Desiderata for a Personal Computing System

I am logged in to IRC, and wish to step away from the keyboard to do the dishes, without missing anything addressed to me. I’d like for the computer to read out loud any messages arriving over IRC that mention my IRC handle.

My personal computing system should permit me to:

  1. Gain an interactive representation of my IRC session,
  2. extract an object representing the stream of incoming utterances,
  3. feed that stream into a new process, within which I
  4. filter the stream for mentions of my IRC handle, and
  5. pipe utterances mentioning my handle through the say command-line utility.

I’d then be able to leave that running while I did the dishes, terminating it upon returning to the keyboard.

My personal computing system can’t do that right now. Squeak Smalltalk could do it, in theory, but it’s not yet ready for use as my main system for a number of reasons beyond those given in the linked article.