Originally published at Oh My Goff. Please leave any comments there.
For the last 2.5 years, I have been employed as a Systems Support Tech II at a company called National Flood Services. Last year’s April Fools’ joke was played by just about the entire IT department on an unsuspecting SQA Analyst named Sean. Sadly, the joke went over like a lead balloon and Sean ended up leaving work for the day. Fast forward to about a month ago. While evaluating some thin clients for our VMware VDI project, I suddenly came up with the perfect April Fools’ joke to play on our CIO, Keith. The plan:
-Replace the CIO’s desktop/dual monitor setup with the absolute smallest (but still fully functional) PC possible
-Include a formal official-looking letter from someone higher up the corporate food chain explaining the reason for it
-Place a camcorder in his office to record his reaction and/or fallout
-Do this without being found out beforehand
One of our evaluation units from a company called Pano Logic fit the bill for the tiny PC perfectly. It’s actually a zero client that remotes in to our VMware View connection server and serves up a virtual machine’s display locally. For the display I found a 3″ LCD, meant for car installations, on eBay for under $30 shipped. Unfortunately, it only accepted a composite video input, so I had to purchase a VGA to S-Video>Composite converter as well. A mini keyboard and mouse(also off eBay) ran me another $15 shipped or so.
Photos of the setup at the CIO’s desk:
For the letter, I drafted up something official sounding (while still playful and sarcastic) and printed it out on our parent company’s letterhead. I signed it from the Executive Chairman of StoneRiver, practicing roughly 40 times before I was happy with how it looked. Below is a photo of the finished letter:
I placed my Panasonic HDC-SD600 in a semi-hidden position in his office to catch his reaction. The results?
Keith handled the joke like a champ, even reading the letter aloud to about a dozen IT onlookers who had huddled around to watch the prank unfold. He was pleasantly surprised to find that the micro PC was not just fully functional, (see pictures above that show our company’s Flood Processing website on the monitor) but fast too! When it was time for his real desktop to come back, he seemed a little disappointed and said that this little PC was actually pretty cool.
The best part was how fun it was getting it all working and put together. Keith’s reaction was the icing on the cake.
Special thanks to Krista, Heidi, Mike, and Sid for their indirect but instrumental help on executing this awesome April Fools’ joke.