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Easter Egg Hunt

Photo Credit :

screen with the hidden tribute

Come Easter and us children would get really excited. After all, this was the time for the Easter Egg Hunt. We would go looking all over the place for huge sugar-laced eggs, filled with chocolates or sweets, that would be hidden by our elders. We would jump with joy on finding one, and then go on to look for more before anybody else found them.

That was long, long ago. The definition of Easter Eggs, for me, has changed since. Wikipedia now defines it like this. “An Easter egg is an intentional hidden message, joke or feature in an object such as a movie, book, CD, DVD, computer program, web page or video game.…” Most think of software programmers as serious geeks with no sense of humour. On the contrary, these coders have great jokes up their sleeves.

My first experience of a digital Easter Egg was when I wrote “Bill Clinton” in Microsoft Word 97 and accidentally pressed Shift—F7. Much to my shock the UK English Thesaurus dialogue box came up on the screen with the synonym “I would like to see her naked”. This was at the height of the Monica Lewinksy scandal. To get this joke you must set your language setting in Word 97 to UK English. Go to Tools—Language and select UK English. It works in other ways too. If you type in “I’d like to see her naked” and press Shift—F7 you will get “I’ll drink to that”. Go ahead and write: “I’d like to see Bill Gates dead” or “I’d like to see Bill Clinton resign” and see what you get.

Here is another one that works in almost all versions of Word. Just type “=rand(5,10)” (without the quotes, of course) and press Enter. You will get 10 paragraphs with five sentences each. Another trick that you could try: open Word and type anything. Now select whatever you have written and press Control—Alt—+. Watch the cursor change. I won’t tell into what.

Let’s move from Word to the browser Firefox. Type in about:mozilla in the address bar and just behold what you see. Or type in about:robots and be prepared to be welcomed by machines speaking words of wisdom.

Now a truly great one. Open Notepad and type “Bush hid the facts” (without the quotes). Save it with any filename with a .txt extension. Now open the file. It’s obvious where most Microsoft coders come from. But this trick works on Windows XP, not on Vista.

Over the years Photoshop has given us great Easter Eggs. To get the hidden About screen in Photoshop CS3 Extended version, hold down the Control key select the Help—About Photoshop. This will open up the Adobe Red Pill about screen instead of the usual blue Photoshop about screen.

Finding the Cat: Hidden in the pill, on the right side is a faint impression of the Photoshop cat (a long time Photoshop Easter Egg).

Finding the hidden tribute: Take a screenshot of this About screen (press Print Screen), and close the About screen. Now open a new document and select the Edit—Paste. A copy of the screen will appear in the document (you can now zoom in on the pill for a better look the cat).

With this image active select the Image—Adjustments—Equalize menu option. A face will appear on the left of the About screen in the document, under which is written “Bruce Fraser 1954-2006”, along with a series of cat paw prints to the right.

Bruce was a regular collaborator with the Photoshop team, a well known photographer and author of the Real World series of Photoshop help books. He died on December 16, 2006.

Funny quotes: In the menu, click Help, and then About Photoshop. Now click just above the top line of credits near the name “Seetharaman”. If you don’t click in a specific area above the first line the credits will disappear. If the screen remains after clicking, you'll be able to see the quotes. When the last person is thanked, the funny quotes will appear! You can speed your way to the quotes by holding the Alt key in Windows or Option key in Mac after the credits begin scrolling.

The Best
There are many other Easter Eggs in various programs. For example you can cheat and win Solitaire by pressing simultaneously Alt—Shift and 2. But the best is this one. Navigate to Make sure the speakers are on. Click on the dot under the exclamation mark of the masthead Yahoo!. Enjoy.

Send in your computer-related problems to 'askdoss at abpmail dot com'. The solutions will appear soon.