Hey, you are doing it the way that is not funny. This is the funny way, a bit more complex but much more entertaining.

Phase 1

Purchase for a small sum of money (or get it copied by a friend) a CD named "Red Hat" or "Debian". This is your $5 paperclip removing tool.
Boot the machine with that. Follow instructions, and then go to have lunch. During this time, the dude with the red hat will look for every single little paperclip that may be hiding somewhere in your system.
When he is done, take out the CD (very important) and reboot the system. No more paperclip.

Phase 2

In order to be very thorough (and you should be, that paperclip is serious stuff), you should take your Office Installation CD, and go on the banks of a very wide river, or on a sea shore, or on a boat. Take along a 12 gauge shotgun (10 gauge would be probably too much), and a friend.
Cry "Pull !". Your friend will throw the Office Installation CD high into the air, and this is your chance to blast it to smithereens. You see, the paperclip's deep lair is right into that innocent looking silver disc.
Remember to give some lead. In the case you did not hit it, it will sink into the waters for ever more.
Notice that is considered bad sportsmanship to just set the CD on a brick in your backyard and execute it.

Baffo, why do you hate the paperclip so much ?

Ah, this is personal trauma. I am a paperclip survivor. I was at -4 days from thesis delivery day, working on the indices on a machine that had Windows NT Workstation and Office installed. A new machine. No other software.
When the thesis file got to about 120 pages, the paperclip started helpfully saying something like "Who knows, your file may be damaged, you should be saving it under a different name, just in case, he he he."
The file was not damaged in fact, but the thing got on my nerves to no end: I mean, a new computer running the fscking operating system made by the guys that made the bloody application, and it hits the wall at 120 pages ?
My idea of software development is that you first solve things like data integrity, and then fuck around with dumbass paperclips.

Clippy fun fact:

This is from a friend of mine who is a Sustaining Engineer (whatever the hell *that* is) at Microsoft.
The paper clip was selected as the default Microsoft Office Assistant because it carries no negative cross-cultural connotations.


Clippy the paperclip was introduced in Office 97. He is the default character of the Office Assistant, designed to make office easier to use. The user would either summon Clippy, or he would pop up whenever he saw the user doing something inefficiently, and suggest a better way of doing things, or a keyboard shortcut. Clippy could be asked question in plain English, and would respond with his best guess as to what the user was looking for. None of this is new: Clippy is simply a new interface for two features from Office 95, the TipWizard, and the Answer Wizard.

The TipWizard is a toolbar which appears next to all the other toolbars, with the tip written on it. The only other widgets on the toolbar are a pair of arrows to show previous tips, and a button so show more information on a tip. Its first tip explains what the TipWizard is, and how to switch it off. The Answer Wizard is an extra tab in the 'Help Topics' dialogue. The user can quickly move between the different tabs, which offer searching by contents, index, keyword and the Answer Wizard's natural language searching.


There are several problems with the Office Assistant as a user interface, especially in comparison to the interfaces it replaces. It's too small, too intrusive, and too slow.

Too small - While the Answer Wizard is a sensible size (the size of the help dialogue box), the Office assistant displays only interacts through a small 'speech bubble' coming out of the character. The speech bubble is a much smaller area to display results in, roughly an eighth of the size of the Answer Wizard. If more than four or so results match, the user must scroll the list of results in the speech bubble. The Answer Wizard almost always fits every match on the screen without scrolling.

Too intrusive - The Office Assistant adds unnecessary visual clutter to distract the user. When summoned, it expands out of the help menu, and then the character performs a 'wake up' animation. The same process is repeated in reverse when the assistant is closed. The office assistant does this even when it's popping up to volunteer a new tip. If the Office Assistant is left open the animations can be avoided, but every so often it will animate to let you know it's still 'alive'. Clippy scratches himself with one of his ends, and blinks his eyes. The TipWizard, by comparison, opens and closes without any fanfare, and doesn't animate at all until it comes up with another tip.

Too slow - The golden rule of user interface design is that you don't keep the user waiting. It takes a delay of less than half a second to make an application feel 'slow'. Any longer than half a second, and the application may feel non-interactive, and the user will become frustrated. If it is known that a task will take longer than a fraction of a second, a progress indicator should be displayed, to let the user know what is going on. Depending on the animation, the Office Assistant may take a whole second to appear or disappear. There is no way to disable this behaviour, and the user cannot do any useful work until the animations are over (Office is usable while the Office Assistant is opening, but the Assistant is distracting, and users usually summon it because they need help, and can't carry on with their work until they get it).

Switching off the office assistant

It's possible to reduce the annoyance of the Office Assistant - there exists a non-animated 'Office Logo' character that eliminates the animation delays (but does nothing for the delay caused by the Office Assistant 'growing' out of the toolbar). The Office Assistant can be set not to pop up and volunteer advice. The problem is not the advice, however, as it can often be helpful and timesaving, but the way in which it is presented.

The most annoying thing about the paper clip is that there is no way to revert to the older, more usable interfaces. If you switch off, or don't install the office assistant, you don't get the functionality of the TipWizard or Answer Wizard at all; there's no way to get a sensible interface without sticking with the hopelessly antiquated office 95. (Office 95 has a different file format to every later office, making it incompatible with the rest of the world). Office 2000 claimed to ship without an Office Assistant, but it really just shipped with less annoying default settings for the Office Assistant - the Answer Wizard and TipWizard are still nowhere to be seen.

Technical issues aside, the reason the paperclip offends me personally is that Microsoft Office is the most powerful, customisable office suite in the world. It costs more than some budget PCs. Using it to type the 'occasional letter' is like using an oil tanker to do the shopping. In short, Office is wasted on the AOL, family PC user. And yet that's exactly who Microsoft targets office at nowadays. Office 95 advertised features like better, more reliable OLE, the binder1, better VBA, etc. Office 97 advertises Ease of use, price, and Clippy. Office 97 introduced underpowered toy applications (publisher, small business financial manager), at the expense of PowerPoint and access. At the same time, however, it kept macro support switched on by default, leaving the door open for floods of stupid macro viruses, which the new target audience had no idea how to deal with. Clippy is the figurehead for the dumbing down of office into some horrible hybrid - still horrendously powerful and complex, but with a veneer of simplicity that lulls new users into a false sense of security, while annoying the hell out of old ones.

How many people do you know who can't 'work' word? Who don't understand why it keeps trying to make lists, and mess with the indenting. Who don't know what styles do, who don't understand why it can't 'show codes'? In short, people who try to bend office to their will, rather than learning to use it, and then become frustrated when it doesn't 'work'. Aiming office at the 'pick up and use' market was a bad idea, and Clippy isn't doing anything to help.

1 - The binder allows for easy management of long publications (long meaning hundreds of pages) by tying many documents into one, sharing styles between them, and printing them all off with the correct page numbers

Clippy does appear in Office XP along with all of his other Office Assistant friends. Microsoft was gracious enough to include an option to enable Clippy. Some users (like myself) enjoy just letting Office run and watching the Office Assistant do fun stuff (like Links the Cat rolling over on its back).

Because Clippy got agitated over whether or not his job would be axed, he took over a small piece of Microsoft's website and showed off his talents as an XML web designer. One Microsoft executive discovered the site, and aimed to have Clippy exterminated. Unfortunately, the only thing he had at his disposal were office supplies. Don't ask me how Clippy managed to survive rubber bands, staple piercings, and thrown push pins.

In an agreement with the Office XP staff, Clippy was allowed to return to Office XP upon user demand, and the hijacked server space hosting Clippy's website was allowed to stay online. Today, Clippy is just idling in the background of Office XP, anxiously waiting for that one person that uses the computer and would be overjoyed with the phrase "It looks like you're writing a letter. Would you like help?"

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