Most of you might now know about Microsoft Bob, Bob was intended to be a friendly user interface on top of Windows 3.1. It was received very poorly by both consumer and critics. Some media even claimed that Bob is named one of the worst technology products of all time. Internally, Bob’s internal code name was “Utopia” and it was discontinued by Microsoft in 1998. Even though you think that Bob is dead right now, its legacy still lives on in the form of code. It turns out Bob was actually more useful dead than alive. When you intend to distribute your software on a CD, one thing you have to worry about is making sure your product actually fits on a single CD. Fortunately, it so happened that even after taking into account the disk space required for translations, support tools, and the other stuff that has to go onto the Windows XP CD, there was ...

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Speaking at Microsoft Research Faculty Summit, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates said that Microsoft Bob-style personal assistants may re-emerge with more sophistication. We have already seen arrival of such programs in the name of Apple’s Siri, Google Now, etc, which are nothing but modern age Microsoft Bob/Clippy. These programs offer personal assistance by understanding what users are doing and anticipating their needs. Here is the transcript of Bill’s answer to the question related to it at the event. He explained, “It’s been talked about for decades, and now really is possible — where we see where you’re going, we see your calendar, we see your various communications. … We can actually look at the text, look at the speech, try to be helpful to you in your activities. I think we will be more connected and therefore if somebody wants to do a task like find a gift of a certain ...

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