Speak to us, oh great and wise computer

In the category of “silly tricks that you can do at the console that don’t really make any progress but are kind of fun anyway,” here are two things you might not normally combine: the fortune package inherited from the Unix of Long Ago, and the espeak tool.

You can probably see where I’m going with this. Technically this is the bare minimum of what’s needed. Type:

fortune | espeak

Chant “Speak to us, oh great and mighty computer,” press return, and your computer will sing to you with the wisdom of the ancients — or the perversity of a stand-up comic, if you enable the off-color fortunes. Remember if you don’t like the default voice you can change that as well, and espeak supports a lot of different language types.

Now you can’t say your computer never talks to you any more. 🙂


6 thoughts on “Speak to us, oh great and wise computer

  1. Pingback: Links 26/4/2010: Scientific Linux Reviewed; More Linux Tablets | Techrights

  2. johnraff

    Agreed that’s not easy to listen to. “The Raven”, or ‘fortune’ for that matter, might be pushing it a bit but espeak is very handy for getting some feedback from a script without having to keep your eyes glued to a terminal window.

    This is fun too:
    ‘tail -f -n 1 /var/log/messages | espeak’
    …for a short time. 🙂

  3. Katie Tam

    fortune | espeak .
    ‘tail -f -n 1 /var/log/messages | espeak’

    How do i use both command?

  4. eric

    Thank you! Made my day 😉 (and given that it’s election day in the UK, I needed this…)


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