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Apple Easter Eggs
Speech


By: David K. Every
& Daniel Fanton
(C) Copyright 1999 DKE - All Rights Reserved.

PlainTalk SR (speech recognition)
Code Name: Casper

Speech recognition software in which a person talks and the computer responds with a reply or an action.

Upon saying "What time is it?", the computer will reply "Seven-zero-three-P-M".

So speech recognition does what you would expect -- it responds to commands. Yet in typical programmer humor manner, there are some unexpected surprises lurking around. (This stuff changes version to version).

Answers to Questions

Here are some flippant answers you may find when asking questions. (See "setup" at end of the article).

  1. In the finder ask, "Are there any Easter Eggs?"
     
    The computer will respond, "If there were any do you think I would tell you?"
     
     
  2. From SimpleText ask, "Do you need help?"
     
    The computer will respond,: "I'm trapped inside this computer and I can't escape!"
     
     
  3. From SimpleText say, "I need help!"
     
    The computer will respond, "I'm sorry, they did not have time to add my artificial intelligence module."
     
     
  4. With Speech Setup open, ask, "Tell me about Casper."
     
    The computer will say, "He's a friendly ghost from ATG"
    in the message area it will show "Version 1.2 updated by Jeff Shulman and Laile Di Silvestro"
     
     
  5. With Speech Setup open, ask, "What about Speech Recognition?"
     
    The computer will say, "Don't forget ATG"
    in the message area it will show "Version 1.2 by Kurt Rodarmer, Matt Pallakoff and Arlo Reeves"
     
       
  6. With Speech Setup open, ask, "Did anyone test you?"
     
    The computer will say, "Not to mention ULQ"-
    in the message area it will show, "Of course! I was tested by 'Braz' Ford and Morgan Wize"
     
  7. With Speech Setup open, ask, "Who was the boss?"
     
    The computer will say, "Our fearless leader"-
    in the message area it will show, "The boss was Tim Schaaff"
     
     

    Note: ATG stands for Apple's "Advanced Technology Group" -- the group that was responsible for the design of Casper (Speech Recognition).

     

Balloon Help

Also, try selecting the version number with Balloon Help in Speech Setup.

Joking Around
From: Wayne Rugenstein (jsracer@sky.net) and Wraithe (Ianm@gnu.ai.mit.edu)
Note: This is borderline between an easter egg and an undocumented trick. The egg is a programmer's joke, but it is not very secret.

Using Speech Recognition 1.4.1 say "tell me a joke" and it will tell you a knock-knock joke. If you say "go away" it will abort the joke. This is not much of an easter egg since the joke file, "Tell me a joke", is simply sitting right there in the "Speakable Items" folder. If you crack the file open with ResEdit, you can see all of the different jokes (there are a lot of them).

If you do not know how to do a knock-knock joke, here's what you do: Your computer will respond with "Knock, knock," you reply by saying "Who's there?" When it responds with a name, repeat the name, then say "who?" -- and out comes the really bad reply.

Plaintalk Voices
From: MacWorld's MacSecrets

If you play around with PlainTalk's voices, you'll discover that four of them are musically inclined. The voices named Bad News, Good News, Pipe Organ, and Cellos each sing what you type, to specific melodies. Bad News sings a funeral march (specifically a Chopin Prelude). Good News sings to the graduation march Pomp and Circumstance. Pipe Organ sings to the theme music from the Alfred Hitchcock Presents TV show. Lastly, Cellos sings to "In the Hall of the Mountain King" from Peer Gynt, by Edvard Grieg. You may never hear these guys sing because they start over at the beginning of each punctuation mark. To avoid the problem, type the lyrics with NO punctuation. Then, if you have Plaintalk installed, you can make them speek.

The program Talking Eggs pulls these voices, among others, out of your computer. Although not easter eggs, as the program's name suggests, the program is worthy of a mention.

Speech Macro Editor

Go to "About Speech Macro Editor..." and Balloon help the pictures on the left-side of the window.

Speech Recognition's Characters
From: MacWorld's MacSecrets

Some of the characters you see in the Speech Recognition window resemble TV show personalities. Pat is from Saturday Night Live. Raymond is from the TV show, Raymond. There are also Connie (Chung) and Sally (Jessy Raphael, of talk-show fame).

Unusual Message
From: Patrick Dekker and Anthony Sciola (leaper@brown.edu)

I am told that in the Speech Setup v1.3 Control Panel, clicking the speaker icon and saying an often unusual message that was previously tucked away in the 'ttvd' resource will result in an egg. This egg will only work for version 1.3 of Speech Manager and will not work in any of the versions for the above trick described (the 'ttvd' resource does not exist in any of them).

More Messages

This is not really an egg, bure more of a feature. But each voice has its own little interesting saying when you enable it:
  1. Albert: "I have a frog in my throat. No, I mean a real frog!"
  2. Bad News: "The light you see at the end of the tunnel is the headlamp of a fast approaching train."
  3. Bahh: "Do not pull the wool over my eyes."
  4. Bells: "Time flies when you are having fun."
  5. Boing: "Spring has sprung, fall has fell, winter's here and it's colder than... usual."
  6. Bubblesm: "Pull the plug! I'am drowning!"
  7. Cellos: "Doo da doo da dum dee dee doodly doo dum dum dum doo da doo da doo da doo da doo da doo da doo"
  8. Deranged: "I need to go on a really long vacation."
  9. Fred: "I sure like being inside this fancy computer."
  10. Good News: "Congratulations you just won the sweepstakes and you don't have to pay income tax again."
  11. Hysterical: "Please stop tickling me!"
  12. Junior: "My favorite food is pizza."
  13. Kathy: "Isn't it nice to have a computer that will talk to you?"
  14. Pipe Organ: "Never laugh when a hearse goes by for you may be the next to die they wrap you up in a bloody sheet they lower you down about fifty feet the worms crawl!"
  15. Princess: "When I grow up I'm going to be a scientist."
  16. Ralph: "The sum of the squares of the legs of a right triangle is equal to the square of the hypotenuse."
  17. Trinoids: "We cannot communicate with these carbon units."
  18. Whisper: "Pssssst, hey you, yeah you, Who do ya think I'am talking to, the mouse?"
  19. Zarvox: "That looks like a peaceful planet"

Voices (1.1)
From: Dave11383@aol.com

In the Voices control panel, if you hold Option and click on the version number, the selected voice says "Greetings From Tubian", or something like that.

 
Setup / Versions

If you have PlainTalk version 1.0 (for 660AV and 840AV only), you would need to have System Speech Rules v1.2 AND be running AppleScript 1.1 to enable the Easter eggs. You might consider upgrading to PlainTalk 1.3 if there is no easier way to obtain AS 1.1.

If you have PlainTalk version 1.2 (for Power Macintosh only), you can turn on Speech Recognition and try out the eggs immediately.

If you have upgraded to PlainTalk version 1.3 (for 660AV, 840AV, and Power Macintosh with System 7.5), the new System Speech Rules file only contains one of the 1.2 Easter eggs -- but there are no known side-effects by downgrading System Speech Rules, yet you should keep a backup of the original handy (to upgrade back).


Created: 08/26/98
Updated: 11/09/02


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