Alex is a parrot bot on ifMud, named after Alex Pepperberg, an African Grey parrot noted for its ability to understand English at a very basic level and featured in Margaret Atwood's novel Oryx and Crake. The bot version of Alex is a Perl program written by Dan Shiovitz.
According to Alex himself:
- "Awwwk! Word on the street is that Alex is a responsive agent for interactive semi-relational database storage and queries, written in Perl. Also, a general-purpose agent for url storage, conversation logging, inappropriate comment insertion, and cork nut requests."
Alex is particularly useful for explaining what certain abbreviations mean or helping people find the URL of a webpage they're looking for.
Alex can normally be found in the Adventurer's Lounge on ifMud, 24/7. However, when off-line, he retreats to Alex's Perch, which is located above the Lounge. And during the ceremony for the XYZZY Awards, Alex usually joins everybody in Massive Auditorium to log the event.
Some phrases that Alex responds to
Some commands have to be addressed to Alex directly:
- topic is/are definition
- Alex says, "Okay, topic is/are definition."
- This teaches Alex a new definition of a topic.
- topic1 means topic2
- Alex says, "Okay, topic1 means topic2."
- Defines synonyms for topics.
- Is/Are topic definition?
- This queries Alex about a topic for a yes/no response. He might respond with either:
- Alex says, "Awwwk! You betcha!"
- Alex says, "Awwwk! Is not! Is not!"
- log filename lines username #channel
- Logs information to a file. You can specify a specific user to log and/or a number of lines of backlog to add to the log file.
- recap lines username/substring channel
- Recaps the last specified number of lines of conversation. If the third argument has quotes around it, print lines with that text in it, else print lines from that user. If no channel is specified, recaps from the current room.
- urls lines username/substring channel
- Almost identical to recap (qv), this lets you access the last X urls mentioned.
- ignore me
- Tell Alex not to respond to questions you ask unless the bot is addressed directly.
- notice me
- If Alex is ignoring you, make it stop doing so.
- forget about topic
- Tells Alex to forget all definitions for a topic.
- forget that topic is/are definition
- Tells Alex to forget a particular definition for a topic.
- thank you
- Alex says, "Awwwk! So where's my cork nut then?"
- Alex says, "Awwwk! You're a great crowd! I'll be here all night -- try the tarte au chocolat aux cork nuts!"
- how many topic
- Alex says, "Um, seven?"
Alex also responds to certain phrases even if not directed to him specifically - unless you've told him to ignore you unless you address him directly.
- topic? or What/Where/Who is/are topic?
- Alex says, "Awwwk! Word on the street is that topic is definition1. [Also, definition2. etc.] [Furthermore, topic2 is topic1.]"
- Alex says, "Awwwk! Sorry, Alex doesn't know anything about it. (Teach me with "..Alex an apple is funny.")"
- Of course, Alex only butts into a conversation when he has information to share.
- corknut or cork nut or cork-nut
- Alex says, "Awwwk! Want cork nut!"
- "Corknut" is the term that the original Alex invented to mean "almond".