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Defiant Programming: The Culture of Easter Eggs and its Fandom
Unformatted Document Text:  2 Easter egg n. - [from the custom of the Easter egg hunt observed in the U.S. and many parts of Europe] 1. A message hidden in the object code of a program as a joke, intended to be found by persons disassembling or browsing the code. 2. A message, graphic, or sound effect emitted by a program… in response to some undocumented set of commands or keystrokes, intended as a joke or to display program credits (Hacker's Jargon File, 2001) In an earlier version of Microsoft's Excel spreadsheet, its developers listed themselves in a dark place called "The Hall of Tortured Souls". This was proof positive, some on the Internet claimed, that Bill Gates, Microsoft's chairman, was indeed the antichrist. Hardly. Pictures of a topless Mr. Gates, contained in a different Easter egg, reveal beyond doubt that he is not marked with triple sixes, the definitive sign of the devil. These pictures are hidden away--for some extraordinary reason--in Microsoft's Wine Guide (Editorial, 1999). A recent slew of articles reporting on the Easter egg phenomenon (Editorial, 1999; Gavin, 1998; Pogue, 1998a; Russell, 2000; Slatella, 1998; Taylor, 2000) indicates that entertainment and technology reporters have only recently discovered what programmers and technophiles have enjoyed for years: that there is an entire universe of secrets, wormholes, jokes, rants, cast credits and other treasures hidden in different products created using code and programming, including operating systems, software programs and applications, video and computer games, DVDs, CDs and internet websites. These hidden treasures have long been known by the programming community, which guarded the secret and playful nature of these creations closely. Easter eggs are a popular technique used by programmers to personally “sign” the program they create, leave an identifying mark, subvert the original rules of the code or create other such manipulations of the program (some fans of the phenomena also believe that certain

Authors: Temkin, Einat.
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Easter egg n. - [from the custom of the Easter egg hunt observed in the U.S.
and many parts of Europe] 1. A message hidden in the object code of a
program as a joke, intended to be found by persons disassembling or
browsing the code. 2. A message, graphic, or sound effect emitted by a
program… in response to some undocumented set of commands or
keystrokes, intended as a joke or to display program credits (Hacker's Jargon
File, 2001)
In an earlier version of Microsoft's Excel spreadsheet, its developers listed
themselves in a dark place called "The Hall of Tortured Souls". This was
proof positive, some on the Internet claimed, that Bill Gates, Microsoft's
chairman, was indeed the antichrist. Hardly. Pictures of a topless Mr. Gates,
contained in a different Easter egg, reveal beyond doubt that he is not marked
with triple sixes, the definitive sign of the devil. These pictures are hidden
away--for some extraordinary reason--in Microsoft's Wine Guide (Editorial,
1999).
A recent slew of articles reporting on the Easter egg phenomenon (Editorial,
1999; Gavin, 1998; Pogue, 1998a; Russell, 2000; Slatella, 1998; Taylor, 2000) indicates
that entertainment and technology reporters have only recently discovered what
programmers and technophiles have enjoyed for years: that there is an entire universe of
secrets, wormholes, jokes, rants, cast credits and other treasures hidden in different
products created using code and programming, including operating systems, software
programs and applications, video and computer games, DVDs, CDs and internet
websites. These hidden treasures have long been known by the programming community,
which guarded the secret and playful nature of these creations closely. Easter eggs are a
popular technique used by programmers to personally “sign” the program they create,
leave an identifying mark, subvert the original rules of the code or create other such
manipulations of the program (some fans of the phenomena also believe that certain


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