I've had this idea for a while and have only told one person so far. That means it's probably time to solicit feedback (or groans) from a larger audience on it. The intent is not to build a virus, but merely to think about what an amusing virus on the Mac might do--one that takes special advantage of the Mac OS X platform.

It started out, like many ideas do, as the result of some idle brain time. For no particular reason, I wondered what a good Mac OS X virus might be. Somehow I decided that it'd be funny if the virus didn't to anything destructive, but merely tried to mess with the user. I stumbled upon the idea of using the Mac's built-in speech capabilities to, once in a while (every 4-6 hours, maybe), say something to (or at?) the user. It'd be a bit of mild trash talk.

  • your writing sucks
  • you type like a girl
  • your hands stink
  • I hope you don't touch your wife/girlfriend like that

And so on. It'd be something that's annoying without being quite as offensive as, say, some of the blog buttons might be.

That's all well and good--a virus that uses your computer's speech capabilities to harass you once in a while.

But then I realized that's really not good enough. This, after all, is the Macintosh and it's 2004. And Macs are pretty smart. What if this virus was also Rendezvous enabled too? The idea is simple, really. When it sees another infected machine on the network (preferably the wireless network), the two of them would trash talk each other rather than the user. If a third one comes along, it could join the fun.

Now that would be funny!

Imagine the scene at your typical geek conference (run by O'Reilly or whoever). A few people walk into a room, waiting for a session to start. Their computers begin to audibly harass each other. More people come in and the occasional harassment grows into an all out Jerry Springer style verbal assault!

Anyway, I don't know much about Mac OS X programming (yet?), so don't expect me to build this idea. But wouldn't it be funny if someone did and it worked?

Update: It seems that Ross has a good use for such a virus. Excellent!

Posted by jzawodn at March 27, 2004 11:54 AM

Reader Comments
# jim winstead said:

sounds a little bit like the talking moose.

on March 27, 2004 12:31 PM
# Steve Friedl said:

> your writing sucks

You'll be hearing this in about a month without a virus ;-)

on March 27, 2004 12:44 PM
# Kasia Trapszo said:

"You type like a girl" - hey, I can out-type you anytime, buddy.. typos and all.

on March 27, 2004 01:00 PM
# david said:

That would be a sight to see..Kasia and Jeremy each trying to race each other burning keyboards left and right.

on March 27, 2004 01:27 PM
# Ross Mayfield said:

Jeremy, this trash talking could have a serious purpose! Heckling people who create personal networks that interfer with conference wifi. http://ross.typepad.com/blog/2004/03/conference_wifi.html Now that would be a virus with a purpose.

on March 27, 2004 02:33 PM
# david said:

Another odd idea that I came up with..for your friends on Yahoo! Messenger that don't get a clue(TM) that you're away ;)

*Jeremy sets away mode on*
"Jeremy, are you there?"
"Jeremy, you there?"

Then again, since it's yahoo's thing, i'm sure you could get some cool people to do that for you regardless of a *cough* virus.

Call it the "I'm really away" feature. *grin*

on March 28, 2004 05:35 PM
# Allen Hutchison said:

In the true spirit of the lazyweb, I've written a first take at this. It's an app, not a virus, so you'll have to install it yourself. Don't have the rendevous stuff yet, but hey it's my first mac app.

You can find the source and the compiled app at http://www.hutchison.org/allen/source/trashtalk/



on March 28, 2004 06:12 PM
# Michiel ebberink said:

way back... when there was no OS X and speech recognition was in its early years I found this little controlpanel called: "librarian" or something named similar. You could install it on someones mac with a microphone attached. If the user talked or made a loud noise it would say: "Shhhhh"

Had lot of fun when I installed it on a friends mac. You should have seen his face.

Maybe an idea to rewrite this app?

on December 8, 2004 07:25 AM
# Kaitokuro~ said:

nice idea ^^ cept you should fiddle with the volume commands so that they cant turn off the volume >:D

on November 28, 2005 03:25 PM
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