Tuesday, September 20, 2005


I thought I had lost Clippy in the recent PC crash.
Am I in the majority of one who likes him?
I mean the design of course, not the behaviour.
A passive rather than provocative agent apparently blessed with a small footprint, I just don't understand the bad press.

...animators have exploited Konrad Lorenz’s “Kindchenschema” for years, noting that characters with certain baby-like biological triggers, such as large heads, short arms and legs, round skulls, big eyes, and round cheeks are perceived as “cute” and likeable. Presumably, these traits would also be desirable in a likeable user interface agent character. However, the default Office Assistant character, “Clippit the Paperclip,” has virtually none of these features; especially in its original version, it features a small (or nonexistent) head, long wire “arms,” and slanted eyes
Why People Hate the Paperclip: Labels, Appearance, Behavior, and Social Responses to User Interface Agents


Maybe it was years of being watched by a labrador's round eyes, I find the blinking gaze of the paperclip benign, calming.
I have restored him to the office environment.

Comments: clip

l think clippy is rather cute!
Posted by clippy admirier at September 20, 2005 11:49 PM

Maybe 'cute' is right in this case, usually a word that grates with me. But maybe cuteness is what it is in this minimal design? Or the fact of being maligned?
In any case, he does remind me of the expression of my late dog, and even the Jack Russell watching me by the computer. Certainly more canine-like than that animated dog whose presence does annoy me.
Posted by boynton at September 21, 2005 12:01 PM

Well, If I want a digital amenusis, it certainly wouldn't be a Gates' inspired piece of boring office equipment.

Why not a owl? Owls are good. I used to hand feed a semi tame barn owl that roosted in our backyard mango tree. We called him "Neddy" because he occasionally sounded like the famous Seagoon ("What, what, what, Whoo!". He liked cold meat scraps, stale kokoda and leftover prawns and would stamp his talons and bob his head up and down when he saw us coming into the lower garden with a plate of leftover cocktail party shit. The cats hated him 'cos he could fly and they couldn't.

Can't see that fuckin' paper clip ever being as useful, decorative or as full of attitude as Neddy.
Posted by Nabakov at September 22, 2005 01:08 AM

The design becomes inextricably linked, unfortunately, with the behaviour.

Because he is what is known in scientific lingo as a first rate pain in the &#$^&^#& a^&e, his 'cute' smile becomes offensive, like he's making fun of you while you scream and bash the keyboard.
Posted by armaniac at September 22, 2005 05:28 PM

along these lines, Nabakov?

It surprises me that I like the Gates' inc design, I know it damages what little cred I have to admit it.
Maybe it's the very mundane nature of the thing - the boring office equipment, who knows. Anything more literal doesn't work, that's for sure.

You are in the majority of millions, armaniac.
But I don't get the 'making fun of you' aspect of the behaviour. Any more, that is. Maybe it was a journey - like having a canine companion around, whose watch first unsettles and then becomes rather comforting.
(I am a rather pathetic MS Office worker who seeks the consolation of paperclips I know - but such is life).
Posted by boynton at September 22, 2005 06:30 PM


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