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Skype for String -- April Fool's Day, 2012
Internet phone company Skype announced it was releasing an experimental version of its service that didn't require a direct internet connection, or even a computer or mobile device. It was called "Skype for String." All that was required was "two cups and a piece of string with a minimum bandwidth of 5mm." Any cup and string would work, but for best results a "Skype certified set" was suggested.




The following instructions were provided for making a call and troubleshooting:

To add a contact
  1. Place one of the cups at the location from which you wish to make the call
  2. Find out the location of your friend and make sure that your string is long enough to reach them.
  3. Take the second cup to this location and hand it to them carefully.
Making a call

To make an audio call:
  1. Wait for your friend to pick up their cup.
  2. Lift the cup to your mouth and speak into it clearly.
  3. Place the cup over your ear to listen to your friend's response.
  4. If your friend doesn't respond, speak more loudly.
If you are still unable to make a call, check that:
  • The string is tight
  • There are no knots in the string
  • The string hasn't been cut by an enemy or a gardener.


It was even possible to use Skype for String to transfer files:

  1. Transfer the file that you'd like to send to a memory stick, then safely eject the memory stick.
  2. Attach the memory stick to a small key ring
  3. Ensure that your cup is higher than your friend's and that the string is tight.
  4. Place the memory stick on string and push it towards your friend
  5. Allow gravity to do its work.

April Fool Categories: Internet Technology, 2012.
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All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.