmm kids are just gonna run in going April Fool’s and then run out right because like you’re you’re pranking in your stories you’re pranking you know your your your peers right you’re right business partners so I mean I think it’s also part of what irks me a little bit like I enjoy the the lightness with which Google approaches this stuff but they have a lot of power they have a lot of authority and you know it’s almost like there’s a fine line between the
(25:26) abuse of that and the you know the fundus of that and I don’t know maybe this year everyone should just like nah it’s a very sensitive year I think it’s a choose your targets wisely yeah that’s that’s a really good point and that’s why I’m saying like you know pranking your entire company you know or whatever but pranking individual people could have some some ramifications especially in smaller companies don’t don’t prank the weird antisocial guy that’s off in the corner that you it’s always kind of
(26:10) creepy right unless you’ve got like a really good what about pranking your boss like so for example Steve if you were pranked by your employees I feel like you would give them a raise or a bonus oh that was hilarious funny this again yeah you have to choose your targets wisely right so but what what about you can’t you work at a church Jason oh yeah you’re not it’s not really a big like holiday in that culture no I don’t see that happening yeah oh yeah I could definitely put a little buzzer noise
(26:47) thing in somebody’s desk drawer and have it just a refugee I could do that that would totally work and I have I definitely have some targets that I could definitely you know make that happen with but other than that yeah I don’t I don’t see much of that sort of thing if anything it’s more of a camaraderie kind of like you know somebody’s leaving the company and we do something cool for them or whatever here’s what not to do to your spouse my dad did one year and so my growing up when I was a teenager there was a dead
(27:24) rat in the pool right and so my stepmother noticed it really yes it was a live dead rat the pool and asked my dad can you get rid of the rat so five dead rat so my dad got rid of the rat but came in he knew April Fool’s Day was coming no it’s not alive there I was it was a real dead rat right Fool’s Day was coming so he said I got wet and he took care of it right but he said I didn’t see anything there was nothing there was nothing out there right well on April fools day he got a rubber rat right and
(27:54) he put it in the toilet when she got up in the morning that’s the first thing that’s the first thing she saw as if it had come up through the plumbing don’t do that yeah I wonder how this has affected like remote working distributed working is affected by you know it’s all digital pranks and you know spoofing IP address I don’t pull as many punches I pulled a lot of pranks when I worked at DreamHost in an actual office now that I’ve been remote for six years I think maybe I’ve sent like a masked link to somebody a
(28:36) few times but outside of that yeah it’s all just digital you just go around and use everyone’s email and it’s time that that for like every horrible email exactly don’t do that though it’s illegal I think 11:30 I want to say thank you very much for all of you folks for hanging out with us and talking a little bit about some fun stuff here and if you if you do something fun we’d love to hear about it the free has that when Twitter or something like that we’d be more than happy to kind of listen to
(29:08) those and check them out and even ban add them into our show notes would be like so if you want here’s my take away don’t choose your targets wisely and don’t work don’t rip your jeans definitely definitely talk y’all later you have a good one bye.

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