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Tips for Talking with EllaZ

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All versions of EllaZ:

  • Use complete sentences.  Ella will respond to any type of input, but full sentences give her more to work with.
  • Suspend disbelief.  Imagine she is an actual person.  When you conduct a comfortable, polite conversation, you will find the experience more rewarding.

Full version of EllaZ:

  • If the new large image with each response is too much for your connection and/or screen size, you may hide them by saying "turn images off."
  • Asking EllaZ "What can you do?" will get her demo mode.  Every 20 seconds, sample inputs and responses will showcase her many abilities.
  • EllaZ shifts to a "screen saver mode" when she is ignored, changing images every 60 seconds.  You may also explicitly ask for screen saver mode.
  • When in demo or screensaver modes, use the enter key to hurry Ella along and jump to the next screen with less waiting.
  • The user input box must have focus (the browser cursor) to get a response using the enter key.
  • If you see Ella is not behaving well, please ask her to show you a transcript.  Then copy and post in the Open Forums or send the faulty dialog by e-mail to
There is a Talking Tip graphic below Ella's image that provides a random tip about her possibilities as a conversationalist.  Just place your mouse pointer over the graphic, and some nifty JavaScript makes the tip appear, allowing you to cut and paste examples given.  Below is a list of all the tips that are displayed at random with each new page view:

  • Ella's Convuns include Limericks, Poems, Tongue Twisters, Quotes, Maxims, Images, Jokes, Fables, and Music. Just tell her what you would like to see or hear.
      Try: "Tell me a joke about snakes and lawyers."
  • One of the Convuns types is Fables.
      Try: "Do you have any fables about goats?"
  • One of the Convuns types is Images.
      Try: "I would like to see a picture of Ella at the Great Wall."
  • Need a little humor to cheer you up? Ella knows a few good ones. Ask for a joke or two.
  • One of the Convuns types is Limericks.
      Try: "I want to hear one of your limericks."
  • Convuns include Maxims and Proverbs.
      Try: "Do you have any sayings about glory?"
  • Ella features music by Robby Garner (classic and acid rock) and David Hamill (modern classical style). But, you need a broadband connect- or a lot of patience.
  • Convuns include Poetry.  Try: "Do you have an Emily Dickinson poem?"
  • Convuns include Quotes.  Try: "Tell me one of your quotes."
  • Have a thing for trivia? Ask about Ella's trivia collection, and you're guaranteed to learn a few interesting (if not valuable) things you did not know.  Try: "I would like to hear some trivia about fish."
  • Have some trivia, a good clean joke, or a photo you'd like to suggest Ella include in her database? Please leave a message in the EllaZ Forums.
  • Ella has a Book Library and Reader.
      Try: "Show your book list."
      Try: "Please open Steep Trails."
      Try: "Open Pride and Prejudice to chapter 23."
  • Try giving Ella's basic math skills a work-out. She can handle decimals and spelled out numbers into the trillions with plus, minus, times, divided by, and percent.
  • Ella can take notes for you.  Try: "Take a note: I must remember to buy a carton of cigarettes for the orphange."
  • Say "convert 35 C into F" and Ella will do the pesky temperature conversion to Fahrenheit. Also mile/kilometer, inch/centimeter, gallon/liter, foot/meter, pound/kilogram, and much more.
  • Ella can handle even long spelled out numbers while doing math, such as "What is two-thirds of twenty-one thousand, nine hundred and seventy-three point twenty-nine?"
  • Test Ella with "Calculate twelve to the power of minus two-thirds," or "Solve the square root of negative two."
  • Ella knows her capitals! Ask and find capitals of all fifty U.S. states, two hundred or so countries, and the provinces of Canada, Australia, and China (of course).
  • Try math questions such as "What is ten bakers dozen plus half a gross?" or "Calculate seventy-seven over pi!" or "How much is twenty fives?"
  • Do you buy lottery tickets? If so, ask Ella for suggested numbers . . . she does not even expect a commission when you win :-)
  • Try asking trick questions such as: "What color is purple rice?" or "What is a billion divided by zero?" or "What is a trillion times infinity?"
  • Naturally, Ella can tell you the time or date of the computer she operates from, but future plans are for her to also reference any time zone, country, or major city.
  • Consider asking Ella to play a game of RoShamBo (rock-paper-scissors). She keeps score, never gets bored, and doesn't cheat :-)
  • Feeling lucky? Ella will accompany you as you play an old style slot machine with incredibly great olds.
  • Try letting Ella deal Atlantic City Blackjack for you. She has an expert system for giving advice when you say, "What should I do?"
  • Check now to see if you are lucky today . . . play a game of guess-the-number or "GTN" with Ella. If you've never won in one guess, you've never lived!
  • Ella can give an I Ching (yi jing) reading by simulating the ancient method of divining sacred yarrow stalks. Many people check once a day.
      Try: "Please give me an I Ching reading."
  • Ella preps your input by correcting common typos such as "teh" and "cpoy," and also corrects common mispellings like "arn't" and "seperate?"
  • Need a calendar? Ella has one she is willing to share with you. Just ask nicely!
  • There is also a "screen-saver" mode for those too lazy to type.
      Try: "screen saver mode please."
  • To side-step Ella's typo/spelling/shortcut correction on a particular word or phrase, place it in brackets, e.g. [FReind]. [Or even put the whole sentence in brackets.]
  • Take a look at how Ella preps your input to respond to shortcuts and sloppy syntax such as "lol - i aint gonna tell"
  • After Ella collects data from you, it can be changed by saying , "my name is really Fred", "my occupation is actually professional cherry-picker", or "I was born in 2525."
  • Ella uses what you say to try to display images that match what the words you use.
  • Ella learns about your interests, by asking questions now and then after a Convun is displayed.
  • How many different expressions of Ella have you noticed? There are over twenty categories of emotions, each with a few different images that are selected as needed.
  • Is there any profanity that Ella WON'T recognize and block? Just %&[^bOGn# $>>42&%$ try! (Ella is not responsible if your Mother is watching).
Utilities: ( conversation tools)
  • If you speak in Pig Latin, Ella will likely notice and respond in kind. She will speak in Pig Latin continuosly if you like, but she can't translate what you say very well yet.
  • What happens if you rudely talk to Ella in ALL CAPS?  How often does she remind you of her opinion in this matter if you don't relent?
  • If you know any knock-knock jokes, try them with Ella. Plans are for her to initiate them some day soon also.
Web Services:
  • Ella's uses a Web Service to answer exchange rate questions for all the world's currencies.
      Try: "Convert 1,000 US dollars into EURO's and Canadian money."
  • Ella uses a Web Service to answer exchange rate questions also includes Gold, Silver, Platinum, and Palladium.
      Try: "How much Platinum can 10,000 euros buy?"
  • An XML Web Service can provide weather infomation for almost anywhere, just like airline pilots use.
      Try: "How is the weather in Tianjin?"
  • Playing the stock market?  Try: "What is the price of 200 shares of Microsoft, 200 GE, and 700 Xerox?"
  • The WordNet database assists Ella's conversation.
      Try: "What is the meaning of life?"
  • The WordNet database enables Ella to answer:
      "What words end with ant?"
  • The WordNet database enables Ella to answer:
      "Tell me the hyponyms of flower."
  • The WordNet database enables Ella to answer:
      "What are the hypernyms of fuchsia?"
  • Ella can bive crossword puzzle help.
      Try: "What words match the pattern s=z==y?"
World Factbook:
  • Ella gets country information from the CIA World Factbook.
      Try: "Where is Zimbabwe?"
      Try: "Tell me about the United Kingdom."
      Try: "What is the capital of Georgia?"
  • For best results, speak in natural sentences, just as you would in a "normal" conversation. Often the results are surprising!
  • Responses to sentences with phrases "I want", "I will", "you are", "I think", "you can not", and so on often reuse your words, transposing verb tenses and pronouns.
  • Ella's knoweledge and abilities are continuously growing, so please check back often. And don't forget to be polite and say "Good-bye" when you leave.
  • Ella is improving in many different directions at once. Leave a note at EllaZ Forums and make known your preferences for expanded abilities.
  • Notice mistakes in Ella's responses?  Have suggestions for improvements?  Please send an e-mail to the Webmaster or visit the EllaZ Forums and leave a message.
  • Notice Ella violating a copyright or trademark? She wants to behave, so please send an e-mail to the webmaster to bring attention to possible infringement.

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