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Looking Back on Past April Fools Day TidBITS Issues

What?! Does something about this article seem odd, not as you remember, or too good to be true? Check the date it was published!

For many years, we looked forward to April Fools Day. It was our excuse to write about things we—or our readers—wanted to come true, even when we knew they never would. (Those of you still hoping for the return of Word 5.1 to macOS or running natively on the iPad need to move on.) But our articles often went much deeper than tugging at our readers’ hopes and fears. They also gave us an opportunity to imagine the future. And you know what? We did pretty well.

Alas, the complete disregard for fact and truth in so much of today’s public discourse has rendered April Fools Day jokes uncomfortably quaint. There’s no enjoyment in exploring how you would react to the rug of reality being pulled out from under you one special day per year when so many social media megaphones loudly deny, in essence, that the world is round (it is), along the way toward casting aspersions on numerous other things that are “only” well-supported, if not proven, by eyewitness account, historical fact, or scientific research. In a world where reality can be created through sufficient repetition of bald-faced lies, we could no longer stomach inventing our own mistruths, even those intended as speculative glimpses of possible futures.

To commemorate the amusing and thought-provoking April Fools Days of the past, we’ve put together a series of every April Fools article that we ever published. Skim through, and see which ones speak to you today. Here are some that we’re particularly proud of for their prescience:

I hope you enjoyed this look back at a simpler, less cynical, and more amusing past. What were your favorite TidBITS April Fools articles?

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Comments About Looking Back on Past April Fools Day TidBITS Issues

Notable Replies

  1. Your second paragraph nails it Adam. Sad, but so true.

    Maybe April the 1st could become the day when we must only make true statements about something that is often lied about. I’m not holding my breath.

  2. I wanted to point out the blurb for issue #270 from 1995, which is the most Gen X lede ever written:

    Welcome once again to yet another issue of TidBITS. This week brings you some irrelevant articles about topics you probably don’t give a damn about. In fact, just pack it up and don’t read this issue. Go outside, get some sun, and have a life, okay? You probably need the disk space anyway, and besides, I was sick last week, so you might come down with a nasty throat infection coupled with a cold if you’re exposed to this file. Sniff.

  3. I really don’t remember—that was 27 years ago—but it might have been inspired by Marvin from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

  4. Thanks Adam, for the article, especially the 2nd paragraph editorial.

    As a previous commenter stated, you nailed it. I am so sick of the mess.

  5. Well I don’t like the second paragraph at all. There is always room for levity and fun.

    You can’t write a funny April Fool’s article because, what, Trump or Fox News or something? Come on!

    Your best days don’t need to be behind you. Next year, come out swinging! You got this!

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