Rubber band ball grenades. They can be fun.
Guns? Check. Ammo? Check. Bloody squibs. Er no. Chainsaw? Oh, yes indeedy. Right, let’s have a jog around the office, maybe waste a few dudes. And do please keep the camera steady, will you? We want to make sure this gets on video. This is not, as you might imagine, a case of going postal at work or happy-slapping taken to …
The laptop I'm using now (Toshiba TE2100) needs to be either on a perfectly flat rigid surface, or pressed down in just the right spot, else the LCD backlight goes into disco-light mode (constantly flickering on/off).
Plus the screen hinge is gone, so it needs to be propped up like a modern Microsoft wannabe laptop.
Still, it works, it has features the modern laptops don't have (apart from "character"), and does the job for basic web browsing… or running a node on an emergency communications packet network.
> In an office full of software engineers you just see people appearing to be in some sort of totally immersive gaming experience.
We found that this behaviour caused all sorts of problems as people don't talk to each other. On the other hand sticking a set of headphones onto a staff member and letting them become one with the code can be fantastically productive.
So some unsung genius came up with the "office intercom". It's a rubber doggy chew toy.
The way it works is simplicity itself; when you need to speak to someone you launch it at their head from across the office. Not only do you get the attention of that person, you also get to hone your reflexes dodging the thing coming back the other way at twice the speed. You often get to learn interesting new swear words too.
Ah but in my old BP UK days we improved massively with the simple use of interconnected tables and X Wing V Tie Fighter. No headphones, just two teams (natch!) and full use of 'shout across the room' intercom technology.
Trying to get your wingmen to help in a sneak attack on an enemy ship called for truly inventive language when said enemy was sat next to you.
Ah, happy days
"My only criticism of the show is that it’s apparent none of the performers have worked in a real office. The backing soundtrack of typewriters and dot-matrix printers was a giveaway, and at one point they slap their malfunctioning LCD displays to try get them to work." -- I had a LCD monitor that bleached to white every so often, one quick and deliberate slap on the top right corner (from behind) was enough to restore normality.
Make a ball of parcel tape (requires a considerable amount). Any straight thing will do as a bat. Use one or two handed depending on length of straight thing. Devise rough rules and a rougher boundary. Play. Under no circumstances use a real cricket ball - unless company bust and you've all been laid off.
Used to work in an office with polished wooden-effect flooring, and all the chairs have wheels.
When the traders would get bored on a friday afternoon they'd wander round, grab one of the guys by the back of his chair, and whizz him down the length of the office, in between everyone's desks.
I never got 'curl'ed, my job was to man the brush, furiously scrubbing ahead of my speeding coleague, trying to steer them in a straight line and not piling in to the back of someone elses chair.
my current place of employment has carpets. can't get up any kind of speed or distanceon carpet :(
Even though it was full of computers the desks were those lab bench type things with thin metal legs bolted to the (polished wood) floor. So you self launched on your 5-point caster chair down one aisle by grabbing one table leg and one bookcase and then had to handle the cornering force to do a right angle turn off the last table leg into the second aisle. Points awarded for accuracy of the right angle turn and speed with which you hit the cupboard at the end of the second aisle (which obviously required you to have achieved a reasonably accurate turn).
Oh Boy. I'd forgotten Islington.
On a contract for a new meeja company in the late 90s. We had an entire floor of the building, all polished wood floorboards, open plan, with a half wall separating out the little chill out area (where they kept the Nerf guns, Casio keyboards and drum machine). Come downtime, we played wheelie chair polo with a huge (1M+) plastic ball.
I had a nice 7 leg wheelie chair that could reach speeds of "OMFG!" and still remain stable enough for me to pay attention to the game.
Sometimes I wonder why so many web and new media companies from the 90s failed. Then I remember what we used to do all day and the question answers itself.
Another favourite: There are a lot of enviro-loony types where I work who are forever putting up posters about getting to work more efficiently by cutting down on red meat or some such rubbish. So the local sport is writing spoof posters. My favourite so far spoofed a poster touting the fuel savings of car-sharing:
"Remember when petrol was 40p per litre? Well it still can be at Honest John's Fuel Emporium!
* Diesel in designer colours, red *and* black!
* All fuels fully comply with ISO 3082!
* Fully investigated by HMRC - three times in three years!"
and other similar foolishness.
Another favourite on a friday afternoon was the Smarties Race.
Occured most often in the weeks around the Grand National.
As the youth in the office i was dispatched to the nearest sweet shop to purchase two tubes of Smarties.
Then we'd all put in our quid and pick a colour.
Once all the bets were in and more importantly, everyone had put their quid down on the desk, then the first tube would be opened and the first Smartie would be taken out, and it's colour tallied down on a notepad.
After two tubes, the colour that had occured the most won the pot of quids, and possibly the big pile of Smarties too.
Looking back, we used to get REALLY bored in that office and found anything a worthy distraction...
we had a bunch of nerf weapons, from 6 shooters to air powered multi launchers...
we also had a couple of sniper rifles and 2 chain guns, I modded my chain gun with increased rates of fire...
it was all hilarious and good fun, even managed to chase the owner of the company around, all the cool people knew it was us and enjoyed the fun, no one got hurt.
then the real boss found out... (the ceo)
all toys were prohibited
and we were meant to be one of those cool tech companies too
now we have grey drab cube hell and the cubes are expanding and taking over the place, like the grey goo death of the world...
Many years back I used to run the IT and engineering function of a small SUN microsystems and RS/6000 reseller and support services company (read, it was so small - it was just me and two others in said function). Having the run of the packing department and warehouse, I and a my colleagues used to pass the time seeing who could make the biggest sticky ball out of packing tape and then seeing who could launch it the farthest down the warehouse.
Pointless - yes; waste of work time - definately; prizes - none that I can remember.
That's about as far as my office shinanigans stretch I'm afraid.
And when I tried it at an investment bank, the VP of IT frowned menacingly at me and so I never did it again.
It does seem that the good ol' days when the director would dress up as a chicken and hand out easter eggs have well and truly gone away, and things get boringer and boringer every passing year. Sigh.
Nah, not more boring, you are just getting older and (possibly) more sensible.
There will come a time when you look back at some of the things you did in your childhood/adolescence/young person times and just shudder as you say to yourself, did I really do that <insert totally crazy thing here>?
For example, Playing leapfrog on the bollards on Googe St two days after one's wrist has come out of plaster after breaking it playing Rugby. I was glad that the Middlesex Hospital was just down the st. Needless to say, this was after a Friday evening drinking 6x in the Union bar on Bolsover St. Circa 1973
I agree. I doubt that any nurses these days would dress one of them up in a scary costume and then put them in a bed with another "specialling" them. At handover, a suitably odd report on the new patient would be given, and then, when the new "specialler" took over, the "patient" would do something ... unusual.
I loved psychiatric nursing!
I've slapped a CRT display many a time in order to provoke the computer to be more cooperative. It isn't about moving parts, which - if you don't count electrons - visual displays haven't had since Baird's first models. It's about conveying a tone of contemptuous mastery over mere bloody machines when they turn bolshy, machines which are easily portable and so can be taken to the nearest stairwell or even the firetower should the intransigence continue unabated so watch it you bloody little box of bits.
The only reason not to do this to flat panel displays is that they are made of the cheapest tat and will cease to function after a good punch, slap or karate chop. These days one must be satisfied with merely giving the tower case a good kick in the front panel. This is where the term "booting the OS" comes from of course.
"I've slapped a CRT display many a time in order to provoke the computer to be more cooperative."
I carved a half-size baseball bat shaped club, out of leftover foam from some large equipment that came in earlier that week. Really useful for throwing full arm force and bashing the CRT monitor (it was some time back) without actually killing it.
I don't know if it convinced the computer to be more cooperative, but at least it made me feel better.
That said, one day when the club wasn't within reach, but a sticky key on a cheap keyboard and a screwdriver was within reach, I left a phillips-style indent in the ESC key.
For several years afterwards, I was known as "Mr Screwdriver Through The Keyboard".
And yes, if you're wondering, the ESC key *did* behave afterwards...
Anyone who has visited Legal & General in Kingswood will see how the building would fit so well into a Quake map..... well we did it, complete with various managers in there as the monsters to be destroyed! Amazing what you can use as a 'network load testing' tool. I'm sure I still have a copy of the map somewhere if I can just find a 3 1/2" drive to load it with.....
I'll remain AC for obvious reasons but I love to amuse my colleagues by playing at Animal Charades.
Basically they are sitting shit bored in front of their screens and I arrive from my office door in various postures/positions/etc :
They have to guess the animal
Arm extended above head, using my hand to sniff around - I am a Giraffe.
Arm hanging down low, bent back etc - I am an elephant
Ok you get the idea.
It gets interesting with the more exotic animals, crocodiles, aardvarc, snails etc
We are a small team and I am the most senior person on our floor so it's not usuallly a problem but should a boss or a client walk in...........
In my old office everyone was armed with a Duzi rubberband machine gun and a minimum or three spare, loaded barrels. With a bit of care you could get on the order of a hundred band on each and be pretty confident they wouldn't jam at some point.
Or helldesk guy was the proof of concept target of opportunity for a three-gun ambush one day that resulted in him being entirely covered in rubber bands as he tried to walk someone through their first Powerpoint document.
The Duzi people are out of business, but an almost identical design made of wood is being kicked as I type.
Office cricket.. old poster tube for the bat and newspaper wrapped in packing tape for the ball (saves on tape and time).
Then I got thinking...
"Kidnapping" the supervisors shopping and leaving ransom notes. Blu-tacking her shows to the ceiling, Filling her folding, telescopic umbrella with paper clips, safe in the knowledge that, when she pressed the button to deploy, she would have a pretty silver shower, all of her own. She never saw it that way. Not sure how I kept a straight face as she showed her bus pass to the driver, not noticing the half post-it note stuck over her photo, complete with a less-than-flattering drawing of her. Having races to see who could get an elastic band in each of the pigeon holes in the post room. Oh yes, I always won that one. At Christmas time, there was always bending paperclips in half, exposing the two points, and taking out balloons by firing from an elastic band between finger and thumb.
Bloody hell, the office is boring now.
Some bright spark in our Marketing team had the great idea of handing out branded stress balls to everyone. Needless to say the ones in the IT dept ended up flying round the office whacking people on the back of the head when they weren't expecting it. This only lasted a short time as a fair amount of coffee was ending up on the all over the place and the balls were confiscated.
We've also had competitions firing toy dart guns at whiteboards (with a target drawn on) while blindfolded.
Well back in the day it was superglueing a stack of AOL CD's together to make a rather nice office hockey puck.
The second liners used to play Black Jack to see who had to do "The Call From Hell" that day.
Wrapping EVERYTING on someone's desk (inc. monitors, mice, fans, pens, everything) in newspaper before they came in. Filling umbrellas with holepunch clippings, removing the balls from the mice (yeah that old), moving all the wireless mice to different peoples desks.
Then we discovered low powered Airsoft guns (not the high power ones, we discovered they break LCD's :/ ), oh the fun of datacenter battles.
The dev team I work on was recently re-homed in a separate building. Our portion of the office was a huge open plan space that we barely made a dent on.... last Christmas myself and a colleague set up our scalextric for a two or three days .... it was a huge four lane digital setup that enabled up to six of us to race at any one time, the others were "marshaling"
The circuit was as close to Silverstone as we couldl make it
This was exciting only in the aftermath. Many years ago when I was a lowly midnight shift computer operator at a bank, the four of us on duty would fill some of the empty time by tossing round tape canister lids around the computer room like Frisbee discs. We did this, anyway, until I skipped a lid off the top of the 2540 card reader/punch after which it sailed into the big POWER OFF button on the front panel of the IBM 360/40 that was most of the way through the nightly 6-hour demand deposit account update batch run. We did recover by deadline, but just barely.
Wasn't so much into that stuff, office pranks were more my thing...
1) Screenshot someone's desktop, move the desktop contents somewhere else and set the screenshot as their desktop.
This is a great one for those (l)users who think they know it all.
2) Swap out their keyboard for one with keys rearranged or otherwise mucked about with. A favorite was to see how many swear words you could spell with the available letter keys.
3) Back in the Quake days, when we had our Friday afternoon LAN game of quake, we doctored the client of the managers to have a super hi-viz skin as they were all camping bastards. They never twigged this one, because when you saw your own body on the ground, you always saw the default skin.
4) Seeing how gullible the management / marketing bods were.
We once convinced them that we had developed "Double sided sprite technology".
5) Plug a second mouse into a colleague's PC (Preferably a wireless receiver inside the machine connected to an unused front panel header on the motherboard). Move very slightly every so often.
Back in the days of Windows 3.1, one smart-ass user decided to play tricks with a colleague, and changed her screen saver. During the middle of a phone call, Marquee kicked in with a message nobody ever wants to see... "HARD DRIVE FAILURE PLEASE CONTACT CHRIS FOR ASSISTANCE".
I heard the scream from the other end of the corridor, and the boss-man sent me to investigate. After getting the lady to calm down, I worked who the perp was - okay pal, two can play at that game, and I'm MUCH better at it than you...
The offender switched on his PC after lunch, and discovered that his desktop theme was Barbie Pink. We're talking glow-in-the-dark, nuclear pink, no pastel shades or anything that subtle. And I'd done the whole [don't load] thing in CONTROL.INI so he couldn't change it back.
Imagine the scene: Someone has VIOLATED your desktop in the worst way imaginable, and the Control Panel is completely devoid of icons so you can't fix it...
I heard THAT scream from the other side of the building, but I made him wait until the end of the day before normality was restored.
in a city far far away, two floors underground in the dead files archive: switching off the lights and hunting each other in the pitch black, with 200x15mm rubber bands, in the maze of shelving and collapsing piles of old patient notes. Some preferred the silence of an ambush while others crept up on their prey. Either way you could smell the fear.
Those things are bloody lethal. Don't whatever you do hit the suspended ceiling tiles, unless you want the evidence of your tomfoolery stuck in polystyrene foam, ten feet up.
In less office-like environments, a little pallet wrap can go a long way. Clear across the warehouse in fact, when bunched up into a ball. As for the end-caps from cardboard tubes, those make rather lovely impromptu frisbees.
And oh, the fun you can have with a pump truck, PPT or LLOP, and a wet floor. Dangerous, but fun.
Easy way to make games of football, volleyball etc.
I can still remember the look on the regional managers face when he came in on six of us playing volleyball between racks of E-Machine PCs and Nvidia FX GPUs.
Ah, working at PC World - where you are indoctrinated to not give a toss by piss poor management...
When I worked at an IT training company many many years ago, we used to have a monthly Quake tournament - the boss would raid petty cash and send someone to the offy down the road to pick up as much discount alcohol as they could lay their hands on, 2 or 3 hours of male -vs- female, secretaries -vs- managers, and various gimmick matches made more lively by piles of free hobo-booze, strategic pulling of network cables, flinging of projectiles and copious swearing.
It's always a mistake for a company to introduce self branded round objects for publicity! you know the kind of things I mean, Company branded mouse Mats and stress balls have both played a huge part in the 'fun' moments of my career!!!
I worked for a Dot-com boomer who introduced bright orange stress balls to give away at InfoSec. Some fool left a couple of sacks in the Office and soon the (rather brilliant) coders, all full of mighty brains and PHds etc, were squeezing away as they rocked back and forth deep in C++ thoughts.
Off course, in true BOFH style, when the sys-admin dept were given cubicles on the same floor, it wasn't long before resistance broke down and a pre-emptive strike was launched on one guy seen to shut his eyes just a little longer than one would while working on an issue---yes he had dozed off!!
This was a bad move when every dev had half a dozen stress balls on their desk and 'one up the spout' ie in the hand, within a moment there was mayhem!!! 20 straight laced super boffin coders acted as one and sysadmin were pinned down!!! still, we had our own sack full waiting ;-) what a day!!!
Then there was the time that only 15 years later I can look back on and smile!
I ran a large config lab in the City in charge of building tons of kit, and being a terrible Manager I occasionally joined in the war of the mouse mats. These were round, hard and flew with incredible speed.
I still remember the feelings of joy as I launched a good 30 yarder at an assailant who had just twonked me on the head with a well aimed shot, then the feelings of fear as he ducked!!
It felt like time slowed as I watched my missile head inexorably straight towards the red 'Break Glass' fire alarm button behind him!! Brain to self-'No WAY could I hit that.....'
I can't remember the excuse I gave to the CEO as 550 people sauntered out onto City Rd but I am sure it was top grade BOFH stuff!!!.................Legend!!!!!
One colleague received a Syma S107 Remote Control Helicopter for Christmas. After his wife got sick of the constant whirring of the rotas all day, he brought it into the office.
The same day, the whole department ordered one each and kamakarzi dogfights were the norm on a Friday afternoon.
Obstacle courses are now also commonplace and usually include a Dyson Airblade or two.
I worked a contract at a large infrastructure b2b specialist in hammersmith, and it was the most fantastic place to work ever. So much so that despite the pain of a commute from sussex daily, I took 3 extensions.
NERF darts were already de rigeur to prevent people wanting to kill the awkward head of security for doing his job, and I quickly armed up. By the end of my stint I was the possessor of a NERF ballzooker with 18 shot capability, a nerf gattling gun that did hundreds of darts in a few seconds, screaming whistling darts and other handy semi offensive tools. But, it was a calm and great place to work, we got the frustration out and had a laugh. I thought nothing of working till midnight to get something sorted and you could always find someone in each office block beavering away in the peaceful hours after the beancounters had left for the day.
Now I have a 9 year old son and he pours over the nerf catalogues wishing he could afford the latest kit, and secretly Im wishing I could work in a fun enough environment again to need them and occasionally we revert and have a nerf battle at home. I have often said to my wife that'd I'd take a pay cut for a job like that again, she always describes it as the role I compare everything else since to, and find everything else lacking compared to it. Sadly Ive now risen in the expertise ranks so much I have to be a stuffy boring git , sorry, corporate, but one day I'll just say sod the money, and be a web monkey at a fun shop and have a giggle...
Posting anon, because until I find that new role...
Oh the joys of being an AD admin, making a little OU here and their, adding a lovingly tailored GPO to it and dumping your mates computer and user accounts into it!
The next day when he boots his laptop to discover the startup theme is the entire Magic Roundabout theme tune, then enters a world of nightmares when he discovers everything has moved, changed, or just isn't there any more.
Ah such evil delights :)
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