April Fools’ Roundup: Conan Buys Mashable, Mitt Romney Gets Punked, and Google Has Its Fun

An "Etch A Sketch " is for sale at FAO Schwarz in New York City on March 22, 2012. French electrician Andr? Cassagnes created the toy in the late 1950s as the "L'Ecran Magique," and with the Ohio Art Company launched it in the US on July 12, 1960. The iconic toy has found its way to US presidential politics. Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney received backing from major Republican figures March 21 after a big win in Illinois, but an aide's gaffe reinforced qualms about his campaign. Asked on CNN whether the primary had pushed Romney too far to the right for general election voters, advisor Eric Fehrnstrom said "I think you hit a reset button for the fall campaign. Everything changes." "It's almost like an Etch A Sketch. You can kind of shake it up and restart all over again." AFP PHOTO / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
And no Etch a Sketch pranks? Photo: TIMOTHY A. CLARY/2012 AFP

Another April Fools' Day has come and (mostly) gone and, as usual, more people participated in the ritual than you'd expect: Mitt Romney was introduced by congressman Paul Ryan to a Wisconsin "rally" that turned out to be an empty basement ballroom. ("We didn't get much of a turnout this morning," his aides had joked.) Keith Olbermann was named CEO of hip hop website GlobalGrind for all of, oh, zero seconds. ("We dream, we dream…" sighed the post's author.) Below, a roundup of some additional — somehow even nerdier — pranks: 

  • Sony unveiled the VAIO Q laptop, so named because it's the size of a quarter.
  • Google introduced a Morse code keyboard, with just a dot and a dash key, as well as Chrome Multitask Mode, where you can use as many cursors as there are mice hooked up to your computer — you could, for instance, send two Morse code e-mails at once. Game changer! It also brought Google Maps into the early years of Nintendo, with an 8-bit makeover that included, as some Reddit users found, "an 8-bit rendition of the Parthenon in Greece and Area 51, complete with a UFO abducting a cow." 
  • YouTube announced it would offer the "complete YouTube experience offline." Apparently, it would take 175 trucks to hold the DVD equivalent of every video uploaded to the site since its 2005 launch, which sounds like a pretty low number to us.