Deskbot – Your Own Free Talking Desktop Buddy

merlin   Deskbot   Your Own Free Talking Desktop BuddyFirst of all, I must admit that I like odd software. I like applications that push the edge of available technologies and do things that you’d never even consider doing with your computer. It’s with this in mind that I went out in search of a free talking desktop buddy to add to my new Sony Vaio list of installed apps.

My requirements were pretty simple. I wanted a little character in the lower right corner of the screen that talks to me and interacts with me when I want it to, and otherwise keeps its trap shut when I don’t. I wanted a little dude that’s helpful and functional, but wouldn’t get in the way when I wanted to click on the screen.

With all of these requirements listed, I struck out in search of a cool application that could accomplish all of these things. Needless to say, I was terribly disappointed for many hours. As my search grew old, I almost gave up. Other than countless websites with viruses or malware doubled as an alleged virtual desktop characters – there was no legitimate application to be found. That is until I landed on the very last link that I found – and then like that I discovered the perfect app, simply called DeskBot. Let me introduce you to my brand new free talking desktop buddy.

DeskBot, The Free Talking Desktop Buddy – It’s For Real

First of all, kudos to Gordon Bell at BellCraft Technologies for developing this cool little app and offering it for free. After installing the base application from the download page and running it, you’ll immediately discover a little blue Genie in the lower right corner of your screen, and you’re presented with the settings window.

genie1   Deskbot   Your Own Free Talking Desktop Buddy

The two features you can set up on this first screen are the ability for your character to read any text that you highlight and copy in a digitized voice, and in various intervals (which you can set), your little desktop buddy will tell you the current time. The next few tabs let you configure everything about the character.

genie2   Deskbot   Your Own Free Talking Desktop Buddy

The software comes default with the Genie or Merlin, and you can set the voice, the animations, whether a balloon appears when your character talks, and a whole bunch of other customizations. Now, as an aid for those learning to read or elderly who can’t read the small text on the screen, the next “Read” tab is fantastic.

genie4   Deskbot   Your Own Free Talking Desktop Buddy

Your desktop buddy is prepared, at any time, to read entire texts out loud for you. Just copy and paste the text into this screen and click on the green “Read” button – and your character comes to life and starts reading to you, complete with a pop-up balloon (if you’ve configured one). Now, the next tab is my favorite part of this little app.

genie6   Deskbot   Your Own Free Talking Desktop Buddy

This is where you can configure a variety of greetings that your little buddy will greet you with when your computer first starts up. I have to say, hearing the Microsoft digitized voice saying, “Let’s rock and roll” had me on the floor in stitches laughing. Honestly, the standard voices and characters just don’t cut it for me – they’re way too 1990′s for my taste. Thankfully, the DeskBot download page offers downloads for additional Microsoft Agent characters and voices (including French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish).

To be honest, the default characters remind me too much of those annoying little animated guys in Word and Excel that keep getting in your way. So, searching through the characters, I found the guy I wanted – a bouncer guy wearing the most hilarious bright green suit.

genie7   Deskbot   Your Own Free Talking Desktop Buddy

This guy is a riot. When he’s bored he puts on sunglasses, drinks from a soda can and then chucks it off screen (complete with the sound effects of the clinking can).

Your new friend will greet you every time you start up your computer. You can open up entire text files and have your talking desktop buddy dictate the text while you finish other tasks. Your character will let you know the time as often as you like, and even while you’re working and don’t need the help, your little friend will wait patiently, snoozing or sleeping, until you need something.

Deskbotlink

Have you ever made use of any other applications with Microsoft Agent technology? Can you think of any other cool uses for DeskBot? Share your opinions in the comments section below.

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17 Comments -

0 votes

Docquesting

It works on Vista Home Premium 64 bit. Having it read your article now via selecting text right clicking and copy then the genie reading from the clipboard.

0 votes

Viet

combining with nuance dragon speech recognition, this is kinda cool. I think I find a way to impress people now. haha.

0 votes

John in Austria

So cute and so easy to install. Lots of additional characters too.

0 votes

Docquesting

Another update. How to uninstall? After doing so through add/remove same OS as above the software still runs. After shutting down completely and rebooting the genie pops up. Rechecking the add/remove shows it is not there as the listed deskbot previously. It would be appreciated if your able to provide a “easy way to completely remove this” after recommending it.

0 votes

travel wallet

Finaly a program that fits my empty purse.

0 votes

ytramacanyek

yea i get it waz u know jus u know and that its

0 votes

Docquesting

Ive tried everything. Reinstalling and trying again to uninstall with revo. Then doing the same in safe mode. After that even going through the registry and removing the genie.acs and also removing the tts engine. Seems the MS agent cannot be found thus no uninstall option. W

hat next call a lawyer? If MakeUseof.com sucks and or does not want too you will email me at this address to resolve this situation for a impossibly bad situation.

0 votes

Ryan Dube

I may do another update to help out those of you who seem to be having problems disabling or removing the software. A few questions though – are you having difficulty making the software not automatically start? That was just a setting that you can uncheck under General-Startup, uncheck start Deskbot with Windows.

As far as completely uninstalling the software, there were a few install scripts you could run at the link provided such as Deskbot, the TTS engine and character files – a full uninstall depends on what you installed. Do you have any files left in:

C:\windows\msagent\chars OR C:\WINNT\msagent\chars (depending on operating system)

What did you run as part of your particular install?

0 votes

Docquesting

Thanks for replying dude it is greatly appreciated. Yes I do – Vista C:\Windows\MsAgent. Should I delete the MSAgents folder completely? I installed everything after as usual always via the “custom” route. What should I do next? You may want to reread carefully to get a better understanding of what I have tried already.

As a suggestion if you want to contact me about a helpful article about doing research before installing anything I would be glad to provide my experience. As in that some sites use illegal logos from legit companies for references and fake reviews.

0 votes

Ryan Dube

Yes, if I understand correctly the genie was still popping up so you tried to uninstall through add/remove programs first. My question was whether you tried just de-selecting the autostart feature from within the software first. That did stop the genie from popping up for me.

As I understand it, some operating systems came with MS Agent as an extension, and you don’t uninstall it. Uninstalling Deskbot (and the TTS engine if you have to) should have done the trip.

What happens if you re-install Deskbot and then deselect the autostart feature as I described above? Once the Genie stops popping up, then go ahead and uninstall it again. Let me know how you pull through!

0 votes

bigbillkahuna

Haven’t checked out all the possibilities yet…..it would be really cool to tie it in to system resources so the bot could announce status. Or possible virus attacks…..or………

0 votes

Docquesting

Was able to remove the genie in the location mentioned. Now it refuses to allow me to right click and remove. Even tried booting into the admin account via safemode. The only good news is that it does not pop up anymore. However there is still something there that will not allow me to remove the merlin in the msagent folder.

0 votes

Sebastian

I installed this software in 1999.

C’mon!! Old software detected