Monthly Archives: November 2007

In memory, Clippy

My psychology of design seminar today touched on affect and annoying things in technology design, and in the textbook chapter Clippy was mentioned. In case you don’t remember, Clippy was that annoying paperclip helper that’s enabled by default in the older versions of Office.

Black/White Clippy Coloured Clippy

As it turned out, although he was intended to help, Clippy generally annoyed more people than he ended up helping (which is how he earned his way into the textbook, I think). And in reading Wikipedia, I found out that Microsoft had designed a series of short videos as part of an ad campaign, publicising Clippy’s removal (by default, anyway) from Office XP (watch them! they’re funny!).

Clippy Gets Clipped
Clippy Goes Undercover
Clippy Faces Facts

I particularly like how in the last video, there’s a short scene with a little computer mouse running behind the wall of the paperclip residence.

So where is Clippy today? Well I also found out from Wikipedia that he’s still around, as a Windows Dancer for Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 (whatever that means). Apparently the white sheet occasionally slips, revealing the thin curve of steel underneath.

Boo Who?
Boo Who? General dance style: Spooky Groove

An avid dancer and amateur contortionist, “Boo Who?” or “Boo” as his friends call him, graduated cum laude from Contoso University in 1994 with a degree in the performing arts. Driven by dreams of fame, upon graduation “Boo” did a short stint of dinner theater in Boca Raton, Florida where he participated in a showtunes revue. It was after a harrowing incident involving a fork that Boo followed his classmates, entering the Information Technology industry where he served as Chief Technology Officer for Fitch & Mather. It was during that time that he formed a rock band and moved to Seattle, only to miss the grunge movement by two days. Disheartened, Boo returned once again to the familiar IT industry working for a short while for a Redmond, WA based software company, where he continued to work until being retired in 2001.

Since then, Boo has been hanging out on the LA mime circuit, practicing his dancing, acting, and singing in the hopes of becoming a “triple threat” on a future reality-based talent show. In his spare time, Boo picks up extra money as a part-time model for children’s Halloween costumes.

Hilarious! Microsoft has certainly earned itself many many cool points, in my book. Gosh. Who’d have thought?

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Whatever will we do without the scientific method?

On the Effectiveness of Aluminium Foil Helmets: An Empirical Study

More than the sum of words

From Scott Adams’s God’s Debris.

“You think casual conversation is a waste of time.”

“Sure, unless I have something to say. I don’t know how people can blab about nothing.”

“Your problem is that you view conversation as a way to exchange information,” he said.

“That’s what it is,” I said, thinking I was pointing out the obvious.

“Conversation is more than the sum of the words. It is also a way of signaling the importance of another person by showing your willingness to give that person your rarest resource: time. It is a way of conveying respect. Conversation reminds us that we are part of a greater whole, connected in some way that transcends duty or bloodline or commerce. Conversation can be many things, but it can never be useless.”

Huh. Interesting.

Ecumenism in Singapore

I went for a Cassoc (York’s Catholic society) meeting today – my first in awhile, I think. The topic was about ecumenical chaplaincy, which is something I’ve quite some interest in, and even though it turned out to be of a more personal (and probably more accessible to frequent Cassoc goers) nature than expected, it did get me thinking about ecumenism in Singapore.

It’s an issue quite close to my heart because, well, I have a lot of Protestant (used here to refer to non-Catholic Christians, although some people might argue about its appropriateness) friends, and I’ve been going to bible study with them, and it’s really interesting meeting with different people from different backgrounds to discuss their interpretations of the bible – some of which I totally disagree with of course, but it’s definitely an educational experience just discussing things anyway.

The thing is, back home in Singapore I don’t think you see such ecumenical activities often, especially between Catholics and Protestants. Each denomination (or church, even) tends to keep activities within its boundaries, and I think there is just so much misunderstanding and wasted opportunity because of that.

The take-home message for today – it is really up to the parishioners to initiate such activities. I don’t know when or how exactly, but I do hope to someday contribute to inter-denominational relations in my own way.

New iGoogle themes

If any of you use iGoogle, you might want to check this out. It’s essentially just changing the graphic at the top of the page, but somehow I find it amusing to reload the page every now and then to see what exactly J.R. is up to – as of this time he is battling a robotic version of himself (pictured below).

Guy Fawkes Night misadventure

Remember, remember the Fifth of November
The Gunpowder Treason and Plot

So it was the last Guy Fawkes Night I’ll be seeing in some time, and since I didn’t really do anything for the past 2 years’, I followed Rokey, Kevin, Shiao En, Nagisa and Yiwen to Clifford’s Tower, hoping to catch some fireworks on top of that little hill.

Unfortunately though it was a good height to view things from, the fireworks being set off were all pretty faraway (probably no one fires them from the city centre). So after awhile of playing with our shadows (with Kevin living out his fantasies of being taller than Rokey), we moved on to a random walk in the city.

We walked by Parliament Street where we happened to see some punks dumping (washing powder? liquid?) into the fountain. So it was foaming crazily. Funnily enough it kinda looked like snow, and Shiao En made the guys pose in front of it for a photo.

After some more walking we finally ended up randomly going into a pub. It’s the first time I’ve been in one since my first year, I think? For a drink, anyway. Apparently they’ve banned smoking in them sometime during our summer holidays, and I must say the ambience is a lot more tolerable now. Who knows, if this were my first year in the UK I might actually have ended up going to pubs more often. Thankfully not lah huh.

So, although we totally didn’t do much of what we’d set off to do (watch fireworks), all in all, a pretty good night! Now to rush my readings.

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