Originally published at: Microsoft Coffee | Boing Boing
Originally published at: Microsoft Coffee | Boing Boing
I remember when COFEE was a massive disaster for Microsoft, it wasn’t related to this though.
So their April Fools prank was to create vaporware? Sounds like something Microsoft would do.
Reminds me of this:
That’s a pretty damn good news segment, with really good acting, if indeed fake
edit: seems that KOMO news had the same anchor team for almost 30 years, and while the woman in the Coffee video looks somewhat similar, the guy doesn’t.
i could see pr’s point that this was steeped with problems.
at the time, java was percolating a challenge to windows. even a small batch of jokes, or a joke from a single origin, might brew up some legal troubles. it could have been an opening to be roasted in court, or pressed on business details. and microsoft wasn’t exactly into fair trade at the the time.
it’s the slow drip of stuff like this that pr has to filter out to avoid spoiling a company’s whole profile
I don’t want to click on any of the links because I’d like to believe this is a hoax invented just for this post, with fake links and a video thumbnail to complete it.
I asked a friend at Microsoft if he could find any evidence of if this is a prank or not. Bupkus.
The YC News thread dug up a photo of a local news guy, who is almost certainly the man in the video:
For me, the question of if it is fake or not hinges on the question: Could this guy really look this similar after 25 years?
Maybe! It just adds layers to the prank if indeed it is one.
You might say that product management at the time was not the cream of the crop. But, the organization was very full at the time, no real openings. They should have left room for cream.
Why look at his current pics, when surely there’s pics from the era…
(via KOMO-TV | Annex | Fandom )
Now, I have prosopagnosia, but even I can tell the hair and jaw lines are different. (If I hold them side by side, this is such a strange disorder). I went through the list on that wiki of other potential anchors that served around '95, but none of them seem to be a match.
I also have a very hard time believing that corporate resources could be used to produce a run of only 100 boxes, and a product created that could entice people to pay a sum of money, and legal wouldn’t think there was an issue.
A creative (modern) prank!
- Disclaimer: I’ve worked at Microsoft 20 years, but have no inside knowledge regarding the above.
My favorite silly prank I’ve heard about here was a very abstract painting that was put up on the wall with an official-looking placard stating it was a rare Bob Ross. Fake emails were sent out to the team talking about viewing tours, and the ping-pong table was forced into the kitchen (which baaarely had enough room to accommodate).
The most obvious issue to me: how is someone watching 16:9 video from an apparent VHS source — and no 4:3 stretching, all correct aspect ratio.
Then there’s how all those “video skips” look nothing like actual VHS tracking errors.
The simulated VCR tracking problem is probably the most obvious issue I see (other than the reporter seeming to remain the same age). It flickers too much and to fast. It almost draws attention to itself. The clip was probably created by someone who was too young to have owned or operated a VCR. It’s a pretty bad fake.
The woman died a couple years ago. Kathi Goertzen was her name. Keith Eldridge is still on KOMO.
I was very confused. I assumed this was a modern HD broadcast OTA (I’m not sure what that would look like, but probably not like this because it’s digital). It didn’t read to me as VHS tracking because the rolling is pretty bad, there’s not much tearing or color separation or bleeding. Like you said this is 16:9 and more detailed than SD. TV broadcast logos also didn’t look like that in the mid 90s.
I was thinking this was contemporary reporting on a prank from 1996. “Hoax spread by Internet” hit me weird, too.
Clever idea, though.
KEXP didn’t become KEXP until 2001. In 1996 it was KCMU.
I thought the same thing, but the links are clean. It’s a regular Medium story with a Youtube video.
Can somebody film that video with their phones, it needs to go deeper.
I know one of the guys involved in the original prank, it was real. He gave me a copy of one of the shrink-wrapped fake boxes in the late 90s, I still have it. (It’s at my office, working from home, but I will swing by later today and take a photo/video.)
He doesn’t want his name public, but he did a TON of pranks back then… one idea he tried to loop me in on was to create a fake sighting of some kind of sea monster out on Lake Union. The idea was to have some submerged monster-looking object and a boat nearby with a huge loudspeaker. At some pre-timed point when a “Ride The Ducks” boat came by, the monster would pop up out of the water, the speakers on the boat nearby would broadcast a tremendous roaring sound, and then the monster would “sink” again. The idea was to have people on the Ride The Ducks boat who were plants… people who would DISPUTE that there was anything abnormal to create controversy. Cameras weren’t universal on phones so at best there’d be grainy footage, but mostly word-of-mouth. At that time local news was the equivalent of clickbait, looking for any story. All you had to do was deny a story existed, and if there were two sides to any story, they’d broadcast it. This was before the book “Trust Me I’m Lying” came out and before manipulating local media became a really well-understood idea.
This was a real prank.
“Pics or it didn’t happen!”