Deck the T With Laughs

boston-t-sign-christmas-hacked"The best thing to happen to [the MBTA] this year" is how one writer described a hilarious prank on the T this Christmas. Obviously they didn't hear about the No Pants Subway Ride, but I digress.

Those who have ridden the Boston subway system (known as "The T") are familiar with the overhanging signs and accompanying Text-To-Speech (TTS) voice overs. Normally they do nothing but announce the next train is just about to arrive (an eternity before it actually does) or some standard service announcement. Their TTS system is a lot better than what you have on your computer or smart phone- but sounding more human actually just makes it more awkward as the flaws stand out even more. The intonation and prosody are all wrong. People don't talk like that; people don't talk like robots!

The MBTA has had a rough year- both for commuters and the organization. Thankfully an employee opted to bring a bit of joy to the stark underground platforms by "hacking" the sign to "sing" a classic Christmas tune- using the awkwardness of the monotonous announcer as a catalyst for laughter and energy. Check out the video below for a good laugh.


For the complete story, check out this great piece by writer Maryam Monalisa Gharavi.

The whole thing reminds me of this image from one of Hubspot's marketing pieces: