Shamefully, I’ve neglected to cover the biggest news of the past couple of weeks. I refer, of course, to the return of Microsoft Office’s Clippy, in a game/tutorial from Microsoft called Office Hero 2. (Here’s James Fallows’ report on it.) Clippy may not be part of Office’s help system anymore, but here he is again, trying to help people use Office. I have the feeling he’ll be with us in one form or another for years to come. (Anyone want to make bets on whether he’ll outlive Mavis Beacon?)
Thinking about his return got me thinking about a Technologizer story from a couple of years ago: “The Secret Origins of Clippy: Microsoft’s Bizarre Animated Character Patents.” It remains one of the most popular things we’ve ever published. And here it is again.