School’s out Friday

Yes, it is April the 1st. Yes, this is one of Google’s April Fool’s day pranks.

Surprisingly, it doesn’t look as ridiculous to me as does the image below taken of an audience wearing the Oculus Rift headset.

Oculus rift

It’s probably best summed up by this comment from Matthew Humphries;

Almost like intensive farming, only with humans hooked into a virtual world.

Unfortunately, reality, not an April Fool’s Day joke.

I don’t know about you, but I just can’t see this catching on to the extent that some of the pundits are suggesting. I certainly don’t want to be restrained in a headset device like this to experience virtual reality. Call me old fashioned, but give me unrestrained real world experiences any day of the week.

Enjoy the weekend. Head outdoors, appreciate the world we live in, headset free. 😉

School’s out Friday

Did you notice the date? If you didn’t, and you happened to stumble over the above video contained on this page, then I think you might be attempting to compose your mail in a very kinesthetic way by now. You might also be wondering how they managed to collate a top 5 list of viral YouTube pictures from 2011.

Google have been up to their April Fool’s day tricks again, something they are noted for. Here’s my favourite from this year’s batch;

Here’s the job description, as outlined on one of Google’s job pages;

The role: Autocompleter

Are you passionate about helping people? Are you intuitive? Do you often feel like you know what your friends and family are thinking and can finish their thoughts before they can? Are you an incredibly fast Google searcher? Like, so fast that you can do 20 searches before your mom does 1?

Every day people start typing more than a billion searches on Google and expect Google to predict what they are looking for. In order to do this at scale, we need your help.

Google’s quality team is looking for talented, motivated, opinionated technologists to help us predict what users are looking for. If you’re eager to improve the search experience for millions of people and have a proven track record of excellence, this is a project for you!

As a Google Autocompleter, you’ll be expected to successfully guess a user’s intention as he or she starts typing instantly. In a fraction of a second, you’ll need to type in your prediction that will be added to the list of suggestions given by Google. Don’t worry, after a few million predictions you’ll grow the required reflexes.


  • Watch anonymized search queries as they come in to Google.
  • Predict and type completions based on your personal experience and intuition.
  • Suggest spelling corrections when relevant.
  • Keep updated with query trends and offer fresh suggestions.


  • Excellent knowledge of English and at least one other language.
  • Excellent knowledge of grammatical rules (e.g. parts of speech, parsing).
  • Understanding of the search engine space.
  • Proven web search experience.
  • Good typing skills (at least 32,000 WPM).
  • Willingness to travel (in order to provide local autocompletions) or relocate to obscure places like Nauru and Tuvalu to develop knowledge of local news and trends.
  • Certificate in psychic reading strongly preferred: palm, tarot, hypnosis, astrology, numerology, runes and/or auras.

If you want to see evidence of what they’ve done in past years, check out this page where they’ve collected some of their efforts in years gone by.

I’m heading to Sydney over the weekend for the CCA-Educause Conference. Its focus is Higher Education, and I’m going to see what the thinking is so that I can gauge how we best prepare our students for the environments they will experience in their post secondary school life. There is a library strand for the conference, and I’ll be listening intently to discussions surrounding the future of libraries and the integration of ebooks and new devices.

I hope your weekend treats you well. Have fun. : )


School’s out Friday

Yesterday was April Fool’s Day. And yes, I fell prey to Paul Bogush’s tweet about Twitter accounts being charged for from August, and my clever daughter who had the foresight to purchase fake scratchies, that when scratched, said we’d won $10,000. My son ran around the house in a state of frenzied excitement anticipating all manner of things he could buy, until faced with the realisation that it was all an April Fool’s Day joke.

It made me think of one of the first uses of mass media to pull off a great April Fool’s Day prank. Above is the original video of the Panorama program’s Spaghetti tree segment, that led to thousands of British viewers phoning the BBC asking how they could grow their own spaghetti tree. Their reply, ‘Place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best’. (You’ll have to visit the link to the video on YouTube – they’ve disabled embedding. Thanks Darcy Moore for alerting me to this. : ) )

It’s Good Friday today. Enjoy a Hot Cross Bun or two and spend some quality time with family and friends. The weekend ahead will see me working on presentations for the ACEC Conference, adding my thoughts to Students 2.0 and hosting family for Easter celebrations on Sunday. Sounds a tad busy really!