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On technology and messing with people

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Posted: Monday, December 27, 2010 3:05 pm

If there's one thing I can respect it's a good prank. Especially when that prank is in good fun and everyone — even the target — gets a hearty laugh out of it.

One of the greatest things about today's technology is the ability to use it for pulling off a good joke. Think about those hidden camera shows where you see someone put a letter in a public mailbox, only to have the letter shoot back out at the person. She keeps putting the letter in, but it keeps being shot back out.

Cell phones have to be one of my favorite ways to zing lots of people at once.

Here's what I mean: Most cell phones have the ability to have custom ringers (read, text message alerts). 

Pick an off-beat sound as your text message sound, and when someone sends you a note, it can be a bit of a laugh for those in the vicinity, even you.

Imagine standing in line at Starbucks. There's the professional, smartly-dressed woman in front of you. Behind you is the tired dad trying to get his morning jolt and get his kids to school on time. Baristas are patiently taking complex coffee orders, and there are self-important pseudo-entrepreneurs on laptops sitting on the foam-stuffed chairs.

Suddenly, a low resounding “MMMOOOOOOoooooo” comes from out of nowhere, breaking the din of the java den.

You're sure to get a few nervous laughs, some eye rolls and maybe even a snort of derision or two. If you don't check your phone right away, not everyone will know where it came from.

Here then are some suggestions on weird sounds you can have coming from your pocket (and some you probably shouldn't): 

Good list:

The aforementioned “moo” or other barnyard noises

Doorbell/knocking (not hilarious, but still eyebrow raising)

Dog bark

Various bodily functions

Car horn

Air horn

Fog horn

Train horn

Semi truck horn

Shoe horn (sorry, I got on a roll and had to include that)

Hockey buzzer

Video game sounds (my personal favorites)

A barista calling a name

A person yelling “where's my coffee?”


Bad list:

Gun shots


Various bodily functions




Clown horn

Kid Rock

I'm sure there's plenty more I could come up with, given the time. But if you can think of any, feel free to chime in. Ooh, chimes are good too. Not necessarily funny, but good.