A long, tired news tradition was to publish bogus Onion-style stories on April 1, April Fools' Day, and see if readers would buy them.
Such a drastic move isn't necessary; real life is always stranger than fiction.
And when technology meets wide-eyed entrepreneurs or people behaving badly, hilarity ensues. Here are ten too-silly-to-be-true stories since last April 1.
1) Performance evaluations for bad dates
Why won't he call me? Send him a questionnaire to find out. That's the premise of new un-dating site wotwentwrong.com. It offers disappointed dates and jilted lovers form letters they can email or text to their object of affection asking for feedback. What could be worse than a date with someone who kept picking his nose or talking about past girlfriends? How about the opportunity to recount it all in a report?
2) The hottest gadget of the year is called ___________
Apple Kremlinologists went back and forth wondering what the latest "magical" touch-screen tablet would be called. After an hour of listening to Apple CEO Tim Cook saying "new iPad," they were still wondering. Expecting an iPad 3 or iPad HD or at least an iPad 2 with a disappointing "S" at the end, Apple fans stared in disbelief, slowly realizing that in the excitement of adding a new high-res screen and supercharged graphics and camera, Apple forgot to add a name.
3) Google laptop is just a Web browser in a box
What could be better than surfing the Web with Google's fast, trim Chrome browser? Paying full price for a laptop that does only that. Chromebooks run Google's Chrome OS in place of Windows. It utilizes online apps such as Google Docs in stead of of traditional apps. And many of the features fail to work if the Internet connection goes down. All that for the same price as a normal laptop that runs Windows and any apps you want, including the Chrome browser.
4) Random dude on Twitter becomes new Netflix spokesperson
In October, Netflix suddenly decided to split itself in two, keeping the old name for its new streaming video service while giving the old DVD-rental business the head-scratching name "Qwikster." Netflix apparently didn't get the idea from Twitter, or it would have realized that the name was already taken by Jason Castillo, whose @Qwikster account contains such enlightened tweets as "Bored n nothing to do my step mom out in the living room hogging the tv n she isn't watching it."
5) New Facebook harem request
The social network tries hard to learn about users and connect them to people who like the same thing — or the same man. While surfing Facebook, a woman identified by the Associated Press only as "Wife No. 1" saw a "People You May Know" friend recommendation for someone now known as "Wife No. 2." Alan L. O'Neill had left Wife No. 1 in 2009, but never filed for divorce. He then went on to marry Wife No. 2. And thanks to that Facebook connection, he then went on to face bigamy charges.
6) Social media network hackers reveal all, on social media networks
A group of Russian hackers named Koobface (an anagram of "Facebook") posted on Facebook bogus invitations to watch funny or sexy videos. Instead, people who clicked unknowingly installed software that allowed the gang to control their computer. But the hackers made no effort to hide themselves, instead posting photos of their office and of vacations on social network sites such as Foursquare. That made it easier for authorities to track them down, though they remain safe under lax Russian law enforcement.
7) Windows pulls the Start button
Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system is meant to work with both standard PCs and iPad-like tablet devices. Problem is, neither does the job. The "Metro" tabletlike interface has icons for apps that open up full-screen as on an iPad. But only some apps do that. Others open in the "desktop" mode of a traditional PC. That desktop mode lacks the cherished "Start" menu that Windows has had for more than 10 years, forcing people to jump back over to Metro to find and launch an app. And so on, and so on. (Here's how to get the Start menu back.)
8) While Apple fanatics camp out, people who care less enjoy new iPads
With all the excitement for the new iPad, Apple fanatics, as is their custom, slept in front of the "glass cube" flagship store in Manhattan to be first inside when it opened at 8 a.m. on March 16. They should have called the 24-hour Best Buy downtown, which had enough in stock to sell to anyone who wandered into the warm store and waited in a short line the previous midnight, eight hours before the Apple store opened.
9) People rush to buy Internet TVs, then don't connect them
Though they may be ambivalent about 3D, buyers are excited about Internet-connected TVs that provide access to Netflix, Pandora, Hulu and many other online video and music services. At least, that's what the sales numbers suggest. But a survey shows that less than half (47 percent) of those TVs are actually connected to the Internet. Do the people think they are somehow connected? Do they even know they can connect?
10) iPhone-inspired plastic surgery
Video is great because everyone can see you — and bad for the same reason. Hearing complaints from people who said their neck looked flabby on a webcam, plastic surgeon Dr. Robert K. Sigal of Virginia invented the "FaceTime Facelift" — a modified neck-lift procedure that doesn't produce a scar under the chin, which would be visible when you look down at your iPhone or laptop. Of course, people could also just hold the phone higher up and point their chin down, so the neck is hidden — standard procedure in the TV industry.
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