Wednesday, April 2, 2008

I didn’t have the guts, but I revel in the glory

Some time in the last couple of weeks, this April Fool’s prank showed up in headlines side bar at Ace of Spades:

Ladies and gentlemen! Boys and girls! Children of all ages! Have we got a killer prank for you, perfect to pull on your co-workers. And, with April 1 just around the corner, you need to have a fresh stock of tricks in your bag.

Skype lets you run a conference call with up to 24 people simultaneously, but the trick is that they can be a mixture of Skype accounts and phone numbers. To setup your call, you need to do is start a conference by clicking on the conference button on the main Contacts tab, then type in the numbers of the people you want to call. For maximum LOLs, I recommend making every phone in your work area ring—desk, fax, and personal cell numbers, if you have everyone’s numbers. When you press the Start Call button at the bottom of the window, all the phones in your office will ring at once. Caller ID will show Unknown Caller or 000-000-0000, and when people pick up, they’ll hear each other talking, but no other callers.

No way.

No way am I going to try and pull that prank.

But that certainly wasn’t going to stop me...

...from seeing this prank pulled.

So I gave it to a friend -- and I asked him to include my number in the prank, so I could listen.

Unfortunately, due to the time difference between us, the prank was pulled at 6 ET. So I wasn't here to take the call.

Bummer, right? Well, it turned out to be perhaps even funnier.

So the normal protocol for holding a conference call is one central number that all participants dial in to. Skype runs it backwards -- one central number calls all of the participants you select.

The best part of Sype’s method is -- if a person selected for the call doesn't answer, the Skype call goes into that person's voicemail, and everyone who has picked up the call gets to hear that person’s voicemail message. And if more than one person doesn’t answer, you hear multiple voicemail messages simultaneously.

And -- since I wasn’t here and Skype reached my voice mail -- I got the whole thing recorded on my voice mail.

For posterity.

On this particular call there must have been 5-6 people who were repeatedly saying "Hello?" … "Can you hear me?" … "Are you there?" … "Who is this?" …etc. While there were probably 5-6 voice mail messages going on in the background -- including the automated voicemail chick voice saying stuff like, "…I do not undestand that command. Please press 1 to repeat the message, or press zero for more options."

Operation Chaos!

In fact, Skype called my number 3 times in the span of 6 minutes, so I have three recorded messages of chaos.

On the third and final call -- at the very end -- a sweet innocent young lady comes on the line and keeps repeating, "Hello? Hello? Hello?"

Then silence.

Followed by my laughter. Honestly – I had forgotten about the prank, and especially since I was listening to the voice mail on April 2nd, it took me until that last call to figure it out.

Now I'm waiting to hear back from my friend on how it went live -- how long it took people to figure it out -- how long it was before he was fingered -- and if he still has a job...


  1. SO will you have a job when your co-workers read this?

  2. That was funny, but not as funny as the comments to the previous post.