A Story of Easter, Eggs and Geeks

First things first, Happy Easter to one and all, and hope you have a good celebration today. One of the oldest and famous traditions of Easter is of course Easter Eggs, and the idea of Parents hiding the easter eggs for the kids to find it was just something that kinda makes Easter fun for the kids. Dont get me wrong Christmas is still my favourite christian festival. Well what is Easter Eggs doing in a tech blog ? Well, we geeks have a good sense of humour and patience to include all things around us into geeky versions of them. I am talking about Software Eggs, or hidden pieces of code or functionality that shows up when you look for it in a software. If that was confusing then I guess you can check out the definition in Wikipedia:

A virtual Easter egg is an intentional hidden message, in-joke or feature in an object such as a movie, book, CD, DVD, computer program, web page or video game. The term was coined—according to Warren Robinett—by Atari after they were pointed to the secret message left by Robinett in the game Adventure. It draws a parallel with the custom of the Easter egg hunt observed in many Western nations as well as the last Russian imperial family’s tradition of giving elaborately jeweled egg-shaped creations by Carl Fabergé which contained hidden surprises.

Well hoping that is clear I would like to point out some cool Easter Eggs in popular software such you can go out on your own Easter Egg trail. Well these were actually by lifeHacker, I am just reposting for people who might not have had the chance to check it out there.

10. Firefox Book of Mozilla Easter Egg

How to find it: In all versions of Firefox, in the address bar, type about:mozilla.
What you get: A quote from the “Book of Mozilla” about the birth of Firefox.

9. Internet Explorer 6/7 credits

How to find it: Using Internet Explorer 7 (not IE6 or the IE8 beta), typejavascript:window.name=”TheWCEE”;location.href=”res://shdoclc.dll/wcee.htm”into the address bar.
What you get: A hidden page of IE developer credits.

8. Firefox Kitchen Sink

In Firefox 2 and higher, type about kitchensink (no colon in there, unlike about:mozilla!). Update: A commenter points out that this is Google’s “I’m Feeling Lucky” search in action, not an Easter egg at all. Our bad!
What you get: An automatic redirect to an animated, ASCII art kitchen sink.

7. Google Earth 4.2 Flight Simulator

How to find it: Launch the latest version 4.2 of Google Earth (free download) and hit Ctrl+Alt+A (Mac users: Cmd+Opt+A.)
What you get: A full-on flight simulator that lets you choose an airport, plane type, and lets you fly inside Google Earth. It is fun but it’s not easy; here’s more on how to navigate in flight in Google Earth.

6. OpenOffice.org Calc Tic-Tac-Toe and Space Invaders Games (also works in NeoOffice on the Mac!)

How to find it: Using OpenOffice.org’s Calc spreadsheet program, type=GAME(A2:C4;”TicTacToe”) into any cell.
What you get: A game of Tic-Tac-Toe! For Space Invaders, type =GAME(“StarWars”). Here are more OpenOffice.org Easter eggs.

5. Emacs Therapist

How to find it: In the Mac Terminal (or at any command line), type emacs, hit Enter, press Escape, type “xdoctor” (no quotes).
What you get: An interactive dialogue with a shrink named Eliza. To get out of it, hit Control+X Control+C.

4. Minesweeper Reveal Mines Cheat

(Note: Technically, this is more a cheat than an egg.)
How to find it: In Minesweeper, type “xyzzy.” Then press Shift+Enter.
What you get: A single pixel on the upper-left hand corner of your monitor will turn black when you mouse over a block that contains a mine. Get the high score on the family computer! (Note: several people report that this cheat works on Windows XP with SP2, but those with widescreen monitors like myself might have trouble. Let us know if it works for you in the comments.)

3. Excel 97 Flight Simulator

How to find it: This one’s an oldie but a goodie. Using Excel 97 (doesn’t work in later versions), create a new worksheet, and press F5. Type “X97:L97” and press Enter. Press the Tab key, hold down Ctrl and Shift, and left-click the Chart Wizard toolbar icon.
What you get: Launched into a nifty flight simulator that glides you over the surface of a planet (the moon?) and shows you Excel developer credits. (I don’t have a copy of Excel 97 any more, but definitely got this puppy to work back in the day.) Thanks to EggHeaven for reminding us of the steps to get there.

2. Picasa Teddy Bears

How to find it: In Picasa, press Ctrl+Shift+Y.
What you get: Your photo library taken over by teddy bears! Keep hitting the key combo to add more bears. Update:Apparently this is one of the Picasa programmer’s teddies, named Thomas. Thanks, telekinetyk! [via PC

1. uTorrent Tetris

How to find it: In uTorrent, go to the Help menu and choose “About uTorrent.” Press the letter T.
What you get: A game of Tetris while you wait for your download to complete. Thanks, computer joe!

Thanks to EggHeaven for tipping us off to many of these eggs. You can also head out to http://www.eeggs.com/ and find more for yourself.


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