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
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).
- In the finder ask, "Are there any Easter Eggs?"
The computer will respond, "If there were any do you
think I would tell you?"
- From SimpleText ask, "Do you need help?"
The computer will respond,: "I'm trapped inside this
computer and I can't escape!"
- From SimpleText say, "I need help!"
The computer will respond, "I'm sorry, they did not have
time to add my artificial intelligence module."
- With Speech Setup open, ask, "Tell me about
The computer will say, "He's a friendly ghost from
in the message area it will show "Version 1.2 updated by
Jeff Shulman and Laile Di Silvestro"
- With Speech Setup open, ask, "What about Speech
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"
- With Speech Setup open, ask, "Did anyone test
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"
- 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
Note: ATG stands for Apple's "Advanced
Technology Group" -- the group that was responsible for
the design of Casper (Speech Recognition).
Also, try selecting the version number with
Balloon Help in Speech Setup.
From: Wayne Rugenstein (email@example.com)
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.
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
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).
From: Patrick Dekker and Anthony Sciola
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).
This is not really an egg, bure more of a
feature. But each voice has its own little interesting
saying when you enable it:
- Albert: "I have a frog in my throat. No, I mean a
- Bad News: "The light you see at the end of the tunnel
is the headlamp of a fast approaching train."
- Bahh: "Do not pull the wool over my eyes."
- Bells: "Time flies when you are having fun."
- Boing: "Spring has sprung, fall has fell, winter's
here and it's colder than... usual."
- Bubblesm: "Pull the plug! I'am drowning!"
- 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"
- Deranged: "I need to go on a really long
- Fred: "I sure like being inside this fancy
- Good News: "Congratulations you just won the
sweepstakes and you don't have to pay income tax
- Hysterical: "Please stop tickling me!"
- Junior: "My favorite food is pizza."
- Kathy: "Isn't it nice to have a computer that will
talk to you?"
- 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
- Princess: "When I grow up I'm going to be a
- Ralph: "The sum of the squares of the legs of a right
triangle is equal to the square of the hypotenuse."
- Trinoids: "We cannot communicate with these carbon
- Whisper: "Pssssst, hey you, yeah you, Who do ya think
I'am talking to, the mouse?"
- Zarvox: "That looks like a peaceful planet"
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
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).