Mac 101: Easter eggs

For decades, programmers have hidden secret features and surprises inside the software they write. Such tidbits are known as Easter eggs, after the annual holiday hunt. (Note that undiscovered hard-boiled eggs may eventually create less pleasant surprises if left to mature in warm places.) As you're enjoying the Easter holiday, we've got a few links for Apple's Easter eggs.

For OS X Easter eggs, the Easter Egg Archive has a fairly comprehensive list that includes some classics; the BSOD Windows icon and the "here's to the crazy ones" copy on TextEdit's icon are particular favorites.

The classic Mac OS was populated with plenty of Easter eggs -- even inside the hardware itself -- but did you know that there was even an Easter egg in Inside Macintosh, the developer documentation for the Mac? has the story.

As OS X is built atop the BSD flavor of UNIX, it carried forward some truly ancient Easter eggs from the older operating system. The command-line calendar program's data files include some mythological/fictional anniversaries, including a disputed birthday list from Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings.

Apple's newest (and most portable) OS is no stranger to the Easter egg tradition, but the new hidden items have a speakable twist. Siri's subtle movie reviews and silly answers to simple questions have taken over for some of the spontaneous/secret items you might find on the Mac.