Breaking News
Comments
zeeglen
User Rank
Blogger
re: EE Times EE Life Practical Jokes: How to shut the sales guy up
zeeglen   1/17/2011 8:23:45 PM
NO RATINGS
Good practical joke! Poor Tom, he was just trying to learn the new products in his own way. Reminds me of a Popular Electronics magazine construction article back in the 1960's called the "Panic Button". If a victim pushed the button the resulting sound made him he wished he hadn't. A version of this was used on a Candid Camera episode. Also reminds me of a retail store I once worked in. Often this guy would come in, head over to the CB radio display, grab mics, and holler "Breaker, Breaker!" A new product called a "Foghorn/Loudhailer" became available, had a PTT (push-to-talk) mic, a powerful audio amplifier about 20 watts IIRC, and a trumpet speaker, was intended for use on boats. We set it up on a display shelf, powered, speaker pointing at the customer, and with the mic gain set to max. When that guy spotted it he keyed the mic but did not get a chance to holler "Breaker!". Instead the acoustic feedback through that trumpet speaker blasted him. After that he left the mics alone.

Stargzer
User Rank
Rookie
re: EE Times EE Life Practical Jokes: How to shut the sales guy up
Stargzer   1/21/2011 8:57:49 PM
NO RATINGS
I remember that Panic Alarm (I was a mere child back then) and may still have the issue somewhere in the basement! As I recall it had a neon lamp relaxation oscillator for the sound and a tube (50C5) as the amplifier, and a standard base red light bulb to attract the innocent. You had to poke a paper clip through a hole in the case to hit the off switch.

zeeglen
User Rank
Blogger
re: EE Times EE Life Practical Jokes: How to shut the sales guy up
zeeglen   1/21/2011 10:26:44 PM
NO RATINGS
Good memory, Stargzer! Would have been about 1964 or 1965. There were 2 neon relaxation oscillators, one was audio frequency and was modulated by the other at about 1 Hz to produce a siren effect. I was a young teen at the time too, and learned a lot from building this toy.

Sheetal.Pandey
User Rank
Manager
re: EE Times EE Life Practical Jokes: How to shut the sales guy up
Sheetal.Pandey   1/18/2011 4:42:15 AM
NO RATINGS
sometimes you got to do these kind of things to keep interrupting factors away. But unfortunately you cannot do this on few guys who tend to get offensive. Tom learnt his lesson thats good.

camote
User Rank
Rookie
re: EE Times EE Life Practical Jokes: How to shut the sales guy up
camote   3/29/2013 7:09:02 PM
NO RATINGS
It is what I call NMI: non-maskable-interrupt...aarrrggggh...

Code Monkey
User Rank
Rookie
re: EE Times EE Life Practical Jokes: How to shut the sales guy up
Code Monkey   1/18/2011 9:58:17 PM
NO RATINGS
I can remember a couple more: The "Little Jiffy Fuse Blower" is a small box with a nice label, a heavy duty pushbutton and a wall plug. Pushing the button connects hot to neutral. If you leave it lying around the lights will eventually go out. Also, back in vacuum tube days some guys would leave a charged metal can capacitor on their desk.

old account Frank Eory
User Rank
Rookie
re: EE Times EE Life Practical Jokes: How to shut the sales guy up
old account Frank Eory   1/19/2011 12:36:10 AM
NO RATINGS
Here's one from years ago. One of our system engineers was on business travel and somebody emptied out his sliding desk drawer -- the shallow one where he kept his pencils, calculator, etc. -- and lined it with a sheets of plastic from cut up trash bags. Taped up the plastic nice and tight, then filled the drawer with water to within a millimeter of overflowing...then carefully closed the drawer :)

antedeluvian
User Rank
Blogger
re: EE Times EE Life Practical Jokes: How to shut the sales guy up
antedeluvian   1/21/2011 8:20:46 PM
NO RATINGS
I am reminded of a circuit by Bob Pease, if I remember correctly, to make a member of staff at National talk in a softer tone. It was an audio noise generator and as the voice grew louder so did the audio disturbance forcing the speaker to raise his voice above the noise in a positive feedback loop. Must've been awfully noisy while "training" the offending party! I am sure he described this in one of his columns many years ago.

pebecker
User Rank
Rookie
re: EE Times EE Life Practical Jokes: How to shut the sales guy up
pebecker   2/2/2011 4:40:49 PM
NO RATINGS
That circuit is called the "Hassler". http://www.national.com/rap/Story/widlar.html

DWILSON373
User Rank
Rookie
re: EE Times EE Life Practical Jokes: How to shut the sales guy up
DWILSON373   7/15/2011 7:22:27 PM
NO RATINGS
The circuit was published in "What's All This Hassler Stuff, Anyhow?", Electronic Design, May 15, 1995.

KB3001
User Rank
CEO
re: EE Times EE Life Practical Jokes: How to shut the sales guy up
KB3001   1/21/2011 9:25:28 PM
NO RATINGS
Engineers vs. Salepersons, that's a real clash of cultures!

Sledgehammer
User Rank
Rookie
re: EE Times EE Life Practical Jokes: How to shut the sales guy up
Sledgehammer   1/21/2011 9:29:34 PM
NO RATINGS
Back in the mid 1970's, I was the Data Operations Manager for a large multi-national trading firm. Our programmer, the CEO's nephew, was top notch before lunch. During lunch he would consume 6 Rob-Roys. His after-lunch performance consisted of sitting at the console in a stupor that resembled an automaton, occasionally punching buttons or hitting a few keys until 5 pm. So, one evening, I took my cassette recorder, a Lafayette bench sine/square audio generator and proceeded to make a recording. The next day, during lunch, I placed the recorder under the console desk and ran the remote control wire to another desk where I sat and waited for my victim's return. He took off his hat and coat, walked very stifly to the console and sat down. As soon as he pressed the first button, I turned on the recorder... and there erupted a cacaphony of electronic noises and a mimic'd computer voice yelling: "THAT DOES NOT COMPUTE! ERROR...ERROR...ERROR!" over and over again. Everyone else in the department was in on the joke, so they all proceeded about their normal routines during this incident. Looking around and seeing that no-one else appeared to be aware of what he was experiencing, the man got up from his chair, calmly and purposefully walked to the hat-rack, put on his hat and coat and quietly walked out of the office door. We all were hysterical over the joke and animatedly discussed whether or not we should tell the man when he returns the next day. But, ...he didn't. Then, after 3 days, we began to worry... had we gone too far. Nervously, I approached the Personnel Manager and inquired about the missing man. "Oh, not to worry" was his reply..."He called the other day and advised us that he is now aware that he has a very serious drinking problem and admitted himself to a detox clinic for treatment and rehabilitation. His co-worker will be starting next week to continue the work until he rejoins us."

Joshua.Jones
User Rank
Rookie
re: EE Times EE Life Practical Jokes: How to shut the sales guy up
Joshua.Jones   1/22/2011 11:01:16 AM
NO RATINGS
Nice that so many of you know what life was like in the '60s. We had an incident in the electronics development lab where I worked when one engineer had persistent problems with the tuning of the filters he had designed, finally traced to supply voltage instability. I had wired all stations along the benches to supply plus and minus 5 and 11 volts dc, stabilised; our design standard for the new fangled transistors that we were using. The supply circuits used a neat overload cutout that reset automatically when the overload was removed but we had never considered the fact that the series regulating transistor became quite hot during the overload and would therefore pass excessive leakage current for a short while after the supply was restored, raising the voltage temporarily out of spec. This was happening because one engineer persisted in using a design that overloaded the supply but he didn't tell us when it had happened. My remedy was to connect a particularly strident alarm bell to operate whenever the cutout was triggered. And THAT had to be manually reset. The sinner protested loudly at this development but was firmly suppressed by the rest of the team. The bell remained but the need for it gradually declined.

WKetel
User Rank
Rookie
re: EE Times EE Life Practical Jokes: How to shut the sales guy up
WKetel   1/22/2011 2:27:22 PM
NO RATINGS
At one job it became obvious to me that somebody was doing things on my computer when I was not there. This was a problem because I was writing code to be compiled, and if they opened a code file with the editor in the wrong mode, it would insert control characters, which would cause compile errors. Management assured me that nobody was doing this, and that I was just stupid. My response was to build an alarm system using a large electric bell and a car security alarm siren, and a 30 second delay after triggering. The whole system was plugged into an outlet that was hard to find. The trigger relay was plugged into the plug-strip that powered my computer. One morning a few days later I came in and got a lot of funny looks from quite a few people. But I never had any more problems with people using my computer. I should point out that each of us was assigned our own computer which we were totally accountable for.

StewE289
User Rank
Rookie
re: EE Times EE Life Practical Jokes: How to shut the sales guy up
StewE289   3/18/2011 8:05:42 PM
NO RATINGS
In the old days at the cape, a "button pusher" was cured when a dual indicator button was put in his reach. The top half said "Press to Arm". When he pressed it, the bottom lit up with "Release to Destruct" displayed. He was left holding the button down for some time.

Max The Magnificent
User Rank
Blogger
re: EE Times EE Life Practical Jokes: How to shut the sales guy up
Max The Magnificent   7/13/2011 7:48:30 PM
NO RATINGS
Good One! :-)

NONICKNAME
User Rank
Rookie
re: EE Times EE Life Practical Jokes: How to shut the sales guy up
NONICKNAME   5/28/2011 6:38:39 PM
NO RATINGS
I worked for a small electronics controls company. We built our own products and did custom contract work. We needed extra help, so the boss hired a "techno geek" who claimed to be able to do drafting. He was so slow, the system was being built before he had drawings. This job required a control console that was larger than most Craftsman roll about tool carts. We had it set up for testing against a wall. When the boss told him he would have to turn it on and test it because of his delays, we had drilled a hole through the wall and put plastic tubing through the hole and into the control panel. One of the guys was behind the wall with a cigarette. As our "draftsman" pressed the Start button, smoke started billowing out the panel. You should have seen him panic trying to figure out how to turn it off. I don't remember that it got him to speed up any, though.

DRich
User Rank
Rookie
re: EE Times EE Life Practical Jokes: How to shut the sales guy up
DRich   6/10/2011 7:34:13 PM
NO RATINGS
This is not actually a technical practical joke but it did occur in the technical work place. I call it joking the jokester. One year at Easter time I came to work and found a beautifully decorated Easter egg on my desk. The other people in the office also had eggs. I asked around "who brought in the eggs?". I found out it was the young lady in charge of our spec department, someone who I had played a number of practical jokes on. So after finding out who left the eggs I decided I had better check this out. I took the egg on my desk and tried to spin it on its end. It just flopped over, indicating a raw egg! I double checked a egg on her boyfriend's desk. It spun very nicely on its end, a cooked egg! I then very quietly switched eggs with her boyfriend & clued in others in the office. We had a good laugh when she was trying to explain the raw egg to her boyfriend & helping clean up the mess!

Max The Magnificent
User Rank
Blogger
re: EE Times EE Life Practical Jokes: How to shut the sales guy up
Max The Magnificent   7/13/2011 7:51:33 PM
NO RATINGS
When I was at college, in the library on the wall above the photocopier was a big red button with a sign that said "Do Not Press This Button" -- you would be amazed how many folks did press it just to see what happened (I think it was part of some psychology class/experiment). When I'm giving a talk to non-engineers, I often tell them that half of the fail-safes we build into our systems are there to tell us when some drongo has turned the other half off :-)

wilber_xbox
User Rank
Manager
re: EE Times EE Life Practical Jokes: How to shut the sales guy up
wilber_xbox   7/28/2011 5:24:57 PM
NO RATINGS
Really funny. I can imagine the poor guy and engineers around him. Final revenge!

zedConte
User Rank
Rookie
re: EE Times EE Life Practical Jokes: How to shut the sales guy up
zedConte   8/5/2011 11:04:02 PM
NO RATINGS
Ok guys, here are my two cents. What about a button unleashing the obnoxious sound and some sensors to increase the volume as the "victim" walks away XD. He would have to stay closer in order to be safe!

DONALD.RUSS
User Rank
Rookie
re: EE Times EE Life Practical Jokes: How to shut the sales guy up
DONALD.RUSS   10/4/2011 9:41:16 PM
NO RATINGS
Several pranks: Way back I used to work my way through college in a 2-way radio shop and there were pranks over the years. My boss would leave charged axial caps on the bench with the leads folded back across the body so that there was a large area to catch both leads with your fingers when he told you to "Clean up that bench!" I got him back one day when he was probing the plate on the PA of a 100Watt transmitter. I took an empty clipboard and opened the clip all the way and let it go...... He got back for that by putting a christmas tree flasher in line with the power to a console. I spent 20 minutes removing as many screws trying to figure out why the radio audio cut in and out at a 1/4 Hz rate. So, one day while rumaging through a garage sale I found these HUGE flash bulbs that used a standard light socket.......... You can guess what happened when the boss came into his dark office the following day and reached for the light switch.

seaEE
User Rank
CEO
re: EE Times EE Life Practical Jokes: How to shut the sales guy up
seaEE   10/5/2011 1:17:32 AM
NO RATINGS
Awesome!

Brian Fuller2
User Rank
Rookie
re: EE Times EE Life Practical Jokes: How to shut the sales guy up
Brian Fuller2   10/6/2011 11:05:27 PM
NO RATINGS
Rich, great line...! (And a new photo!)

rhayashi
User Rank
Rookie
re: EE Times EE Life Practical Jokes: How to shut the sales guy up
rhayashi   4/18/2012 10:32:33 PM
NO RATINGS
In the good old days of DOS based PCAD. I used a editor to change the routine messages on startup of coworkers work stations, "WARNING THIS IS A UNAUTHORIZED COPY OF PCAD AND IS A FELONY IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. THE PROGRAM WILL BE AUTOMATICLY DELETED."

rhayashi
User Rank
Rookie
re: EE Times EE Life Practical Jokes: How to shut the sales guy up
rhayashi   10/10/2012 9:21:06 PM
NO RATINGS
Somebody was throwing the thermostat next to my bench all the way on or off. SO i out up a sign saying "please don't" to no avail. I was testing battery life on a farm fence charger so I ran the HV loop to a ring around the thermostat and told everybody in the lab. Later that day the president asked me to take it down. I assume got the shock..

camote
User Rank
Rookie
re: EE Times EE Life Practical Jokes: How to shut the sales guy up
camote   3/29/2013 7:14:08 PM
NO RATINGS
I remember one, my boss had a user's manual of a Fuji controller (written in english) and he pass another copy to us (written in japanes) and he started reading the contents aloud. We did not understand a thing...and after surprised faces, he questioned: "can you understand japanese or not?"...later, much more later we discovered the trick...

erol.seke
User Rank
Rookie
re: EE Times EE Life Practical Jokes: How to shut the sales guy up
erol.seke   4/5/2013 1:39:43 PM
NO RATINGS
Classic desktop prank : I print-screened a colleague's desktop into a bitmap when he was gone for a coffee and made it wallpaper, putting everything on the desktop in a safe place beforehand. We all had fun watching him double-clicking on icons and restarting his pc over and over when nothing seems to work.

Sandtinker
User Rank
Rookie
re: EE Times EE Life Practical Jokes: How to shut the sales guy up
Sandtinker   5/31/2013 1:02:16 AM
NO RATINGS
Years ago, I was developing an audio signal generator for a well-known T&M company that had a 3-second voice ID feature. I was working late when I got the voice record/playback feature working. Before I left for the day, I recorded a message "Help, Let me out of here!" and rigged it to loop, turned up the volume, and covered my headphones with papers. I was working late the next day, when the night janitor stopped by to tell me that he was quite perplexed as to who was in distress and how he could help!



Most Recent Comments
_hm
 
_hm
 
_hm
 
DrQuine
 
_hm
 
DrQuine
 
DrQuine
 
DrQuine
 
MeasurementBlues
EE Life
Frankenstein's Fix, Teardowns, Sideshows, Design Contests, Reader Content & More
Max Maxfield

Steve Wozniak Reacts to Latest iPhone
Max Maxfield
7 comments
Funnily enough, just a few days ago as I pen these words, I was chatting with my wife (Gina the Gorgeous) when she informed me that -- as a kid -- she had never played at making a ...

EDN Staff

11 Summer Vacation Spots for Engineers
EDN Staff
20 comments
This collection of places from technology history, museums, and modern marvels is a roadmap for an engineering adventure that will take you around the world. Here are just a few spots ...

Glen Chenier

Engineers Solve Analog/Digital Problem, Invent Creative Expletives
Glen Chenier
15 comments
- An analog engineer and a digital engineer join forces, use their respective skills, and pull a few bunnies out of a hat to troubleshoot a system with which they are completely ...

Larry Desjardin

Engineers Should Study Finance: 5 Reasons Why
Larry Desjardin
46 comments
I'm a big proponent of engineers learning financial basics. Why? Because engineers are making decisions all the time, in multiple ways. Having a good financial understanding guides these ...

Flash Poll
Top Comments of the Week
Like Us on Facebook
EE Times on Twitter
EE Times Twitter Feed

Datasheets.com Parts Search

185 million searchable parts
(please enter a part number or hit search to begin)