The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Sunday, January 19, 2003

R.I.P.: INTERACTIVE RALPH WIGGUM
my cat's breath smells like catfood
It's a sad time. I offer up a link to Interactive Ralph Wiggum, even though it's no longer there. The former University of Oregon engineering major who created this delightful site, Robert W. Rose, graduated recently, and so the school 86ed his account.

Why do I care? Because Interactive Ralph Wiggum was among the first little corners of Web I ever discovered. Rose started it up in (I think) 1996, and that was the first year I started really using the Internet (mainly at work; good ol' AOL 3.0!). I was probably messing around on Yahoo!, and thinking of different search terms to plug in, and happily discovered an early example of the frivolity of the online universe.

Basically, it was a simple artificial intelligence interface, with Ralphie as the star of the show (with a picture similar to the one above, only larger). You would type in a question in a text input field, hit Enter, and get a reply back from Ralph. It was usually something along the lines of, "I think you're funny" and "I love Lisa Simpson and when I grow up, I'm going to marry her!", and other Simpsons-lore gems. The best part, though, was that if you asked just the right question, you'd be treated to an audio reply! My favorite being, "When I grow up, I'm going to Bovine University!" (keep in mind, this was in 1996, advanced high-tech Internet back then!)

I've kept a bookmark to this site on my browser for all these many years, even though I rarely click on it (I just now discovered what happened a couple of days ago). Now, I'll have to kill that off too.

Or will I? Maybe Rose can revive/recreate his creation? I'm sure he's busy with his life, but maybe he can be persuaded... If you're reading this Rose, what do you say? Please?