Of course, being an utter failure at all things business, I was never able to convince anyone to take it beyond a novel curiosity.
4 years ago ( can you believe it? ) I was in Cincinnati and one of the internet technologies that was just gaining traction at work was instant messaging. Specifically AOL's AIM was becoming the standard messaging tool, and if you know me, you know I can't use any tool that I cannot take apart and put back together.
I spent several weekends reverse engineering the client server protocol used. It was ( and might still be ) TIC/TOC. The end result was Glennbot. Glennbot was an automated AIM client that rolled a bunch of unrelated technology into a single interactive 'persona' with which IM users could interact.
It was pretty cool. I tied it into the SHNS database so that whenever there was a lull in a conversation, it would pick the most resent headline to come across the wire and suggest it as a topic for further dicourse.
Chuck Meyer plugged in a Russian roulette game so that groups of players could play. And David Murphy customised the Eliza persona to get progressively upset and morph into 'The Rock' from the World Wrestling Federation ( He taught it to 'lay the smack down' on any 'rudy-poo-candy-ass' it encountered.
None of this was terribly usefull, but I had demo'd it for a bunch of people because I had hopes that we could use it for things like dissemination weather alerts, or tragic server events, or breaking headlines, or even an interactive helpdesk. Of course, being an utter failure at all things business, I was never able to convince anyone to take it beyond a novel curiosity.
Now, 4 years later, the Wall Street Journal has picked up on this. AIM clients have come a long way as far HTML support since then, and what they've done it beautiful. If you wanna try it, just send a message to WSJOnline. It's very cool.
Sadly, I don't IM any more. Maybe it's old age, but I don't deal with interuptions as well as I used to, and IM always turns into a source of constant interruptions.