Tech News

The Best April Fools of 2015, Facebook Riffs with Friends, & More… [Tech News Digest]

Dave Parrack 02-04-2015

Celebrating April Fools’ Day 2015, Facebook’s Riff app, the ASUS Chromebit, Amazon’s Dash buttons, HBO on Sling TV, and homeless people reading mean tweets.


April Fools That Rocked Our World

As you may have noticed, yesterday was April 1, otherwise known as April Fools’ Day. We produced a special edition of Tech News Digest Apple Starts a Religion, Microsoft Cancels Windows 10, & More... [Tech News Digest] Apple gets religious, Microsoft smashes Windows, Google takes a day off, Facebook culls Friends, vowels get banned, and MakeUseOf announces new offshoots. Read More to mark the occasion, with every story featured being absolutely bunkum. Yes, even that one about Apple starting its own religion. Sorry.

MakeUseOf wasn’t the only company getting into the spirit of April Fools’ Day 2015, with hundreds of other pranks being played online. We don’t have the room to feature all of them, so instead here are five of our absolute favorites featuring technology.

Microsoft launched MS-DOS Mobile, a new mobile operating system for its Lumia handsets. And this was no half-hearted effort either, with the tech giant actually releasing an MS-DOS Mobile app for Windows Phone. It’s just a shame so few people Why You Should Consider Switching To Windows Phone [Opinion] I want Windows Phone to succeed. The problem is persuading you Apple fanboys and Google droids to give Windows Phone a chance. Read More will be able to use it.

Motorola announced its own selfie stick called the Moto Selfie Stick [Broken URL Removed]. It isn’t actually real, but the video Motorola produced wonderfully parodies those pretentious ads made by technology companies who believe their products are about to change the world.

Sony unveiled PlayStation Flow, which lets you actually swim around in a real pool while playing the underwater sections of games such as The Last Of Us. Developed by the non-existent PlayStation Wearable Entertainment Technology (P-WET) group, PlayStation Flow was used to remind gamers about Project Morpheus Project Morpheus Vs. Oculus Rift, Unreal Engine 4, Flappy Bird Returns [Tech News Digest] Project Morpheus and Oculus Rift bring virtual reality back, Unreal Engine 4 debuts, Flappy Bird is returning, Firefox 28 drops Metro, Google Docs phishing, and Mongolia tries to ban swearing on the Web. Read More .


Google Fiber added a Dial-Up mode to its service, which turns down the speed on the superfast broadband until it resembles an old 56k modem. This, the video explains, gives you more time to read a book, ring your grandma, or meditate to the soothing sound of a modem starting up. Genius.

Google Maps killed everybody’s productivity for the day when it added the option to play Pac-Man in any location. This turns any town or city into a level of Pac-Man, with you collecting the dots while avoiding the ghosts. It’s every bit as fun to play as it was in the 1980s Pacmania: 4 Of The Best Pac-Man Clones Throughout History Would games even exist if Pacman had never existed? Maybe, maybe not, but it's impossible to deny that this game paved the way for arcade gaming and beyond. Read More .

Facebook Lets You Riff With Friends

Facebook has released a new app which fosters the creation of collaborative videos. Riff allows users to shoot a short video of up to 20 seconds in length based around a particular theme. Other friends can then add their efforts to the original clip, creating a longer, themed video.

In its most basic form, Riff could be used to create a video celebrating someone’s birthday, with a host of friends all contributing. There is also the opportunity for more creative ventures, and Riff could be an easy way of generating viral videos 20 of the Best Viral Videos of 2014 You Really Need to See In terms of online videos released in 2014, for every entirely forgettable damp squib there was a gem that stood out from the crowd. And here are just some of the latter. Read More based on a themed collection of clips.


Riff, developed by Facebook Creative Labs, is available to download now and on iOS.

The Chromebit Is Chrome OS on a Stick

Google has unveiled a host of new Chrome OS devices, including the Chromebit from ASUS. This is a Chrome OS computer on a stick, which can be plugged into any TV or monitor with an HDMI port. Details are a little thin on the ground, but Google is promising the ASUS Chromebit will launch this summer for less than $100.

ASUS is also releasing the Chromebook Flip, an ultra-portable Chromebook with an all-metal chassis, touchscreen, and tablet mode. The ASUS Chromebook Flip will be released later this spring for $249. There are also budget Chromebooks Chromebooks – Useful or Useless? My wife gave me a choice of gadgets for Christmas – a new MP3 player, or a Chromebook? Read More on the way from Haier and Hisense, both of which are priced at $149.

Amazon’s Dash Button Helps You Reorder

In a bizarre turn of events, Amazon launched a product everybody thought was an April Fools’ Day joke but turned out to be the real deal. The Amazon Dash Button is a small one-button device that, when activated, automatically orders whatever product it’s programmed to order.


This brings an even simpler method to Amazon Dash Apple Admits Failure, Android TV, Windows In The Car, Amazon Dash [Tech News Digest] Apple admits failure, Google works on Android TV, Microsoft wants Windows in your car, Amazon unveils Dash, Microsoft fixes Xbox One flaw, IFTTT for iPad, and every SNES start screen compiled into one epic video. Read More , which previously required shoppers to scan a product using a bizarre-looking wand device. And there are a host of branded Amazon Dash Buttons to choose from, including washing powder, toilet paper, coffee pods, dog food, and grooming products.

See, it sounds like an April Fools’ Day joke, but it actually isn’t. Which ensured Amazon lots of press coverage. Clever.

Sling TV Gets HBO Now… Soon

Dish is reported to be adding HBO Now to Sling TV in all but name, and before the start of Season 5 of Game of Thrones on April 12. Sling TV subscribers will be able to pay an extra $15-a-month to gain access to HBO content, including the aforementioned Game of Thrones 10 Intriguing Game of Thrones Fan Theories Read More .

This isn’t being referred to as HBO Now because Apple paid for exclusive access Apple Watch Finally Arrives, HBO Now Exclusive to iDevices [Tech News Digest] Apple Watch arrives, HBO Now exclusive, Google releases Android 5.1, Facebook kills Friendfeed, Gigaom is no more, and Samsung builds a Dream Doghouse. Read More to that service for the first three months. But it seems Apple only bought exclusivity for the name and not the content. Which is ever so slightly ridiculous.


Homeless People Read Mean Tweets

And finally, while it’s never nice to read nasty things said about you online, it must be a whole lot worse when you’re already down on your luck. Which is what makes this video for a Canadian homeless charity so powerful.

The video shows homeless people reading the mean things people have said about them on Twitter. And it’s hard not to feel ashamed on behalf of the people responsible. Twitter can be a phenomenally useful tool 7 Reasons Why You Should Be Using Twitter Twitter has now been with us for seven years and counting. This was seven years to the day since Jack Dorsey sent out the first tweet in 2006, at a time when the micro-blogging social... Read More , but unfortunately it can also be used to spout hatred. [H/T Reddit]

Your Views on Today’s Tech News

Have you got a better tech-related April Fools’ Day joke to share with us? Will Facebook Riff succeed or fail? Is the Amazon Dash Button absolute genius or absolutely bonkers?

Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.

Image Credit: Trev Grant via Flickr

Related topics: Facebook, Google, Google Chrome, MS-DOS, PlayStation 4, Windows Phone.

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  1. Sharukh
    April 5, 2015 at 9:35 am

    Why is every video is the same homeless video?

  2. Mihir
    April 2, 2015 at 11:59 pm

    Whatever other companies do,
    Google pretty much takes over the April Fools Day because you are definitely gonna use at least one Google product a day.