Easter eggs

I’ve written before about the different traditions of Sweden and the UK.  Today it’s Easter and of course the subject has to be Easter Eggs!

Anyone from the UK will know about our obsession for chocolate Easter eggs – they are literally everywhere at this time of year and all the big household brands are peddling their own variants.  As with all eggs – the fun part is not the shell but what’s inside.  So think about it – with most eggs branded by the big confectionary manufacturers… what do you get?  A chocolate egg filled with what?  Yet more chocolate! And all the same it is too. 

How very dull!  Certainly not very exciting and not much of a surprise – I mean what is the chance of a Malteser egg or a Cadbury’s Buttons egg not containing oh I don’t know: Maltesers? Cadbury’s Buttons?

The Swede’s have yet again one up on us when it comes to this whole palaver – and they do it with some proper old school style; none of this branded nonsense!

Although I must admit not having been in Sweden over Easter for a good 10 years – so things may have changed a little… 

The most traditional and most common egg is still of the painted cardboard variety with classic motifs (lots of greens, yellows and reds – all very lovely).   They are most often bought empty and then filled with all manner of goodies – and the clever Swedish sweet manufacturers do a special range of pick-and-mix just for Easter to make it a wee bit special (PS. swede’s love their sweets – a friend of friend has written a book about the mass addiction to sweets).  

Personally I like to make it a bit more exciting and mix it up a little with smaller gifts; like you would in a Christmas stocking.  Either way – whatever you chose to put in the egg there is a little bit of excitement still retained as you don’t really know what’s inside until you open it.  Oh and you don’t have to face the calorie and sugar overdose from that pesky chocolate shell.  Maybe someone with a bit of style and panache should introduce this tradition into the UK? 

While on the subject of Easter eggs there is of course another meaning for the term: a hidden message, in-joke or feature within software, games etc. 

Being a bit of techno geek in a past life I have to admit that I have been guilty of planting such things in code that I’ve written.  I think the best that I managed was a neat little addition to a toggle function in an electricity switching system that I helped to develop.  If you used the toggle following a given set of previous functions it would go through a sequence of morse style on/off switches (rather than just doing a single switch) – so nothing terribly exciting.  At the time the system was being developed as a speculative product and wasn’t deployed anywhere so I thought it was more of an in-joke for the team.  However I understand the system has since been implemented throughout Norway… oops!  So if you ever happen to be in Oslo, Stavanger or Tromso and the lights (and every other appliance) start flashing in Morse code then you know who to blame!  I just wish I had been a bit wittier with the message…

On a lighter note, there are plenty of sites (like this one) where you can discover other features in the software or services you use on a daily basis or games you like to play.

Some are really quite advanced like the hidden games in the various versions of Excel and some are just silly like the routing instructions for the journey Japan to China

But my current favourite (and an in-joke with my new team) is this feature on google. 

Shiver me timbers matey!

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