Sure we like our chocolate bunny ears, but around these parts the best easter eggs aren’t painted pink and stuffed with jelly beans—they’re the undocumented and unexpected fun features hidden deep inside various software apps. While new software Easter eggs don’t come around often, there’s still a basket full of classics we love. After the jump, get roundup of our favourite software Easter eggs.
10. Firefox Book of Mozilla Easter Egg
How to find it: In all versions of Firefox, in the address bar, type
What you get: A quote from the “Book of Mozilla” about the birth of Firefox.
9. Internet Explorer 6/7 credits
How to find it: Using Internet Explorer 7 (not IE6 or the IE8 beta), type
What you get: A hidden page of IE developer credits.
8. Firefox Kitchen Sink
How to find it: In Firefox 2 and higher, type
about kitchensink (no colon in there, unlike about:mozilla!).
Correction: Looks like this one only works in the Firefox 3 beta. Apologies!
What you get: An automatic redirect to an animated, ASCII art kitchen sink.
7. Google Earth 4.2 Flight Simulator
How to find it: Launch the latest version 4.2 of Google Earth (free download) and hit Ctrl+Alt+A (Mac users: Cmd+Opt+A.)
What you get: A full-on flight simulator that lets you choose an airport, plane type, and lets you fly inside Google Earth. It is fun but it’s not easy; here’s more on how to navigate in flight in Google Earth.
6. OpenOffice.org Calc Tic-Tac-Toe and Space Invaders Games
How to find it: Using OpenOffice.org’s Calc spreadsheet program, type
=GAME(A2:C4;"TicTacToe") into any cell.
What you get: A game of Tic-Tac-Toe! For Space Invaders, type
=GAME("StarWars"). Here are more OpenOffice.org Easter eggs.
on Mac OS X Therapist
How to find it: In the Mac Terminal (or at any command line), type emacs, hit Enter, press Escape, type “xdoctor” (no quotes).
What you get: An interactive dialogue with a shrink named Eliza. To get out of it, hit Control+X Control+C.
4. Minesweeper Reveal Mines Cheat
(Note: Technically, this is more a cheat than an egg.)
How to find it: In Minesweeper, type “xyzzy.” Then press Shift+Enter.
What you get: A single pixel on the upper-left hand corner of your monitor will turn black when you mouse over a block that contains a mine. Get the high score on the family computer! (Note: several people report that this cheat works on Windows XP with SP2, but those with widescreen monitors like myself might have trouble. Let us know if it works for you in the comments.)
3. Excel 97 Flight Simulator
How to find it: This one’s an oldie but a goodie. Using Excel 97 (doesn’t work in later versions), create a new worksheet, and press F5. Type “X97:L97” and press Enter. Press the Tab key, hold down Ctrl and Shift, and left-click the Chart Wizard toolbar icon. What you get: Launched into a nifty flight simulator that glides you over the surface of a planet (the moon?) and shows you Excel developer credits. (I don’t have a copy of Excel 97 any more, but definitely got this puppy to work back in the day.) Thanks to EggHeaven for reminding us of the steps to get there.
2. Picasa Teddy Bears
1. uTorrent Tetris
Thanks to EggHeaven for tipping us off to many of these eggs. What are your favourite software Easter eggs this holiday? Let us know in the comments.