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"I have downloaded the Moose! My computer and I are happy! My husband is miserable!"
December 5, 2012 7:22 AM   Subscribe

Talking Moose lives!

Steven Halls, creator of the original Talking Moose an award winning "animated talking utility" from 1986, is working on a 3D version of his beloved software. Love it or hate it, the moose was a memorable piece of many users' early Mac experiences.

People who can't wait can run older versions of the moose in the meantime, but it may be somewhat complicated. (previously)
posted by jessamyn (63 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
I used to have this installed on my Mac SE! Unfortunately, the moose has apparently moved house to the uncanny valley.
posted by killdevil at 7:27 AM on December 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Has anyone in this family ever even SEEN a moose!?

Seriously--Apple should buy it and bake it into the next Siri.
posted by sourwookie at 7:32 AM on December 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


OMG! My favorite piece of useless yet wonderful software!

Now, how about Bungie Jumping Cows?
posted by tommasz at 7:34 AM on December 5, 2012


There is not much that frightens me, but I clicked away from that in horror in about 5 or 6 nanoseconds.
posted by Uncle Grumpy at 7:36 AM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Sorry folks, park's closed. Moose out front shoulda told ya."
posted by fijiwriter at 7:37 AM on December 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


This seems a lot like that program I had that would produce a tiny animated wizard to read my ICQ messages aloud to me.

I still have no idea why I downloaded that.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:48 AM on December 5, 2012


Talking Moose + Startup Items + scripting language + poorly secured network of ancient macs back in high school = endless mirth (and a few detentions). I think I'll leave this widget in the past, though.
posted by phong3d at 7:48 AM on December 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


BonziBuddy>TalkingMoose
posted by microm3gas at 7:53 AM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Eh, it's no eSheep.
posted by davejay at 8:00 AM on December 5, 2012 [6 favorites]


I miss Clarus the Dogcow.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:08 AM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yay! Now bring back SuperClock!
posted by ardgedee at 8:09 AM on December 5, 2012


YESSSSSSSS

My brother had a friend with a longish Turkish name. Talking Moose was the BEST with that one.
posted by Madamina at 8:12 AM on December 5, 2012


Flying toasters or STFU!
posted by PeterMcDermott at 8:12 AM on December 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


If you can remember the '80s you did something wrong.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:14 AM on December 5, 2012


Talking Moose lives? What about Flying Squirrel?
posted by cottoncandybeard at 8:17 AM on December 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Talking Moose was on the Macs in the computer lab in high school. I'll never forget him telling me, "A man walks into a bar. He cries out in pain."
posted by roger ackroyd at 8:21 AM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


That's cool and all but I don't think I ever experienced it. What I remember experiencing and loving and identifying with in school computer labs was the After Dark suite of screensavers that you could tweak and play with. That stuff was cool and was almost like a game in itself. Those flying toasters....

I looked and looked and tried and tried a while back to see if there was a way to get it up and running or find a port in Windows somehow and eventually got frustrated and gave up. Sad day.
posted by RolandOfEld at 8:35 AM on December 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


If you can remember the '80s you did something wrong.

I was a child.

BonziBuddy>TalkingMoose

Oh, BonziBuddy. The source of one of my favorite software security terms ever: Backdoor Santa.

Fun fact: (at the risk of derailing this socially significant thread) Backdoor Santa is also a Clarence Carter song that is the sample for Christmas in Hollis. (===☆)
posted by mrgrimm at 8:46 AM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


That moose's eyebrows are disconcerting.
posted by ChuraChura at 8:51 AM on December 5, 2012


A talking Møøse once bit my sister ...
posted by TedW at 8:52 AM on December 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Once.
posted by pracowity at 8:53 AM on December 5, 2012


"Original" talking moose my ass.

Mr. Moose is the real deal.
posted by she's not there at 8:54 AM on December 5, 2012


I don't have a Mac, so I guess I'll just leave you all to your moosey fate.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:55 AM on December 5, 2012


Why the schlong face?
posted by exogenous at 8:56 AM on December 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


Heh, that's pretty cute. Getting it running via Mini vMac is really pretty easy, just follow the directions -- basically download, unzip, and drag the System disk file onto the emulator program.

You may, however, need to be old for this crude speech synthesis to make you smile. This is from an era when a computer doing anything other than bleeping and blooping was still pretty novel. There were a few arcade games that had some speech, but home computers mostly didn't.

The TI-99 did pretty good speech synthesis with a dedicated hardware unit. It was surprisingly good for the era; this video is just showing off random stuff, rather than trying to spell phonetically, and it still does an okay job. If carefully tuned, as it was here in the Parsec game, it sounded outstanding.

In the 16-bit era, computers got fast enough to do this on the CPU. The Amiga and Mac both had speech synthesis built into the OS. The ST's offering was, I believe, a separate application, so they could tick a checkbox.

You can hear a sample of Amiga speech here, just some young men playing with random phrases piped into the speech synthesizer.

On the PC, Creative Labs had "Dr. Sbaitso" that came with their soundcards, but it was so, so terrible. Here's a sample. After hearing that, you'll appreciate Moose a bit more.

I hadn't realized the ST had a synth when I started this comment, and now I know why. Sorry, ST lovers, but like so much else about that machine, it was cheap and crappy. It sounds like Wizard of Wor, not a 16-bit machine. Even Dr. Sbaitso was better than that.

Things have progressed a fair bit in the last 25 years or so. The modern OS X speech utilities are really quite good, very listenable. From Microsoft, Windows 8's offerings might be even better.

Damn. I probably should have made this into an FPP on the history of speech synthesis.
posted by Malor at 8:58 AM on December 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


talking Møøse

So he talked Mock-Norwegian? 'Cause we say älg around here, and also "the moose (Alces alces L.) went extinct in Denmark around 2.600 BC."

When I look at that guy, what I'm thinking is, moose have actually green-blue eyes when shone into (When you can see them it tends to be too late to break and you get älgstek, or squashed drivers, or both.)
posted by Namlit at 9:03 AM on December 5, 2012


Moof!
posted by ook at 9:06 AM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


I hope there's an option to just use the 1.0 version of the Moose. The 3D thing is really kinda creepy (and as a concept, almost as dated as the Moose itself). The Talking Moose should also remain black-and-white, as the Mac SE intended.

The first time I heard the Moose, I believe it said, "Let's order a pizza" so we quickly became pals.
posted by antonymous at 9:13 AM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Uncanny Walley (World)
posted by Curious Artificer at 9:13 AM on December 5, 2012


Ackkk! They can try to spin it as modern or updated but the 3D moose has zero charm. I'm even a little repulsed by the way it's ingratiatingly wagging everything it can at me.
posted by Rich Smorgasbord at 9:22 AM on December 5, 2012


The bastard offspring of Bullwinkle J. Moose and Dobby the House Elf.
posted by unSane at 9:29 AM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh those were the good old days, when you could easily install prankware like the Moose. My favorite was "Mitten Touch Typist." About one in 5 to 10 keystrokes would produce a random key next to the one you hit. The "mistake" seemed plausible so people would slow down and type more carefully and they would still make mistakes.
posted by charlie don't surf at 9:42 AM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


I hear Clippy's doing porn these days.
posted by Atom Eyes at 9:42 AM on December 5, 2012


So he talked Mock-Norwegian?

Mock Swedish
posted by TedW at 9:51 AM on December 5, 2012


Does this mean I can still hold out hope for an updated Oscar the Grouch INIT that will sing whenever I throw files into the Trashcan?

Warning! Children tend to throw lots of files into the trash to see and hear Oscar.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 9:53 AM on December 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


Well, son, when Jimmy Durante and a moose meet each other and fall in love, and decide they love each other very very much, and would like to share their love and start a family, they get into bed, and take off their pajamas, and then... Ha-cha-cha-chaaaaaaa!
posted by not_on_display at 10:20 AM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, son, when Jimmy Durante and a moose meet each other and fall in love

You are a bad bad person and should be very very sorry.
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:32 AM on December 5, 2012


Oh my goodness, that sheep.

I also miss Neko.
posted by maryr at 11:01 AM on December 5, 2012


Still waiting for Shufflepuck Cafe.
posted by escabeche at 11:50 AM on December 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


'This week on Talking moose lives, we discuss the story of one bull moose born near Losby, Norway, around the year 1997. If you are a long-time listener of this programme, you might suspect much of this to concern the eating of grass and the leaning against trees, and that will in fact turn out to largely be correct. The subject of today's story is not, however, entirely within the moose norm in every respect. A careful observer would, over a long enough period of time, discover that our subject is somewhat notably more easily alerted by unusual noises and distant smells of predators than a sizable majority of his cohort. Has that, on the whole, been for him a help or a hindrance? We can never know for sure, but stay tuned for a case being made for both options!'
posted by Anything at 12:01 PM on December 5, 2012


Oh, man. What I wouldn't give for the old-school Mac GUI on a modern OS. /sigh
posted by Celsius1414 at 12:07 PM on December 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Why does it look like Jar-Jar Binks?
posted by rikschell at 12:08 PM on December 5, 2012


TedW: "A talking Møøse once bit my sister ..."

Came to comments for this. Was not disappointed.
posted by Splunge at 12:47 PM on December 5, 2012


Damn, that 3D moose is TERRIFYING.
posted by brundlefly at 12:48 PM on December 5, 2012


You may, however, need to be old for this crude speech synthesis to make you smile. This is from an era when a computer doing anything other than bleeping and blooping was still pretty novel. There were a few arcade games that had some speech, but home computers mostly didn't.

I had a software speech synthesizer for my 8-bit Atari 800, called SAM.

disclaimer: this is not my youtube video and the sound is very quiet

Also, I just played M.U.L.E. online last night, but it was the commodore 64 version. The Atari version was so much better, in part because the graphics and sounds were so much worse...
posted by davejay at 12:58 PM on December 5, 2012


That is not where a moose's mouth goes.
posted by vytae at 2:05 PM on December 5, 2012


That is not where a moose's mouth goes.

That has been my problem with the whole thing! I mean, I love this idea and have been so pleased to see Steven Halls working on it and extra specially liked the Twitter stream which has a bunch of bad jokes and radiologist insights. My favorite thing was the updated photo of him and his wife (which I can't find now for some maddening reason) which mirrored the About page "photo" of the two of them which I remember. But yeah I think if this came to fruition I would see if there was a toggle setting to bring back the old style moose.
posted by jessamyn at 3:36 PM on December 5, 2012


No love for SimStapler or Jared? Bring back early Freeverse, with their best-part's-in-the-liner-notes attitude!
posted by gusandrews at 3:55 PM on December 5, 2012


I can't help but wonder if Talking Moose knows Prime Number Shitting Bear.
posted by Flunkie at 4:10 PM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Petition to revive Oscar the Grouch trash-can
posted by unliteral at 4:53 PM on December 5, 2012


Oh god. That… thing. I…

Its brow-ridges are moving but its eyes are not changing shape. It's got a little human mouth beneath a giant Bullwinkle schnozz. It's got wide-open eyes that never close. I think it's wearing fake eyelashes.

DO NOT WANT

and yes, I am old enough to remember the Moose with some nostalgia.
posted by egypturnash at 4:53 PM on December 5, 2012


And the SEPARATION BETWEEN EVERY SINGLE TOOTH oh god AAAAH

If I knew 3D modelling I would make a moose head, and several morph targets, PRO BONO. Because AAAAGGGHHH.
posted by egypturnash at 4:55 PM on December 5, 2012


It's interesting that poorly executed 2D is charming and poorly executed 3D is OMIGOD THE HORROR THE HORROR
posted by unSane at 5:04 PM on December 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's interesting that poorly executed 2D is charming and poorly executed 3D is OMIGOD THE HORROR THE HORROR

Hey, that fits for my dream Classic Mac UI too! ;D
posted by Celsius1414 at 5:28 PM on December 5, 2012


Thist post is worth it just for letting me know about Mini vMac.
posted by brundlefly at 5:41 PM on December 5, 2012


There were a few arcade games that had some speech

Remember how thrilling and exciting it was to have this talking to you in the darkness of the arcade?
posted by hippybear at 5:50 PM on December 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


I am thirty, taking a break from my work project that would have been a completely preposterous nonstarter with the technology available four years ago.

I have started to become grateful for computer nostalgia that I am too young to understand.
posted by Kwine at 6:34 PM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


A good friend of mine turned me on to "MacPuke", a System 5 (and possibly earlier) extension that would play a vomiting sound when you ejected a floppy. Coming from the DOS PC world, and being in my early teens, this was, like, the funniest thing ever. I guess "MacBarf" for System 7 followed, and now there's MacBarfX, but we're rapidly approaching the point where even optical drives are considered "legacy", and a vomit sound when unmounting a thumb drive / SD card just doesn't have the same effect.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:13 PM on December 5, 2012


davejay: I had a software speech synthesizer for my 8-bit Atari 800, called SAM.

If you listen to the Atari ST link up above, it's pretty much the same. I guess Atari just ported the old software, instead of making something new.

hippybear: Remember how thrilling and exciting it was to have this talking to you in the darkness of the arcade?

Yes! I enjoyed that game, although I was never very good at it. But that emulation doesn't sound quite right to me. Maybe it's just time and distance, but I remember the original as not having the weird stops and starts in that video.
posted by Malor at 9:40 PM on December 5, 2012


I think the greatest toy for the Mac ever was a little Desk Accessory called "Fun House." I think I first saw it on the very first Mac OS version. I got it from a Mac developer, it was a little demo of how to access video memory directly. The DA popped up a little window which showed whatever the window was on top of, which was always itself. So it had a little recursive window of itself inside a window of itself ad infinitum. You could move it around and it would shift a pixel or two, so the picture inside the picture would arc off to the left or right or whatever. It was way cool, in a stupid, useless sort of way. But the cool thing about it was that it ran all the way up through System 7. Everything else broke with each new OS release, but that damn DA kept on running.
posted by charlie don't surf at 9:40 PM on December 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Every time an error message would pop up on screen (Like "Error -36," remember that one?) the Talking Moose would pipe up with, "It's not my fault!" To this day, my husband imitates the Moose when something goes wrong in our daily life.
posted by Addlepated at 10:11 PM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


But whither Space Moose?
posted by Evilspork at 6:16 AM on December 6, 2012


I've never stopped missing the mirrored paintbrushes in the really old version of MacPaint. You could have up to 7 mirrors, giving an eight sided symmetrical image of whatever you drew as you were drawing it. It was really fun creating beautifully intricate Mandalas with absolutely no artistic talent required.
posted by marsha56 at 7:47 PM on December 6, 2012


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