Archive for the 'Web' Category

01 April 2015

Another April Fools’ Day and another chance for companies to try and catch you out with increasingly believable and creative jokes, and this year was no exception.

With efforts spanning across the spectrum from the likes of  Kiss FM (who didn’t really seem to understand April Fools’ Day), to Santander who seemingly forgot and hashed together a last minute Photoshop effort (albeit not a bad idea!), to the usual big contenders that demonstrated superb efforts.

The Guardian
One of the first stories to break this morning was the announcement that former Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson had joined the Guardian team backing the campaign for fossil fuel divestment.  Following the recent “fracas” Clarkson is hoping to “regain the trust of the British public” by “dedicating his time and financial resources to sustainable energy, road safety and forging mutual understanding and tolerance between people of different cultures and religions”.  Very good!

clarkson guardian

As ever, Google lead the way in brilliant April Fools releases.  My day started with the introduction of for a suitably confusing stunt before I even realised what day it was!

com google geek


com google bbc

Then building on the success of the Google Maps Pokémon Challenge last year the real winner of today comes in the form of Google Maps – Pac-Man.  Head over to Google Maps, click the Pac-Man icon in the bottom left et voilà!  I wonder how many hours people lost today playing that – it really is superb!

google maps pac man2

You can play anywhere in the world that has enough roads to constitute a level and, as Wired pointed out, the Taj Mahal even offers a Pac-Man-esque level layout.

google maps pac man1


Another big name brand that took part today was Virgin.  After discovering that his great-great-uncle founded the city of Branson, Missouri, Richard Branson has announced that he is moving the Virgin Group back to the American city where it all began.

The plan includes moving Virgin America, Virgin Hotels, and Virgin Limited Edition.

A number of other jokes caught my eye throughout the day as well.

Marmite Clear
A mere 15 years in the making and we now have a clear version of everyone’s favourite love it or hate it spread.  Apparently, psychologists say “eating dark-coloured foods for breakfast can provoke feelings of negativity” whereas this “light” and “positive” version “will keep you feeling chirpy all day long”.

Marmite Clear


Google’s SketchUp announced an improved user experience with the addition of Adventure Mode.

Monument by Fabian Cancellara
Pro cycling Team Trek Factory announced a new scent for the top step of the podium with Monument by Fabian Cancellara aka Spartacus!  Prepare to smell like victory.



The Kimsicle
The rather disturbing “Kimsicle” was announced this morning as a new “buttock-enhancing” marshmallow ice cream lolly inspired by “Kim Kard-ass-ian” from The Licktators.


Left-Handed Bike Horn

The When I Was A Kid toy store in Cambridge announced the development of a left-handed bike horn.  Available for a mere £5 “at last all cyclists are equal when it comes to their safety”.

left handed horn


Hailo Piggyback
For when a taxi is just too much why not get a piggy back around town?

How many fooled you?



If you aren’t familiar with Instagram this post might not make a whole of sense (also, where have you been?).  But if you are aware of the filter-applying, image-tweaking, photo-sharing site then this will probably seem all too recognisable.

I use Instagram and I think it is great.  Some of my photos are better than others, some are drunkenly blurry, and some are woefully cliché.  But so what, that’s part of why I use Instagram.

I generally try and steer clear of littering my comments with (often inaccurate) hashtags and gorging them with (somewhat unnecessary) emojis, but every now and then some do sneak in.  And I unashamedly love it.

Recently  I discovered Satiregram and it’s hilarious.  It represents everything good, bad, and in between about Instagram in a witty and satirical account without really posting a photo of, well, anything bar a hand written post-it note.

Instagram10 Instagram4

Instagram1 Instagram2

With wonderful simplicity it covers the full spectrum of users.  From those who take beautiful photos, to those who take photos to share with friends, through to those who document every outfit, meal, and action in their life with the sole aim of gaining likes.

Instagram8 Instagram3

The epitome of a typical Instagram user 

Instagram5 Instagram6

Instagram7 Instagram9

Admittedly I’m guilty of quite of few of these myself, but that’s part of the relatable charm this account has!

Follow Satiregram here and if that isn’t enough you can follow them on Twitter with their equally amusing account @SoPretentious.

01 April 2014

It’s one of my favourite days of the year for blogging with the veritable banquet of inevitable jokes and pranks that is April Fools’ Day.

Last year was always going to be hard to top but, aside from a few poor Photoshop efforts that aren’t fooling anyone, lots of companies have excelled in their efforts.

Here are just a few of my favourites that made their way to me throughout the morning of April 1st and, as ever, Google is leading the way with some truly fantastic ones.

Google Maps: Pokémon Challenge
This might be one of my favourite ever.  Merging what I presume is some sort of augmented reality overlay with Google Maps we have the ultimate job interview to become a Pokémon Master at Google.

Google Translate: Emoji
With emojis becoming more common in instant messaging than the alphanumeric characters themselves it was only a matter of time before Google Translate added it to their existing language services.

Reddit already dictates a lot of what we read online, but with their new Hand Equivalent Action Detection system it gives us a revolutionary new way to browse hands free.

Canary Wharf Loop-the-Loop
In an effort to make your commute more fun the DLR has announced a new loop-the-loop at Canary Wharf.

Canary Wharf Loop the loop

CERN Comic Sans Switch
In what I can only presume is a not so subtle dig at this presentation of the discovery of the Higgs Boson in 2012, CERN have announced that all of their official communication channels are switching to the exclusive use of the font Comic Sans.

CERN Comic Sans

National Trust Clock Change
Putting your watch an hour forward last weekend was a simple task but spare a thought for the folks at the National Trust who have to incorporate daylight savings at the Avebury World Heritage Site.


National Trust Head Ranger Hilary Makins said “Obviously Stone Age man didn’t have daylight saving, so twice a year we have to move one of the stones”.

Edibox Snackaging
Dominos have recently discovered “that the crust is overwhelmingly the most popular part of the pizza experience” so this has naturally led to their “double dough” experience of the Edibox.  Waste-free dining at its finest.


In other news, the Tour de France will offer an F1-inspired KERS system from 2016, Ant and Dec have fallen out, the Queen has approved fracking in the grounds of Buckingham Palace and the Department of Health has announced a pilot scheme to outsource NHS maternity wards to Mumsnet!

How many did you fall for?

Build With Chrome

About 18 months ago, Google announced a rather fun looking WebGL Lego simulator called Build which gave a limited number of people a small plot of land on which to build your own Lego creation online.  Pretty neat.

Now, fast forward to present day and Google have just launched the much improved Build with Chrome to everyone, and it’s a whole lot more brilliant!

I haven’t been this excited by a web application in a long time.  Give it a couple of years, maybe a touch more, and I think as a community we will have large portions of the world entirely mapped out in Lego!  Very cool!

You can build on any device running the Chrome browser, so because you’re not restrained to your desktop that bus journey home is suddenly looking a lot more fun.

Additional geographical features let you browse other creations by location around the world, with popular items so far including an attempt on the Eiffel Tower and even a tardis on the bank of the Thames in London.  The best thing to do is head over and explore the world of bricks for yourself.

Lego tardis

It’s not a replacement for original Lego building blocks, but more an extension of the idea into the digital era.

Lego challenge

With the Build Academy Challenges and an option to just build your own creations on a standard base plate there is many hours of fun to be had (and no need for a Brick Separator* when you get a couple of 1×2 pieces get stuck together!).

Lego geek

My first build was something very appropriate, even if I couldn’t resist the odd add-on pieces to decorate.  Happy building!

*I didn’t even know these existed until researching for this blog post!

01 April 2013

As is becoming tradition on Inspirational Geek it’s that time of year again where we take a look back at some of the more creative April Fools’ Day pranks that may (or may not) have had you fooled.

More and more companies are having a go at executing some seemingly legitimate ideas, most are pointless or silly, but more often than not you will need a couple of moments to think if it can really be real (before noticing the date!).

From Nasa’s plan to “bag an asteroid“, The Whitehouse’s special message from the president, some frankly awful Photoshop-ing to turn The Shard into The Shlide, and Netflix’s implausibly specific categories, here are some of my favourites from yesterday.

Google Treasure Maps
Building on the success of last year’s 8-bit maps we now have Treasure Mode within Google Maps.  Try and decipher the clues and uncover the secrets of Captain Kidd’s long lost treasure map – if you can!

Sony Animalia
A range of technology specifically designed for pets.  Obviously.  Products such as the “K9 4K TV” and “M3-OW KittyCans”, so cats and dogs can relax and enjoy technology away from their owners!

This sort of idea probably isn’t too far into the future, but I very much doubt that the products will come from Sony when (if) it does emerge!

Announced on their blog, Twitter claimed to be launching Twttr.  The 140-character limit is set to become even more precious as a new tiered service is set to start charging for vowels (y is still free!) at $5/month.  By eliminating vowels, they aim to “encourage a more efficient and “dense” form of communication”.


YouTube Winner
After last year’s opportunity to buy YouTube on DVD the announcement came that will “no longer be accepting entries”.  Entries? I hear you ask.  Yes, turns out the past 8 years worth of uploads have actually been part of a best video competition and the time has now come “to review everything that has been uploaded to our site and begin the process of selecting a winner.”  The proud winner will be announced when YouTube comes back online – in 2023!

Virgin Glass Bottom Plane
Richard Branson announced a world first from Virgin – the glass bottom plane!  An “aviation breakthrough which has been years in the making” as one of Virgin’s top-secret projects is now available to allow passengers a “special opportunity to look down on the beautiful scenery of Great Britain as they fly”.



Bizarrely this scheme has attracted a number of negative comments and criticism for the feasibility of such an idea!  For me, however, that is part of the fun and notion behind an April Fools’ prank.  I guess it just proves you’ll always get some negativity whatever fun you try and have!

Video-centric social networking site Vimeo have never been one for the fleeting trends of the internet, instead defiantly remaining as the well-designed, high-quality video upload and sharing website of choice.  However, it seems that the rising popularity of cats on the internet has forced their hand in now creating Vimeow.


With the forum rebranded as the Litterbox, and video appreciations measured in Tummyrubs and Purrks it is hard to see why they waited this long to launch.

Skinny Skinny Jeans
With regular skinny jeans no longer trendy enough, American Eagle have come up with their super skinny “Skinny Skinny” spray on jeans.  Available in two shades for even the most fashion-conscious cool kids.

AE Super Skinny

And my absolute favourite:

Google Nose
Google Nose launched in Beta as the new scentsation in search.

Smelling is believing

Go beyond the more traditional search senses of typing, talking, and touching, and get sniffing the Aromabase of over 15million scentibytes.

Here’s to even more creative ideas next year!

Child Of The 90s – Internet Explorer

Internet Explorer used to be the go-to browser of choice, but in recent years it has fallen out of favour with the surge in popularity of Mozilla’s Firefox and the domination of Google’s Chrome, as well as a few others.

In the 90s, however, you didn’t have the choice.  Certainly there was more than just Internet Explorer (Netscape springs to mind), but for the masses it was all we knew.

Microsoft and Windows are now fighting back and using that sense of nostalgia to appeal to many of us (myself included) with this rather clever advert.

This advert has my childhood all over it.  Although I managed to avoid a bowl haircut, I did have a shell suit, snap bracelets and bum bag (a cool kid, I know!), and whilst I wasn’t very good with a yo-yo, I was brilliant at Pogs.

I remember our family’s first dial up modem (oooh the luxury of 56kbps!) and I was even still using floppy disks at my first year of University!

I also had a (seemingly suicidal) Tamagotchi, Trolls, a Walkman, Super Soakers, and (yes!) smashing the handles on Hungry Hippos!

I’m not sure I’ll steer back to using Internet Explorer, for the time being anyhow, but the advert certainly struck a chord reviving memories with me and has given food for thought.

I really like their use of the “reconnect” wording, reinforcing that deep down they know that all people of a certain generation once used, and loved, Internet Explorer for providing all of our internet-related needs.

In the future I won’t be so quick to dismiss IE, even if it is to simply note how good their new advert is.

01 April 2012

Another year, another April Fools’ Day.  Following on from last year‘s superb efforts, today saw some wildly creative “fools” that caught a lot of people out on this Sunday morning.

From the more outrageous, with Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Volcanic and Jake Humphrey suggesting David Coulthard was returning to racing in Formula 1, to the slightly suspicious Shaun Ryder being asked to advise David Cameron on class, here is a brief overview of my favourites.

Google Maps
A new 8-bit version of Google Maps for the “long neglected” Nintendo Entertainment System (NES).

Fantastic stuff, right down to the detail of the Street View character, and the “Quest” option for planning your journeys.

Love the sound effects and classic “cleaning” technique for those of familiar with cartridge-based games consoles to “blow on the cartridge to fix bugs”.

Gmail Tap
The official Google Blog introduced us to the idea of Gmail Tap, a two-key typing interface called to replace the typical 26-key QWERTY keyboard.

New features promise the future of writing emails on the go – tap without looking at your screen, and even multitask to double your productivity by typing two emails at once!

You can even, ahem, download the app here.

This morning’s blog post read:

Loved a video so much that liking it, favoriting it, sharing it and even subscribing to the channel wasn’t enough? Just had to hold it in your grasp and never ever let it go?

A tantalising prospect I’m sure you’ll agree, and so the The YouTube Collection is born.  Available for you in a new “holdable” version: DVD.

Love the feedback and thumbs up options with this!

IKEA even chipped in their wonderful effort with a product recall notice on their “erroneous” left-handed allen keys.

Bring on next year!

One Hour Per Second

One hour per second, that’s right, it’s not a typo, it’s the utterly staggering statistic released from the Google Data Arts Team (the same folks who do the Chrome Experiments) looking at the volume of video content uploaded to YouTube around the world!

If you’re still having trouble visualising those astounding quantities then head over to for some more help in relating to those numbers.  Oh, and turn your speakers on for the full site experience (but beware the Nyan Cat!).

Just wait until fibre optic connections are readily available, and HD is the norm.  A pretty powerful spectacle I’m sure you’ll agree.

Photoshop Tutorial Rap

The more eagle-eyed of you regular readers will notice I’m developing something of a penchant for design related tongue in cheek rap videos.

Gettin’ Money With A Mouse And A Wacom Pen was really rather good, but the folks over at College Humor seemed to have upped the game with these Photoshop tutorial inspired lyrics from CMYKilla and his crew Masta Bevel, Lens Flare, Filter Phil, DJ Dodge and MC Burn.

HOLD UP here’s a tip for adobe elite,
If you want a quick fill, press ALT DELETE

The State Of Wikipedia

January 2011 sees Wikipedia celebrates its 10 year anniversary.  10 years!  Wow.  Since 2001 1.2million people have contributed to the “free encylopedia that anyone can edit” by writing, referencing and checking articles to ensure the overall success of the site.

And there’s no doubt that it has been a success, a huge success.  It’s also probably more a part of your life than you realise, how many times have you looked up anything on it? I bet it’s a lot.  It’s consistently referenced in conversations, cited in debates and has even spawned its own verb which is increasingly replacing the more traditional art of simply “looking something up”.   It’s even more closely monitored and regulated so that the integrity of articles is fast becoming accepted in levels of education.

In honour of the decade milestone Jess3 Labs, a creative agency that specialises in data visualisation, have done a really tremendous job on celebrating Wikipedia’s 10 years by launching The State of Wikipedia.  Visually outstanding and informative graphics are topped off with this rather good video, aptly narrated by one of the co-founders Jimmy Wales.

If you are more technically minded than the beautiful video above then be sure check out the Wikimedia Report Card which details the raw numbers here.

Some of the earlier milestones Wikipedia has hit are quite staggering too.  It took just two years to hit 100,000 articles, and only another three to hit 1million (in English alone).  The site now hosts more than 17 million articles in over 270 languages!

Click through infographic to view large.

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