Confessions of a Prankster
I wanted to get a jump on April Fool's Day, partially because of the long, cold winter blues, and partly because of a remark an associate made about me while in a group meeting. I won't go into the details, but the outcome was that, as I walked away from a gathering, I was determined to find a way to get my message across to that certain individual who has a habit of just not listening. It took a few days to come up with a good idea, but I settled on a harmless prank; I would re-do his audio associations in Windows. It's really easy to do, and would only take a few minutes, but I needed to prepare!
There are over 40 separate actions in Windows XP to which you can associate sounds; some of them are traditionally left blank because they are so frequently called by other programs. I had to figure out which ones would be the most obnoxious, so I tested and found several that were particularly annoying. I didn't want to alert this person too early to my plan, so I left the Windows login and startup sounds alone. I decided to do some short, non-human sounds and some very long, obnoxious sound bites as well. Of course, I didn't want to use my own voice, so out came Avnex's Voice Changer 4.0 Diamond software, which is perfect for a project such as this, as you, can practice on the fly effects and filters in a duplex mode, then turn off the duplex and make the recording. I chose to imitate a few sounds; creaky doors, explosions, car noises, etc., and ran them all through several filters until they were both obnoxious and unrecognizable. Then I found a long quote online about what a 'friend' is, and recorded several versions until I had a reasonably clear and reasonably non-identifiable version. I amassed my files on a USB memory stick and went to bed smiling.
Next day I knew this person would be in a long, early morning meeting; I waited and then went to their pc, slapped in the USB, transferred the files to a directory which I created deep inside the windows sub-directories, where no one ever goes anymore. Then
I quickly called up the sounds tab from the sounds and audio devices window, associated over 30 files with my new sounds and finally associated the 'friends' quote, which ran almost three minutes, to the Windows log off and Windows exit commands. I was feeling so pleased with myself as I returned to my desk, when I realized I had left the USB device in their pc! I hurried back to retrieve it, and just managed to pull it out and disappear around a corner before they returned to their pc. I took a devious route back to my own desk, and sat there hyperventilating for a few minutes.
I didn't have to wait very long before I could hear laughter coming from that general direction; since others were headed that way, I tagged along with a small group and arrived to the sound of what can best be described as a cross between a dieing cow and an exploding car. I knew that some people in the crowd were savvy enough to know what had happened and/or how to fix it, but currently no one was offering any help. I also knew that this person had no idea of what was going on, and no clue of how to remedy it. Perfect. I listened to a few humorous comments and the agitated retorts they provoked; then one or two people wandered away, and so I took my cue from that and walked back to my desk, using all my strength to keep from howling out loud in laughter. A stopgap solution was found; they simply muted the sound. That was fine with me, and so far, to this very day, that pc is running without benefit of sound; that is, in the morning anyway, I have so far been able to un-mute the sound on most days. I'm so bad. And I promise if this person ever figures out why they are suffering this sound attack, I'll help to solve the problem; if they ever start behaving well in groups, I'll fix it without even saying why. So far, while the payback part is working, the problem has not been solved, and so I am wondering if a more direct approach, like asking to talk about the issue openly with this person would have been a better approach... we may never know!
BIO: Wayne Rice is a freelance journalist, copywriter, photographer and artist. He currently resides in the United States.
Related Tags: audio morph, audio recording, audio prank, sound associations, windows sounds, duplex recording
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