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Microsoft Software

The Death of Clippy 179

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the annoying-desktop-mascots dept.
AppScout interviews Office's Group Program Manager, Jensen Harris on the subject of Office 2007. Harris reveals that Clippy, the bane of all semi-sentient Office users everywhere, is officially dead. The decision apparently revolved not around the passionate hatred for the unfortunate sprite, but simply out of a desire for UI coherency.
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The Death of Clippy

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  • by jellomizer (103300) * on Saturday February 10, 2007 @09:05AM (#17962312)
    I think the general annoyance of clippy was the fact it kept popping up whenever you did something. In many ways it was actually successful for Office. It showed people that they could use other features that people didn't know it had. Which really did put a nail in the coffin for tools such as word perfect. Now that people know how to do a lot of these advanced features and got use to them, they got frustrated when other word processors don't have or they don't know where the features they enjoy are. That being said because Microsoft successfully monopolized the Office software, they don't need advertise all there features all the time.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by evilbessie (873633)
      "they don't need to advertise all *their* features all the time"...
    • by HappySqurriel (1010623) on Saturday February 10, 2007 @09:41AM (#17962570)
      Personally, I think clippy represents what is wrong with office more than anything else. For most users Office is far too complicated, and has far too much functionality, so it "needed" a way to inform average users how to use some of the features.

      Personally, I see three classes of Office users and there seems to be a reasonable argument that there should be three seperate classes of Word/Office for these people; the classes are students/home use who want something which they can write a paper or resume on, office workers who want a little more control over their presentation, and professionals who want complete control over their presentation.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by riscthis (597073)

        Personally, I think clippy represents what is wrong with office more than anything else. For most users Office is far too complicated, and has far too much functionality, so it "needed" a way to inform average users how to use some of the features.

        Hence when Microsoft massively overhauled the Office 2007 UI, with the idea that people can easily find this functionality, Clippy became obsolete and was removed. I *think* Clippy may actually have been switched off by default in new installs of Office 2003 (or

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by digitig (1056110)

          Unfortunately, they overhauled the UI in a way that IMHO completely fsailed to help people find the functionality. The previous UI, with menus and toolbars, for me was a model of a tidy workshop, with most tools tidied away in logical places (the menus), and just the tools one uses a lot or are using just at the moment left out (on the toolbars).

          The Office 2007 model, on the other hand, for me is a model of tipping out the contents of every draw and box in the workshop into a heap in the middle of the work

        • by ady1 (873490)
          It seems like you are remaking the UI. Would you like help with making it more disneylandish?

          On a serious note, I honestly don't get it. The new interface is pretty cartoonish (though simple to use for a first time user). If clippy isn't coherent with this UI than I don't know what is.

          Also the big overhaul isn't about coherency in the first place since to change the color of outlook interface, you have to open MS word and customize it's options.
      • by xeoron (639412)
        Personally, I rather enjoyed hunting the registry to kill Clippy in every MS Office install that I had admin access too.
      • by Steve001 (955086)

        HappySqurriel wrote:

        Personally, I think clippy represents what is wrong with office more than anything else. For most users Office is far too complicated, and has far too much functionality, so it "needed" a way to inform average users how to use some of the features.

        Personally, I see three classes of Office users and there seems to be a reasonable argument that there should be three seperate classes of Word/Office for these people; the classes are students/home use who want something which they can wri

        • A while ago (at the time of WordPerfect 5.1) the makers of WordPerfect addressed this by coming out with a simpler version of their word processor called "LetterPerfect." ... much less expensive that a full copy of WordPerfect ... all of the features that I needed at home ... this is something that is needed with MS Office

          What you're suggesting already exists in the delightfully oxymoronic Microsoft Works [microsoft.com]

          • by Steve001 (955086)

            SEMW wrote:

            A while ago (at the time of WordPerfect 5.1) the makers of WordPerfect addressed this by coming out with a simpler version of their word processor called "LetterPerfect." ... much less expensive that a full copy of WordPerfect ... all of the features that I needed at home ... this is something that is needed with MS Office

            What you're suggesting already exists in the delightfully oxymoronic Microsoft Works

            I thought about mentioning Microsoft Works, but I remember that a while ago there

      • Personally, I think clippy represents what is wrong with office more than anything else.

        Exactly. The assumption that I even WANTED help writing a letter annoyed me. Furthermore, asking me again each time a started writing a letter annoyed me. No means NO Clippy!

        I finally turned the whole thing off.

      • Personally, I see three classes of Office users and there seems to be a reasonable argument that there should be three seperate classes of Word/Office for these people

        What argument?

        The obvious counter-argument is "different programs make it hard to move from one class to another."

        You might have a good argument for having Office display more than two modes, but that's about it.
        • If Apple really splits Pages into two modes as rumored, Microsoft will surely come up with at least three.
      • by mikael (484)
        the classes are students/home use who want something which they can write a paper or resume on, office workers who want a little more control over their presentation, and professionals who want complete control over their presentation.

        Any student or researcher who is writing a thesis or paper, will want control over the font style and size for text, control over the resolution of any images, and also full control over the style and formatting of mathematical equations. All of these are required to keep the
        • A thesis will also require a "definition of terms", a list of keywords that must be in italics throughout the document, a "list of variables", which is a list of mathematical variables, and a set of references. All of these will have to be cross-referenced with references throughtout the thesis.

          And all of these are things that MS Word is terrible at doing.

          It's like trying to do carpentry with a swiss army knife.

          When you cross the line into thesis territory, there really is nothing better than LaTeX (mayb

      • Personally, I just want a version of Office that doesn't think it's smarter than me. For the most part, I have simple needs and wants when it comes to documents. Sometimes, I have to fight Office to do simplistic tasks and that is more frustrating than not being able to do a complicated task.
    • by celardore (844933) on Saturday February 10, 2007 @10:05AM (#17962706)
      Would you like help:
      • Trolling
      • Being interesting or informative
      • Posting something obvious
      • Flamebaiting
      Drat, there's no help for being funny =(
    • by Anonymous Coward
      "The decision apparently revolved not around the passionate hatred for the unfortunate sprite, but simply out of a desire for UI coherency"

      Translation:

      We got rid of it for our own internal reasons, and not out of any desire to give users what they want - in adherence to our standard business practices.

    • by drsmithy (35869) <drsmithy&gmail,com> on Saturday February 10, 2007 @10:10AM (#17962742)

      I think the general annoyance of clippy [...]

      Funnt thing is, most non-expert users I've interacted with actually _like_ clippy (well, they often change it to another avatar, like the silly little dog, but the point is they like the idea of a "helper").

      The help system that sits behind "Clippy" is excellent. It does what its designed to do very well - the problem expert users have is that they're not interested in what it does.

      • by Skater (41976) on Saturday February 10, 2007 @11:17AM (#17963182) Homepage Journal
        I think what bugs me most about Clippy these days is that one of my coworkers uses Word with it turned on...and her speakers turned up. Way up.

        So every time she saves a file, I hear: "*click* *clank* *ker-chunk*"

        Yes, she's quite inconsiderate about making noise - all day I hear "AAHAAHHHH! I DON'T KNOW HOW ANYONE GETS ANYTHING DONE AROUND HERE!!" (referring to the amount of email she gets), and similar things. Yeah, thanks for spreading the disruption around, lady.

        My boss is no help - well, more correctly, she sympathizes, but she also realizes that we're never going to be able to change this woman's behavior, so the rest of us have to suffer or use headphones and turn the music WAY up to drown out her rantings.

        She and Clippy deserve each other.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by mooingyak (720677)
          I had to deal with a woman like that once. Fortunately she was also wildly incompetent so she got fired eventually.
        • Go onto her system, and replace every UI sound effect with the juiciest, longest, and nastiest fart sound effect you can find on the Internet. Think goatse for the ears.

          She'll turn down her sound so fast it will violate Relativity.
    • Some time ago, I was writing a lab book with Word. I had already typed more than a page when Clippy suddenly realized something and came up with the following dialogue (translated):

      "Apparently you're trying to write a letter. Please choose one of the following options:
      [ ] Use the letter assistant.
      [ ] Write the letter without assistance."

      Clippy gave me no other choice, I needed to select one of these options.
      I'd have chosen the following if it were available:"[X] Stop bugging me, this isn't even a letter!"
      • by Fred_A (10934) <fredNO@SPAMfredshome.org> on Saturday February 10, 2007 @11:18AM (#17963186) Homepage
        This exactly sums up my experience with those little assistants.

        While the idea in itself isn't bad, the execution just didn't work. The help offered was either completely off the mark (as above) or apparently targeted at people who had seen a computer for the first time just the week before (a bit like the Windows on-line help - this is how you format a floppy).

        I haven't used MS office a lot since I don't use Windows but get exposed to it every now and then and could use a decent interactive assistant since I don't know my way around it very well. OTOH of course it's pretty much the same as any other such piece of software so I can always find what I'm looking for by poking around a bit. But a competent assistant would be a time saver.

        It would however be very difficult to do properly.

        I guess users are better off without the assistant than with screen space devoted to a useless one.
      • ...and this prompts me to reprise an older comment on why Clippy is/was so sinister:

        Clippy is Microsofts way of saying that because you are so stupid, here is someone obviously smarter than you to give you advice.

        Try going to an online IQ test, then feed the questions into clippy. He will probably respond "It looks as if you're trying to make a list, do you want some help with that?"

        What is clippy's IQ? Less than a monkey, obviously. Less than a rodent. Less than a nematode.

        Microsoft thinks you

        • by SEMW (967629)

          ...and this prompts me to reprise an older comment on why Clippy is/was so sinister: Clippy is Microsofts way of saying that because you are so stupid, here is someone obviously smarter than you to give you advice. Try going to an online IQ test, then feed the questions into clippy. He will probably respond "It looks as if you're trying to make a list, do you want some help with that?"

          Personally, I'd actually find it more sinister if Clippy did *well* on the IQ test...

    • That being said because Microsoft successfully monopolized the Office software, they don't need advertise all there features all the time.

      In other words: "since Microsoft made their product easier to use despite being more feature-rich, they dominated the market." That's no an act of monopoly, that's just good business. If only open source developers could figure out that if they want people to use their products, their products have to be usable. No more "I don't write documentation, I'm a developer.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by digitig (1056110)

        Now, with O2K7, Microsoft has taken a quantum leap forward in interface design and made easy enough that the quintessential grandmother can use it to its full potential. I balked at the ribbon myself until I actually used it. Honestly, they got their "wow" out of me after just a couple of minutes using it.

        That's not the word I used after a couple of minutes, and even after a couple of months it was seriously impairing my productivity. Yes, sure everybody who looked at it said "wow", but it was a different matter in practice. There's so much wrong with it, even in terms of established and reliable UI design principles, that it's a huge step backwards (I wish the designers had read "About Face", a Microsoft Press book on UI design -- there's a lot wrong with it, but it's right enough to show the O2K7 interfa

    • by hey! (33014)
      It did it job. But at what cost?

      The problem is the attitude that you can use the user' attention to achieve your goals.
    • by Lazerf4rt (969888) on Saturday February 10, 2007 @11:24AM (#17963224)

      Sure, it's easy to only remember the bad times. But who among us can honestly say we won't miss him? His knowing winks, his cute little antics. His sage, though sometimes random and unrelated, wisdom. I already feel a piece of my heart missing and I fear it will never be clipped back together.

      Cue Cinderella's "Don't Know What You've Got Til It's Gone".

      • The problem is not that Clippy is unlike a human helper. Clippy is exactly like a human helper who is interrupting, distracting, and making lame suggestions at a time when you are most frustrated trying to figure out how to do something.

        My big gripe about help is that you want to use a particular feature, say select the "Lisa Novak" font that looks like pastings from random magazine pages. You search "Lisa Novak", come up with a help entry that says, yes, that feature is supported. Then it says, "Select

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Workaphobia (931620)
      > "I think the general annoyance of clippy was the fact it kept popping up whenever you did something."

      It's more than just that. For instance, the chief annoyance I have with the dog in XP searches is that it takes a context menu and a few seconds to go away, rather than just disappearing as quickly as an open window.

      Clippy represented everything terrible with Microsoft's UI design - the overbearing "Use your computer in just the ways we enumerate" mentality, combined with "Look at me! Look at me! See wh
    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      I think the general annoyance of clippy was the fact it kept popping up whenever you did something. In many ways it was actually successful for Office. It showed people that they could use other features that people didn't know it had. Which really did put a nail in the coffin for tools such as word perfect. Now that people know how to do a lot of these advanced features and got use to them, they got frustrated when other word processors don't have or they don't know where the features they enjoy are. That

  • by Salsaman (141471) on Saturday February 10, 2007 @09:12AM (#17962346) Homepage
    I just heard some sad news on talk radio. Clippy, the Microsoft assistant, was found dead in his Redmond, Seattle apartment this morning. I'm sure everyone in the Slashdot community will miss him - even if you didn't enjoy his work, there's no denying his contributions to popular culture. Truly an American icon.
    • by JamesTRexx (675890) <m.nystrom@mbi[ ]nl ['tz.' in gap]> on Saturday February 10, 2007 @09:19AM (#17962396) Homepage Journal
      I suggest we all shut down our pc's for a minute at noon tomorrow in remembrance of his death.

      After which we all celebrate by installing *BSD and Linux. Clippy would have wanted it that way.
    • by 10e6Steve (545457) on Saturday February 10, 2007 @09:23AM (#17962426)
      He will be buried next to Microsoft Bob.
      • by ozbird (127571)
        He will be buried next to Microsoft Bob.

        If Bob begat Clippy, what nightmarish creature of irritation has Clippy begat in Office 2007? The Ribbon?
      • by daveb (4522)
        He was part of Bob. Not as a paper clip but the dog assistant was there.
      • Fuck, I knew somebody'd find out where we dumped the body eventually.
    • by jjeffries (17675) on Saturday February 10, 2007 @09:42AM (#17962576)
      I heard he was found almost completely straightened out, stuck in the emergency eject hole of an old 4x CD-ROM drive... he'd also been receiving emails threatening that someone was going to "f***ing kill" him, yet they're calling it a suicide!

      He will be interred next to his cousin Bob in the solid-gold family crypt.
    • Vorpal bladework (Score:5, Insightful)

      by tverbeek (457094) * on Saturday February 10, 2007 @10:05AM (#17962704) Homepage

      "And, has thou slain the Clippywock?
      Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
      O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!'
      He chortled in his joy.
      Good heavens, that's almost ... almost... enough reason to suggest upgrading to MSOffice 2007. Of course the fact that the rest of the UI is being needlessly changed is enough reason to suggest not upgrading. "You seem to be trying to figure out how to open a document, or where the hell the Tools menu disappeared to. Would you like to take a remedial word processing class to learn how we want you to do it now?"
      • It's not needless. The new UI kicks ass and is actually much easier to use than before. Boo-hoo, you'll have to spend fifteen minutes figuring it out.
        • by tverbeek (457094) *
          It'd only take me fifteen minutes to figure out. For the countless computer users out there who operate their machines by rote, without understanding any of the whys and wherefores of them, it's going to be hours of confusion and retraining in order to continue performing job tasks that they were able to perform with previous versions. That's "needless".
    • by KwKSilver (857599) on Saturday February 10, 2007 @10:17AM (#17962792)
      It's far worse than the media are reporting. Rumors of Clippy's impending dismissal have been bubbling around for years, and they had finally started to wear the noble Clippy down. First he started stopping on the way home for a couple or three double shots. This made his wife, Tacki, suspicious and she started nagging about that and asking when he was finally gonna get a promotion. Well, he asked & they promised him the job that was ultimately given to Ozzi.

      Folks tried to tell him not to count on it, but he ignored them, saying "Would Chair-boy lie to me? Never!" When that news broke, so did Clippy. Lots of double-, and triple-shots, and he was occasionally found wandering around "the Campus" with a bottle of Muscatel in a bag, mumbling incoherently, "To C# or not to C#, that ..." or chanting a strange mantra, "Longhorn, Lamehorn, Foghorn-Leghorn." Treatments didn't help. Eventually, Tacki ran off with with a stapler and his son Gui ended up smoking crack and huffing glue. The final straw, was when his beloved, musically gifted daughter, Bandi, got a "Theo is my Hero" tatoo and joined the OpenBSD project to write theme-songs and documentation. Poor guy, his intentions were really good, and he tried so damn hard.
  • by tomhudson (43916) <barbara.hudson@nOSpaM.barbara-hudson.com> on Saturday February 10, 2007 @09:14AM (#17962360) Journal

    "The rumours of my death are somewhat exaggerated."

    Clippy is alive and well - he's been ported to linux so that we can hate him too ... http://vigor.sourceforge.net/screenshots/ [sourceforge.net]

    • Ah hah, that explains why Microsoft had to have him killed. They could deal with him annoying the shit out of users; that's just business as usual. But blowing off steam by moonlighting as a vaguely gothy, smartass open source H4X0R -- that was just one step too far.

      "Clippy, we respect you. You understand that, right? We respect you. We love you. You're part of the Family. We'll always love you. But when you go against the Family's interests ... well, things gotta happen. You know how it is, Clippy
    • by houghi (78078)
      Oh, but there are much better examples then that : http://houghi.org/shots/vim001.gif [houghi.org]
  • Oh, NOW... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 10, 2007 @09:18AM (#17962386)
    They talk about UI consistency!

    Consistency or not, it was a huge failure of something in the development process.

    I mean, the HATE heaped upon poor Clippy, from the most novice to the most advanced of users, is hard to comprehend. For something to be so wrong for such a wide range of users means it is truly bad. How on Earth did this get past the supposedly rigorous user-testing facility that Microsoft has? Nobody said at some point, "You know, that Clippy thing isn't really helpful. It just gets in the way and is annoying." Nobody? For years?

    From the article, after talking about people who liked him: "There were also an equal number of people who looked at it as interference or an annoyance..." Equal? Equal?!! What kind of bizarro statistics is MS collecting from their user feedback system that it took them years to figure out the problem and at least turn it off by default?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by edxwelch (600979)
      > How on Earth did this get past the supposedly rigorous user-testing facility that Microsoft has?

      Mircrosoft secretly used the same user-testing system as the GIMP project.
    • by master_p (608214)
      Actually, it is very simple: Microsoft always used 'fresh' testers, i.e. testers that had not used a computer before. MS wanted fair criticism of their product.
  • The text-to-speech and voice recognitiion in the other Microsoft agent were pretty cool I thought. It was kind of fun trying to program the gestures.

    Maybe they should make a 3d little dude that walks across the top of the Aero glass.
  • by torqer (538711) on Saturday February 10, 2007 @09:19AM (#17962394)
    R.I.P.
    rust in pieces.
  • by AndroidCat (229562) on Saturday February 10, 2007 @09:21AM (#17962410) Homepage
    The death was not too quick or easy. [photobucket.com]
  • by pilsner.urquell (734632) on Saturday February 10, 2007 @09:22AM (#17962424)

    The decision apparently revolved not around the passionate hatred for the unfortunate sprite, but simply out of a desire for UI coherency.

    Yep, Clippy was definitely incoherent.

  • by LibertineR (591918) on Saturday February 10, 2007 @09:27AM (#17962456)
    Who stayed up with you that night and taught you how to import your old PST's into your new Outlook?

    When you were pulling your hair out trying to expose the BCC field, who saved your ass?

    Who taught a million admin-assists where to learn how to mail-merge?

    ALRIGHT....I admit it.....Clippy was my......lover.

    IS THAT SO WRONG?

    • by ettlz (639203)

      ALRIGHT....I admit it.....Clippy was my......lover.

      IS THAT SO WRONG?

      Oh, fuck yes.

    • by Fred_A (10934)

      ALRIGHT....I admit it.....Clippy was my......lover.

      IS THAT SO WRONG?
      Didn't it, you know, uh, like pinch ? uh thingy ?
  • It's kinda gross and gory, but ... *sniff* oh I can't say anything more! It was horrible! *SOB*

    http://www.thenoobcomic.com.nyud.net:8090/daily/st rip089.html [nyud.net]
  • by ettlz (639203) on Saturday February 10, 2007 @09:28AM (#17962468) Journal

    \documentclass[11pt]{article}

    "Hello! It looks like you're writing an article. Would you like me to:

    • Prepare a set of subsections for you?
    • Help you publish your work?
    • Do a trick?"

    "By Lamport's Beard! What are you doing here?!"

    "Well, Microsoft chucked me out."

    "How the hell did..."

    "It's this Emacs thing — got a darn powerful LISP engine, you know. It's very roomy in here."

    Meta-M doctor

    "Oh, sorry, it's not that big. He's been evicted. Now, about that article—"

    "Look... just... bugger off!" [Click!]

    \usepackage{amsmath}
    \usepackage[varg]{txfonts}

    \begin{document}

    "Hello! It looks like you're writing an document. Would you like me to:

    • —"

    "Sod off and die."

    \author{The Holy ettlz}
    \title{The Art of Paperclips}

    "Oh."

    "Yes, 'Oh'! Now get out of Emacs before I drag Donald E. Knuth himself over here."

    "No need to get nasty. Hmmph."

    A few hours later:

    Integrate[1/Sqrt[x^3 - 2], x]

    "Hello! It looks like you're trying to evaluate an integral. Would you like me to:

    • Add limits?
    • Draw a graph?
    • Do a trick?
    Oh, and by the way, it's very roomy in here!"
  • by rlp (11898) on Saturday February 10, 2007 @09:33AM (#17962498)
    It was Steve Balmer in the library with a chair.
  • by eneville (745111) on Saturday February 10, 2007 @09:37AM (#17962534) Homepage
    anyone seen the vi clippy? http://www.petebevin.com/archives/vim.gif [petebevin.com]
  • and there were people who liked the interface as a way of gettign help.

    I'll agree that Office's help system was is quite good: It just didn't need Clippy. Or any of the other... <action type="gags" level="lethal" />

  • Enjoy the respite (Score:3, Interesting)

    by smchris (464899) on Saturday February 10, 2007 @09:44AM (#17962588)
    I have no doubt there will be many badly flawed milestones to come along the path to a coherent AI assistant. It is something too cool not to aspire to even if the results are going to be awful for years to come.

    So far the most memorable I've seen was a shareware "Southern" parody of Microsoft Bob that involved an outhouse and, if I remember correctly, a possum.
  • No more Clippy, or as I say, Clippit, for President?
  • by gelfling (6534) on Saturday February 10, 2007 @10:06AM (#17962720) Homepage Journal
    I'm sure the droids in Redmond think this is a quantum leap in functionality too.
    • "YES Folks! Our new office suite is SO EASY that we've sent Clippy, that paragon of helpfulness, into retirement."

      "Open Source always lags behind true innovation. For example, OpenOffice has an annoying pop-up lightbulb to offer unsolicited hints to the user. At Microsoft, we have always believed that a clear, unobtrusive interface is the best way to interact with the user."
  • While you're at it (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 10, 2007 @10:10AM (#17962738)
    Could someone put down that miserable dog in the XP search module?
  • by mrcgran (1002503) on Saturday February 10, 2007 @10:39AM (#17962918)
    Clippy Goes Undercover
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJCv8ru3L98 [youtube.com]

    Clippy Gets Clipped
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rB03aRifPLU [youtube.com]

    Clippy faces facts
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sMShkAZR1-Q&NR [youtube.com]

  • He will be missed (Score:3, Interesting)

    by wootest (694923) on Saturday February 10, 2007 @10:54AM (#17963006)
    I never understood the unabashed Clippy hatred. It was certainly a more friendly window to the whole help interface since it's much easier for a novice to ask a question than rummage through indices. It was one checkbox to turn the little bugger off, and you could choose something that you thought was less annoying if that was the problem. (I've almost always used the dog.) Not to mention that he's being going away more and more the past few versions: "It looks like you are writing a letter" is becoming about as relevant as the 95-thru-Me era BSOD.

    I agree with the new notions that the Office user interface team has chosen to adopt, like only being able to access a feature from one place. Jensen Harris is a smart guy and I've been enjoying reading his weblog and the trials and tribulations of the Ribbon and the new UI as a whole.
    • by Zordak (123132)
      I have seen many, many BSODs in Windows XP. I never saw any in 2000. That was the only decent OS I've ever seen come out of Redmond.
      • by wootest (694923)
        Just to clarify, I said 95-thru-Me BSOD not to imply that they were the only ones with BSODs, but because they BSODed much more frequently due to errors that won't bring down an NT-based Windows setup. Personally, I've seen both BSODs in Windows 2000 and in Windows XP (and far more in 2000 than in XP, despite using XP quite a bit more).
  • Clippit (Score:2, Informative)

    by Known Nutter (988758)
    His name is (was?) actually Clippit, as someone above indicated, not Clippy. While I understand Clippy was his nickname, he's dead now and his proper name should at least be mentioned.
  • by ericlondaits (32714) on Saturday February 10, 2007 @11:44AM (#17963360) Homepage
    When one of the developers/researchers working in MSN Search came to my university to give a one week course on probability based models for search applications he told us that originally Clippy was meant to run with a quite advanced AI (based on a probability model), but was changed before shipping for the much more simpler version we all knew. I'm not sure but I think it was to decrease CPU utilization.

    The mostly crappy AI made it extra annoying, the rest is history.
  • I wonder why people always refer to Clippy. It is an annoying character, no doubt. But the feature is called "Office Assistant", and you can choose from a number of different characters. Einstein is probably just as annoying, but the Cat is rather cute.

    So please stop whining about Clippy, and think for a minute about all the other characters!
    • by 6Yankee (597075)
      the Cat is rather cute ...unless you work with the sort of old hag who has fifty of the fucking things at home. The sort of old hag who's fought for the only fucking PC in the fucking office with fucking built-in speakers. The sort of old hag who makes everyone's life hell if the fucking speakers stop working (yep, tried that). The sort of old hag who pisses everyone off by having the fucking Cat miaow at full blast all fucking day. The sort of old hag who tells the fucking thing to shut up every time it fu
  • by Captain Spam (66120) on Saturday February 10, 2007 @03:18PM (#17964960) Homepage
    Funny, I thought I heard this before. Like, around the time XP was coming out. And how Microsoft hired Gilbert Gottfried to voice the lousy chunk of wire [wikipedia.org] to advertise how Clippy was dead and gone with Office XP.

    Give it another six years when Windows Vienna comes out (given how much a success Vista is). We'll be able to relive this story all over again!
  • by dltaylor (7510)
    "Clippy, the bane of all semi-sentient Office users "

    Sentient, and semi-sentient, Office users were not the target audience of Clippy, unless it was always intended as annoyance, leaving ...?

    Now that OpenOffice is usable enough, for me, I have stopped editing RTF in emacs. At one job, I was asked to explain to a co-worker how to create PDFs. I started with "go to this address

    http://www.openoffice.org/ [openoffice.org]

    download and install OpenOffice, then call me to come over".
    • Rather than retraining them to OpenOffice, whose single best feature is "We tried to be a slavish clone of software you already use", you can download PDFCreator (http://pdfcreator.sf.net) and just print straight from Office. I love pdf creator, and it makes a lot of sense to me to separate physical (or close-to-physical) document preparation from document layout/content editing software. This way I can continue exporting to pdfs without having to wait on OO to catch up with Office2007 in the interface or
  • right (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mapkinase (958129) on Saturday February 10, 2007 @03:49PM (#17965288) Homepage Journal

    The decision apparently revolved not around the passionate hatred for the unfortunate sprite, but simply out of a desire for UI coherency.
    ... which are (hatread and UI coherency) absolutely unrelated.
  • the proof is here [youtube.com]
  • by TFGeditor (737839) on Saturday February 10, 2007 @05:39PM (#17966440) Homepage
    ...the witch is dead, the witch is dead!
    Ding-dong, the wicked witch is dead...

  • ..bulby?

    And can I pull the switch?
  • I once had to deal with a botched Visio 2002 install on a work computer with Office 2000. For some reason this completely killed the normal HTML help interface in the O2K apps but the Office assistant help still worked.
  • Reports of Clippy's death [youtube.com] earlier were exaggerated?

FORTRAN rots the brain. -- John McQuillin

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