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TECHTONIC

The easter egg hunt




For kids, Easter is defined by the egg hunt, where decorated artificial eggs of various sizes - filled with candy and toys - are hidden both indoors and outdoors. And needless to say, taking part in an Easter Egg hunt, and then finding a few is always lots of fun. But since the dawn of the PC, Easter Eggs have taken on another meaning. Now, it is also the term used to describe hidden messages, inside jokes or features that might be found in a website, a computer program or a game. And of course, accidentally discovering these are as much fun. Here are some of our favourites...

In websites

The English Wikipedia has over 41 lakh pages. But did you know that it has a page that's been left blank intentionally: en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Special:BlankPage. You can now tell people you have seen the first page of the online encyclopaedia. Kickstarter is an online platform that allows budding entrepreneurs to seek funding from netizens for their creative projects, which could range from films, games, and music to art, design, and technology. And it's a professionally done-up website too. But scroll down to the end of the home page at www. kickstarter. com, and click on the scissors icon for a little mindless surprise. The Oatmeal is an irreverent humour site maintained by a certain Matthew Inman who writes, draws and even codes for it. So it's hardly surprising that Inman, with his brand of cheeky wit, has an Easter Egg on theoatmeal. com. Head to the site, and right click in your browser window to select the option to View Page Source. Mwaarrrrr! The Black Acre Brewing Company is a brewery and tap room located in Indianapolis, USA. But more than its beers, the company is famous for the Easter egg on its homepage at blackacrebrewing. com. When prompted by the pop-up, select the option that says 'I am under 21'. Then sit back and enjoy a remixed blast from the past.

In Facebook


>> Speak like a pirate, or upside down!

In Facebook's Settings page, in the 'General' tab, you will find options to change the language. And there are two cool variants in that. First, there's English (Upside Down), which will invert all the text in Facebook. It's a freaky effect, and a good way to prank someone who doesn't know better. And then there's English (Pirate), which uses pirate lingo throughout your profile. So you can 'scour for scallywags, islands or general thingies' in the search bar, and 'update your plunderin' in the status bar by stating 'what be troubling ye'. We particularly liked the birthday events being tagged as 'Zuckerberg (or any name) survived another year today'.

>> Profile Pics In Chat


When you are chatting with a friend on Facebook, here's a neat trick to pull. Type their profile name between two pairs of square brackets - [[ firstname. lastname ]] - and Facebook will turn that into the person's profile picture. It's a neat trick and usually gets squeals of "Show me how to do that!" To find the person's profile name, check the URL when you click on their profile page;it's whatever you see after "www. facebook. com/".

>> A Weird Emoticon


One fine morning, Chris Putnam, an engineer, hacked into Facebook and changed the code so that all the profile pages looked like MySpace. But instead of hauling him up, Facebook decided to hire him. The prank earned him quite a status along with a special credit: type :putnam: in Facebook chat or a comment, and check it out.

In Youtube


>> Do The Harlem Shake

YouTube users went crazy over the Harlem Shake phenomenon this year, with everyone who's anyone making short dance videos. In fact, YouTube also decided to get in on the viral craze. Search for do the harlem shake in YouTube, sit back, and enjoy. . .

In operating system 


>> Star Wars (Window 7)

Did you know that you can watch the ASCII version of Star Wars on your Windows machine? Here's how. Go to Start > Control Panel > Programs and Features Once you're there, select the 'Turn Windows features on or off' option In the 'Windows Features' box that pops up, scroll down to 'Telnet Client' and 'Telnet Server' and check both options. Click 'OK'. Now, go to Start, and in the in the search box, type telnet and run the program. In the black window, type o (the letter) and press Enter. Then type towel. blinkenlights. nl and enjoy the show.

>> God Mode (Window 7)


In computer gaming, God Mode is a cheat code that gives a player each and every possible power, as well as unlimited 'lives' making him or her invincible in the game. In Windows 7, this mode puts hundreds of OS settings at your fingertips in one single location.
To turn on God Mode, create a new folder and name it GodMode. {ED7BA470-8 E54-465 E-825 C-99712043 E01C}.
After that, the folder will include each and every configurable option in Win 7. Now use these powers responsibly.

>> The Northern Light Ribbons (Window 7)


People who've seen the Northern Lights natural phenomenon swear by its eerie beauty. Sadly, most of us will never have the opportunity to see them. Still, users of Windows 7 have access to a cheap imitation. Go to Start, and in the search box, type cmd. In the cmd. exe window that appears, type ribbons. scr /p65552. Hit Enter, and the show begins. To get out of the window, just close it from your taskbar.

>> Easier Way to Win in Solitaire (Win XP)


Those who haven't upgraded their systems from Windows XP can try out this Easter Egg. In Solitaire, select the 'Timed game' and 'Standard' scoring options, then play for over 30 seconds. After that, press Alt + Shift + 2 (above the 'q', and not the keypad 2). This will end the game, add a bonus to your score, and play the crazy celebration where you see the cards jumping to the front in waves as they do when a game is completed successfully. After the celebration, when you are asked 'Deal Again?', select 'No', and press Alt + Shift + 2. Again, your bonus is added to your score, and the celebration begins once more.

>> Presidential Secrets (Win XP)


Start Notepad. Type bush hid the facts. Save the document with any name. Close the file. Open it again. And see how your text has changed.

>> Droid Humour (Android)


Do you have an Android phone or tablet running version 2. 3 Gingerbread or above? Head to your device's settings and scroll all the way down to 'About Phone' or 'About Tablet'. In that, look for 'Android version' or 'Firmware version'. Tap it repeatedly and let the magic begin.
And there's more to come after you unlock the hidden Easter Egg. On 4. 1 Jelly Bean, tap what you see on screen and then long-press it. On 4. 0 Ice Cream Sandwich, long-press the screen.

In Google


>> Google Search

Google has some of the best Easter Eggs there are. Go to www. google. com, and then type each of the following search terms:
Anagram
Binary
Do a barrel roll
Tilt
Askew
Conway's Game of Life
Recursion
Zerg rush
While some of the Easter Eggs like askew and barrel roll are quite apparent, others like anagram, recursion and binary are beautifully understated.
Google is an engine that even provides you with answers to existential questions. Type answer to life, the universe and everything into the search box and it returns with 42. People who are fans of Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy will recognize the reference. Other seekers will have to keep looking for the answer.
Similarly, search for the number of horns on a unicorn, once in a blue moon, a bakers dozen and the loneliest number.

>> I <3 Calculator


Google's Calculator is capable of quite a few complex calculations. Search for sqrt(cos(x))* cos(300x)+sqrt (abs(x)) -0. 7)*( 4-x *x)^ 0. 01, sqrt(6-x ^2), -sqrt (6-x ^2) from -4. 5 to 4. 5 to see a great heart shaped graphic.

>> Google Earth's Flight Sim


This one's an oldie but a goldie. Google Earth has detailed maps of the whole world, most of it rendered in 3D. And while you can zoom in and zoom out, how awesome would it be to fly over it in a jet fighter? Hit Ctrl+Shift+A while the program is running to activate the hidden flight simulator mode. Choose your preferred aircraft and get into the cockpit. The controls aren't easy to get a handle on easily, so don't forget to look them up in the Help section.

>> Google Translator?


Google is available in several languages to make it easier for anyone to use the world's favourite search engine. In fact, it even takes care of extra-terrestrials and cartoon characters. There are special web pages that remake Google's menus and buttons to add a little humour. Try these out: www. google. com/intl/xx-hacker www. google. com/intl/xx-elmer www. google. com/intl/xx-piglatin www. google. com/intl/xx-pirate www. google. com/intl/xx-klingon

The Konami code 


If you ever played Contra on NES (Nintendo Entertainment System), you know the cheat code that gave you 999 lives: This code was used by developer Konami in several games and became a cult hit - so much so that the geeks who grew up on Contra started incorporating it in websites they developed. Type the code with your keyboard and you'll see some magic. . . www. cubeecraft. com: Unlocks special character Bill "Mad Dog" Rizer, the hero from Contra, as a special download on the origami site.
zeno. name: Takes you to a special page acknowledging you as a fellow geek. www. geekandhype. com: A reference to another geekculture artefact, "All your base are belong to us". digg. com: Changes the Digg logo into a reference for the TV show Arrested Development. www. smbc-comics. com: Creator Zach Weiner displays his love for the old video game Gradius, where the Konami Code originated, along with his underwear. www. gamespot. com: Takes you to NES' Contra page. shirtoid. com: Watch the background change into an ode to the pixellated glory of yore. For a full list, head to konamicodesites. com. And yes, you'll be prompted to enter the Konami Code to get access to it!

C
ompiled by Savio D'Souza & Mihir Patkar 

Illustration: Mahesh Benkar

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