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Talking Moose

Talking Moose

Talking Moose is a popular software application, created and originally written by Dr. Steven Halls for the Apple Macintosh computer and first published in 1986. In the 1990s, Uli Kusterer took over development of the program, first unofficially under the name Uli's Moose, later with Halls' blessing.

The program featured an animated moose that would comment on whatever the user was doing on the computer. The moose could also 'speak' whatever the user typed in for it. The original Moose was distributed with the Bob LeVitus book Stupid Mac Tricks in 1989. Later versions allowed full speech integration for software developers — and even a HyperCard plugin — although no major companies took much notice. Uli's Moose was included with Bob LeVitus book 'iMac and iBook, I didn't know you could do that.

The Talking Moose used Apple's Macintalk software, the first version of which famously made the original "Never trust a computer you can't lift" speech at the Macintosh launch in 1984. Apple's development of Macintalk had petered out and they allowed Halls' permission to use, and continue refining, the software for free. Much of Hall's original concepts for animation and humor was incorporated in later versions.

Version 4 of the Moose introduced new characters from a "Cartoon Carnival" supposedly run by the titular ungulate and 5 promised a suite of animation tools that would allow users to create their own characters. This version was never released.

The original Talking Moose does not run on Apple systems later than 7.1 but there is a new version which is Mac OS X native.

There is now a Windows XP version of The Talking Moose by Aaron Lambert which can be downloaded from here.

Version 1 Talking Moose in 1986 was the first animated-face talking agent on a personal computer. Version 2 in 1987 was the first animated-face talking agent with lip synchronization to its speech. It became the seed idea for future talking agents, such as Clippy the paperclip on Microsoft Windows, and Prody Parrot from Creative Soundblaster.

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