Stupid wireless mouse trick mesmerizes CFO

Any day you can prank the CFO is a good day for a techie

Stupid wireless mouse trick mesmerizes CFO
Flickr/Jin

As IT geeks in the early days of computers, we sometimes used new tech developments as an opportunity to play jokes on unsuspecting individuals. At one company where I worked, the CFO was the perfect candidate for this as he had a sense of humor and considered himself to be quite the techie, which to be honest was far from reality. One day, we decided to have a little fun.

We had purchased the company’s first wireless mouse. In the process of trying it out, we hatched a plan to fool the CFO into thinking there was no longer a need for a computer mouse, as it had been replaced by PC technology that responded to voice/mind control.

The action plan

We set the stage: We created a sound file that consisted of a series of beeps, high-pitched squeals, and various other noises. Then we determined where to station the wireless mouse so that it worked, but remain out of sight if we positioned the spectators just right.

Once we nailed down the details, we had the CFO come to our lab to see the wondrous evolution of technology. We explained how there was no longer any need for a clunky mouse, as computers were now controlled by a mind/voice meld.

To “demonstrate,” one of the techs sat down in front of a PC wearing the headphones. Another tech was concealed behind us and to the side; he’d control the wireless mouse (which we had not shown to the CFO) as the first tech issued voice commands and tell the computer his thoughts.

Thus, the CFO witnessed the computer deftly open programs and find files in different directories on the hard drive—all without a mouse. Needless to say, the CFO was impressed and couldn’t wait to try the newfangled contraption himself.

Success!

We told him that his mind first had to be matched to the PC, and we outfitted him with a set of headphones. Once the headset was in place, the sound file played for about two minutes with its squeaks and squawks. Next, we had him focus on the PC and instructed him to “voice” his commands until the PC was trained to eventually respond to only his thoughts.

He began, “Open Lotus [his favorite spreadsheet program at that time].” Unbeknownst to him, the second tech with the wireless mouse opened a binary file that exploded to full screen and scrolled past at an alarming rate. Imagine his surprise!

I reached over and manually powered off the PC. Rebooting, I explained that apparently the PC had not synced with his brain waves and we'd need to repeat the process.

We put him through this process four times, each time replicating his voice commands more and more accurately as the computer was “trained” to his particular voice/thought connection.

Alas, in the end we let him in on the secret. Fortunately, we all had a good laugh and he had to try out the wireless mouse for himself.

He suggested that we call the CEO and show him our new technology and play the joke on him as well. We were unsure of the potential result, so we declined any further demos, but at least we snared our target that day.