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A little surreality to brighten your day

Posted by timboudreau on October 29, 2008 at 2:40 PM PDT

Since I'm back to working in development full-time, I've been setting up a fine little desktop machine. In the process I ran across one of the weirdest bits of software I ever wrote, now available to you too.

Basically it generates grammatical english sentences from a randomized vocabulary and set of sentence structures. I've had a fascination with getting computers to emit human language since I was a kid. So I wrote this thing to play around with doing that. It's not artificial's artificial stupidity.

Of course, there are perl scripts that can generate a whole nonsense thesis for you, but the output of this thing is, well, cute. For years after I wrote it friends would send me "best-of" emails after half an hour of clicking to create new sentences. And who wouldn't be reassured, being informed that The puppies have not been vast and have not devoured princes.


I wrote it in Turbo Pascal in the early 90's, and then stuck a GUI on it when Delphi came to be in '96 or so.
The source code is long-lost, but for anyone who needs a little absurdity injected into their day, just unzip this file on Windows and run sentgen/sg32.exe (remember when it was actually cool to append /32 to your programs to show they weren't nasty 16-bit windows 3.1 apps? Maybe the / came from OS/2...).


Needless to say I take no responsibility for anyone being offended or weirded out by its output, or anything it might do - I don't make up what it comes up with, a random number algorithm does :-) Enjoy!




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ESC-x psychoanalyze-pinhead

I remember back in the 80's application that tried to be a shrink. It would ask you stupid questions and analyzed the answers as well as it could. The app was written for Commodore 64 in basic and had rather limited vocabulary. That program really intrigued me then and was a kick start to my programming career. Well, the discussion went something like this: C-64: How are you today? Human: I'm tired C-64: Do you think that's normal of you? Human: Yes C-64: Why? Human: I went to bed too late C-64: Would you like to tell me more? ...

L O L !

hat27533 - I think you're thinking of Eliza. It was ported to all sorts of things. ljnelson - :-)

the modern version of your kid dreams is called DBMonster... check it out.....