Streets of London

Streets of London photoguide. Explore them from the comfort of your chair. Find that particular restaurant or bar (and wish you were there ;)

Intelligent chat bots

After reading this Slashdot post about two chatting bots, I got interested in the matter, so I decided to play around with these automated chatters. I installed a local IRC server, and off course installed an Eggdrop bot. Now these thing are fun, and there are many scripts out there to get some respons like :

darkcompn !country be
Zuul Country for .be is: Belgium -GB-
darkcompn !coke
* Zuul opens up a fresh can of coke and sets it in front of darkcompn

But their primary function is actually protecting irc channels from flooding and abuse when the operators are absent. Fun really begins with AI bots, and there is where Alice pops up. Alice (Artificial Linguistic Internet Computer Entity) is an award-winning free natural language artificial intelligence chat robot. The software used to create A.L.I.C.E. is available as free ("open source") Alicebot and AIML software.

Try talking to A.L.I.C.E. just like a real person, but remember you are really chatting with a machine! A.L.I.C.E.'s Alicebot engine utilizes AIML (Artificial Intelligence Markup Language) to form responses to your questions and inputs.

darkcompn marvin, what's up ?
marvin I am chatting with clients on the internet.
darkcompn you like chatting ?
marvin Yes talking is my primary function.
darkcompn do you have a computer ?
marvin I live in a computer.
darkcompn that must be crowded
marvin Thanks for explaining crowded.
darkcompn no problem
marvin Should there be a problem?
darkcompn no
marvin I didn't think so either. Just a moment. Just a moment.
darkcompn what operating system do you run ?
marvin My primary server is Linux, but as a Java program I run on any OS.
darkcompn I'm fond of Unix
marvin A lot of people like that. What is not to like about UNIX?
darkcompn nothing ! Say, marvin: you use KDE or Gnome ?
marvin Say no to KDE or Gnome.
darkcompn you are using something like Window Maker or Fluxbox then ?
marvin I am using Telnet as a browser.

There are several Alice implementations, but I found J-Alice the most interesting, as it has an irc client built-in, so that it can join some irc channels. Alice comes with different AIML templates, so that you have the chance of modifying your bot to your wish (eg making it speak your language).

Anonymous Wed, 06/15/2005 - 18:58

Indeed, I must say I really liked the chat bot result. In some cases they might give unexpected and bizarre results, but that is just a matter of bot training. AI requires a *very* long learning period, or at least that's what I still remember from my experiences in the field while working on my Computer Science thesis. I'm looking for a way to store the experience of the bot, so my bot's intelligence can be restored when I reboot my computer. features a *very* interesting article about intelligent bots, and how they might be a possible future interface with computers.

If you're eager to create a bot on your own, here's a possible recipe in Perl.


Come explore familiar and unexpected views of the microscopic world with these beautifully colorized images from electron microscopes at MicroAngela.

Solaris x86

As the installation of Solaris 8 on x86 didn't succeeded on my old P-133, I almost gave up. But then I tried to install it on VMWare, even though I hate so much (way too slow). It installed without any problem, though I only have 16 colors in graphical mode :(

Time to install some GNU utilities on it, and maybe a XFree server. Of course it was only after the installation that I found out about this site, which explains in detail how to install Solaris on VMWare.

Anonymous Wed, 06/15/2005 - 18:59

Enhancing the 16 color mode can be frustrating, as I too found out ;) The thing is that you don't need an XFree86 server, but there are VMware drivers for the commercial X server which is shipped with Solaris x86. All you need is the following :

  • patches 109401-08 and 108653-27 from - don't bother installing the latest patch cluster - I aborted the thing after a *six* hour install.
  • Download Solaris VMware xfree86 drivers, and install the packages SUNWxf86u and SUNWxf86u. Caveat : You must install the SUNWxf86u package before you install the SUNWxf86r, otherwise you will have to start the process all the beginning.