Friday, April 3, 2015

The Best April Fools of 2015

The Best April Fools of 2015, Facebook Riffs with Friends, & More… 

By Dave Parrack
Celebrating April Fools’ Day 2015, Facebook’s Riff app, the ASUS Chromebit, Amazon’s Dash buttons, HBO on Sling TV, and homeless people reading mean tweets.

April Fools That Rocked Our World

As you may have noticed, yesterday was April 1, otherwise known as April Fools’ Day. We produced a special edition of Tech News Digest to mark the occasion, with every story featured being absolutely bunkum. Yes, even that one about Apple starting its own religion. Sorry.
MakeUseOf wasn’t the only company getting into the spirit of April Fools’ Day 2015, with hundreds of other pranks being played online. We don’t have the room to feature all of them, so instead here are five of our absolute favorites featuring technology.

Microsoft launched MS-DOS Mobile, a new mobile operating system for its Lumia handsets. And this was no half-hearted effort either, with the tech giant actually releasing an MS-DOS Mobile app for Windows Phone. It’s just a shame so few people will be able to use it.

Motorola announced its own selfie stick called the Moto Selfie Stick. It isn’t actually real, but the video Motorola produced wonderfully parodies those pretentious ads made by technology companies who believe their products are about to change the world.

Sony unveiled PlayStation Flow, which lets you actually swim around in a real pool while playing the underwater sections of games such as The Last Of Us. Developed by the non-existent PlayStation Wearable Entertainment Technology (P-WET) group, PlayStation Flow was used to remind gamers about Project Morpheus.

Google Fiber added a Dial-Up mode to its service, which turns down the speed on the superfast broadband until it resembles an old 56k modem. This, the video explains, gives you more time to read a book, ring your grandma, or meditate to the soothing sound of a modem starting up. Genius.

Google Maps killed everybody’s productivity for the day when it added the option to play Pac-Man in any location. This turns any town or city into a level of Pac-Man, with you collecting the dots while avoiding the ghosts. It’s every bit as fun to play as it was in the 1980s.

Facebook Lets You Riff With Friends

Facebook has released a new app which fosters the creation of collaborative videos. Riff allows users to shoot a short video of up to 20 seconds in length based around a particular theme. Other friends can then add their efforts to the original clip, creating a longer, themed video.
In its most basic form, Riff could be used to create a video celebrating someone’s birthday, with a host of friends all contributing. There is also the opportunity for more creative ventures, and Riff could be an easy way of generating viral videosbased on a themed collection of clips.
Riff, developed by Facebook Creative Labs, is available to download now on Android and on iOS.

The Chromebit Is Chrome OS on a Stick

Google has unveiled a host of new Chrome OS devices, including the Chromebit from ASUS. This is a Chrome OS computer on a stick, which can be plugged into any TV or monitor with an HDMI port. Details are a little thin on the ground, but Google is promising the ASUS Chromebit will launch this summer for less than $100.
ASUS is also releasing the Chromebook Flip, an ultra-portable Chromebook with an all-metal chassis, touchscreen, and tablet mode. The ASUS Chromebook Flip will be released later this spring for $249. There are also budget Chromebooks on the way from Haier and Hisense, both of which are priced at $149.

Amazon’s Dash Button Helps You Reorder

In a bizarre turn of events, Amazon launched a product everybody thought was an April Fools’ Day joke but turned out to be the real deal. The Amazon Dash Button is a small one-button device that, when activated, automatically orders whatever product it’s programmed to order.
This brings an even simpler method to Amazon Dash, which previously required shoppers to scan a product using a bizarre-looking wand device. And there are a host of branded Amazon Dash Buttons to choose from, including washing powder, toilet paper, coffee pods, dog food, and grooming products.
See, it sounds like an April Fools’ Day joke, but it actually isn’t. Which ensured Amazon lots of press coverage. Clever.

Sling TV Gets HBO Now… Soon

Dish is reported to be adding HBO Now to Sling TV in all but name, and before the start of Season 5 of Game of Thrones on April 12. Sling TV subscribers will be able to pay an extra $15-a-month to gain access to HBO content, including the aforementioned Game of Thrones.
This isn’t being referred to as HBO Now because Apple paid for exclusive access to that service for the first three months. But it seems Apple only bought exclusivity for the name and not the content. Which is ever so slightly ridiculous.

Homeless People Read Mean Tweets

And finally, while it’s never nice to read nasty things said about you online, it must be a whole lot worse when you’re already down on your luck. Which is what makes this video for a Canadian homeless charity so powerful.
The video shows homeless people reading the mean things people have said about them on Twitter. And it’s hard not to feel ashamed on behalf of the people responsible. Twitter can be a phenomenally useful tool, but unfortunately it can also be used to spout hatred. [H/T Reddit]

Your Views on Today’s Tech News

Have you got a better tech-related April Fools’ Day joke to share with us? Will Facebook Riff succeed or fail? Is the Amazon Dash Button absolute genius or absolutely bonkers? 
Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.
Image Credit: Trev Grant via Flickr  Source:

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