Not engineering related -- but when I was a kid in England there was a TV program called "Blue Peter" for young viewers (it might still be running for all I know). I remember one April Fool's day episode where they did a "mockumentory" segment showing people in Italy harvesting the strands of spagetti dangling from the branches of the spagetti trees (LOL)
@Susan: Back in the days, Norwegian TV told viewers they were testing new color broadcasts. In order to see the colors all light bulbs in the house had to be turned off. Needless to say, Oslo went dark.
Brilliant!!! I'm laughing to myself just thinking about it :-)
I once heard a similar story about Ernie Kovacs back in the Dumont Network days of early USA television. The TV studio was at the top of a hill, near the transmitting tower, with a good view of the city. As a prank, sometime when they transmitted a late-night movie, they would turn down the master volume at the studio -- just a little. Everyone in TV land would then turn up their volume. A few minutes later, the studio would turn down the master volume again, and everyone in TV land would increase their volume again. After half an hour of this, the master volume would be way down and everyone of TV land would have their volume turned all the way up.
Then the studio would turn the master volume all the way up, and they'd run to the windows to watch lights turn on all over the city as thousands of unsuspecting victims suddenly had their TVs blaring and waking up their neighbors.
You'd lose your license trying something like that today, but things were unreliable enough back then that you could blame it on a technical malfunction and get away with it. Actually, it's a pretty good way to measure the size of your audience :-)
It was in the early-to-mid 80s, and I'm pretty sure it was in multiple editions, escaping the editors multiple times.
The editor of the rfcafe.com site has asked for someone to send him a graphic... here's the link
The machine wiring crew did pull a good one on me one April. After I had a machine started upm and fully debugged and I thought that I was ready for the customer to come in for an initial runoff trial, after lunch, some sections did not function quite right any more. And nobody was available to assist, they all seemed to be working on "other stuff" nearby. So I grabbed a multimeter and a set of prints and started the machine in the manual mode. In about five minutes I found a few connections to terminal blocks that had been insulated with heatshrink tubing over the bare copper conductor. I had it going in just a few more minutes, not in a very good mood. Then came the applause, it seems that I had proven my diagnostic skills. I probably should have been more amused.
I remember that WJ catalog with "vs. phase of the moon"! I think it was around '86 or '87. And yes, you could tell that the engineers definitely snuck that one past the tech pubs people, because it was the only example of humor in the entire catalog.
Waaaaaayyyyyy back when, Popular Electronics had a photo in a blurb announcing a new power transistor in a VERY LARGE TO-3 style case that dwarfed a Crescent (TM) wrench. They fessed up in the same issue; it was a miniature wrench about the size of a charm for a charm bracelet.
Would have been nice to have one of those babies in real life back in the CB Radio days ...
As to WOM, while reviewing a proposal many years ago, I seem to recall from the tech manual submitted in that procurement that the DEC PDP computer proposed had Write-Only Memory: it was a series of output ports mapped to memory locations. You could write to it to sent data to a peripheral, but nothing came back. (I don't recall, but they probably had ROM for input, also)
Replay available now: A handful of emerging network technologies are competing to be the preferred wide-area connection for the Internet of Things. All claim lower costs and power use than cellular but none have wide deployment yet. Listen in as proponents of leading contenders make their case to be the metro or national IoT network of the future. Rick Merritt, EE Times Silicon Valley Bureau Chief, moderators this discussion. Join in and ask his guests questions.