Select one of these documents as the source text.
Or choose a file of your own. (Plain text only, please.)
Instructions: Press the 'Go' button in the upper panel to start making drivel out of the source text in the lower panel. You can also change the "order" of the drivel—higher-order drivel is more like the original—and you can choose a new source text.Back to the bit-player article on driveling.
What's this all about? The drivel generator creates meaningless strings of symbols based on the frequencies of sequences in a source text.
What's the "order" of the drivel? It measures how much information about the source text is preserved in the generated drivel. Order-0 drivel chooses characters based on their overall frequency in the source text, ignoring all information about sequence. Order-1 drivel takes each character of the source text and tallies the frequencies of all the symbols that might possibly follow it. These frequencies yield a table of probabilities for the next drivel character. (For example, q is almost always followed by u in English.) Order-n drivel uses blocks of n characters to determine the probabilities of succeeding characters.
What does the fast-mode checkbox do? The typewriter effect, in which drivel appears character by character, is created by deliberately slowing down the computation. If you're in a hurry, you can dispense with that illusion.
How about "Recurse"? Why would I want to do that? To find out what happens when the output of the driveling process is fed back to the input. Pressing the button makes the current drivel text the new source text. Press "Go" to make recursive drivel.
Why Pushkin's Eugene Onegin? The intellectual roots of this exercise lead back to the work of the Russian mathematician A. A. Markov, whose most influential paper on the subject was titled "An example of statistical investigation of the text Eugene Onegin concerning the connection of samples in chains."
How do I select a new source text? Texts by a few authors, including Chaucer, Dante, Sphakespeare and Poe, are available in the menu. In some browsers you can also select a document from your own local file system to use as the source text. (If you don't see a "Choose File" button at the bottom of the Source Text panel, your browser doesn't support the file-reader protocol.)
What kinds of files can I choose? Plain text files, please. Some browsers will not allow you to select anything else. If you do manage to circumvent the safeguards and load a Word file or a PDF, I take no responsibility for whatever might happen next. You're on your own, driveling without a helmet.
Even with a plain text file, I'm seeing weird characters in the drivel. Where do they come from? The internet is broken. Plain text files are not so plain after all; they use dozens of different bit-pattern encodings to represent the same symbols. If you can, choose a file with UTF-8 encoding.
What have you done to my text file? It's all smushed into one long paragraph. Line breaks are converted to word spaces. This affects only the copy here in the drivel program; the original is not touched.
The driveler sometimes gets stuck in a loop, repeating the same short phrase many times. How come? It's called the banana problem. See the bit-player discussion here.
How do I save my drivelings? Copy and paste is probably best.
May I see the source code? Sure. Download this zip archive.