Command Alias

the dept administrator is somewhat of an msdos jock, and one day, he changed my adviser’s rainbow prompt to be something like:

fatal disk error

so everytime the return was pressed, this was displayed… now seeing that we have been having various hardware and software problems, one after the other with the little trash machine rainbow, my adviser was very upset… when he realized that it was a joke, he thought that maybe i had done it… (i don’t know why, because i don’t normally do this type of thing).

once we had sorted out what had happened, we set up the administrator’s account of the vax to behave in a similar, but more frustrating way… i am a bit worried about this, though, because he rarely uses the vax… it has been about two months, and still no screaming… (just redefine some symbols in his login.com… important ones, like:

$ dir*ectory :== type
$ type :== directory
$ show :== logout

Liquid Nitrogen Balloon

Everyone’s heard about filling the victim’s room with balloons, right? (balloons are great, especially if the victim is your SO and you come by later, acting innocently, and suggest…well, you get the idea.)

Unfortunately, inflated balloons are bulky to carry, and it can take a dangerously long time to inflate them in the victims room. There is a solution. (I’ve actually done this, it really does* work, even if it sounds ridiculous) Go out and get 2 or 3 styrofoam beer coolers. Inflate the balloons in the privacy of your own room. Fill the beer coolers with liquid nitrogen. (at 77 K it can liquify air) Stuff all 2 thousand or so inflated balloons into the beer coolers. (don’t worry, they will fit, liquified air occupies very* little space) You may need a refill or 3 of liquid nitrogen. Get a friend or 3 to help carry the coolers to the victims room. Make sure there isn’t any paper or other water-damagable stuff on the floor. Strain out the majority of the LN2 and dump the inflated balloons onto the floor. Close the door. (if there is a window or transom, it’s great fun to watch the balloons reinflate to fill the room)

Not So AI

One time a group of friends were working on an assignment for their artificial intelligence class. It was the first machine problem, it was due that day, and they hadn’t started it yet. Their task was to implement an expression analyzer – nothing fancy, just a conversational calculator.

Their teacher had said many times in class that a program exhibits “artificial intelligence” if you cannot distinguish it’s reponses >from those of a human being. They were asking me to help them do it the other way around. They would type in the expressions and I would use a calculator to simulate their homework problem and type back the answers.

The first few problems were easy ones. Their teacher remarked that their program seemed to be one of the slowest ones (I am not notorious for my speed with a calculator). The last expression was some really long thing involving lots of parentheses and somewhere along the way I made a mistake and so their “program” got the wrong answer.

You would think the gig would be up, but, being fast on his feet, one of my friends typed in TRY AGAIN. So, I did, and this time typed the correct number. Not to be outdone, my other friend said “We still have a few bugs yet. We haven’t taught it about long division.”

(Of course their teacher didn’t buy any of this, but he was so amused he gave them an extra week to work on the problem.)

Magnetic Disk Explosion

There was a computer operator at a certain college (I don’t know where), who had been fired for something (I don’t know what). He acquired one of the ten platter disk packs that the university was using on its mainframe computer system, and took it home. He disassembled the pack and replaced the disk platters with phonograph records. He then sneaked back into the computer center one night, placed his new pack on the shelves, and wrote a script that would prompt the operator to mount the pack. Later, when the new operator came in to do his job, he saw the message to mount the pack, so he did so. Being new, he didn’t know how heavy the disk packs actually were so he didn’t suspect anything, until he powered up the drive. The phono records literally exploded inside the drive and sent the spindle straight through the drive door.

Violent Explosion

Forget about phenothaline, coat the inside of the cup with Nitrogen tri- iodide, when it dries, don’t move the cup! When the owner attempts to do anyhting with the cup, even breathe on it, it will probably exsplode! Don’t use to much or the mug will shatter very viontley!

Asshole Parking Revenge

One day some friends of mine and I were going to 7-11. There were several parking spaces open along the wall of the store. We were in two cars: a 14 year old chevy wagon and an 10 year old dodge dart. As the first car was about to pull in to the lot, a brand new cadillac pulled in from another entrance and PARALELL parked accross 3 perpendicular spaces. Needless to say we were not amused, and quickly retaliated. Before the driver (a man in his 60’s) could open the door, my friend and I (in the wagon) drove up and paralell parked alongside him 6 inches from his door. The other car pulled up so that he couldn’t pull up past us. This left him hemmed in by brick walls on two sides and cars on two sides. Of course, he could have slammed his way out, but since his car had just cost 10 times the combined values of our cars, he didn’t try it. We left both cars parked there (with doors locked, brakes set, etc.) while we picked up some party supplies and left him there fuming.

Camp Upsidedown

One of my favorites is to go into somebody’s room and turn EVERYTHING upside down. This was done to the cook at a summer camp I worked at (she was a lousy cook; this was revenge for hamburger in white sauce for breakfast). We invertedeverything in the kitchen; the stove, the refrigerator (both previously disconnected) and everything in the refrigerator; everything on the shelves and which (i.e., top, bottom, middle) shelf it was on. Best of all, there was a table in the middle of the room with large JARS of ketchup, mustard, etc.; the tops of all of these were hidden and they were inverted (place waxed paper over mouth of jar, invert, remove paper) and the table rested on top. We also inverted several posters on the walls. Of course, the cook wasn’t very happy about this; after she’d gotten it cleaned up she demanded that whever did it apologize and wash dishes for a week. If nobody claimed responsibility, she said, she would quit. We cheered.

Menu Ti4Tat

Several years ago at our site I had an argument with a co-worker about the use of menu screens. I argued that they are fine for a while, but that soon become tedious and that direct verb commands were preferable. His argument was that menus were the ultimate in user- friendliness, and that he would always prefer them.

A few days later I heard him holler from his office. Seems he started up the local editor, which gave him a menu selection to a)insert b)modify c)delete a character

It was talked about for some time.

Hardline Madness

Odd that no-one mentioned the fun to be had with all the new and wonderful phone features available now. None of the below are truly destructive. Adjust gender as appropriate (women’s lib be damned, I’m not going to type his/her, s/he every time). Switching these on/off from time to time can drive people nuts trying to figure out what is going on.

  1. If call forwarding is available at your company, forward the victims calls to an “appropriate” number (Highly moral people get dial-a-sex, bosses get dial-a-joke, boring people get time/weather, flamboyant ones get dial-a-prayer, etc). Victim may go days without figuring it out. Spouse may get interested in what’s going o at office as well. Forwarding to a VP makes for interesting reactions as well.
  2. Variation on above is to get an answering machine, record an imitation of victim’s with outragous comments (busy right now with X-rated move sound track going in background, inviting all callers out on dates, denouncing whatever private beliefs they have, etc). Forward calls OR splice into phone line so only happens on occasion.
  3. If someone is silly enough to put call waiting onto a line used for modems, call it EVERY time they use it. Vicitm will complain to phone compnay about “line noise”.
  4. Reprogram all their speed calling to dial-a-sex, etc numbers (as appropriate for victim). Love to watch the face of someone who thinks he is calling his wife and a sexy girl comes on the line demanding a credit card so she can “talk dirty” to him…
  5. If victim is out of office for an extend period (week+), answer his phone and say “Oh, Mark doesn’t work here anymore. I think that the company caught him stealing equipment/supplies/money; using drugs; sleeping on the job; sexually harrassing the boss; etc.”
  6. If the phone system depends on * or # pound keys, reverse them. Most confusing. Even better, rewire 0-9 as well! Interchange only 2 keys for continuing wrong numbers.
  7. Replace answering tape messages with something “more exiting”. Effects records make good backgrounds. Barmaids and dancers will often help you out on this one as well.
  8. Call victim’s answering machine. Leave what sounds to be an important message and, 3 digits into the phone number, end the message.
  9. If the company tracks every phone call, have everyone in the office make long distance calls from the victims phone whenever victim leaves the room. You need a spotter to keep from getting caught at this one. 900 numbers that charge 50c per call are good for this.
  10. One of my favorites works best in large office buildings: Stay late one night. Go through the building and forward EVERY phone to victim’s line. Be sure to do yours also to avoid being suspected.
  11. If victim keeps phone numbers online and you have write access to database, scramble the numbers (Be sure not to mess with medical or other emergency numbers. You can’t play as many pranks on dead/maimed victims).
  12. Turn off bell on victims phone. On AT&T phones this requires a bit of disassembly to implement but may be corrected by just adjusting the volume (there is a stop to keep bell from going off but lifting a lever permits the dial to rotate past the stop. Rotate back and no-one can tell that it was done. This is a design feature of the phones).

Shower Class

Here is a practical joke I played on a substitute teacher in junior high. Numerous variations on the theme are possibile (jury-rigged showers in chem. labs, fire sprinklers, etc.)

The classroom (Earth Science class)had the normal lab sinks with spouts shaped like inverted J’s. Over the years (old school) some of the J-shaped pieces of pipe had broken off. This was during the energy crises years, and the schools shut the classroom’s heat off after school. In order to prevent the pipes from freezing, they were drained nightly. The janitor would often forget to turn the water on until 4th period, much to the consternation of us 1st period students when we had to use the sinks.

I waited until a day when a substitute teacher showed a film. After everyone else filed out of the room, I simply opened a faucet or two that led to a broken sink. As luck would have it, the water was turned on during 4th period *in the middle of the film*. To make matters worse, the broken pipes had been used to dispose of used gum at various times. All this old hard gum acted much like a finger on the end of a garden hose. Naturally, the first thing the sub did when utter chaos broke out in the middle of the film was to turn on the lights. Unfortunately, one of the lights was right over one of the `geysers,’ and the lights stayed on for about two seconds before going off again. It was several minutes before everyone figured out what had happened, the faucet was turned off, and the janitor had turned the circuit breaker to the room on again.

No matter how hard the sub tried, she could never get anyone to confess to doing it. She even kept the class after school without success.

When a friend in 4th period told me what had happened, I almost died laughing.