The Secret Origins of Clippy: Microsoft’s Bizarre Animated Character Patents

Animated Assistant Patent

Conversational Interface Agent

Filed March 14th, 2002

The text of this relatively recent patent maintains that the problem with animated assistants up until that time was that they were too cartoony, and more realistic humans would work better. That’s a slap in the face to every anthropomorphic office supply, domestic animal, woodland creature, and deceased playwright that Microsoft had called into service to help its users up into that point. And almost seven years later, I haven’t seen ordinary-person assistants catching on in Microsoft products or anywhere else.


115 comments

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  1. ediedi January 2, 2009 at 1:18 am #

    how could they spend so much time on creating these absurdities!? funny but also scary when you know they are the biggest software company.

  2. joecab January 2, 2009 at 5:58 am #

    #13

    Holy crap I can’t believe Jim Woodring drew this for them. At least they had the sense to pick a really cool and imaginative comic artist.

  3. Ishmael January 2, 2009 at 6:04 am #

    Uh… Clippy has been around since Office 98 and Office 2000.

  4. Jelle De Loecker January 2, 2009 at 6:07 am #

    “Use of Avatars With Automated Gesturing and Bounded Interaction in an On-Line Chat Session”

    They did release this as a program, could this have been packaged with 98 or ME? Maybe even XP? I don’t remember, it’s from a long time ago.

    I remember people were annoyed by it, since it used the regular IRC protocol, and every line said by this program had a certain code in front of it.

  5. Tom January 2, 2009 at 6:19 am #

    The fact that (at the time) Bill Gate’s future wife was heavily involved in this area may give clue as to why Microsoft put so many resources into this.

  6. ThomasDM January 2, 2009 at 6:24 am #

    AFAIK Clippy has been around since Office 97.

  7. Gangis January 2, 2009 at 6:24 am #

    #8 – They did. It’s called Microsoft Agent. 😛

  8. WayneDV January 2, 2009 at 6:24 am #

    PAge 4 of your slideshow … the animated chat was implemented by Microsoft as “Comic Chat” … it was quite fun for its time

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Comic_Chat

  9. Cythrawl January 2, 2009 at 6:27 am #

    @ Jelle De Loecker

    It was released with Windows 98 as Microsoft Comic Chat.

    Was quite funny to use in its day and its still used today to make a Webcomic.

    See here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Comic_Chat

  10. Dave January 2, 2009 at 6:42 am #

    Wholy Crap, I diden’t know Peter Griffin used to work for microsoft!

  11. TimH January 2, 2009 at 6:46 am #

    Actually, the above depiction looks more like Microsoft V-Chat than Comic Chat (it even says ‘V-Chat’ at the top-left of the menu bar, which, ironically, is where the program name would be if it were running on a Mac).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_V-Chat

    From what I can remember (has it been 12 years?), the idea really was sorta like a 2nd-life, where you’d pick from a number of pre-determined avatars and ‘walk’ through a 3D space. I don’t think it ever handled voice chat, though, and the 3d space was essentially window dressing on a standard chat room.

    It’s amazing to me, though, that it worked as well as it did considering that we were talking probably 28.8 modems and processors ~100MHz.

  12. Coffeeman January 2, 2009 at 7:24 am #

    The concept of interface other than keyboard is the wave of the future, beginning with these concepts. Some of it may seem bizzarre, but then are these concepts not utilized with the Wii..

    Computer for the illiterate..awesome. Whoever figures out how to create a viable interface without benefit of the keyboard is going to make a mint.

    My first real computer–a Gateway 33mhz–had Microsoft Voice recognition. To bad it was too slow. Then there was Dragon, and Kurzweil. No-hands interface.

    The patents in this article are visionary. Voice recognition with an avatar interface, this is the thing.

    Anyone ever watch the movie, 2001, with HAL 9000? Or how about the movie, Alien, with Mother? Or Star Trek with Spock or Scotty at the console? No-hands interface with an avatar. I hope Microsoft and others don’t give up on this concept.

  13. joe.attaboy January 2, 2009 at 7:43 am #

    Looking at #15:

    For an instant, the Catholic in me thought this might be a depiction of the Blessed Mother, to whom I pray daily that she intercede with God for me that I may never have to use a Microsoft product, ever again, until the day I am judged.

    Then I saw the dot on her head.

  14. ffff January 2, 2009 at 7:44 am #

    http://www.jerkcity.com

    COMIC CHAT LIVES FOREVER

  15. Mark January 2, 2009 at 7:52 am #

    I remember a program like that which is on page 9. I can’t recall if it was by Microsoft though, it came pre-bundled on a packard bell computer I got during the windows 95 era.

  16. Jason January 2, 2009 at 8:01 am #

    @ediedi:

    “how could they spend so much time on creating these absurdities!? funny but also scary when you know they are the biggest software company.”

    To some degree, it’s a good thing. Freedom to let employees explore oddball ideas is an expensive luxury for any technical company. Sometimes this freedom flowers into something that will be a huge success. Often you end up with nothing more than idle exploration. Over all, it’s very difficult to be innovative if you make everyone focus on what you’re already doing rather than things you could be doing.

    The sad thing is much of this has been released to customers, particularly ones who might already be struggling with something like a spreadsheet. Despite enormous negative feedback they’ve persisted with these things (does Microsoft know how to *remove* code from their products?).

    What makes it tragic is that OpenOffice emulates this by having their lightbulb character to perform the same function. Clearly this is a copy of Clippy and family, but why copy what most people seem to be at best indifferent toward?

  17. Art January 2, 2009 at 8:04 am #

    I like the last panel where it takes divine intervention from the Virgin Mary herself to get Windows to work.

  18. Somedude January 2, 2009 at 8:08 am #

    Why couldn’t this article be published on 1 page, instead of having to click for each paragraph? Oh, so you could jack up your page views

  19. memals January 2, 2009 at 8:10 am #

    the genie is from the microsoft speech engine that was part of the early DirectX dev kits.
    There were demos of activeX components running on web sites that would pop the genie up and get him to say something.

  20. J. Random Slashdotter January 2, 2009 at 8:10 am #

    15 pages and no single-page view? Yuch, bye.

  21. Bob January 2, 2009 at 8:15 am #

    !5 pages was not needed for this story maybe 3. tsk tsk

  22. interval January 2, 2009 at 8:23 am #

    Dude… I would so draw dongs on those smiley face guys…

  23. uhhhhhhh January 2, 2009 at 8:25 am #

    wtf, 15 pages for 1 article? never visiting this site again

  24. iscott January 2, 2009 at 8:38 am #

    Personally I think that someone was reading a little too much science fiction over there. The idea of an Artificial Intelligence serving as an avatar or assistant has a long in storied history within science fiction. We just haven’t made reality mirror the fiction yet.

  25. Brian January 2, 2009 at 8:40 am #

    First few paragraphs – ‘first appeared in Microsoft Office 2007’ is incorrect.

    also don’t try to dissuade people from working on new user interfaces! Even though they tried, and ultimately failed, with this particular experiment they–and the world–learned a lot from the experience.

    I don’t think animated character helpers for non-computer-savvy people is a particularly bad idea; I just think Microsoft didn’t quite implement it in a way that would be unobtrusive when you didn’t need it.

  26. bodoh manhog January 2, 2009 at 8:46 am #

    hear hear! comic chat lives forevah! jim woodring is an absolute genius! !!!

  27. oh21 January 2, 2009 at 9:09 am #

    Clippy…APES/Secondlife all sounds real obvious to me…, Why patent the obvious…. Is 19990222 prior to the patent filling?

    Source Date: 19990222: “What I See/Experience – You Experience/See (WISE-YES), and others later can review/experience, is a concept requirement for the future, currently, Telemaintenance has a high-end of VTC and remote control, and a low-end of voice and FTP. Currently all participants in a Telemaintenance Session using identical software applications, operating systems, and very common (not identical) hardware platforms facilitate Telemaintenance WISE-YES. As Collaborative Communications Technology advances WISE-YES will become totally independent of specific/identical hardware platforms, operating systems, and software applications. Also, in the future, Artificial Intelligence Smart Agents (AISA), Continuity Knowledgebases, and Avatar Populated Experience Simulations (APES) will be combined to provide virtual collaborative conferences/classes/… for an experiential learning/mentoring/… Knowledge Transfer (KT) to our people of the future.”

  28. dd January 2, 2009 at 10:01 am #

    The Gennie, was used to advertise Office 95 and active x controls. It was used on a web site which would take virtual Pizza orders using voice commands. I saw it in summer of ’94 on the web… what little of the web there was then.

  29. Tim Jarrett January 2, 2009 at 10:05 am #

    The Shakespeare cartoon in the patent filing was an Office Assistant… in the Mac version of Office. I don’t remember seeing him in the Windows version but I mercifully don’t have an old version that still has the Assistant to check.

  30. Harry McCracken January 2, 2009 at 10:11 am #

    @brian Saying the Office Assistant premiered in Office 2007 was a dumb typo on my part (hey, I was only a decade off!). And right you are that nobody should be afraid to try new things in software interfaces. Ultimately, it’s better to try and be goofy than not to try at all…

    –Harry

  31. Blaine Kyle Evans January 2, 2009 at 10:12 am #

    I know that bird! The one on “Modulating the Behavior of an Animated Character to Reflect Beliefs Inferred About a User’s Desire for Automated Services.” He grew up to be a parrot. The software used for MaxFlight motion simulators summons that bird to notify the operator of, well, anything it can think of. He’s very annoying.

  32. David January 2, 2009 at 10:17 am #

    Wow…fifteen pages? Really? The best part is that it’s an article about things that people find annoying. The next article in the series should be about websites that split articles up into a ridiculous number of pages so that they can boost the page hits numbers that they show to their advertisers.

  33. Deacon Jones January 2, 2009 at 10:29 am #

    How does anybody read these stories without getting frustrated? I am not going to click 15 pages to read some story. I don’t understand because there is only one paragraph per page. I don’t even have time to get into the story before I have to go to a new page.

  34. Russel Gauthier January 2, 2009 at 10:38 am #

    Actually, I loved that comic chat, and miss it a fair deal. It was an awesomely cool idea. So you aren’t alone, lol!

  35. Ken January 2, 2009 at 11:41 am #

    Microsoft did release a vrml based chat application. Microsoft Virtual Chat. Also released with IE 3.0 but required an update to the VRML.dll file to version 2.0. I have a copy of it somewhere in my CD archive.

  36. Petrus G. January 2, 2009 at 2:51 pm #

    as of #8 “As far as I know, Microsoft thought better about the notion of giving Windows a magical genie assistant.”

    Unfortunately they didn’t – I remember seeing exactly that magical genie demonstrated in late 1996, complete with a scripting language and voice-synthesis, so you could add your own genie to your web-pages (shown in the rad new Internet Explorer) … sigh!

  37. musicas January 2, 2009 at 4:43 pm #

    good, i’m from brasil…

  38. ReadWithTabbedBrowsing January 2, 2009 at 5:08 pm #

    I too think that the zillion pages is annoying.. but at least with tabbed browsing, you can load up the next (or several following) pages while reading the current one.. That makes it slightly less annoying, since there is no single page version of the article (or “print” button, which often is a workaround to get a single page).

  39. Harry McCracken January 2, 2009 at 5:17 pm #

    Incidentally, I’m reading the complaints about the number of pages and am not ignoring them, although many, many other sites do slideshows (yes, I know some folks won’t consider that a legitimate excuse) and I cheerfully admit that I do them partially to get the page views that allow this site to exist. Unless I can find a large number of people who find slideshows tolerable and actually look at them, of course, it’s pointless to do them. I’m not adverse to some sort of one-page view, by the way, if I can figure out how to implement it.

    –Harry

  40. Gecko January 2, 2009 at 5:36 pm #

    i used to hate clippy. now i found it quite important since i don’t
    want to be teaching WinWord at my clients pc at 2am in the night.
    the more intelligent clippy becomes the more i love it.

  41. Chris January 2, 2009 at 5:53 pm #

    Spreading the article over 15-pages? Quite idiotic, really. Learn to use the web properly. I am not bothering to read past page 1 of this shit. Buh-bye.

  42. Steve January 2, 2009 at 6:30 pm #

    I’m betting the new Xbox 360 avatars are related too…

  43. Andrew January 2, 2009 at 10:31 pm #

    I would have read this article had it not involved clicking through 10 more pages.

  44. Pepe January 3, 2009 at 12:23 am #

    It seems the info in this article is a bit off. Windows 98 came with ‘Microsoft Chat’. It was an IRC client which put #ABD323FHC3A and other crap infront of your text.

    Everyone with mIRC would hiss at you.

  45. Vstoklosa January 3, 2009 at 3:49 am #

    Apple was promoting the personal video assistant, too, back in the 80s. It just took MS until the 2000s to catch up.

  46. Vstoklosa January 3, 2009 at 3:50 am #

    This comment function is not well designed. I stopped to Comment while on page 10, and it dropped me back at page 1 after I submitted my comment. Who’s yer web designer?

  47. Pierre January 3, 2009 at 7:24 am #

    The animated characters are patronizing and simplistic. They quickly exhaust their repertoire of expressions, become repetitive and an insult to the intelligence of the user.

    Like sound, they are intrusive and distracting at best. They add nothing to the interaction.

  48. king1876 January 3, 2009 at 10:00 am #

    i reate all a em more power 2 clippy!
    http://king1876.wordpress.com/

  49. trout8 January 3, 2009 at 3:24 pm #

    I love clippy…. and friends but 15 pages good job though

    http://mytrout8.wordpress.com/

  50. Henry Wertz January 3, 2009 at 4:31 pm #

    “How does anybody read these stories without getting frustrated? I am not going to click 15 pages to read some story. I don’t understand because there is only one paragraph per page. I don’t even have time to get into the story before I have to go to a new page.”
    It’s a slide show in essence. Each paragraph just describes the photo above it…. the pages loaded fast even on a slow connection so no complaints from me.

    So, as Tom says, I think they kept these characters so long because Gates’ wife was formerly a “lowly minion” at microsoft working on these projects. She REALLY liked them, he liked her, so he therefore liked her ideas.

    I would find that comic chat pretty amusing I think! I talk with a few friends now using ytalk, which works great, but having a comic-filled chat would be rather amusing I think.

  51. Jim in Arizona January 4, 2009 at 6:36 am #

    On page 4, someone else noted that it was implemented as microsoft comic chat. That is not correct. The illustration on page 4 was microsoft V-Chat! I used it for a while when it was out. It was on a 3-D setting and you used an avatar that you could make up yourself. If you didn’t make one, you got the default character which is shown in the illustration.

    Comic chat was just that; in a 2-D comic strip type setting using Microsoft Chat, a chat client which is still being used today.

  52. Marc January 4, 2009 at 1:58 pm #

    Mark: That peice of software was called “Packard Bell Navigator”

    You can see what it was like (along with many other interfaces, including MS Bob) at
    http://toastytech.com/guis/pbnav35.html

    There was also a Vista Style side bar, for holding shortcuts called “Packard Bell Soft Bar”

  53. Jerry January 4, 2009 at 4:01 pm #

    15 pages? Are you kidding? Adsense huh?

  54. AW worker January 5, 2009 at 10:59 am #

    I worked on the AnswerWizard help projects while at MS many years ago. One of the weirdest things I saw was the AW for the Japanese Office product had two additional characters(a dolphin and a woman). The woman would bow and present you with her card as part of her animations. However I later discovered that if you shrunk her window down, it would change her appearance. To me it looked like she had been beaten up(one eye was bigger than the other). Very disturbing.

  55. David January 5, 2009 at 12:56 pm #

    I wanted to mention that the Genie was actually used as an available “assistant” if you worked with certain OLE/Automation APIs. And was, naturally, freakishly unhelpful.

  56. Technorino January 11, 2009 at 7:20 am #

    Clippy scares me….:O

  57. Smoky999 January 13, 2009 at 11:14 pm #

    Page 9 – I recall a GUI package that was out about the same time (or possibly before) WIN 3.1 – It ran on DOS 4.0, and featured much the same feel. Obviously, the person who drafted this patent application had been living in a closet for some time, and abusing (not updating) his software…

  58. Riza January 14, 2009 at 3:02 am #

    I like Clippy. I still use it. It’s cute. Never I need help from him but he does’nt disturb me. 😀

  59. John January 14, 2009 at 6:34 am #

    One little typo in 15: parent for patent.

  60. Tiggerr January 15, 2009 at 9:13 am #

    My biggest mistake related to clippy and all his cohorts was stumbling onto Peety which then morphed into Bonzi Buddy. It was a long time ago and I was a real newbie. I think we all know what happened next.

    I also don’t like the fifteen pages. I often use articles like this to show to my computer students. They have some slow and some fast computers. I prefer to use printouts. I can’t print this. Just google how to make slide shows for the web. it’s not that hard. My Grade school kids do it

  61. AnnaS January 15, 2009 at 3:28 pm #

    @Harry: I appreciate your point about how you need the extra page views, but consider this: all the people who leave after the first page (including me) on seeing a fifteen-page article have only registered one page view anyway, *and* they’ll never come back.

  62. Harry McCracken January 15, 2009 at 3:42 pm #

    Anna: Thanks for the input, which I appreciate; if I drive away readers I’m in trouble. One tidbit, though: I know how many people look at slideshows in their entirety–and it’s generally a solid majority, which tells me that more people find them worth the clicks than don’t.

    –Harry

  63. John Foster January 20, 2009 at 9:39 pm #

    I was flat-out told as a child that any kind of AI is just for the military. Civilians were allowed to use/develop AI ONLY FOR AUTO REPAIR.

    When Bob appeared and then Clippy I was shocked, like I was lied to (for my own good though! look what they did to Bob!) so couldn’t compete as a child.

    Then 101 California happened as I made my first interview… after that, the complete madness of businesses competing for programmers ended, became friendlier, and the internets was borned.

  64. Mike January 20, 2009 at 11:44 pm #

    What I find even more annoying than the animations itself is the fact that you have to watch an animation when you turn the bloody things off.
    What in the sane hell were those condescending programmers thinking? That I want to watch an animation when I am turning the animation thing off?
    That, and that alone is enough to get me into kill mode every time I install a new XP and use the (broken!) search option from Explorer for the first time.
    Seriously. What were they thinking. They’re worse than Idi Amin.

  65. Harry McCracken January 20, 2009 at 11:49 pm #

    Mike: Yeah, I was amazed by that, too–when you turn off the XP search doggie, he doesn’t just disappear, he ambles off into the distance at his own leisurely pace. I’ve always assumed that Microsoft sincerely doesn’t understand the notion that some people don’t want to deal with an animated pup when they’re trying to find the PowerPoint file they need desperately.

    –Harry

  66. Maximized Software February 6, 2009 at 4:21 pm #

    Regarding #8, we actually used Microsoft Agent in “Christmas Browser 99” (an update to Christmas Browser 96 & 97, heh). This product was an attempt to re-imagine the browser.

    It let you use the Genie to read the page to you (accessible computing!), as well as to notify you of various events and provide automated help. We put in code to let it point to items accurately on the screen to give better help. You could also choose different agents to download (available agents: Genie, Merlin, Robby the Robot, Parrot).

    Other innovations in Christmas Browser: the first browser to use tabs! They are pushbuttons along the top of the screen, but it’s the same concept. We were going to put them directly on top of the main browser client area, but then that conflicted with another innovation: visual browser history. Each page visited was represented by a Christmas tree bulb that grew around the window. You can return to a previous page by clicking on its bulb. Also: “visual” bookmarks (saved as Christmas cards).

    Yes, Christmas Browser is still available! 🙂 And we still get some people using it every year.

    Browser load/startup page:
    http://www.maximized.com/shareware/christmasbrowser99/startup-10.asp

    Main product page:
    http://www.maximized.com/shareware/christmasbrowser99/

  67. Cuthbert February 14, 2009 at 10:38 am #

    Clippy!

    http://www.johnmichaud.net/clippy.htm

  68. Video Conferencing Setup February 14, 2009 at 11:04 am #

    Sitting with the doctors in a room and talking with other doctors via video conferencing was very exciting for me when I first time sat for a meeting. I first felt like a movie going on until when one of the doctors asked me for my comments. It was really weird and exciting.

  69. Paul March 12, 2009 at 7:51 am #

    I cannot say this as an absolute, but I was on the MS campus for an exectuive breifing, and made a sort of round about positive comment about Office Assistant, and I was told that indeed OA was dervied from MS Bob. And you know who worked on MS Bob? Melinda Gates, BEFORE she was Melinda Gates. I’ve always thought that’s why MS Bob found an “evolution”.

  70. MAC March 27, 2009 at 11:37 am #

    is it “clippy” or “clippit?!’ “clippy” is stupid. i like “clippit” though. i should not get so annoyed with stuff like this but i can’t help it. i’m sorry.

  71. Mickel April 20, 2009 at 10:25 am #

    Funny part is I remember OpenOffice cloning Clippy. Why they’d want to do that I don’t know, but I do distinctly remember seeing an animated assistant in one version of OpenOffice that I tested. You’d think they would want to try to copy some of the better aspects of MS Office first, but hey… what do I know?

  72. Nick May 7, 2009 at 10:08 am #

    I LOVED COMIC CHAT lol, i was so sad to see it have such a short lived era of usefulness, not unlike ICQ which i also liked!!

  73. Doug Thomas May 20, 2009 at 6:32 am #

    Fifteen pages: At least as annoying as the Office Assistants, which, at least, I could turn off (i.e. modify to my satisfaction). I didn’t finish the article.

  74. your website sucks August 3, 2009 at 12:10 pm #

    There’s no way in hell I’m clicking through 15 pages. It makes the site harder to use and is just a useless ploy to get more ad impressions (useless because of adblockplus). Put the whole thing on one page, or atleast give an option to.

  75. JBH August 13, 2009 at 11:00 pm #

    I used to have this PC game, Bicycle Boardgames, it was sponsored by Bicycle like how Hoyle has PC versions of card games and other stuff too, anyways on this Bicycle Boardgames, one of the characters you could play against was Clippy, lol, I used to own him at Battleship!

  76. ChrisF August 18, 2009 at 12:09 am #

    Interesting article…though the ‘Waaah! Too many pages!’ comments are in their own way more entertaining than the article itself. Yeesh–it’s a series of pictures, one per page with a caption–how hard is it to wrap your mind around this concept? Blasted ADD/teal-deer kids–be amusing to force them to read an actual book once in a while (‘Waaah! There’s a hundred pages of nothing but text and no graphics! Too long!’)

    Mind you–I do have my own issues with the articles on the site–I’ve read 4 or 5 of them tonight, and every single one really could have used a bit more research before they were posted. *That’s* more likely to make readers leave and not return than the tl;dr crap, frankly.

  77. auctionshopper October 24, 2009 at 3:00 pm #

    can’t believe all the buttsore whiners who can’t deal with the slideshow concept. Get over it!

  78. baff October 30, 2009 at 12:44 pm #

    lol just this week i saw a parrot office asisstant called peedy
    no prizes for guessing what that suggests…

  79. ixtentia November 8, 2009 at 10:21 pm #

    Microsoft will try to save every stuff it invented….

  80. Mihir Modi November 20, 2009 at 12:56 pm #

    Microsoft DID use that ‘smiley face with torso’ thing on Microsoft Chat – an IRC chat client.

  81. Raven December 24, 2009 at 5:53 am #

    So the Virgin Mary is going to teach old ladies how to use computers… pretty sure that computer-illiterate people can (usually) still read, though.

  82. test February 12, 2010 at 12:28 pm #

    “It looks like your writing a Letter. Would you like Help?”

    Naw, actually, I just opened Word and typed 3 characters just to see you again, Clippy – f****n lunacy, sheer and utter, What On Gods Earth Were They Thinking?

    – would still love to meet the Redmond numbnut down a dark alleyway that programmed that goddamn apparation to appear by default after a few keyclicks, every single goddamn time.

  83. Fairportfan June 7, 2010 at 5:17 am #

    I started work doing phone support for NEC the day that Windows 95 went live. We were all signally underwhelmed by Bob.

    One of my friends who worked there seemed to get the majority of calls from French-Canadians.

    One day he got one from a guy whose system had apparently locked up; when Bill asked for a description of the symptoms, the answer was “The little dog – his tail she don’ wag no more.”

    (Incidentally, on the subject of poorly-thought-out ideas, in one of his books, Scott Adams talks about the major company where the marketing division had collective apoplexy when the word got out that the engineering division had used the codenames “Ren” and “Stimpy” for their new flagship products. Those were the codenames for, respectively, the new desktop and tower machines that NEC introduced in late ’95…)

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    […] The Secret Origins of Clippy: Microsoft’s Bizarre Animated Character Patents | Technologizer. […]

  3. The Newsstand Sophisticate :: It Looks Like You’re Reading the Newsstand Sophisticate. Would You Like Help? - January 2, 2009

    […] assistance) came from and how Microsoft could have thought they were good ideas, wonder no more: The Secret Origins of Clippy is now […]

  4. technichristian.net » Blog Archive » The Secret Origins of Clippy: Microsoft’s Bizarre Animated Character Patents - January 2, 2009

    […] Read on… Write a comment […]

  5. tdaxp » Blog Archive » The Science and Art of User Experience Research - January 3, 2009

    […] links to an an interesting article at Technologizer about Clippy, the automated assistant that former was activated by default in Microsoft Office. […]

  6. The Story of Clippy; The Much Maligned Microsoft Office Mascot - January 3, 2009

    […] Read More […]

  7. Odd Lots – Jeff Duntemann’s Contrapositive Diary - January 3, 2009

    […] The Secret Origin of Clippy, a 15-slide retrospective based on Microsoft’s patent filings for animated screen assistants, […]

  8. the windows search dog and other annoying animated characters | thinkoholic.com - January 4, 2009

    […] The Secret Origins of Clippy possibly related posts (automated): i hate the windows-search dogphoto search scriptpiclens problem when switching between windowsthinking in circleshydrostatic help SHARETHIS.addEntry({ title: “the windows search dog and other annoying animated characters”, url: “http://www.thinkoholic.com/2009/01/04/the-windows-search-dog-and-other-annoying-animated-characters/” }); [write a comment] [trackback] […]

  9. 14 Microsoft’s WEIRD Animated Characters Patents You Have NEVER Seen Before! | NO BUNS NO LIFE - January 5, 2009

    […] Technologizer] addthis_url = […]

  10. The Great Geek Manual » News Round-Up: January 6, 2009 - January 5, 2009

    […] The Secret Origins of Clippy: Microsoft’s Bizarre Animated Character Patents – Why is Microsoft obsessed with using cartoon characters to present user help? […]

  11. Friday Favorites: The Secret Origins of Clippy | Spinfield: Web marketing trends today, tomorrow, and beyond... - January 9, 2009

    […] The article is quite fascinating, considering the notion that an animated paper clip would require a patent. Read the article here. […]

  12. iPod, iPhone application reviews - January 26, 2009

    […] The Secret Origins of Clippy: Microsoft’s Bizarre Animated Character Patents […]

  13. Interfaces and Animation | UI and us - February 1, 2009

    […] can supplement the communication of computers, to good and bad effect. In recent years, simple animation in computer interfaces is becoming less and less costly, […]

  14. Tracking FaceSpace Brainy Devices and the UnFun World - March 2, 2009

    […] even the marketing division of the Sirius Cybernetic Corporation might be preferable to what a Microsoft Clippy world could become: […]

  15. Microsoft Windows 2009 Update Resurrects Rover The Yellow Dog « Edo Amin - March 17, 2009

    […] paw-on-screen tricks this time (though this time there’s no way to get him off my screen). As another site documenting Microsoft animated characters patents has noted, “Of all the peculiar ideas that […]

  16. RSS News Portal » A funny Microsoft ad? Yes - July 14, 2009

    […] and the video that resulted is hip, clever, and fun to watch. We even get a quick glance of Clippy’s […]

  17. Apple Bloog » Blog Archive » A funny Microsoft ad? Yes - July 14, 2009

    […] and the video that resulted is hip, clever, and fun to watch. We even get a quick glance of Clippy’s […]

  18. A funny Microsoft ad? Yes | Touch the Apple - July 14, 2009

    […] and the video that resulted is hip, clever, and fun to watch. We even get a quick glance of Clippy’s […]

  19. Apple-Overload! » A funny Microsoft ad? Yes - July 14, 2009

    […] and the video that resulted is hip, clever, and fun to watch. We even get a quick glance of Clippy’s […]

  20. The 25 Most Notable Quotes in Tech History | Technologizer - November 10, 2009

    […] Top Posts The 25 Most Notable Quotes in Tech HistoryThe Worst PCs in AmericaLaptopia! The World's Weirdest Portable ComputersThe Secret Origins of Clippy: Microsoft's Bizarre Animated Character Patents […]

  21. The Top 15 Technologizer Stories of 2009 | Technologizer - December 16, 2009

    […] The Secret Origins of Clippy: A look at Microsoft’s multiple attempts to make computing better through animaed onscreen […]

  22. This Dumb Decade: The 87 Lamest Moments in Tech, 2000-2009 | Technologizer - December 21, 2009

    […] Pro as well as XP Home. No, Microsoft hadn’t learned a thing from the universal contempt for Office 97’s Assistants. Even a column on Microsoft.com says that some people “loathe” the […]

  23. mentis vulgaris » The Bottleneck - March 2, 2010

    […] Nearly 70% of all software projects are considered unsuccessful. They are late, over budget and have fewer features than users wanted (and often ones they didn’t want – I’m looking at you, Clippy). […]

  24. Top 25 Tech Quotes « Cenetric, Inc. - May 26, 2010

    […] it’s notable: Clippy is the most reviled of multiple Microsoft attempts to popularize anthropomorphic helpers, and “It looks like you’re writing a letter. Would you like help?” is his most infamous […]

  25. What do the Virtual Boy, Tamagotchis, and Farmville have in common? « Level Up - May 31, 2010

    […] included Betamax, asbestos, Pop-Up Ads, and Red Dye #2. Also, both Microsoft Bob and Clippy the worst paperclip of all time make well-deserved […]

  26. 5 Ways to Improve the new Twitter App | Mike Industries - February 3, 2011

    […] The “who to follow” feature is really well done, and I like it, but what about a Clippy-like presence in my tweet stream using a bit of artificial intelligence to suggest more people to […]

  27. Videos: Boyfriends, Star Wars, and Office 2010 Just Add Water … - April 3, 2011

    […] the less, we watched it a couple of times and now we are spreading the virus. That and we are glad Clippy is […]

  28. Microsoft Patents 3-D Desktop to Compete With Apple « Terry Olgin's Blog - May 11, 2011

    […] The illustrations that accompany the patent look less like something out of a Hollywood movie (or a futuristic Mark Coleran interface) and more like the Office Space-ish alternate dimension that birthed Clippy. […]