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August 5, 2005

Easter Eggs and bookofjoe


From the site that comes up first in a google search for "Software Easter Eggs":

    What is an "Easter Egg"?

    In the context of software (get that Cadbury Bunny out of your head!), an Easter Egg is a hidden feature or novelty that the programmers have put in their software.

    In general, it is any hidden, entertaining thing that a creator hides in their creation only for their own personal reasons.

    This can be anything from a hidden list of the developers, to hidden commands, to jokes, to funny animations.

    You'd be surprised just how many things contain Easter Eggs... just look at the list that has accumulated here!

    A true Easter Egg must satisfy the following criteria:

    1. Undocumented, Hidden, and Non-Obvious — An Easter Egg can't be a legitimate feature of a product, or be an obvious part of a storyline. Easter Eggs will usually stand out either because they totally don't fit with their context (like a pinball game in a word processor), or because they have a deeper hidden personal meaning to the creators, so they threw it in for entertainment.

    2. Reproducible — Every user with the same product or combination of products must be able to produce the same result given the instructions. If others can't reproduce an Egg, then it doesn't belong in this archive.

    3. Put There by the Creators for Personal Reasons — The Egg must have been put there on purpose, and furthermore have a personal significance to the creators beyond just making a better product (movie, TV show, software program, etc).

    4. Entertaining! — The most important element... if it's not there for entertainment, it's not an Egg.

    5. Not Malicious — Easter Eggs are there for fun, not to do damage.

The other day I got to thinking about Easter Eggs and and how in bookofjoe, whenever I can, I like to put in amusing or interesting links to things that may not be related to the post at hand except for a word in common or suchlike.

It occurred to me that this behavior on my part is the equivalent of a software designer putting an Easter Egg into a game or program.

Now, this is intimately related to the habit I have of doing stuff for people that they will never know I did.

Somehow they avoid trouble or something good happens and they just assume that's the way things happened to work out.

Not quite.

Just as in hockey a stick blade in the path of a speeding puck can deflect it only by the slightest amount yet make all the difference in the world in terms of whether or not a goal is scored, so do I like to deflect things ever so subtly onto the path of a better outcome.

I don't know when I started doing this but it's been going on for a long time.

Stuff like turning off a car's lights in a parking lot: the driver will never know it happened but the car will start instead of having a dead battery.

I will go to the trouble of trying every door and making a real effort to break in to turn off the lights.

That's just the way I am.

So creating links to stuff that may or may not ever be clicked on or looked at is just fine with me: I like doing it and it amuses me.

If it should amuse you, all the better.

For example, the sort of nonsensical habit I've developed here in the past few weeks of linking a word to a song with that title.

It's fun so I do it.


But only to songs I like.

There are a few related things I might as well throw in here.

1) Anything you find here — jokes, ideas, suggestions, useful inventions that don't exist, etc. — are yours for the taking.

Just as, when I'm on the phone with someone or at a store and realize how something could be done better and mention it to the clerk or whomever I'm talking to, I tell them to say they thought it up and take credit for it and prosper, so with you, dear reader: it's not stealing if someone gives it to you.

I can't be bothered profiting from stuff I think up: that's your job.

Don't worry, I'll never tell how you got where you did.

Trust me: I'm....

August 5, 2005 at 12:01 PM | Permalink


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