Don’t believe anything you read on April 1. Another tip? Don’t try to rob a bank. The Telegraph reports that a robbery in the UK last year was foiled when a bystander thought it was an April fools joke. Brian Davidson put his hand in his pocket at the Exeter branch of the Bank of Scotland and told cashiers “I’ve got a gun — Hand over the money.” 

But a bystander approached the man and said “It’s April the 1st isn’t it mate? It’s April fools day.”

Davidson threatened to shoot Mr Stewart but was answered with “go on then shoot me” and then grabbed the empty bag out of Davidson’s hand. The would-be robber fled the scene and was later arrested.

Back home, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has been the butt of many April Fools jokes, with geeks knowingly guffawing about all sorts of fake stories about the beleaguered minister.

QLD ABC radio personality Spencer Howson has been forced to apologise for an “ill-considered” April Fool’s Day joke. In a reference to 612 ABC’s Marching into Africa drive, which aims to fill a shipping container with 30,000 pairs of shoes for African children and parents, Howson told listeners to leave donations of shoes at their local McDonald’s restaurants. Howson apologised on radio for what he described as a throw-away line, adding they could take the shoes to Hungry Jack’s instead, before again apologising. (Neither Hungry Jack’s nor McDonald’s are designated drop-off points.)

Crikey has collated a snapshot of some of today’s more successful April Fools efforts:

Surprise group wins $4.7bn NBN deal: The Federal Government has awarded its $4.7 billion National Broadband Network contract to a secretive consortium backed by the wealthy Packer and Murdoch families.” — ZDNet Australia

Revealed: Secret government plan to tax Twitter A tax on the popular social networking site Twitter could be catastrophic to its development in Australia. A tax of one cent per ‘tweet’ will be applied and then multiplied by the number of followers the person has. “For Australia’s most prolific Twitterers, the charge would make their activities virtually unaffordable.” — Mumbrella

Conroy dumped as minister for broadband Minister for Broadband Stephen Conroy has been dumped. Conroy has come under increasing fire in recent weeks as the figurehead for the government’s ISP level filtering plan and the national broadband network (NBN). The Prime Minister remained tight lipped when questioned about the reasons for Conroy’s departure. “Senator Conroy did a commendable job over the past 14 months, but it’s time for a change of direction,” he said. — Whirlpool

Announcing Gball Google Australia has launched “Gball”. According to the official Australia Google blog, engineers have developed an Australian Rules football which has inbuilt GPS and motion sensors. The gBall automatically measures kicks and offers tips and suggestions. Another feature of the gBall is that it vibrates when an agent or talent scouts wants to speak to you. The gBall is plugged into your computer to set up your gBall account, this is so you can locate it through Google maps if you lose it. — Webuser

Vexing computer worm to evolve on April Fool’s Day A computer worm has penetrated machines worldwide and is set to evolve on April fools day. Microsoft has placed a bounty of $250,000 on the heads of those responsible for the worm, referred to as Conflickr or DownAdUP. The worm can effect machines from the internet or by hiding on USB memory data and once in the computer it digs deep, setting up defences. — AFP

Chinese company bid to rename MCG without renaming it The Herald-Sun earlier today revealed that a Chinese company has proposed that the MCG could be renamed without causing upset within the community. Mekong Industries, one of the largest companies in China proposed that the Melbourne Cricket Ground could be renamed “Mekong Cricket Ground” but still be called the MCG. — The Herald Sun

Microsoft buys Apple. In a move is shocking the tech world — actually, and the rest of the world, too — Microsoft has just announced the acquisition of Apple Inc. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer recently panned Apple as little more than a $500 logo — perhaps he was trying to get the value down before the purchase? In a recent interview with Business Week Ballmer was defensive on any issue that involved Apple. — New Zealand Herald

And is this one true?

Pears, other fruit banned after Jobs rampages through Apple cafeteria. Apple employees at the company’s Cupertino, California headquarters are still in a spin after an apparent rampage by CEO Steve Jobs through the company cafeteria yesterday led to the banning of pears, blackberries, and other fruit from the site. — Australian MacWorld

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Peter Fray
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