Joking hazards: April Fools rush in

It's been a banner year for April Fools' Day pranks on the Web. Here are some of Cringely's favorites

April 1 is barely underway where I live, and yet the Net is already full of pranks, jokes, and hoaxes. Here are some of the best to arrive so far.

Angry Nerds: Rovio, makers of the phenomenally successful Angry Birds game franchise, introduced a new app in which you load cartoon versions of Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg into a catapult and attempt to knock down a series of barriers protecting the Google twins, Larry and Sergey. Unlock level 37 and you get to see Robert Scoble naked. Fortunately, nobody ever gets that far.

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Mouse Calls: Google Health announced a new service that uses sensors in your mouse and keyboard to measure temperature, galvanic response, and other vital signs. It can also be used as a lie detector. So no more filling out those profiles claiming that you're 6 foot 3 and look like Brad Pitt.

Facebook Faces: A few months after introducing its geolocation service, Places, Facebook unveiled Faces, a service that uses your Webcam to verify your identity and lock out fake accounts. Face data will be aggregated anonymously and be used in ads for cosmetics makers, plastic surgery clinics, and Botox treatment centers.

Whale tales: Twitter announced it is replacing its Fail Whale after the two-dimensional cetacean was added to the endangered species list. Instead it will begin using a Fail Kitten. Because who can get mad at a kitten?

Face Anon: Facebook named Anonymous its chief privacy officer. Their logic: He/she/them could do at least a good a job as the person they have in there now, and what are the odds he/she/them will actually show up for meetings?

Yahoo reorganizes (again): Actually this isn't an April Fool's joke. It's just been three months since the last reorg, so they're due.

Scoblecon: Blogger Robert Scoble announced a new conference for people who are too hip for Davos, SXSW, or ComicCon, just for him and his many fans. The 37th person to register for the show also gets to see Scoble naked. you must be joking: Ever wonder if something you just read on the Web is actually true? Just enter the URL of a site or suspicious news story into's address box, and will tell you if it's real or just another hoax.

Have you plugged this story into yet? What did it tell you? Post your response below or email me:

This article, "Joking hazards: April Fools rush in," was originally published at Track the crazy twists and turns of the tech industry with Robert X. Cringely's Notes from the Field blog, and subscribe to Cringely's Notes from the Underground newsletter. For the latest business technology news, follow on Twitter.

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