"New Interactive Product: CATT" joke

Manufactured by: MOMCATT - Makers Of Many CATTs
Anytown USA (Offices around the World)


Low Power CPU
Self Portable Operation
Dual Video Inputs
Dual Audio Inputs
Audio Output
Main Input Multiplexed with Error Output
Auto Search for Input Data
Auto Search for Output Bin
Auto Learn Program in ROM
Auto Sleep When Not in Use
Wide Operating Temperature Range
Self Cleaning

Production Details

After basic construction, the unit undergoes 6 weeks of ROM
programming and burn-in testing. MOMCATT will typically reject
inferior products, but sometimes people will salvage rejected units.

These factory seconds may or may not perform the same as units that
pass the standard acceptance testing. All of the previously listed
features are installed during this interval. Since MOMCATT uses many
different suppliers, there is wide variation between the individual
units. Some of the component matching may be so poor that a feature
may not even work. Fortunately, these units are so cheap that
replacement is never difficult.

Set up and Use

When acquiring a CATT, it is best to visit MOMCATT and see what
units are currently available. The consumer should examine each unit to
verify that all I/O channels are operational. The user should also
look for obvious bugs in or on the system. Although these bugs are
usually trivial and easily removed, they are indicative of the
production environment at the local MOMCATT outlet. When a CATT has
been selected, it should be put in a suitable packing case for
transport to the new operating environment. Failure to properly
package a CATT may result in damage to the unit or injury to the

When the CATT is first brought up, it should be in a quiet room, with
only the primary user(s) present. The CATT should be taken out of
the shipping crate and the self learning program should be started by
showing the CATT the output bin. The next step is to show the CATT
the input bin(s). Some CATTs need more help getting started than
other CATTs. If the user already has one CATT and is bringing up a
second, it may be possible to download the new CATT from the older
more experienced CATT. In either case, the new CATT should be in
self learn mode most of the first day or two. When the CATT is new, it
also has a tendency to sleep() when the learn buffer overflows.
THIS IS NORMAL. When the learn buffer fills, the CATT will go to
sleep(), and the DMA system will take over and store the new data in
permanent memory. In a few days, the CATT will be freely interacting with the
operating environment. The user should be aware that the CATT is
still too new to be allowed out of the home. Full portability comes
later, after more extended burn-in (some users never let the CATT
out, this has some advantages, such as longer unit life). You should
also know that if a CATT gets used to going out, you will have a hard
time keeping it inside for extended periods of time. One other caution,
if allowed out, a CATT may try to port itself to the other side of the
street. Some CATTs have been known to take fatal errors during this
process, errors which are never recoverable.

Your CATT should have it's own system name. This name will have to
be repeated for the CATT many times so that the learn program reads it
correctly. This will be important later on when you want to get the
CATT's attention. Another way to get the CATT's attention is to
boot it. While this is a very effective method, some users feel that too
much booting is akin to abusing the system. If the CATT knows it's
system name, you can cause the CATT to boot itself by shouting the
name at it.

Many users want to play games on their system. CATTs play games
best when they are young. Older CATTs seem to lose their flexibility,
and their joy-sticks lose calibration too. Some of the better CATT
games are: FETCH, MIRROR, STRING, SQRT, JUMP, and CHASE. FETCH is played
the same as with the K-9 system, the only difference is that the
object code must be smaller. MIRROR is played by placing the CATT in
front of a mirror and watching it attempt to parse itself.

Occasionally, the CATT will become alarm()ed by the mirror image,
panic(), and run away. Rebooting will get it back up. STRING is a
game where the CATT parses the end of a data string that is dragged
along the floor. SQRT is a game for when the CATT does something
that you do not like, you use the well known aversion to water as a form
of negative feedback. JUMP is a game like STRING, only the data string
is moved through the air and the CATT reaches new heights of parsing.
JUMP may also be played with a stairway or CATT pole. In these
versions, the CATT jumps down instead of up. Some users may combine
the two games for even more action. CHASE is a game that is played
with two CATTs or a CATT and a K-9 system. In this game, each
system takes a turn as the data, while the other tries to parse it. Many
other games are also possible. Some of these are: SING, and DANCE.
These games rely on the CATT's desire for fishy input data. By
tempting the CATT with fishy data, you can extract many wonderful
audio outputs.


CATTs usually require little maintenance. Every year they should be
taken to a VET (Vastly Experienced Technician) for PM. The VET will
check the I/O ports and the operating hardware. Any problems that
arise between visits should also be taken to the VET. VET fees are
usually reasonable. Some CATTs are periodically plagued by heat
problems. A trip to the VET can fix this problem permanently.


As CATTs get older they generally become more docile. The learn
program becomes more efficient and they sometimes get too smart for
their own good. Some CATTs even start to watch television (encourage
them to watch NOVA, it is good for them, esp. shows about birds and
spiders). Another good thing for CATTs is tropical fish (yes, it is
hard to believe, but they do start hobbies). Most CATTs also like to
have a few toys. This is OK until they rip them open to see what is
inside. A properly cared for CATT can give you years of steady
service. Many users like the first so much that they will get a
second or even third CATT. Most people really don't need all the
extra capacity, but they enjoy the more complex games that can be run.

I'd like to hear from other CATT users if they have any special
application programs available. If there is enough interest maybe
we can start a news group called net.micro.catt.

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