Sun Microsystems is known for some GREAT April Fools Day Goofs. One of the most memorable was when Bill Joy's Ferrari was put in a pond (on stands) at our original 2550 Garcia Avenue Headquarters.
Bill was given a small row boat to go get it :-)
I have been on two teams that have put together GREAT April Fool's Day Pranks.
The first one consisted of John Meyer, Neil Pierson and me. We hatched a plan for April Fool's Day 1997 when we found out Dr. Dennis Govoni would be in California for two weeks starting March 31st, 1997.
Dennis has his PhD. in botany and our first thought was to turn his office into a miniature rain forest, complete with flora, fauna, waterfalls, and so forth. But the expense and difficulty in locating appropriate materials for the goof ruled this out. Then we hit on the idea: let's use a Jurassic Park theme. This was just what we wanted. It was cheap, easy, and fun. Neil and I had five boys under the age of eight at the time so stocking the office with dinosaurs, Jurassic Park paraphernalia, and toys was certainly no problem.
Neil set up two live video feeds on Sun's world-wide internal network that would tie into our web page. This meant that anyone in Sun could see a real-time picture of Dennis' office and anyone who walked into it for two whole weeks and there was nothing Dennis could do about it.
The priceless moment was watching Dennis's wife Barbara get upset that we had dinosaurs eating her grandchildren :-)
To see pictures of the 1997 April Fool's Day Govassic Park Prank
The second April Fool's Day Prank was my favorite. We enlisted Steve Fritzinger for this one in addition to John, Neil and me.
I have to admit, as Steve Jobs would say, " SunCLONE ONE was insanely great!" We had tons of props in addition to all the "science" we needed to create - we had a working 427 cubic inch engine from a Corvette thanks to Steve Ferry and a 7 foot working robot thanks to some friends of Sun in Gary Grimes office.
Bill Joy's Wired article, "Why The Future Does Not Need Us", was of course a motivating factor in this April Fools Day Goof.
This SunCLONE ONE science makes string theory and any Grand Unification Theory look like tinker toys.....
Below is the internal announcement we (John Marselle send it out as if it was real - thanks to John Crane) sent out: At the end of this is the url to go see the full announcement with LOTS-O-PICTURES and even more detailed science behind this.
The priceless moment with SunCLONE ONE was when Sun's PR Department received a call from the Press asking if it was real. Yes, it is real, Sun is cloning humans. Please do not tell anyone :-)
John Meyer hosts these two April Fools Day Goofs.
Below is the email that was sent to all of Sun:
I am very proud to announce that Gary Grimes, Southern Area Vice President for Sales, has been promoted to President of Sun's newest subsidiary SunCLONE. It was extremely important to SMI that we select
the right person to lead SunCLONE. We needed a fast-moving leader to master this dynamic market. Gary Grimes was selected because, after careful examination, we have determined that Gary is not only the fastest VP at Sun but also on planet Earth. Gary is the only VP at Sun to have a racing license and could have been a world class driver if he had chosen to pursue a racing career. Gary has driven and owns some of the fastest cars ever produced and I know that the stress of a very fast-moving market would not be a problem for him. I needed someone who would not be distracted by some of the religious, ethical, privacy, and consumer issues that will undoubtedly crop up with this announcement. With his laser-like focus on execution, I feel that Gary is the right man for this job.
WHAT IS SunCLONE ONE?
I am very pleased and excited to announce that we have beaten every other company and Government lab in the race to clone a human being and have mapped the human genome and the human brain into JDNA/JMRI Enterprise Java Beans (EJBs). JDNA/JMRI EJBs are the first truly integrated software/hardware helix stacks that have mapped DNA and the brain accurately into a Java class with real-time sub-attosecond response time.
The SunCLONE ONE is the first product using JDNA/JMRI EJBs. This bio-robotic device fully captures all aspects of the human base unit such as IQ, personality, and a lifetime knowledge base. Plus, unlike the human revision, the SunCLONE ONE is field upgradable via our patented JDNA/JNLP protocol. The SunCLONE ONE was designed at our SUNdEnPjMsF World Class Secret R&D facility in McLean, VA.
TECHNICAL DETAILS of SunCLONE ONE
The SunCLONE ONE is Java/Jini/JXTA/JDNA/EJB/J_Quantum_Servlet SunCLONE(TM)-certified. Each "appendage" (or option) is loosely-metaphysically coupled but highly recursively-intelligently aligned. A fully configured SunCLONE ONE is made of self-healing kevlar with 340 undecillion (340 BILLION BILLION BILLION BILLION or a one-to-one mapping with the number of IPv6 addresses) autonomous MAJC processors embedded in the kevlar for a lifetime of work. All parts are self-diagnosing and every single data path has 1 million levels of ECC-based protection.
By using our patented SunCLONE DNA extraction techniques, we can do mass customization for each SunCLONE ONE. For example, if you want a SunCLONE ONE of yourself, no problem. Our home DNA extraction kit, available in supermarkets and convenience stores, will allow you to painlessly extract the needed samples of DNA in less than two minutes.
Working with every manufacturer of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) systems, we have created a process for taking MRI images of the brain using JMRI, our JDNA process, and leveraging them to have a truly integrated software/hardware helix stack that is the ultimate definition of the NetEffect. These MRI systems will be embedded in existing supermarket checkout line scanners and will automatically transmit an accurate 14.6 petabyte scan of your brain to SunCLONE headquarters using satellite technology.
To those of our customers who are concerned about Sun having access to every SunCLONE ONE owner's DNA and brain scans, we politely say, "Get over it, you don't have any privacy now anyway and we need to do SOMETHING to turn this economy around!"
Gary Grimes was the first to actually be cloned and have his own SunCLONE ONE. By extracting Gary's DNA and having Gary walk through a JMRI enabled MRI scanner, we were able to clone Gary and map his DNA/MRI brain scan into JDNA/JMRI Enterprise Java Beans (EJBs) working in a SunCLONE ONE. We have a working Gary Grimes(TM) SunCLONE ONE in the McLean, VA office. Through extensive testing, we have proven, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the Gary Grimes SunCLONE ONE is identical to Gary's knowledge base and personality in every possible way. This test has been so successful that today we are announcing the proCLONEmotion (Sun patented term that means when your SunCLONE ONE takes over your normal job) of Gary's SunCLONE ONE to VP of Sales, GSO Southern Area. If there are any problems, the Pat Cox(TM) SunCLONE ONE can help out Gary's SunCLONE ONE.
See the URL at end of this announcement for a live webcam of Gary's SunCLONE ONE in action.
MARKETING DETAILS of SunCLONE ONE
We have heard from our customer focus groups that celebrity SunCLONE ONEs would be a great option and so far we have experimented with the Ed Zander(TM) SunCLONE ONE and the Masood Jabbar(TM) SunCLONE ONE. While testing continues on these configurations, beta units are available at full price with no warranty, provided the customer is willing to sign our rather large stack of legal disclaimers.
Although some may feel that cloning is a "controversial" market for Sun to be in, we believe that everyone will eventually want a clone for the jobs that they do not want to do. Our customers have asked the question, "Obviously, the employees at your subsidiary will receive multiple Nobel Prizes, but how can you make money from something so well made?" We thought about this long and hard and decided not to sell the SunCLONE ONEs but lease them. We will freely auction off their services to the highest bidder at any time. For example, if someone wished to play a practical joke on his neighbor, he could place the highest bid and buy time from Sun to overtake the controls of the SunCLONE ONE and have it do whatever he wants. At this time we have no plans to allow Government agencies to buy time to control or monitor your clone, but this may change in the very near future if the stock market does not improve.
Continuing our line of top-quality slogans (no, not that stupid dog Network that we had put to sleep) from "The Network Is the Computer"(TM) to "We're the Dot in Dot-Com"(TM) our new marketing focus will be "We're the 'N' in DNA"(TM).
Please join me in congratulating Gary Grimes on his new role of SunCLONE President.
WHAT THE PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT THE Sun CLONE ONE
"This is really the fruition of our entire Sun Remote
Services(TM) (SRS) strategy. If we have problems at a
customer site, we can clone the right person in no
time. Let's say, for example, if a customer has a Java
question, ship out the James Gosling clone. A question
on vi or csh, a Bill Joy clone is on the way. Problems
"This makes my entire life's work seem insignificant."
"I *am* a rocket scientist and I don't understand the physics
behind this. Not only have they created the SunCLONE ONE,
this group created a new branch of science -- amazing."
Dr. Rick Lytel
Distinguished Engineer and Director
RAS Computer Analysis Laboratory and
Physical Sciences Center
"This is so far beyond insanely great, I am at a loss for words..."
"When James Gosling, Ivan Sutherland, Bill Joy, Rob
Gingell, Mike Splain, Bob Sproull, Jim Mitchell and Greg
Papadopoulos all told me that the SunCLONE ONE would be
more important to Sun's future than NFS, the 386i,
SPARC, Sun Write/Paint & Draw, NeWS, DOE, Solaris, Java,
Jini, StarFire, Cobalt and the Serengeti line combined,
I was in absolute shock."
"The SunCLONE ONE is the ultimate example of technology.
I tried to help out on some of the design work, but the
combination of computer science and physics involved
with SunCLONE ONE had Bill Joy and myself just
scratching our heads. This is so brilliant it is
Dr. Greg Papadopoulos
Sun's Chief Technology Officer
"I am putting everything I own into SUNW stock, so
should everyone else. If the SunCLONE ONE is half as
successful as I expect it to be, this will change the
economy more than anything I could ever do."
Alan V. Greenspan
"Now I wish I would have stayed. I would gladly have
given back the $245 million I personally made in selling
Granite Systems if I could have been a part of this. I
bet Vinod would come back as well."
Sun Co-Founder and
"Andy is right, Scott has begged me many times to come
back. If I could work with the SunCLONE ONE group, I
would quit my VC stuff and come back to Sun in a
"This is the ultimate use of the MAJC processor I
designed. They took my processor and did things with it
that I felt were absolutely impossible if I had not seen
it myself. Their patented atto-parallelization
techniques involving quantum spin rates is
Dr. Marc Tremblay
Chief Architect MAJC
"These new clones will be a big help in our FO plans
since OSHA does not require that clones have their own
cubicles. I am thinking about renaming HR to HR/CR
(Human Resources/Clone Resources). I will make an
announcement shortly that Officers of Sun can not be
cloned unless it is for non-business use."
Chief HR/CR Officer
"Constitutional scholars tell me that my SunCLONE ONE is
eligible for two more terms."
William Jefferson Clinton
Former President of the USA
"The SunCLONE ONE goes to 11."