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Practical Jokes on Co-Workers?

Cliff posted about 11 years ago | from the lighten-up-people dept.

Businesses 430

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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You could ... (5, Funny)

dynoman7 (188589) | about 11 years ago | (#7070498)

...install Windows.

Re:You could ... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7070546)


Re:You could ... (1)

PhlegmMaster (596165) | about 11 years ago | (#7071923)

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 ... (1)

NanoGator (522640) | about 11 years ago | (#7070700)

"...install Windows. "

Or, if he plays games when he should be working, you could always install Linux.

Yeah, that would fix it... (1)

leonbrooks (8043) | about 11 years ago | (#7071463)

...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 [] 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 sweepstake on how many minutes it takes him to realise that he "isn't in Windows any more, Dorothy". (-:

I've had MS-Windows users sit down in front of KDE, and if there are icons on the desktop, walk away after doing a few hours' work on the machine having never noticed that it's not MS-Windows or MS-Office. Now admittedly these aren't the sharpest bowling-balls on the rails, but still...

I find... (4, Funny)

darkov (261309) | about 11 years ago | (#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!

Re:I find... (0, Redundant)

schnits0r (633893) | about 11 years ago | (#7070539)

Informative? How is this informative?

Re:I find... (1)

darkov (261309) | about 11 years ago | (#7070692)

Informative? How is this informative?

Most people wouldn't have thought it up themselves. Slashdot is the market place of ideas!

Re:I find... (1)

PhlegmMaster (596165) | about 11 years ago | (#7070852)

I think that's because people don't usually think too hard about how to incriminate themselves.

Re:I find... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7070906)

You sad humorless fuck.

Re:I find... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7070567)

Like one time, when I was working for SCO, there was that tradition in the office for every new employee of SCO source. Like when he was hired the first day, we would like put some chloroform in his coffee and then like ass-rape him really bad. And like take the guy home and everything and leave him passed out, and the next morning the dude would be like, yeah, a nice place to work, but I've got some health problems, like my ass really hurts, and we would be like, uh-oh, don't know where it's coming from, but once the guy's stock options vested we would like tell him.

I am not sure this practice is common among other companies.

Re:I find... (1)

EpokhusMinimalist (691947) | about 11 years ago | (#7071025)

everyone seems to be a bit touchy? its just a joke?

VNC (4, Funny)

TheFlyingGoat (161967) | about 11 years ago | (#7070515)

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 (5, Funny)

NanoGator (522640) | about 11 years ago | (#7070709)

"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.

What I did to the guy in the cubicle next to mine (5, Funny)

SpaFF (18764) | about 11 years ago | (#7070540)

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!".

Re:What I did to the guy in the cubicle next to mi (1, Redundant)

bikochan (247109) | about 11 years ago | (#7070564)

very mean. I love it 8)

Schedules (2, Insightful)

Associate (317603) | about 11 years ago | (#7070541)

Schedule system maintenance like defrag, virus scans and other annoying interuptions every hour or so.

Re:Schedules (3, Informative)

Associate (317603) | about 11 years ago | (#7070568)

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 did it more for spite than to be fun.

Re:Schedules (4, Interesting)

innosent (618233) | about 11 years ago | (#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.

Here's what you can do (4, Insightful)

daeley (126313) | about 11 years ago | (#7070552)

Ask your supervisor for some more work because you obviously have too much damn time on your hands.

Honestly, haven't you ever played a joke? (1)

Inoshiro (71693) | about 11 years ago | (#7070612)

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?

Re:Honestly, haven't you ever played a joke? (5, Insightful)

Darth_Burrito (227272) | about 11 years ago | (#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.

Re:Here's what you can do (0, Flamebait)

NanoGator (522640) | about 11 years ago | (#7070717)

"Ask your supervisor for some more work because you obviously have too much damn time on your hands."

Assholes that need to lighten up are often the target of cruel practical jokes. Consider yourself warned.

Re:Here's what you can do (2, Funny)

ScepticOne (576266) | about 11 years ago | (#7070887)

Hey, lighten up...

Re:Here's what you can do (1)

Blkdeath (530393) | about 11 years ago | (#7070784)

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.

Jokes on Coworkers (1, Informative)

schnits0r (633893) | about 11 years ago | (#7070553)

Imagine your a stupid computer user and it does crazy shit to you. It would scare you. You'd get stressed out and panic. That isn't good for office morale. What about when they find out it's you? What may be a joke to you might not be to another person. What if an error occurs and they feel it's your doing and so they don't report it. Do you want to keep your job? If so, leave the luddites alone and let them do their little monkey work. If not, see if oyu can get me a position, I'd love to have a job in computers. It beats being fucking unemployed.

Re:Jokes on Coworkers (1)

NanoGator (522640) | about 11 years ago | (#7070792)

"Imagine your a stupid computer user and it does crazy shit to you. It would scare you. You'd get stressed out and panic. That isn't good for office morale. What about when they find out it's you? What may be a joke to you might not be to another person."

Lighten up, man. Has it occured to you that targets of jokes like these quite often deserve it?

Not so sure about this... (2, Insightful)

BrokenHalo (565198) | about 11 years ago | (#7071220)

Has it occured to you that targets of jokes like these quite often deserve it?

I'm not so sure that baiting someone who has an underdeveloped humour gland is particularly attractive. In some countries it's regarded as harassment, and consequently frowned upon.

It's much more fun to play the trick on someone who can see the joke...

Re:Jokes on Coworkers (1)

Paul Jakma (2677) | about 11 years ago | (#7071799)

Why? Because they dont share your sense of humour? The perpetrators of practical jokes on people they know will not find them funny are quite often the arseholes imo. Play pranks on like-minded folk.

Re:Jokes on Coworkers (1)

AllUsernamesAreGone (688381) | about 11 years ago | (#7071242)

Always remember the 11th commandment: Thou Shalt Not Get Caught.

If you can't cover your tracks, you're no good as a sysadmin..

Re:Jokes on Coworkers (3, Informative)

PhaseBurn (44685) | about 11 years ago | (#7071299)

We did this at Earthlink. I think the pics speak for themself :-)

Re:Jokes on Coworkers (1)

The Cydonian (603441) | about 11 years ago | (#7071855)

Heheh, good one. Didn't quite get the sermon to this Ed guy though; must be some kind of inside joke for you guys...?

Re:Jokes on Coworkers (1)

PhaseBurn (44685) | about 11 years ago | (#7071987)

Not quite an inside joke, just not well-known. They're the core values and beliefs for the company (and I believe available on their website) which staff is supposed to reference and strive to uphold.

Re:Jokes on Coworkers (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about 11 years ago | (#7071916)

Yes, exactly. I was just thinking that if I were the submitter's boss, my reaction would be, "Okay, here's a really funny joke for you: you're fired. Oh, wait ... I'm not joking. Now, you have fifteen minutes to pack up your shit and get out of the building."

And sorry, "Don't get caught" doesn't cut it. Develop a taste for practical jokes, and sooner or later you will get caught -- and you'll deserve anything that happens to you.

OTOH, if it were my computer that got fucked with, I wouldn't go to the boss. I'd have another kind of practical joke handy: I'd kick the guy's teeth down his throat.

Use peer pressure to enforce policy (5, Funny)

carrowood (325102) | about 11 years ago | (#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.

We did the same thing (1)

SHEENmaster (581283) | about 11 years ago | (#7071746)

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.

Always mess with their heads (1)

Oinos (140188) | about 11 years ago | (#7070582)

You don't need to monkey with their machine to mess with them. I used to have a cron job setup to page one of my co-workers with things like:

Her name was Lola
She was a showgirl

and the ever popular:

Same as it ever was

Then there was the time that I had the "Computer Boy Polka" (from the Matrix parody "Computer Boy") play on a machine in the lab every ten minutes for a week straight. The way the lab was setup, no one could figure out what machine was doing it.

You could always pretend that there's something wrong with his cube too. Like everytime you walk by shake your head and say something like "how can you work with that like that?" After a couple of days he'll tear his cube apart trying to figure out what you're talking about.

On Call (1)

BrookHarty (9119) | about 11 years ago | (#7070586)

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.

Re:On Call (1)

innosent (618233) | about 11 years ago | (#7070796)

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.

Re:On Call (1)

BrynM (217883) | about 11 years ago | (#7070909)

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 minutes remaining" hold message. Some folks would sit there and wait. If they did, you could walk up and social engineer yourself some more fun.

Re:On Call (1)

MaxwellStreet (148915) | about 11 years ago | (#7071442)

Or the Navy classics - Batteries for the Sound-Powered Phones, or Mail-Buoy Watch.

Switcheroo (4, Funny)

cybermace5 (446439) | about 11 years ago | (#7070592)

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.

Re:Switcheroo (1)

BrookHarty (9119) | about 11 years ago | (#7070623)

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 meeting.

All just hypothetical of course. (My manager reads slashdot)

Re:Switcheroo (1)

crisco (4669) | about 11 years ago | (#7071380)

Did that a soda machine once. Was quite teh funney.

pranks (4, Funny)

zygote (134175) | about 11 years ago | (#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.

Re:pranks (1)

BrookHarty (9119) | about 11 years ago | (#7070648)

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.

Start Menu Fun (2, Funny)

cybermage (112274) | about 11 years ago | (#7070610)

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.

Re:Start Menu Fun (1)

cybermace5 (446439) | about 11 years ago | (#7070619)

You know, I find it pretty wierd that not only did we post pretty much the same idea, but our usernames aren't much different either.

Re:Start Menu Fun (1)

cybermage (112274) | about 11 years ago | (#7070632)

Yup. That was creeping me out too.

Re:Start Menu Fun (1)

damiam (409504) | about 11 years ago | (#7071936)

And your UID numbers are almost exactly 4x different.

Fun Pranks (1)

Isomer (48061) | about 11 years ago | (#7070614)

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 file to change websites they commonly frequent to websites they wouldn't commonly frequent on company time.

Set their machine to use your machine as a proxy with a nice proxy that rewrites URLs for a extended version of the above.

Change the "auto fix" from doing things like "teh" -> "the", to be more imaginative. (eg wifes name => "The ol' hag").

There is lots of fun to be had, just go ahead and do it :)

Re:Fun Pranks (2, Funny)

cybermace5 (446439) | about 11 years ago | (#7070652)

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.

Re:Fun Pranks (1)

Echnin (607099) | about 11 years ago | (#7071251)

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.

where to begin... (5, Funny)

bscott (460706) | about 11 years ago | (#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.

Re:where to begin... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7071440)

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...

If everyone else had gone home, who heard her screaming?

Change the "click" wav (1)

Elwood P Dowd (16933) | about 11 years ago | (#7070631)

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.

Run the jokes on YOUR computer (5, Funny)

Andy_R (114137) | about 11 years ago | (#7070678)

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.

Funniest prank ever (3, Funny)

cybermace5 (446439) | about 11 years ago | (#7070704)

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.

Re:Funniest prank ever (1)

secolactico (519805) | about 11 years ago | (#7071537)

... 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.

A simple one... (1)

km790816 (78280) | about 11 years ago | (#7070706)

Reverse the left and right mouse buttons.

Simple and most people have no clue how to fix it.

Re:A simple one... (1)

Klowner (145731) | about 11 years ago | (#7070785)

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 ;)

fake cv's (1)

gngulrajani (52431) | about 11 years ago | (#7070736)

this is for you boss really, send him a fake cv
of the perfect employee and then in the "other
activities" section put weird stuff like
collecting vintage donkey pornography and a
member of the rat watcher association of America.
my loves is bigger then your love .. we take more drugs then a touring funk band .. sing it! - mclusky

Re:fake cv's (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7071151)

ooo I like your sig..

my band is better than your band, we've got more songs than a song convention.. sing it!

The best joke I ever played (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7070738)

I was working, and had to stamp various things with our boss' signature. I also had official letterhead... so I drafted up a letter on the letterhead firing my friend, stamped with our boss' signature. Then I gave him the letter, and told him our boss had asked me to give it to him. Good times, good times.

A few modest ideas (5, Interesting)

Piquan (49943) | about 11 years ago | (#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 [] . (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 [] for more ideas.

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

Force the victim to use Windows.

Re:A few modest ideas (1)

UberGeeb (574309) | about 11 years ago | (#7071473)

Something I thought of doing to a roommate ("I love fixing stuff like this; it's fun" he says after pranking a friend's computer) is to take the desktop image and make a 8 or 10 frame animated gif of that image. Should slow the computer to a crawl. Something I did do was to intermittently browse over to his computer and edit the executable of his current favorite game with a hex editor, rewriting a chunk of it with random keystrokes. He never did figure out what virus was hosing his game until I mentioned it much later. He closed up the network access right afterward. :)

Screw with their mouse speed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7070774)

Go into the Control Panel (assuming Windows) and set their mouse speed to the lowest setting. Set the mouse acceleration to the lowest as well. Then go to the appearance sheet and set their colors to the high-contrast large font.

That'll teach 'em to leave their workstation unlocked...

2 ideas I have never tried (yet) (1)

Renderer of Evil (604742) | about 11 years ago | (#7070777)

Write a perl script which randomly swaps the filenames of the mp3s throughout the HDD, then for the second pass randomizes the ID3 tags.

Second option would be to install KDE XPde [] on the target box. Should be a riot watching someone trying to install a windows executable on Linux or searching for the Internet Explorer.

Borrowed from Scott Adams' 'The Joy of Work' (4, Funny)

NanoGator (522640) | about 11 years ago | (#7070783)

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, 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.

I remember when... (1)

ihatesco (682485) | about 11 years ago | (#7070847)

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 after two weeks since he showed that he was so bored at work to find night ones.

+ + + +
The good old "To:everyone@company, Subject:I should not leave my workstation unlocked", or on old shitty nt networks the /net send domain "I am momently away from the pc to do important work, so please don't send me stuff" are the best thing you can do :)

If the target runs SETI@home (1)

Andy_R (114137) | about 11 years ago | (#7070878)

Screengrab SETI running, photoshop in a dialogue box that says "alien life found, please contact NASA immediately", and set it as target's wallpaper.

Re:If the target runs SETI@home (3, Funny)

godders (517242) | about 11 years ago | (#7071182)

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...

Here are some ideas from a troll...... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7070903)

Inverting stuff is anyways fun...

Invert their screens very briefly at random times.
Also do this with their print jobs.

Spooky Sounds..

Get a wave file playing at random times with a very, very low volume. If you can get it working have the mic for one PC playing on another PC across from it a bit.

Mess with their keyboards...

If they aren't "touch" typists then physically move some keys around. Use a program to hook their keystrokes and to delay them about 2 seconds.

Mess with their email...

Keep them from emptying their trash mailbox and make spam appear at the top of the list.

Fake BSOD screensavers ;)

Mess with their bookmarks...

Ensure that no never bookmarks ever get saved.
Or change them to a slighlty embrassing URL.

The trick is to make sure that things aren't logical and that when they call you over for help the problems aren't evident.

If you happen... (1)

PhlegmMaster (596165) | about 11 years ago | (#7070912)

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.

Re:If you happen... (1)

jesboat (64736) | about 11 years ago | (#7071758)

Not if they know about editing the dock plist. :-)

Re:If you happen... (1)

PhlegmMaster (596165) | about 11 years ago | (#7071802)

I'll bet that someone won't.

Re:If you happen... (1)

eunos94 (254614) | about 11 years ago | (#7071869)

I accidently selected my entire "Applications" folder once and hit enter. Yeah, sure did launch every single program on my computer...sure did max out the dock...sure did drag my computer to an utter halt. I just hit restart rather than try and clear that up. Seems like there are many little pranks you could do around that exploit.

Being a Power Abusing Asshole Isn't Funny (-1, Troll)

edward.virtually@pob (6854) | about 11 years ago | (#7070952)

It's really disgusting that an obnoxious ass like you (and the commenters who endorse your behavior) have a job while so many more responsible and less infantile people don't. Would you think it was funny if an insurance worker fucked with your rates? Would you think it was funny if an auto mechanic fucked with your car? Would you think it was funny if an IRS employee fucked with your taxes? If you say yes, you're a liar. If you say no, then what the fuck are you doing? If you have authorization to have access to Administrator privileges, you are a disgrace to the profession and should be fired. If you are a cracker, you are an example of why the public has no sympathy for computer criminals.

P.S. I'm also really disappointed Slashdot would endorse this kind of behavior by posting this article.

P.P.S. Obnoxious jerks who defend their behavior with retorts like "lighten up" are in need of being beaten up.

"lighten up" (0, Flamebait)

DrSkwid (118965) | about 11 years ago | (#7071029)

oh, and go away

Re:Being a Power Abusing Asshole Isn't Funny (0, Troll)

EpokhusMinimalist (691947) | about 11 years ago | (#7071064)

lighten up.

Funny: (2, Funny)

iq in binary (305246) | about 11 years ago | (#7070990)

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

Re:Funny: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7071055)

Question: Do you really want your voice being broadcast at high volumes around the office exclaiming that you're downloading porn, even if it's on someone else's computer? Great idea!

Not the website he expected.... (4, Funny)

ChaseTec (447725) | about 11 years ago | (#7071069)

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.

learned my lesson (1)

oboeaaron (595536) | about 11 years ago | (#7071109)

At my first job after college I was working in the data center of a major bank. A colleague and I had gotten in the habit of changing each others Windows color schemes (this was in the 3.1 days) to something garish and annoying like Hotdog Stand when the other was away from his desk. One day I decided to expand the joke to include our manager, who was nice enough and would understand the need to blow off steam when you are working dawn-to-dusk in a basement and never see the sun (not that impressive in Minnesota in the winter). I wasn't wrong, but what I didn't realize was that in changing her color scheme to "High Contrast for the Visually Impaired" or whatever it was called, I inadvertently made the color of some text the same as the background color of her Excel cells. So the next morning she came in and found that two-thirds of her spreadsheet data was gone, immediately freaked, and called the senior tech manager over, who spent upwards of an hour trying to figure out how her data had been lost before I "helpfully" suggested that perhaps the text color was the same as the background . . . I know a lot of people will find this funny but I just felt badly for wasting a lot of people's time, and I have not indulged in this kind of pranksterism again . . . except for the time I set my girlfriend's machine to yell "kah'PLAH!!!!" every time it shut down (found a great sample on the Klingon Language CD). I guess what I am saying is, don't play practical jokes, but if you must, "kah'PLAH!!!" (Success!!!)

one from old school days (2, Funny)

ChipMonk (711367) | about 11 years ago | (#7071137)

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. Cool. If I toggled the entire byte, it also flipped the cassette motor on and off rapidly, causing the internal relay to click loudly. Double-cool.

So, thanks to a Z-80 programmer's guide (also from Radio Slack), I turned the whole thing into assembly, hand-assembled it, turned the hex codes into decimal bytes, and then punched it in with a rudimentary program. (It gave me a great appreciation for Altair programmers and their bootstrap process.) This program did something simple: present a totally faked boot-up screen, wait for a keypress, then go into an infinite loop, doing the same toggle. But, in machine code, it ran at CPU speed (1 MHz), not BASIC interpreter speed. The toggle in this mode was fast enough to cause the CRT circuitry to lose horizontal sync, resulting in nothing but lots of "static" on the screen. Beautiful.

I got everything into place, ran my code, and went to another machine to watch. Lo and behold, my first and only "victim" was the instructor. She sat down at the machine, looked at it, pressed the correct key (Enter), and jumped a little bit as the screen went haywire, while the cassette motor relay started snapping wildly. She looked at me, saw that I was watching, then reached down and pressed the orange reset button.

I was kicked out of the lab for the rest of the day. I suppose she had to do something, but it was worth it.

Don't know if this constitues a prank or not... (1)

jevring (618916) | about 11 years ago | (#7071144)

...but when we wrote the company intranet, I was one of the people who did interface design, and having alot of time and little work, I added a layer to the intranet webpages where, after a certain period of inactivity, puffy (the OpenBSD blowfish) started swimming around the site saying "So long and thanks for all the passwords"...
I got many a confused reaction from that one.
Not sure if it's still there, I left the company a while ago.

add delay to people's .profile-files (3, Informative)

hkon (46756) | about 11 years ago | (#7071154)

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.

Re:add delay to people's .profile-files (2, Funny)

oever (233119) | about 11 years ago | (#7071426)

or even better, add this line to their .profile / .bash_login / .bashrc:

export PROMPT_COMMAND="sleep 1"

Always trick the blonds! (1)

Lord Graga (696091) | about 11 years ago | (#7071227)

If any of your co-workes is going on a business travel to some faraway part of the world say:
"Remeber to put your bed in a doorway, because the month that you are travelling in is earthquake season!"

Having Fun (1)

SuperGlue (468780) | about 11 years ago | (#7071231)

I have always liked doing the following things.

1. Use Sysinternals psexec tool to remotely pop open a browser to a predetermined webpage.

2. If they have Wav file sounding for each of the various sytem events, I copy them to my machine and strench them out with Recorder until they are around 60 seconds long. Or Shorten them if they have long wav files. (This freaks them out)

3. Lock their mouse and keyboard via the registry.
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentContr olSet\Servi ces\kbdclass\]
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\Current ControlSet\Servi ces\mouclass\]
Set the Start Value to 4 to stop, 1 to start.
Now when they reboot, No mouse, No Keyboard. (Be careful with this one, if they lose network connectivety, you may not be able to re-enable these easily)

4. Editing their Host file. If you know that they like to go to certain sites, Put that site in their Host file with an IP of a completely different site of your choice.

I highly recommend that you only do this to a good friend and be sure to not do it in a manner that would get you or the victim in trouble (Like violating company computer/network usage policies and stuff)


The joys of petty revenge (1)

$rtbl_this (584653) | about 11 years ago | (#7071258)

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 made up a name plaque for him that just read "twolls" and another, in a move I can only describe as childish, put an anchovy on the CPU heat sink in his PC.

I've never admitted my contribution to the campaign of mischief until now, but I feel the time has come to unburden my conscience. I waited until he was out of the office one day and added a new rule to the autocorrect function of Word that changed any instance of "Phillip" to "Philip". He was a mainframe admin, and his Office skills were not especially well-rounded. I don't think he ever figured out what was wrong or how to fix it.

Anyway, Phil, if you're reading this, it was me. Whoever I may be.

Colour schemes (1)

txturtle (141404) | about 11 years ago | (#7071329)

My favorite was to change the colour schemes of X/CDE/Winders to all white.

I had a floppy I kept in my toolkit, and would pop into the drive while folks were on break. Execute the script/reg file, and Voila! everything is white/black/blue/yellow/colour of your choice.

total PITA.... I ended up with a script to back-up the existing settings....

Re:Colour schemes (1)

PhlegmMaster (596165) | about 11 years ago | (#7071947)

colour schemes of X/CDE/Winders to all white.

Don't you think they're already going through enough suffering?

Mouse (1)

limekiller4 (451497) | about 11 years ago | (#7071375)

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.

trojan... (1)

dotgod (567913) | about 11 years ago | (#7071630)

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.

Fun with crontab (1)

sjames (1099) | about 11 years ago | (#7071697)

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.

Now a cruel bastard would... (1)

HotNeedleOfInquiry (598897) | about 11 years ago | (#7071715)

Change their browser homepage to

Outlook signature seen by *some* co-workers (3, Interesting)

lute3 (72400) | about 11 years ago | (#7071926)

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

$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);
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 "" 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.

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 [] (look at the "Accepted Answer"). I'm sure there's a way to use this technique with ASP, too.

group gags... (1)

jeffy124 (453342) | about 11 years ago | (#7071930)

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.

Of course, this from the days of older-style desk phones that use an actual bell as the ringer. This may not work quite so well today, our phones are now digital and have caller ID. Then again, I'm surprised it worked back whenever they did that, not blowing a circuit from all the calls being made at once.

Start up sounds (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7071973)

My mate did this at work once: changed the windows startup sound to a wav of Prodigy's Smack My Bitch Up, then left it at full volume for a nice surprise in the morning. hehe
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