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Practical Jokes on Co-Workers? 430

Posted by Cliff
from the lighten-up-people dept.
leprasmurf asks: "Here I sit with Administrative rights to a public computer at work, and I'm trying to think of how I can have fun with my co-worker's profiles. I'm running low on ideas. I've done the 'copy 50 million folder shortcuts to their desktop' one and if he forgets to lock his terminal one of these times I'm going to do the print screen and hide all his icons one, but what else is there? Surely there are some harmless pranks an administrator can do without resorting to downloading programs for assistance. Any suggestions?"
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Practical Jokes on Co-Workers?

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  • by dynoman7 (188589) on Saturday September 27, 2003 @02:53AM (#7070498) Homepage
    ...install Windows.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 27, 2003 @03:09AM (#7070546)
      3.11
      • That's far too humane for co-workers. Put Windows 2 on it and even if they get what's happening, watch the confusion as it crashes at the sign of executing code.
        • Re:You could ... (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Directrix1 (157787)
          Well, this is what I did too my friends Win2k machine at work:

          Recipe for a Directrix Desktop:

          1) Ensure Active Desktop is enabled
          2) Ensure you have Administrative rights and he doesn't (not required but helps)
          3) Download a nice pornographic background (or other equally funny image at your discretion)
          4) Download a nice fun transparent gif
          5) Open the "c:\Documents and Settings\%his_profile_name%\Application Data\Microsoft\Internet Explorer" Folder
          6) Edit the Desktop.htt (system,hidden) file, its basically an
    • "...install Windows. "

      Or, if he plays games when he should be working, you could always install Linux.
      • ...if they had my desktop they'd be relegated to a mere 300 or so games, not counting the 4000 MAME options, 300 or so different Solitaires under PySol, or on-line stuff.

        If you want a real hoot, take a screenshot of his machine, pull the disk, install any modern Linux distro (Mandrake is easiest, SuSE a close second) and then set it up with XPDE [xpde.com] and put all of his icons back from the screenshot. If he's running Win2k now, leave a note saying you've upgraded (hah!) his workstation to XP. Then run a sweepsta
  • I find... (Score:4, Funny)

    by darkov (261309) on Saturday September 27, 2003 @02:56AM (#7070510)
    ...downloading heaps of kiddie porn onto their hard drives always gets a laugh. I could barely keep a straight face when they were dragged off roughly by the police. Hilarious!
  • VNC (Score:5, Funny)

    by TheFlyingGoat (161967) on Saturday September 27, 2003 @02:57AM (#7070515) Homepage Journal
    Install VNC as a service and connect from your machine. Move his mouse around once in a while. You could even lock out his local controls when you're connected and make him visit any website you want. :)

    The one I really like doing is run a Perl script that send an email every minute, or sends an ICQ, telling them what time it is. To make it REALLY exciting, send some random text with it.
    • Re:VNC (Score:5, Funny)

      by NanoGator (522640) on Saturday September 27, 2003 @03:57AM (#7070709) Homepage Journal
      "Install VNC as a service and connect from your machine."

      One of the engineers where I worked pulled a stunt like that on a naieve PR lady. He had a computer set up on a table on the opposite end of his office. He was tinkering with it via VNC. She asked him what he was up to and he told her that he had written some voice recognition software.

      "Go ahead, say something."

      "What should I say?"

      And when she said that he fired up Notepad and wrote "What should I say?" on it. We all thought it was pretty funny until we found ourselves stopping an announcement that we had a new product in development.

  • by SpaFF (18764) on Saturday September 27, 2003 @03:06AM (#7070540) Homepage
    I ran a USB mouse from his workstation, under the cube wall to under my desk. Every once and a while I would kick the mouse with my foot and would hear him scream "What the hell?!". What was great was to do it when he was talking to someone and hear him scream "did you see it move?! did you see it? I didn't touch it and it moved I swear!".

  • Schedules (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Associate (317603)
    Schedule system maintenance like defrag, virus scans and other annoying interuptions every hour or so.
    • Re:Schedules (Score:3, Informative)

      by Associate (317603)
      Damn, forgot a few.
      We once disabled a coworker's virtual memory. Later we swapped her mouse and keyboard plugs. Try also changing the monitor and display settings. If you get it right, they will have a headache. You could probably mess with the host file and redirect their browser to some nefarious page like windows update. :) Go into a word processor and add common word misspeelings to their dictonary. The possibilities are endless.
      Actually, the person we did this stuff to was one of those employees. We di
      • by Jellybob (597204)
        Go into a word processor and add common word misspeelings to their dictonary.

        Another fun one there is to use the autocorrect feature in Word to change the odd word to something similar looking with a completely different meaning.
    • Re:Schedules (Score:5, Interesting)

      by innosent (618233) <[jmdority] [at] [gmail.com]> on Saturday September 27, 2003 @04:11AM (#7070756)
      Do what I did, find the latest MS exploit, (when I did this it was the ping one in 95/98 that locked up the computer, but didn't BSOD, just sat there) and every once in a while, lock his computer up. We actually used this to fire someone, since we suspected that he was sitting at his desk doing nothing most of the time. We locked it up, and asked him an hour later what he had been doing for that hour. He told us he had done quite a bit of work, at which point we asked him to show it to us, and he realized that his computer was frozen. We then informed him that it had in fact been that way for an hour, and that he could use the next hour to pack his things.
      • Yes, yes, you're very clever.

        Now perhaps you should pack your things and follow him out the door, since either

        • you're the sysadmin, in which case you're incompetent for not patching against a known security flaw, or
        • you're not the sysadmin, in which case you're a cracker abusing his access to company hardware instead of doing his own job

        and in both cases, you're the kind of idiot who shouldn't be employed by a serious business.

        There are appropriate ways to deal with people who don't do their job pr

    • Screen Savers (Score:3, Interesting)

      If the person is leaving the machine unlocked, then set up the scrolling text screen saver with a password. The text should say that they have to come see you to get the password.

      The annoyance of having to do this and the fact that they have to admit to you that they messed up every time might make them to remember to lock the machine from now on.

      I remember an admin at one place I worked would send e-mails from that person's account. Bizzare things, like "I'd like to meet you for lunch so we can discu

  • by daeley (126313) * on Saturday September 27, 2003 @03:10AM (#7070552) Homepage
    Ask your supervisor for some more work because you obviously have too much damn time on your hands.
    • It's not just friendly, it can be great for team building and morale too.

      Playing a practical joke once in a while isn't a sign of not enough work -- it's a sign of a good group of workers who like each other, and have a good sense of each other. The team that plays together stays together, you know?
      • by Darth_Burrito (227272) on Saturday September 27, 2003 @11:05AM (#7071951)
        Practical jokes are ok, but admins should not be deliberately sabotaging their people's computers in order to get a laugh. First,it's your job to keep these computers running smoothly. Second, being an admin is about being in a position of trust. In a midsize company, you may have access to everything: browsing habits, email, internal software, customer transactions, financials, etc You have to be careful that what you do doesnot break that trust.

        Just looking through some of the comments...

        Using VNC to take over someone's computer seems popular. From a user's perspective, this says, my IT staffer can and will take over my computer at any time. He can spy on what I am doing without me even knowing it... and he will for his personal amusement. Ha Ha very funny.

        Someone suggests recording a cellphone ring as the new mail sound and letting the prank go on for 3 days during which the victim would frantically search through the cell phones in his desk. Any prank that occurs witht he frequency of email and goes on for 3 days is just abusive.

        Same guy as above pulled a prank on a girl who was afraid of her boss. He recorded the boss saying her name and added a reverb and made it her shutdown sound. When she was working late the last thing she heard was his voice quietly calling her name and this (according to the guy) sent her running. That is just not even remotely funny.

        I think practical jokes do have a place in the office, but most IT jokes aren't funny for the victims even in retrospect. They are just abuses of the power granted to the IT staff. If you are going to play an IT joke on someone, you should make sure it is possible for the victim to play the same joke on you. That is the main difference between joking with someone and picking on them.
    • Ask your supervisor for some more work because you obviously have too much damn time on your hands.

      Generally speaking; places of employ in which employees work from 9 until 5 without taking any time away from the tedium are known as "salt mines" or "sweat shops".

      Even in today's economy, a pay cheque isn't worth giving up your soul.

  • by carrowood (325102) on Saturday September 27, 2003 @03:13AM (#7070559)
    At one of my former jobs (a security company) whenever we would find a computer unlocked, we would send a "baggy pants" email to the entire office distro list. Something along the lines of "Hey, come check out my ultra-fly baggy pants today!" Everyone in the office knew right away that the person had left their pc unlocked and would get harassed for the rest of the day... Over time the emails sent grew pretty outragous:

    - I am bringing in donuts to the office tomorrow, please email me your favorite kind (turn on read rcpt and delivery rcpt)
    - Looking for a roomate (lotsa possibilities here)
    - I am proud to anounce the birth of my son... (include an ugly baby pic, or a dog jpg)

    and so on.

    Over time, people rarely left their pc's unlocked because they didn't want the ridicule of the office. It was great fun, actually improved morale, and kept the pcs locked tight.
    • until I showed someone how to fake the origin of an email, at which point the entire office began firing one another through eamails from the boss.

      Remember to send \r\n instead of just \n, you don't want outlook to get bitchy about the format.
  • My favorite was sending on call messages to the oncall person about outages on hardware/markets we dont support. Pretending or asking a NOC person to call the on-call person. Normally right around the time the guy is getting ready to hit the bar. :)

    I heard one where engineers would ask the new guy to get a flux capacitor from the electronic store. Or the new guy on a construction crew if he wanted to have Honey Pot duty.
    • That reminds me of the "dough repair kit" from my pizza delivery days. Works great when you call the other local stores ahead of time, then have the new person call them to see if they have any, since you're out of them. Have each one say that the next store probably has one, then the last one use your cell phone, so that you can finally let them in on the reason everyone else is laughing.
      • This reminds me of what we used to do when I worked retail. Page your target that they had a call on line 9 or 10. We had a phone system with 8 lines. It's best when you can see them grab a phone and look at it like it's not real. We had one guy that asked a manager if the one in the manager's office was line 10 and another guy who fell for the joke for years - we would give him time to forget, but it always worked. A related practical joke was to call Compaq tech support and page someone to the "64 minut
  • Switcheroo (Score:5, Funny)

    by cybermace5 (446439) <g.ryan@macetech.com> on Saturday September 27, 2003 @03:24AM (#7070592) Homepage Journal
    This one take a little work, but is worth it. This assumes Windows of course, but it's not impossible to do with another OS.

    Make a new shortcut for everything they use, either on the desktop or in the Start menu, or Quicklaunch too. Change the name to be the name of a different program, and set the icon to use for the one for the original shortcut. The idea here is to have Excel open up when they click on Word, Internet Explorer when they try to run Excel, an MS-DOS prompt when they want to run Access. If they don't have admin rights, they'll have to learn by experiment where each program is located.

    Guaranteed to stun the clueless. Since desktop icons will show the little shortcut arrow, go to [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\Cur rentVersion\
    Explorer\Shell Icons] and set the "29" key to equal the path and filename of a blank icon. Or get TweakUI to do it.
    • Another nice Windows one, using net send, rename your computer to "Microsoft" and sending messages about "Please Reboot your Machine" or Your software is pirated, please call blahblah blah.
      Just send lots of pop-ups when they are working. Lots of uses for net send.

      Another if you log into a windows domain, before they get in the morning, try to log with thier username and wrong password. Few times and the account is locked. Good on pesky managers and you want to have a few more minutes before the morning me
    • Did that a soda machine once. Was quite teh funney.
  • pranks (Score:4, Funny)

    by zygote (134175) on Saturday September 27, 2003 @03:24AM (#7070593)
    Eh, I'm divided about whether this one is lame or not. Thank goodness for moderators to decide. Here goes. It is realitvely harmless, but I've seen it drive folks nuts.

    (BTW, tends to work better on Macs...)

    1. Take screen shot of desktop
    2. Open the shot in Photoshop or similar gfx app.
    3. Rotate 180 degrees so image of desktop is upside down.
    4. Enlarge image to 100% and hide menu bar (this is where it works best with Photoshop), palettes and toolbars.
    5. Act confused when brought over to see "whacked icons." 5a. mention virus or "sign that hard drive is in process of erasing itself."

    All the machines in our office run Photoshop as do the laptops, so it's a trick to pull when things get slow on off-site gigs.
    • If they use a nvidia gfx card, the newer drivers let you rotate your video 90 degrees or 180/etc.. Less hassle, if they dont know about the advanced options in the display settings.
    • Re:pranks (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anml4ixoye (264762)
      My friend did this to his mom several years ago, but instead used Active Desktop to have her desktop be a flash movie. When she moved her mouse over the icons they grew legs and arms and yipped and ran over to the other side of the screen. Took her about a minutes before we heard her yelling for him.
  • by cybermage (112274) on Saturday September 27, 2003 @03:27AM (#7070610) Homepage Journal
    Assuming their using Windows, edit each entry in their Start Menu to launch the application underneath it.

    For example, say their Start>Programs menu listed Dos Prompt, Word, Excel, Windows Explorer. Change each link so that they launch Word, Excel, Windows Explorer, and Dos Prompt respectively.

    At first, they'll think they're clicking wrong somehow. Then maybe they'll replace their mouse. Good for some cheap laughs.
  • Change his language settings. Even better if you can figur out how to do the translations yourself. I changed a friends machine to have a "y2k" fix: Mondak the First of Januark 2000. If you can't figure out how to write your own translations, then just change it to something like Hebrew. It'll keep them guessing for hours how to turn it back and what exactly that important looking message said.

    Remap the keyboard to dvorak and then log them out (Try typing your password in in dvorak...)

    change the hosts
    • Hah, the AutoCorrect one is always good. You can have a lot of fun going all the way with the script kiddie theme. Change "the" to "TEH" and "!" to "!!111!!111oneoneone!1", don't forget "good" to "ro0LZ" and "bad" to "sux0rs". Invert common letter pairs like "th" and "gh" and "qu". And set some letters to always correct to their capital or numerical or punctuational counterpart.
      • Haha! You almost made me choke on my cookie! :-) I've got the administrator password on the computers at my school... Think I might do this on the Terminal Server.
  • by bscott (460706) on Saturday September 27, 2003 @03:33AM (#7070627)
    Well, I don't want to sound like I'm bragging, but I've pulled a coupla good ones:

    - record someone's cellphone ring on your PC, then install it as their new-mail-received sound. (when I did this, I didn't realize the guy had had 3-4 cellphones over the past year, all of which were stowed in his desk; I presumed he'd catch on after a couple hours, but apparently it was a 3-day ordeal for him and his neighbors...)
    - there was a young girl who was (un-justifyably) a little scared of her boss: I had him record his voice saying her name, then added a trace of an echo, and waited until a day when he was out of town and I knew she'd be working late... I set her Windows shutdown sound to that sample, so she'd hear him calling her after everyone else had gone home. From what others on that floor told me, she ran screaming down the hallway...
    - put up a phony form someplace, like a "Microwave Usage Tracking Form" in the break room... have lines for what's been heated, how long it took, etc... (when I did this, the only person who fell for the prank and actually filled out a line was the office manager - the very person who'd have been in charge of putting up such a form, if it were real!)
    - others I forget

    The easiest office pranks are those which involve people who leave their terminals unattended in a situation where security is assumed to be tight; I have dozens of stories about those cases, but they're not as funny to me 'cos, well, the more tight-assed the environment, the easier it is to spoof (and you have an unfair advantage if you're the IT guy)... I prefer to pull stuff in a relaxed, casual environment, where people aren't expecting anything.
  • I totally forget where windows stores that .wav file. The one that gets played every fucking time you click on a link in IE.

    Well, replace that with something obscene.
  • by Andy_R (114137) on Saturday September 27, 2003 @03:46AM (#7070678) Homepage Journal
    There is no need to mess with other people's machines, you'll just gain an enemy for life.

    There is plenty that you can do to demonstrate your 1337 hax0r skillz and sense of humour on your own machine.

    Try squashing your head and hands into in a colour scanner, use the resulting picture as a screensaver, with a piece of audio of you saying "help I'm trapped in the monitor!" set to that play every 5 minutes and go to lunch.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      There is plenty that you can do to demonstrate your 1337 hax0r skillz and sense of humour on your own machine.

      That can get you fired too. My employer has an IT staff that is grossly incompetent to say the least. Many of them are nice guys, but they know shit about securing or maintaining computers.

      Well to cut to the chase, I got sick of my computer freezing and crashing when I was working so I decided to poke around and see what unnecessary services they were running on the machines. I shut down most of
  • by cybermace5 (446439) <g.ryan@macetech.com> on Saturday September 27, 2003 @03:55AM (#7070704) Homepage Journal
    The best one I've seen doesn't scale well for the office, but could work. This was a dorm prank on an resident assistant: the RA had a stereo and decent set of speakers. Someone a few rooms down had a reasonably powerful system as well. A set of speaker wires was run out the "control room" and directly to the speakers in the RA's room through the window. At some ungodly hour the "control room" began playing some annoying, embarrassing song at full volume. Now, imagine trying to stumble out of a loft and turn off the stereo while mostly asleep...except that no matter what buttons you push, it won't turn off! A remarkable success.

    I guess a similar thing could be done with a co-worker's computer and an audio cable, just run it to line-in and turn the volume way up. It'll take a few seconds before they find the volume control. Play something vile like Backstreet Boys or Britney.
    • ... Sheeit!... that's an excellent one! But you know what I'd change? I'd play that theme from the Blue Oyster Bar (from Police Academy). "El Bimbo" I think it's called, but I'll be damned if I can find the same instrumental version as in the movie.
  • Reverse the left and right mouse buttons.

    Simple and most people have no clue how to fix it.
    • Unless of course you work at a place that regularly requires us employees to hop around between different workstations.. ONE OF us is a Lefty.. And whoever he is, he always changes the mouse settings to left handed.

      I've learned to adapt to left or right handed mouse settings, so I just don't bother changing them back to right handed anymore... So the person after me gets pissed off, and I feel l33t ;)
    • Here is one I (inadvertently) did a few years ago. Set your pager to vibrate and throw in in your desk drawer, then go on vacation. Assuming nobody catches it when it rings it will vibrate for about 3 seconds every 15 minutes or so, long enough to catch random people's attention but not long enough for them to figure out what it is. Sounds like a mean bumble bee.

      I did not do this on purpose.
  • A few modest ideas (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Piquan (49943) on Saturday September 27, 2003 @04:13AM (#7070764)

    Most of these are Windows-specific. Call it a hunch.

    Take a screenshot and make it their desktop, then close all windows, hide the taskbar, and move some (only some) of the desktop contents to somewhere other than the desktop.

    If you use VNC, then set up a full-screen vncviewer to a secondary victim's desktop. Watch them fight it out. (Be very careful; privacy issues crop up in this one.)

    Download the original hampster dance [hampsterdance2.com]. (Note: website makes sound.) Use the ActiveDesktop feature to make a copy of that as the victim's desktop. Turn the volume to max, and immediately shut down or suspend. For maximum effect, do this on a laptop just before the victim leaves for a flight.

    Depending on the OS version, add about eighty folders at the top and bottom of the "Programs" menu. Doesn't matter what you name them; some versions of Windows make it a pain to open a folder in the middle.

    Set their Internet connection to, instead of using the LAN, auto-dial their phone.

    If you can get an X server running on their box, then run greasymouse against their display. (You mentioned not downloading anything, but since it's on the X contrib tape, you may already have it on a local Unix box.) I find a factor of 1.8 or so works well. The good news is, this works on some rootless X servers for Windows. Of course, if your victim runs Unix, no such need.

    Fun with fonts. Set the fonts and colors to something terribly garish, and just barely useable. Then export the relevant parts of the registry, and set things up to merge that in every boot.

    Setting sounds is a good one, and there's a lot of ideas already posted to get you started.

    All this is assuming your friend isn't a coder. There's much better ways to get at coders, such as #define struct union or other ideas from here [vancouver-webpages.com] for more ideas.

    And the number one way to ensure to drive them mad at the office computer:

    Force the victim to use Windows.

  • by NanoGator (522640) on Saturday September 27, 2003 @04:18AM (#7070783) Homepage Journal
    My company was demo happy. Any time a new feature made it into our software, our hyper-active sales guy would go demo happy. As a result, I had to make a LOT of demos, many of them web based. One day, inspired by a book I read, I created a web page with a fake error message that came up on top of it.

    "The radiation shielding on your monitor has failed, please do not sit directly in front of your monitor."

    I uploaded the page to our websever, sent out a company-wide email to try out the new demo, and went home. I got a frantic call at 7am in the morning. The first victim of my joke was the type to wash her hands in anti-bacterial soap if somebody dirty just looked at her. I had to keep from laughing, it wasn't easy. She eventually figured out it was a joke, but found it amusing, so she didn't tell anybody else.

    I fired off a note to the sysadmin to let him in on the joke, but I wasn't sure if he got it in time. Unfortunately, he was the guy who everybody ran to first. When I got to his office, the dead-weight woman who was always calling in sick all the time was there explaining what she had seen. I intercepted the conversation and asked her what happened. She told me that her computer had radiated her. So I asked if she felt okay, and she put her hand on her stomach and with worried eyes she non-commitally said "I think so..." I glanced over at the sys-admin whose head suddenly disappeared behind his monitor. I found out later that he had read my email and was trying to keep from laughing.

    I decided to carry this joke a little further. You all know Front Page, right? That WYSIWYG HTML editor that everybody here hates? Well it has a kick ass feature. It'll download a web page and you can just type right into it. Then, it'll maintain all the links for you. So I downloaded one of CNN's health pages and wrote up a 3 paragraph news alert about the "Microwave Virus". The basic gist of the article was that a virus took control of your monitor and amplified the ultra violet gun to burn out the shielding. Symptoms included fatigue, irritability, and a couple of other things you normally feel at the office. In about 15 minutes, I had a fake web page and I had set up Microsoft's 'Personal Web Server' to serve it up from my computer. I had then renamed my computer to www.cnn-news.com, and hosted the page. A new 'FYI' email was sent out, and I went to lunch.

    When I came back, the woman that was in on the joke told me "all hell had broken loose, you better get to the dead-weight girl's office." When I got there, two of my coworkers were having a discussion about whether they should go home or go see their doc. From there, I lost, I couldn't keep a straight face anymore. I told them of the joke. They took it in stride, but they didn't think it was so funny. You see, they didn't realize I had faked the web-page. They thought I read it on CNN's site and I had faked the message. They were more amused when they found out I had faked the site too, but I think they were paranoid for weeks any time I sent out an FYI email. Heh.

    On a side note, the sysadmin there didn't really like me until that day. He was impressed at how I had set that up. We were actually friends after that. Heh.
    • Damn I miss the good old days. I used to do crap like this too, back during (and leading up to) the tech boom.

      Hell today most hackers are just happy nobody walks in and says 'pack your shit and leave, you have just been RIF'ed' for no good reason - I honestly don't envision many of the bright ones making these kinds of waves in the here and now.

      Man a few years ago there was a book but I forgot the name. The Road to $Something. Talked about the good old days, now those guys had some fun pranks. Disasse
  • we were asked and incouraged by our supervisors to leave the machines unlocked because our work was always a big rush and they needed to have an access to everyone's machine and account, to read the documentation (even if we were writing it).

    Then came in the team this idiot, a moron who only had the pc from a year past, and the intarweb from six month past... he became using someone's account (including mine) to sell his fscking moped or to send or ask for evening job's resumes. He was asked to leave afte

  • Screengrab SETI running, photoshop in a dialogue box that says "alien life found, please contact NASA immediately", and set it as target's wallpaper.
    • We did just that after discovering one of the developers was running seti on all the colocated windows servers (well.. actually it was a little vb app producing a dialog box that just said 'please contact this number', and a big seti logo) Next time he VNC'd in.. haha.. I had to leave the room as he picked up the phone looking all smug...
  • If you happen to be running macs, the cruelest, most evil thing you can do to a mac user is find a folder with about a billion itmes in it, select all of them and drag 'em into the dock.
    They'll be there for hours removing each, one-by-one.
  • Funny: (Score:3, Funny)

    by iq in binary (305246) <iq_in_binary@ho[ ]il.com ['tma' in gap]> on Saturday September 27, 2003 @05:50AM (#7070990) Homepage
    Step 1: Record a voice sample of you saying (disguising voice, of course) "I'M DOWNLOADING PORN!."

    Step 2: Wait until (male?) victim leaves his computer unattended.

    Step 3: Replace victim's sound alerts (yes, all of them) with aforementioned sound sample.

    Step 4: Turn volume ALL the way up.

    Step 5: Wear a diaper, there'll be a long line getting to the bathroom :-P
  • by ChaseTec (447725) <chase@osdev.org> on Saturday September 27, 2003 @06:14AM (#7071069) Homepage
    I was working a small chain of computer store in the Houston area. A completely relaxed enviroment. The manager of the store where I headed up the tech shop at would check out his tribes game and wwf websites every morning with breakfast. Well I called the owner ahead of time and let him know what I was planning. When my manager wasn't at his pc I changed out his hosts file so that those certain websites would resolve to a server I had setup on our lan. I grabbed a copy of the company logo and hacked together a page that said something along the lines of "This site has be filtered and is not work related. Please contact CEO's Name if you have any questions." I just "happened" to be in his office to see his reaction; It was nothing short of glorious! He actually called the CEO and started screaming that he works his @$$ off normally and that if he wanted to read up on WWF during breakfast that it was his God given right. Even better was that he keep hitting refresh in disbelief so I just had to change out the site to tell him what a moron he was. About 1 minute after I walked back into his office he hit refresh. He quietly told the CEO he'd call him back and I believe it was a stapler he thru at me.
  • Back in the days of ancient desktop systems, my school had a few TRaSh-80's. One "feature" of these machines (Model III's with built-in displays) was a choice between 64- and 32-character lines. Thanks to some research and bribery, I found out which I/O port controlled this, and it just happened to be the same port that controlled the motor on/off on the cassette storage.

    I hacked up a quick test in TRS-80 BASIC to toggle the 64/32 bit, and it ran fast enough to create four scrolling bands on the display. C
  • by hkon (46756) on Saturday September 27, 2003 @06:56AM (#7071154) Homepage
    As a prank to people to who don't care much about locking their terminals or keeping correct permissions on their files, you can add
    echo 'sleep 1' >> .profile
    to their .profile. That way, each login will take a second more. This requires a bit of patience, though, since most people won't realize that something's wrong for about a month. Personally, I like pranks like this, that penalize stupidity.
  • One former colleague of mine, while he could be a nice guy sometimes, was often overly anal and aggressive about minor details. His main bugbear was people misspelling his first name, which was "Phillip"; woe betide anyone who only used one "L" (or even worse, called him "Phil"). On more than one occassion I witnessed him lodge formal complaints with managers when one of their staff denied him his L RDA.

    Obviously this obsession became something of an office joke, and led to a few pranks. One colleague

  • Invert their mouse settings. Pick left-handed if they're right, etc. That little tool that helps calibrate the mouse to your movement? Mess with that. Change the buttom mapping.

    Makes is a real !@#$ to fix if you don't know how to use your keyboard.
  • Trojans always provide some good fun. Back in the day I'd play pranks on people with NetBus...not sure what new stuff is out now.
  • Cron is your friend. Give someone a seasonal greetings.

    Set up a script to run every 5 minutes or so as root. Get a random number and use it so that each invocation has a 1% chance of running xsnow.

    Other possibilities include using xv to display a full screen jack'o'lantern and play a horror movie screeching violins sound. For extra fun, set it to only run after most people have gone home, and to kill xv after the sound finishes playing.

  • Change their browser homepage to goats.cx
  • by lute3 (72400) on Saturday September 27, 2003 @10:59AM (#7071926) Homepage Journal
    Embed a mildly embarrassing image in a user's Outlook signature. The kicker is to only have it display for a select few users.

    Step1 - Create a folder on a webserver with ASP or PHP support that will host the script.
    Set the folder permissions such that the only authorized users are the people you want to be in on the joke when it happens.

    Step2 - Create an ASP script (PHP is even easier) that will host the embarrassing image and place it in the folder from Step1.

    Here are some examples of ASP/PHP scripts (please note that Slashdot will add spaces in anything appearing like a URL)..

    <%
    embarrassing_image = "embarrassing_image.png"
    fake_image = "white_one_pixel_square.png"
    userfull = Request.ServerVariables("LOGON_USER")
    look = inStr (1, userfull, "user_to_goof",1)
    If 1 > look Then _
    Response.Redirect (embarrassing_image) _
    else _
    Response.Redirect (fake_image) _
    end if
    %>

    <?php
    $embarrassing_image = "embarrassing_image.png";
    $fake_image = "white_one_pixel_square.png";
    $userfull = $_SERVER["LOGON_USER"];
    if (eregi ("user_to_goof", $userfull))
    {
    header ("Location: " . $embarrassing_image);
    }
    else
    {
    header ("Location: " . $fake_image);
    }
    ?>

    Step3 - Set the Outlook editor to HTML
    HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\<Office Version (9 is 2K)>\Outlook\Options\Mail\EditorPreference
    10000 = Plain Text
    20000 = HTML
    30001 = Microsoft Word
    30002 = Microsoft Rich Text

    This step may or may not work.
    Also, you'll need to find the user's hive under
    HKEY_USERS (there are typically only a couple) while he's logged in since you can't access HKCU remotely (unless you use a .REG file that the user can enter himself in a login script or something).

    Step4 - Edit the stationery and reference the ASP/PHP script as an image within the body.
    <img src="http://webserver/directory_with_permissions_s et/harmless_filename.asp" border="0">

    Copy the stationery over..
    C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Stationery

    If the last step didn't work (like in my situation) and the user has Word setup as the email editor, you'll need to edit his "document.dot" file instead of an HTML stationery file.

    Step5 - Set the stationery..
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Windows Messaging
    Subsystem\Profiles\JBrewer\0a0d020000000000c000000 000000046\001e0360\Blank

    Sit back and wait for the user to send out an email to the group.

    NOTE:
    I still have not overcome the "Anonymous" problem.. If an unauthorized user gets the email, he will be prompted for a login.
    With PHP, there's a possibility of doing this without using NT permissions at all [experts-exchange.com] (look at the "Accepted Answer"). I'm sure there's a way to use this technique with ASP, too.
  • Here's one I heard from my co-workers about one gag they did many years ago.

    The office building had two long rooms of cubicles on either side of a hallway. One day, one room took a bunch of people (close to everyone who worked there, about 30-40), a hat was filled with the various extensions from across the hall, each picked one, and everyone dialed the last digit at the precise same instant. The clatter of simultaneous rings from across the hall (I'm told) was hilarious. They all hung up after one ring
  • by NumLk (709027) on Saturday September 27, 2003 @11:17AM (#7072001)
    Assuming the victim has one of those laser mice (which almost everyone does these days), put some tape across the sensor. Make sure to test this beforehand, some tape works better than others. I've found that the Magic tape works wonders. If you use a small enough piece it will look like nothing is there at all, leading to even more confusion.
  • One of perhaps my all time favorite jokes to pull on cow-orkers using Windows is a little used and little known boot.ini switch called maxmem.

    Just append it to the ARC path like this:

    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\winnt="Wind o ws 2000" /MAXMEM=32

    On Windows 2000 it says to not go below 64mb, but I usually set maxmem to 32.

    This forces Windows to use no more then what the maxmem switch says, ignoring anything else. Have a cocky cow-orker that loves to tell you how leet his new workstation is? maxmem
  • I have to say... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by sql*kitten (1359) *
    ... if a sysadmin used his privs to play a "prank" on my PC, I'd have his sorry ass fired. It's as bad as slashing a co-workers tyres for a "joke". PCs are not toys, they are tools for getting work done.
  • by checkyoulater (246565) on Saturday September 27, 2003 @11:58AM (#7072176) Journal
    My personal favourite was the day that I brought in a box of donuts from Tim Horton's. Of course, I came in extra early when nobody was there yet so I had time to "enhance" the donuts. What I did was add a nice dosage of Frank's Red Hot to all the jelly donuts.

    The best way to do it was to squeeze a small amount of the jelly onto a spoon, and then fill the donut with Frank's. I could then cover the hole with the Jelly that I removed. A little sprinkle of white sugar (from the coffee packages) covered up any evidence of tampering.

    What made the prank even funnier is that all 10 of the donuts were eaten. People would bite into them, make really funny faces but still keep on eating. I actually had to leave the office for about half an hour. I was laughing so much I was crying, and I did't want to expose myself. (even though I was probably on a short list of suspects)

    A few more that I have done:

    -Flat cola poured into the coffee pot.
    -Water the office plants with rubbing alcohol
    -10 packs of sweetener in the coffee pot.
    -black pepper over top of a box of Timbits.
    -break all the pencils in the office
    -call co-workers from the fax machine
  • Mail fun (Score:5, Insightful)

    by babbage (61057) <cdevers@NOspaM.cis.usouthal.edu> on Saturday September 27, 2003 @12:00PM (#7072192) Homepage Journal

    At a past job, we had a trouble ticketing system that would generate email reports to each person watcching a ticket whenever there was a mail or web driven transaction on that ticket. For test purposes, we had an "acme" queue that sent mail traffic just to the developers & a couple of good-humored people in other departments. One ticket in the acme queue, which refused to die over the course of a year, was a rude demand for one of the web monkeys to bring in pastries for everyone. Whenever someone was testing something with the request tracking system, they'd more often than not attach their test to the coffee rolls ticket, and this guy would be reminded AGAIN that he hadn't brought in snacks for everyone yet.

    Then fun part was when it was realized that the ticket could go not just to person@company, but person+coffeerolls@company, person+cake@company, person+cookies@company, person+coffee@company, person+cappucino@company... etc. We got it so that whenever someone replied to the ticket, this guy would get about a hundred copies of the message -- and since the system had a tendency to allow duplicate or triplicate messages under some circumstances (e.g. a person hit "reply to all" instead of just "reply to sender"), this guy would sometimes get two hundred copies of each message.

    That was fun.

    Other pranks involved using mpg123 on a server sitting under a someone's desk in a different room so that, out of the blue, his computer would start playing "The Muppet Show" theme song. For more fun, because mpg123 instances can run concurrently, we'd have 20 instances of the song running simultaneously, out of sync with one another.

    For fun with people using OSX, you can use osascript to get the machine to use Macintalk to speak arbitrary text out loud. This worked well with a long running shell script that would speak out a random quotation from the fortune command, sleep from five to thirty minutes, then start over again.

    And of course, VNC is a barrel of laughs in & of itself.

    Other obvious ones include removing the ball from someone's standard mouse, removing the receiver for someone's wireless mouse, or the batteries, swapping the mouse & keyboard plugs on the back of a computer, scrambling what order wires are going into the back of a KVM switch, hooking up a wireless mouse to a computer where the person usually uses USB, and randomly move the mouse from a nearby cubicle, etc.

    And of course, VNC just makes all the pranks in the last paragraph that much funnier.

    ---

    It's easy to argue that wasting time with such stuff kills productivity, and maybe that's true. But it also did wonders for morale, as long as the target for the pranks would rotate around in a more or less fair way. Plus, the ingenuity that went into some of these pranks spilled over into coming up with novel approaches to things that people were supposed to be doing. People learn by playing from a very early age, and -- within limits -- I think that having a playful workplace can lead to a creative workplace, and ultimately can lead to more innovative work.

    The trick is to be mindful of the line between being creatively playful, and wasting time in a destructive way. If someone thinks the pranks are going too far, they have to stop. If a deadline is approaching, the work has to get done. Know your [collective] limits, but that said, have fun too :-)

  • go low-tech (Score:3, Funny)

    by Kraken137 (15062) on Saturday September 27, 2003 @12:43PM (#7072479) Homepage
    try something like this [drunkmonkey.org]. gosh that was fun.
  • Practical jokes? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheLink (130905) on Saturday September 27, 2003 @01:47PM (#7072881) Journal
    Guidelines:
    1st - do no real harm. No screwing up ppl's email, files etc. No wasting more than a few minutes of time - must be undone easily.
    2nd - even if it's targeted at your colleague, your boss must be able to laugh at it. Coz if the joke doesn't go as well as planned your boss may get to know about it.
    3rd - the target has got to be able to laugh at it soon after.

    Otherwise it's not joking/horseplay, it's just being an arsehole.

    So pick your targets well, pick what you are going to do carefully, and pick the RIGHT time to do it (messing about with autocorrect when someone is trying to do a tender submission is NOT funny, other times they may laugh).

    It does reflect on your judgement and competence. Get it all right and people will remember with a grin on their face. Get it badly wrong and maybe you should start looking for a job elsewhere, or go for counselling/advice on social skills.

    You don't go around trying to tickle a stranger on the bus, or even an acquaintance, and then say you're just trying to make them laugh.

    If you're the administrator, you are in a position of greater power. Unbalanced power between joker and target = harder to maintain funniness. Target has to feel a degree of safeness in order to properly laugh afterwards (not nervous laugh). You need to be even more careful. If you muck around the wrong way it's just like having The Boss saying "You're all fired"... "Just joking". Haha. NOT. Or the CFO making your salary slip show funny numbers. Haha NOT. Or the security guard pretending to shoot you with a shotgun. Haha, NOT.

    Remember the tickle concept- the ticklee only laughs if they feel safe, comfortable with you tickling them. Otherwise it's _harassment_.

    Last but not least it's safer (and usually funnier) to not use the power you are granted by your job/position in order to play a joke on someone. Otherwise people may feel you shouldn't be entrusted with that power. Your superiors may not want to give you more power either. So you want to get promoted? Higher pay? Haha. Not.

  • Music fun (Score:4, Funny)

    by elemental23 (322479) on Saturday September 27, 2003 @03:28PM (#7073440) Homepage Journal
    A co-worker of mine left his workstation unlocked over his day off one time. We picked half a dozen of his .mp3s at random, backed them up to somewhere he wasn't likely to stumble across them, and replaced them all with "Who Let the Dogs Out", named to the same name as the original files.

    There's nothing funnier than a week or two later, after we had pretty much forgotten about it, hearing that song blaring out in the middle of his Bob Marley playlist.

    We also do the standard send-email-to-the-office-mailing-list prank, but we expand that to typing in their IRC and AIM windows as well. Telling peoples' friends "Tell me you love me" is always good for a laugh.
  • by Moderation abuser (184013) on Sunday September 28, 2003 @07:25PM (#7080717)
    Or Hi-ho hi-ho.

    Add it to your screensaver, make it loud enough for your neighbors to hear and see how many people are humming/whistling it by home time.

    Indiana Jones is pretty effective, as is Mission Impossible.

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