Wednesday, April 1, 1998

April Fool, April fun


By Bob Freud

In the spirit of April Fool's Day, you may want to surreptitiously load BackHack onto a friend or employer's PalmPilot and watch the fun. BackHack is harmless prankware created by Jeff Jetton for the PalmPilot. Jeff is the author of the notorious "Tricorder" program, which caused a heated flame-war on PalmPilot mailing list, when some humorless types discovered it did not perform any function at all which they could bill to clients. Check it out!

In order to make this gag work, your friend's PalmPilot will need to have HackMaster installed in addition to BackHack. Although most power Piloteers will already have this useful software installed, see this month's HackMaster feature or my article last month for more background on HackMaster.

Once BackHack is installed and the hack activated on a HackMaster equipped PalmPilot the fun (or a letter of reprimand) begins. Look at Figure A to see what the aptly name program is capable of.


See how everything is backwards? You haven't lost your mind, it's BackHack!

Although BackHack will not work on all applications (notably the calculator) it works on many others. How to get the software on to the unsuspecting patsy's machine is always the prankster's dilemma. Palm III users may just be able to beam this onto other Palm III machines. Should your secret software loading skills not be up to the task, you can still have fun with BackHack. Install it on your own machine and then the next time someone asks to see your PalmPilot, activate BackHack. Then, when they appear confused by your PalmPilot's appearance, take the unit back from them and in a loud, office-filling voice exclaim, "My God! What have you done to my PalmPilot?" A happy April Fool's Day to all.

Oh, and by the way...PalmPower accepts no responsibility if someone doesn't think this is funny...especially if it results in your death or dismemberment.

Bob Freud is an active PalmPilot enthusiast and a Professor at Bergen Community College. He can be reached via email at