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This is a question DIY Techno-hacks

Old hard drive platters make wonderfully good drinks coasters - they look dead smart and expensive and you've stopped people reading your old data into the bargain.

Have you taped all your remotes together, peep-show-style? Have you wired your doorbell to the toilet? What enterprising DIY have you done with technology?

Extra points for using sellotape rather than solder.

(, Thu 20 Aug 2009, 12:30)
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Car alarms and toilets
My dad, working in car-electronics as he did, had plenty of opportunity to finetune his practical-joking skills with his colleagues over the years - making their long-suffering boss the butt of many pranks.

They started slow, leaving his car with the stereo fully cranked, AC on full, wipers and hazards left on, anything that would start the moment the car was turned on. This would result in a moment of frantic flurry as the poor victim tried to stop all the gadgets that had burst into life when all he wanted to do was drive to the offie for some cigs.

Then they moved on, hijacking the car alarm system to go off when the car was unlocked, then when someone sat in the driver's seat, then when it was started, then on a 30-second delay AFTER it was started and so on. Or wiring the electric sunroof to automatically retract when the car started - especially effective in the middle of a rainy winter.

When their boss finally got sick of this and started parking his car in a locked garage, they moved indoors and repeated the pranks, only this time with various items in his office, the chair, the door the desk. On any given day opening a certain drawer or sitting for more than 10 minutes in the main chair could set off a series of alarms, vibrating pads and noisemakers hidden all around the room. To be honest, I'm amazed that he put up with them for so long.

With fresh ideas for the office drying up, they moved on once more. To the toilet. Now, the boss also being the owner of the company, he had a habit of taking longer-than-strictly-necessary breaks, and was particularly noted for his after-lunch toilet break when he'd stride off, newspaper tucked firmly under one arm, and be gone for up to half an hour at a time [a fact exploited to every advantage in the setting up of the office pranks].

One of my dad's colleagues was an ex-plumber, and he concocted a simple but effective system of transparent plastic tube and pressure-sensor so that when the boss seated himself on his chosen porcelain throne, a powerful jet of water attempted to administer a surprise enema. The resulting squeal of surprise and following enraged shout of "you fucking bastards!" was often repeated round the office, to much lolarity.

Surely this must be the pinnacle of boss-baiting? There's not much that could top a cold squirt up the arse - or so my Canal Street friends tell me. No, they had one final game to play...

Now, due to Elf and Shafety, the company had recently had to upgrade its ancient cumbersome fire extinguishers for a more modern version that would actually stand a small chance of combating a fire, in such a situation. The old ones were supposed to be sent off for responsible disposal, but ended up shoved in the back of a cupboard and forgotten about.

Old foam extinguishers worked on the principle of a vial or packet of reactant suspended in a canister of water. Turning the extinguisher on broke the packet and allowed its contents to react with the water and the resulting pressure from the reaction spurted the foam out of the nozzle in waves of fire-quenching spunk. So. They dismantled a couple of these extinguishers and carefully retrieved the packet of reactant. I'm sure you can guess what they did with it.

First, the boss needed to be distracted. A customer's car, left to be fitted with a tow bar and electric windows contained one of those hamster starter kits, you know, a cage, wheel, a bag of sawdust, water bottle, food bowl and food. Everything except the hamster, in one convenient box. So they set up the cage, spreading out the sawdust and filling the bowl and water bottle and putting nesting material in the little house, the works. Then went inside and told the boss that the hamster had got out of the cage and was lost somewhere in the depths of the car. This got him conveniently out of the way, frantically searching for a non-existent hamster and leaving the coast clear for more toilet violations.

The packet of extinguisher reactant was carefully installed in the cistern, with the flush handle fitted with a large metal pin and set up to break it open when the toilet was flushed. They also disabled the mechanism to stop it filling, thus ensuring a constant supply of fresh water.

Once they'd told the boss [now in the later stages of advanced panic and just about to drive to the nearest pet shop to buy a fresh hamster to replace the 'lost' one] that his hour or so of searching had been for nothing, he stomped off to have his lunch - and his inevitable post-lunch poo.

There was quite a crowd lurking outside the toilets that afternoon, listening in. Creak of cubicle door. Slide of the bolt. Clink of belt-buckle on tiled floor. Rustle of newspaper. Rolling of toilet paper. Shuffling of feet - and then... the toilet flushed.

Those packets are designed to provide a LOT of foam in a very short space of time. There was an anguished scream as the toilet bowl filled up with thick white foam, then started to overflow. And still the foam was coming, now filling the cubicle. The boss struggled to pull his trousers up, grappling with the cubicle lock and that bolt that always stuck but he'd never bothered to fix it. And still the foam was coming out of the toilet, piling up and up and up in the confined space.

By the time he got out, the foam had nearly covered his head. It clung to him, sticky and white. He looked like the Michelin Man.

Faced with virtually his entire workforce pissing themselves laughing as he emerged from the toilet smothered in foam, he responded in the only decent way.
"Bastards." And stomped off to try to clean up.
(, Tue 25 Aug 2009, 17:03, 8 replies)
That is epic, and brilliant
Although potentially life threatening.. Haha!
(, Tue 25 Aug 2009, 17:10, closed)
Agreed, Mr. Crow.
This gets a click from me.
(, Tue 25 Aug 2009, 17:12, closed)
hehe - cheers
Not really a techno-hack so I'll add it here.

Cos dad worked in the car-electronics industry, he had plenty of access to top-of-the-range kit. Sometimes it'd be ex-display, sometimes it'd be from a trade-in with someone who HAD to have the absolute latest version of everything, sometimes it'd be from someone changing their mind, whichever way - it'd usually be new or near-new, in full working condition and would have been worth an absolute fortune if it had been in a box, and not installed and taken out of a car already.

This is how my shitty little rust-bucket of an F-reg Nissan Micra ended up with a fucking AWESOME stereo system.

Two top-class amplifiers. Half the boot was taken up with the sub. I had great-quality speakers everywhere a speaker could be installed. An awesome head unit that took CDs, recorded to harddrive and was one of the first car-stereos that let you hook up an MP3 [this was quite a few years ago now].

My car also had electric windows and full central door locking - even though it looked like a piece of shit on the outside.

Now, to protect this kit, dad installed a similarly top-class alarm system. He basically turned the car into a playground of kit. I had immobilisers to kill the engine, the fuel pump and the fuse box, anti-jack sensors to detect tilt if the car was jacked up, infra-red sensors to detect any movement inside the vehicle, deadbolt systems to secure the door, bonnet and boot more than the usual locks. He hooked it up to the electrics to flash all the lights, hazards, and sound the horn if the alarm was triggered. There was also a brand-new GPRS tracking thing buried deep within the car, with the antenna lining the headlights so they could get a good signal [though i don't think we had a subscription with the company, so it wouldn't have done much good!]

But he really outdid himself on the alarms themselves.

Usually, a car has an alarm under the bonnet, or maybe in the dash somewhere. It makes a bit of noise, and is supposed to alert people nearby to something going on with the car.

My car had two alarms under the bonnet, one in the boot and one in the dash on the passenger side. Then it also had two soundbombs, one in the backseat and one installed inside the driver's headrest. Soundbombs are specifically designed to disorientate and confuse and generally make it too uncomfortable for anyone to stay close to them. One of these fuckers going off six inches from your head is really going to fuck you up.

When we went to the insurance company they asked for the details of the car, then asked for details of any alarm system installed. They were outrightly laughing by the time dad finished telling them what he'd put into that alarm, and the insurance was pretty damn cheap, for a learner driver!
(, Tue 25 Aug 2009, 17:32, closed)
One for your dad and the assorted other pranksters, another for his boss for being a good sport.
(, Tue 25 Aug 2009, 23:24, closed)
You've caused some epic-level officelols here...
And I need to clean my screen now.

Have a click!
(, Wed 26 Aug 2009, 9:35, closed)
I came all over my screen too

(, Wed 26 Aug 2009, 12:39, closed)
Much LOLs!
Full of win *click*
(, Wed 26 Aug 2009, 13:57, closed)
Made me laugh
until I cried while I was (thinking about) working. *click* Brilliant.
(, Wed 26 Aug 2009, 14:40, closed)

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