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Science

On Company Time #3: Elevator Hacking

Posted by Hannah / January 31, 2006

elevator.gif Welcome to On Company Time, Midnight Poutine's (almost) weekly guide to things you can do when you should really be working. This week's activity takes you away from your desk, so start thinking up excuses for not being there to rapid-fire reply to your friends, er, coworkers' emails.

(Note: When you google 'elevator' for a photo, you get either a) a whole lot of really drab shots of elevator doors, or b) people doing stupid things in elevators, often with their friends.)

A few months ago the New Yorker's Nick Paumgartin set out to find out whether the elevator hacking rumors were true.

Supposedly, if an elevator passenger simultaneously presses the “door close” button and the button for the floor he is trying to reach, he can override the requests of other passengers and of people waiting for the elevator on other floors. The elevator shifts into express mode, racing directly to the floor of his choosing—becoming, in essence, a private lift. Apparently (that is, according to Internet chatter and what you might call secondhand anecdotal evidence), people (pizza men, college students, hotel guests) have been doing this for years, which might explain why the rest of us have occasionally had the feeling that elevators were passing us by.

Experts said it was nonsense, and Paumgartin didn't have much luck either. The hack originally came from The Damn Blog.

Midnight Poutine's offices don't yet have elevators. So, those of you who do travel from street to desk via office rocket should really spend a little bit of time checking out that oversized crate. What's the worst that could happen?

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