User Input

User Input: Original Prankster

Ah XKCD, you have commentary for anything.

A good laugh used to be a simple endeavor: light the bag, ring the bell, and run. Nobody does this anymore, mostly because anyone of the age that does that kind of thing is too busy texting to lift their heads long enough to figure out how to make fire.

I come from the age group that normalized cell phones. If you were younger they were too expensive and no way were your parents getting you one. If you were older, it was an unnecessary luxury that only day traders and on-call professionals needed. But for my friends and me, everyone had a cell phone. This proved both handy and hilarious during our bar-star days when we would receive service that ranked between bad and non-existent. We were at that perfect age where we were too cocky to suffer in silence, and too lazy to wave our arms for attention from the server. That’s when someone got the bright idea to phone the bar from our table and call in an order. The bewildered barman didn’t know what to do but take our order, the disgruntled server realized she may as well bring more beer as long as she was coming to the table to do some chewing out, and everyone else was too busy feeling smug to care what they thought. I would probably die of embarrassment if a colleague pulled something like that today, but only through sheer geekery and high technology could we reach our full, insufferable, potential.

What’s the most obnoxious application for technology you’ve found?

[“User Input” is the AtomicToasters Question of the Day™ asking you, the teeming millions, to answer our pressing questions.]

  • P161911

    The cellphone has rendered the home intercom useless/unneeded. If I'm upstairs and my wife needs me she just calls my cellphone.

  • Deartháir
  • johnnymac09

    How about the motion sensors that set off sounds of popping corn in the grocery store when you walk by them? This happened to me the other day when I was picking up marshmallows for smores. I was temporarily distracted from my goal because I needed to know what that sound was. Didn't make me by any popcorn though.

  • TechieInHell

    A few years back, I had an entire toolbox of "prank" software that I would install on select users' machines. One took months for the payoff but it was worth it. Called "minitors", it would alternately shave a single row or column of pixels off the display at reboot, cumulatively. It took six months before the victim user finally came to me to have a look at her machine. The joke was on me too, it took a good half hour of diagnosing before I remembered that I had installed my little friend.

  • chrystlubitshi

    using the IR port on a hacked psp-1000 (first gen) and some creative software, i found plenty of ways to be universally remotely annoying… especially in bars/public viewing areas.. also a friend's house who had lights, fans, and more on IR switches…

    • Deartháir

      I used to do that with my Newton, because the range on it was far better than any other remote. I could be across the street at a coffee shop, and change all the channels on all the TV's in the bar across the way.

      • chrystlubitshi

        always a good time. i used to mess with my professor's projector/power point when he was going too fast for us to take notes..

  • Number_Six

    Blackberry: allowing you to not really have a holiday since 2002.

    • Deartháir

      You need to start joining in on Techie and my nightly phone calls. That was my immediate nominee as well.

  • dmilligan

    Ding, "The door is open…" ding, "the door is open…" ding, "the door is open…" ding,….

  • P161911
  • Alff

    Going with "kind bud" aroma would probably have helped move the microwavable burritos and week-old chili dogs.

  • Alff

    While I lack the technical prowess to implement, I've heard of people intercepting neighbors who "borrow" their wireless connection and delivering their browser content backwards or upside down.

    My own hacks have been limited to installing an app on others' computers that causes the speaker to emit various fart noises at random intervals.

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