Software 'Easter Egg' Surprises in Google Earth, Linux, Open Office, Photoshop and More
Video walkthroughs show you how to find a dozen treats hidden in free (or free trial) software.
Admit it: you're secretly jealous the kids get to have all the fun at Easter, searching for hidden (and edible) Easter egg surprises. Well, I'm here to help you get the thrill back -- sans the eating part. I'll show you how to unlock software Easter eggs: little games, jokes and shenanigans that programmers have hidden deep within their source code, activated by secret keyboard/mouse combinations.
Below are a dozen tasty treats from six programs (counting one egg within an egg) that can be found in commonly used, free software, along with one special egg combo within Photoshop (which isn't free but can be downloaded for trial).
Enjoy the hunt, and be sure to share your own favorite Easter eggs by dropping me a line.
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Google Earth Robot
Did you know you can chat with a robot on the red planet from within Google Earth? See how to find and talk to Meliza, the grumpy, sometimes nonsensical Mars metalhead.
The Linux Zoo
It's a veritable menagerie within the Linux operating system, with a distinct animal theme. Check out the fish, cows, goats, snake and elephant that can be found in Ubuntu.
Everyone likes this addictive game. Here are two different ways to play it.
Emacs Snake Game
Take a break from coding within the popular text editor with a quick keyboard combination that gets you playing within seconds.
And oldie, a goodie and my personal favorite, this is a full-fledged, multi-level game based on Space Invaders that can be activated from an OpenOffice spreadsheet. By the way, it helps to know German.
Exclusive! This might be the only video documentation anywhere of the rare egg-within-an-egg that displays programmer humor in a secret splash screen in Photoshop CS5. It takes some patience, but you'll get some laughs.
David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.