clippyMs. DeweyI may be way off base here, but isn’t Ms. Dewey uncannily similar to Microsoft’s earlier pathetic attempt at humanizing the computer, Clippy? Sure, one is a babe, and the other is a cartoon paperclip. But work with me here: They both have a pretentious, officious manner. They both rap on the glass to get your attention (and both of them are equally clueless that my LCD monitor makes more of a “tap tap” sound, not “dink dink”). And both get in the way of you actually getting the work done that you want to do.

It seems that Microsoft can’t seem to get off the annoying animated character trip. It’s as if Bob had never died. And I have to say, the MsDewey site is frankly not that impressive. It’s a stunt site designed to show off the fact that Microsoft engineers can hire an actress, write some Flash code to tie together one or two dozen short video clips with some dissolve transitions, and integrate the whole thing with a search engine. Impressive, guys.

The problem may be that Microsoft is filled with engineers who really do wish that their computers would talk to them like this. If their computers took on the persona of a soft-core porn actress (NSFW), even better. The rest of us, meanwhile, just want our computers to disappear: Give us the information we want and get the hell out of the way. Maybe that’s why stripped-down interfaces like Google’s are so popular. (Thanks to KJ for pointing this out)