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The Ten Worst Microsoft Product Names of All Time

[NOTE: I wrote this piece for my pals at PC World, who kindly agreed to let me publish it here, too.] If Microsoft had invented the iPod, it would have been called the Microsoft I-pod Pro 2005 Human Ear Professional Edition. The cult-hit video that makes that assertion may have been a joke, but it […]

The Newsstand That Spawned Microsoft is Set to Close

Out of Town News, the iconic newsstand smack in the middle of Cambridge, Mass.’s Harvard Square, is within a month of shutting down after 54 years in business. It’s one of the most famous meeting points in the Boston area, since it’s so impossible to miss. But as the Boston Globe reports today, it also […]

How Microsoft’s Clippy Got That Way

Think that Microsoft Office’s Clippy was a joke? Microsoft didn’t–Google Patents holds proof of the serious effort that the company poured into ever-unpopular animated “helpers” like Clippy, Microsoft Bob, and the Search Assistant. The whole idea remains baffling, but the drawings that Microsoft filed are weirdly fascinating. I’ve assembled a gallery of highlights. View Secret […]

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

Of all the peculiar ideas that Microsoft has pursued over its almost 34 years in business, I can’t think of many that are more inexplicable than its long-standing interest in using animated characters to provide help to users of its software products–an aberration best known in the form of Clippy, the “Office Assistant” paperclip who […]

Microsoft’s Latest Innovation…T-Shirts!

A billion people may use Microsoft products, but until now, just about nobody has worn them. All that changes–maybe–starting December 15th, when the company’s retro-themed Softwear by Microsoft T-shirts hit the market. Including some designs by rapper Common, the line celebrates the much-missed era when floppy disks were actually floppy and 640KB did indeed feel […]

Die, Scareware, Die! Microsoft Takes on Windows Scammers

Maybe I’ve been living under a rock or something, but I never heard the term scareware until today. But without knowing the name, I’ve sure seen a lot of the stuff over the years–utilities that use questionable tactics such as fake error messages to lead you think you’ve got a computer problem in order to […]

The Best of Technologizer

Most technology journalism has an exceedingly short shelf life. That’s O.K.: It reflects the breakneck pace of the tech industry, which is always anxious to move on to the next big thing. Most of the stories below, however, concern themselves with history rather than breaking events. They were published on Technologizer’s original 2008-2012 version and […]

The Life and Times of Windows XP

If you’d been alive in 1924 and had enjoyed the comedy stylings of a young Vaudevillian named George Burns, you never would have believed he’d still be packing them in seventy years later. In 1963, you might have dug the music that Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were making, but the idea they’d still be […]

And That's What You Missed on Technologizer

From a standpoint of tech newsworthiness, how did 2010 rate? Pretty high, I think–it certainly had more than its fare share of surprises. And we at Technologizer had fun covering them. After the jump, a look at some of our stories on major (and minor) events from the first half of the year, plus some […]

The Weird World of Tech Product Names

If breakfast cereals were named like technology products, there would be no Cocoa Krispies or Cheerios. Instead, we’d have Kellogg’s C-KR1200 and General Mills’ Third-Generation CheerZero. (The futuristic-sounding Crispix might still exist). People would still devour these products as part of a balanced breakfast, but I doubt they’d understand why they had the names they […]