Thursday, December 29, 2005

favorite: fortune cookie quotefiles

[UPDATE - All of these fortune cookie quote files can be found at this newer post. Continue reading here for all of the back-story.]

End-of-quarter craziness has left me officially crispy. And so, rather than opine on the mysteries of product marketing, I will share one of my "favorite things" as my New Year's gift to you.

Back in the day, I discovered the fortune program whilst fiddling around on my first UNIX system. Flush with wonderment at the ability to extract a fresh quote from some hidden store of wisdom, I applied what limited brainpower I had and came up with a way to insert a random quote into my finger file from a quotefile of my own design. This made me feel rather clever, I'll have you know.

Step ahead to 2005, and I still need my daily dose of randomness; you'll note that I've implemented a rudimentary Quote of the Day up on the upper right hand side of Ack/Nak. For Windows, however, there isn't a better (free) fortune cookie program than Catfood Fortune Cookies, because you can extend it with quotefiles of your own. It enjoys pride of place in my Startup folder next to Konfabulator, Serious Samurize's Milk Weather Suite, and ObjectDock.

So here are a few of my favorites.

(Note: These are collections of quotes from many, many third-party sources, provided here on an as-is basis in flat ASCII txt files. If you object to my distributing them, let me know. The comments associated with each file are posted here purely for my amusement.)

FC/TAG - a variety of quotes culled from ancient sources - the MSDOS FC.EXE program (lifted with the help of Norton's Diskedit) and the Quote of the Day program from the TAG BBS. These date back to 1988 and the well-loved PS/2 mod 30-286 that the Swamp Witch escaped with.

Hack Rumors - Hack has a fortune cookie program built into it which provides players with fortune cookies. Good to eat and full of pithy wisdom, this goofy find will appeal to old-time D&Ders.

HAL9000 BBS - a *huge* collection of taglines was found on the HAL9000 BBS in Ann Arbor sometime in late 1993, which after monsterous effort was transformed into a useful quotefile. I think.

ILLUMINATI BBS - The Illuminati BBS had the MACRO.EXE quote generator set up for their Quote of the Day, and this was the default quotefile. This collection of quotations, character art, and folk wisdom is copyright 1991 by Robert M. Schroeck. Copyright on individual items may still be held by their original owners.

STEVE JACKSON GAMES - Steve Jackson Games' Illuminati BBS had a section called 'G-files' where various and sundry stuff was put to pasture. These were culled and formatted between 1992 and 1993 during SQL runs. This file also includes SJG's Famous Last Words (FLW) collection.

MST3K - Mystery Science Theatre 3000 quotes and comments from the 'bots (Gypsy, Tom Servo and Crow T. Robot), Joel Robinson, Mike Nelson and the Mads (Doctor Clayton Forrester and TV's Frank). The nice folks on made it all possible.

SUNOS FORTUNE - Lifted from the Sun Release 4.1 (88/02/16) version of FORTUNE. Apparently this program took its adages from a datafile in sequential order, making it vulnerable to:
#! /bin/sh
echo "%" > f
for counter in `jot 4000`
/usr/games/fortune >> f ; echo "%" >> f
The first line of the dumpfile was used to test for rollover in vi. This last of the big-time quotefiles was taken on 01/27/94.

MOTD BOB - this series of quotes/thoughts/stuff was compiled over a period of two years at Compuware from USENET, Japanese, talk.bizarre and other assorted sources. Included in this file are the following small datafiles: