The best April Fool's Day geek pranks involve making a gadget or a piece of software appear "broken," so says Wired magazine.
Michael Calore recommends "getting in the spirit, " but cautions:
One thing you should definitely not do is break anything. Only make the device appear broken. The point when the joke can't be reversed is also the point it ceases to be funny. Trust me.
"Appropriate" strategies advised:
Switch Their Keyboard to Dvorak
To switch a keyboard layout in Windows XP, go to the Control Panel (make sure it's in "Classic View" mode) and click on Regional and Language Options. Under the Languages tab, view Details. Click on Add and find "United States-Dvorak" in the list. Now you'll see Dvorak show up in the drop-down menu of default input languages. Choose it and click Apply.
Put the Mac to Bed
Newer Apple hardware comes with that cute little Front Row remote. Use it for pure evil by randomly putting the prankee's Mac to sleep. Perfect for Starbucks! Any Front Row remote will work (just hold down the Play button for a few seconds) as long as the person hasn't disabled the remote sleep option or paired a specific remote with their machine. But who does that?
New Key Layout
Manually rearrange keyboard keys with a Keycap Puller. Swapping letter keys only works on noob hunter-peckers, but you can still prank everyone else by reversing their 10-key keypad. When reversed, it looks just like a telephone, so they won't notice anything is amiss until they start typing numbers.
Blue Screen of Death
When the screen goes to sleep, the machine looks like it crashed. Be mindful the victim might lose data if they pull the plug.
Mangle the Mouse
Hide the mouse ball. You'll be amazed at how long people will curse and slam their unresponsive mouse onto the desktop before actually flipping the thing over. On the bottom of most mice, you'll find a plastic ring encircling the ball. Loosen it with a twist and pop the ball out. Dropping the mouse ball into their coffee cup will render it magically invisible.