Rumor has it that Clippy, that bothersome ex-mascot for the Microsoft Office Assistant system, has beaten his copy paper addiction, and is now enjoying a new position on a Minecraft server somewhere in Sweden.
Clippy was a perfect example of the overly-helpful PC, the Ned Flanders, if you will, of the Office Assistant system. His presumptuous approach toward office productivity resulted in his being let go in 2001—a testament to the fact that being too helpful can do more harm than not being helpful enough. Computers are tools. Nothing more. If my hammer started asking me questions and offering me multiple-choice options all the time, it would take me an hour to hang a picture frame. Two to repair Grandma’s spice rack.
Likewise, Clippy’s addition to Office made word processing extraordinarily distracting. Word processors were / are notorious for this. If you use the default settings, you end up composing, editing spelling and grammar, and typesetting in real time. You also end up getting a migraine in real time. A pity Clippy never learned how to fetch his users a glass of water and a Tylenol, because all he did was accelerate the process.
Hm. What would Facebook be like if Clippy had expanded onto the Web? “It looks like you’re trying to update your status…”
- Would you like to…?
- Attach a link to yet another lame Ray William Johnson video
- Include your exact location and the amount of cash in your wallet
- Share your opinion of skank-ass hoes
- Upload a photograph of you taking a pic of your bare chest with your cell phone
- Describe the contents of the sandwich you’re eating
- Purchase more exciting Microsoft Office interactive animated characters