NOT REALLY EASTER EGGS

You can hunt for these Easter Eggs any time you want. Because they have nothing to with Easter and they’re not eggs, they’re programmers’ jokes.

 Programmers have amused themselves with little pieces of hidden code from the earliest digital days. They started to be called “Easter Eggs” because you had to hunt for them, like children looking for hidden decorated eggs. These hunts required entering strange and often nonsensical commands into a program’s dialogue box, or sometimes just clicking on something that you would never ordinarily click.

 Microsoft’s “Excel” spreadsheet used to have a secret command sequence that would cause a little video game to appear on the screen. OpenOffice, a free alternative to Microsoft Office, still has an Easter Egg that brings up a game. It’s the classic “Space Invaders.” Just type =GAME(“StarWars”), just as we put it down: the equal sign, capital letters, parentheses, quotes and all, into the command box at the top of an Open Office spreadsheet. Then watch out: those crazy alien invaders start dropping bombs right away.

 If you go to Yahoo.com, there are a couple of easy to find Easter Eggs. One is by clicking on the exclamation point in Yahoo!, which produces a Yahoooo! burst of yodeling. If you open a free email account at Yahoo!, and anyone can, you can get another Easter Egg. To find the egg, click on the word “subject” when starting to write an email. Click on the word itself, not the open space after it. Yahoo then automatically fills in the open subject line with something odd and usually funny. Here are some examples of what your new email subject line will say:

 

  • chai tea vs. tai chi
  • I’ve decided to start smoking
  • re: please don’t call me a chinchilla
  • Jeremy! What have I told you about the correct way to butter crumpets?
  • My train of thought has derailed

Yahoo’s blog at ycorpblog.com has news of other Easter Eggs. And you can find hundreds more by doing a Google search on “easter eggs.” There many, many like these, hidden in movies and TV shows. Find more at eeggs.com, the Easter Egg archive.

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