Home > Microsoft > Microsoft BOB Review Microsoft BOB Review Submitted by Andrew Bragdon 2005-11-19 Microsoft 38 Comments BentUser reviews what is famous for being Microsoft’s worst product of all time – and finds out just exactly what is so terrible about it. About The Author 38 Comments 2005-11-19 3:53 pm Tuishimi It’s hideously ugly, but Microsoft is NOT the only company to try and control the user’s interface to that extent. Some IBM Mainframes OS’s and All-In-One on VMS offered a very controlling, menu-driven interface that (while text based) reminds me very much of BOB. It is as if MS decided to take one of these (believe it or not, fairly popular) textual, menu-driven over simplified OS interfaces and make it graphical. 2005-11-19 3:54 pm Tom K The dog … that fscking dog … I hate him. He made a comeback in XP as the “search assistant” — the #1 most annoying and #1 most useless feature. I hope they get rid of him and just present you with a normal find files dialog in Vista. OS X does not belittle its users by presenting them with a retarded dog whenever they want to look for files. Yeah, I know you can turn him off, but it’s damned frustrating because they don’t make it 100% easy. 2005-11-19 4:10 pm Shaman >The dog … that fscking dog … I hate him. He made >a comeback in XP as the “search assistant” — the #1 >most annoying and #1 most useless feature. I hope >they get rid of him and just present you with a >normal find files dialog in Vista. One of my sales drones loves that dog. She went crazy when we handed her a W98 machine to replace her XP machine for a while (needed repairs) and there was no dog in the search tool. But she is 100% hardcore Microsoft. 2005-11-19 7:11 pm Tom K Oh wow. I don’t have anything to say about that. 2005-11-20 5:36 am kaiwai Well, solution to that problem; “If I see that dog again, you’re fired; if I see you using ANY Microsoft product, no matter how small or under emulation, you’re fired!” “oh, and all work shall be done using VI – no excuses” That should solve the problem; sales drones are dimes in a dozen; thick as rocks, clueless about the products they sell and always sound like they’ve been injected with a lifetime supply of caffeine. 2005-11-19 4:47 pm Agreed. I turn him off as the FIRST thing each time I use a new XP system. Very condecending. 2005-11-19 5:27 pm macisaac Oh I don’t know, as a hardcore a linux fanboy as I am, I do have a soft spot for Lynx the cat in Office. If they’d used him instead of the dog for the search feature I might actually like it 🙂 2005-11-20 11:26 am n4cer Oh I don’t know, as a hardcore a linux fanboy as I am, I do have a soft spot for Lynx the cat in Office. If they’d used him instead of the dog for the search feature I might actually like it 🙂 If you and the others that mentioned wanting something other than the dog really want to change it, you can switch it out with almost any Microsoft Agent (the name for the technology and characters) included in Office or downloadable from the web. http://www.microsoft.com/msagent/default.asp Just add the *.acs file to the directory: %systemroot%[backslash]srchasst[backslash]chars though Office 2003 seems to make the Agents it includes available automatically. So if you have it, you can just change the character from the Windows Search dialog options: Start | Search | Change Preferences | With a different character For those that don’t like the Agents: Start | Search | Change Preferences | Without an animated character (There’s also a GPO for this for domain users IIRC) Also it appears they will not be included in Vista or Office 12. Edited 2005-11-20 11:29 2005-11-20 4:59 am [Announcer] Microsoft Bob so simple even the fscking dog can do it (Fade to Windows XP) [Announcer] Sorry fscking dogs we didn’t know you were still around. [fscking dog #1] Yea, you should have done a little research on that one. [Waiter] Can I take your order? [fscking dog #2] Yea, I’ll have the duck with the mango salsa. [fscking dog #1] I don’t have much of an appetite. (fscking dog #1 gives Announcer extremely dirty look) -alphaseinor- 2005-11-20 12:43 pm I remember hearing something about an old Apple add-on that was an animated Yak that would say sarcastic things to the user, it died out pretty fast. 2005-11-19 4:01 pm JamesTRexx I remember installing it once (no, didn’t buy it but got it from a Winzip cd, and I’m not talking about the compression program), clicked on it a few times to see if there was anything remotely useful, closed it and removed it. And that was at the time when I only just got the hang of Windows. I think the idea was okay, a pre-3d desktop environment, but treating the users like little kids was the wrong approach. And even now I still dislike Windows for not having an “adult” mode instead of annoying wizards and doggies all over the place. 2005-11-19 4:51 pm “but treating the users like little kids was the wrong approach.” Yet, they are still doing it with “My …” all over the place. And the dog is back in search as someone else pointed out. One of the reasons Windows annoys me, and Microsoft isn’t high on my list of professional systems companies. They are more like Coke or Pepsi…works for them, but does not pump me up with confidence in the core product. 2005-11-19 10:40 pm mlauzon Actually, MS is getting rid of the ‘My…’ crap with Windows Vista; although you can get rid of all the ‘My…’ crap with some registry tweaks, etc. 2005-11-19 5:24 pm dr_gonzo The computers at my University have been installed with XP recently and it’s a real pain to use. Little dialogue boxes keep on popping up over the system tray. It’s really annoying and it keeps on interfering with me when I’m trying to get work done. For example, there’s an icon which allows you to get rid of unused icons from the desktop. It usually appears some time after log in. I click on the x to get rid of it because it doesn’t vanish after a few seconds. Then, a minute or so later, it pops up again! The only way to get rid of it is to click on the icon, launch the wizard and click on cancel. Shit like this makes it a real pain to use the computers. I hope, for Microsoft’s sake, that the UI improvements in Vista go beyond merely making the title bar translucent. 2005-11-21 9:58 pm phoenix For example, there’s an icon which allows you to get rid of unused icons from the desktop. It usually appears some time after log in. I click on the x to get rid of it because it doesn’t vanish after a few seconds. Then, a minute or so later, it pops up again! The only way to get rid of it is to click on the icon, launch the wizard and click on cancel. This can be disabled via either the Taskbar or Desktop Properties (can’t remember which, and I’m not at a Windows XP station). It’s a simple little checkbox option. 2005-11-21 10:15 pm dr_gonzo They have a setup in college that restores the file system back to the way it was before you logged in after you log out as a way of combating spyware which means that changing any settings is ultimately useless. This makes it extra annoying because every time I log in, I go through the same annoying little experience. I know I can’t blame Microsoft for that but it seems to be one of a never ending list of little things that piss me off every time I log in to a computer in college. 2005-11-19 5:26 pm The real funny thing is that the person in charge of this project later became Bill Gates’ wife 2005-11-19 6:07 pm TaterSalad As Tuishimi stated, Microsoft wasn’t the only one trying to do this. When I first got my Packard Bell back in 1993 they had some program similiar to Bob that would load on start up. It ate up memory and wasn’t really useful. Luckily my computer geek instincts kicked in and I quickly disabled it from running on startup. 2005-11-19 7:17 pm couldn’t they have a parrot. the dog is not so culturally acceptable in some places. its like the damn police at metro stations with their dogs – couldn’t they have something else to sniff at my legs? 2005-11-20 12:45 pm I’m all for lamas or platypuses. 2005-11-19 7:43 pm Speaking as a professional in the IT industry, it’s hard to take Windows seriously as a professional product for the enterprise when that stupid dog and the dumb clipboard are embedded into their products. I don’t mean to say anything against about the actual quality and technical capability of Windows XP, 2003, and Office, I just mean to say I would expect to find “cute puppies” in programs designed for tots not for stuff designed for the enterprise. I think these images do a lot to tarnish the image of Microsoft’s products and should be taken out. If Dell or HP ever start selling computers for ages between 4-12, Microsoft can then put them back in. 2005-11-19 10:35 pm agentj Although I don’t like the dog, I don’t think that “cute puppies” can’t live in professional apps. Do professional apps have to look like crap, and when you use them you have to behave like on someones funeral – deadly serious ? For me it’s zombie-style – they don’t see anything but mindless, deadly-serious work. 2005-11-20 10:29 am I second that! May the cute dogs and funny craps invade our OS’s! Damn those zealots and ‘professional’ users with their funeral style… damn just dress yourself as a MIB and go to a morgue. You silly dudes ^_^ 2005-11-20 3:09 pm I am not against well designed layouts. I thought that Windows XP looked very nice except for the green Start button. Windows 2003 was flawless except maybe a little too drab. Regardless, I was impressed with the “professionalism” of both layouts. However, I do think Microsoft has gone way too far if when you search, a “cute little dog” walks up to you. The worst offense is that it doesn’t even fit with the looks of the rest of the OS. It is just a random thing tossed in it. 2005-11-20 3:09 pm [quote]For me it’s zombie-style – they don’t see anything but mindless, deadly-serious work.[/quote] Well, I think it’s anything but zombie style. Interfaces that are no nonsense don’t get in your way. For me Windows all from 98 and up to XP do this, through some demented philosophy that Interference Is Good: Speech bubbles that warn me about: – Not enough drive space free every frigging 15 minutes – That my computer is in danger from viruses – That I just plugged in a peripheral (mouse, USB key, etc.) I know I just did! I’m pretty sure that I wasn’t drunk or demonically possessed when I did it. – That there are icons on my desktop that need to be cleared away. What, are you my mom now? Clippys, sneezing Einsteins, dogs, dialog boxes that disappear behind other windows and prevent you from using your PC until they are found and dismissed. Come to think of it, OSX actually never does any of that. The only slightly annoying thing is the bouncing dock icons, but it’s also the only way that apps can get your attention. They got the rest right by not getting in your face. Heck even simple things like maintaining the current active window, while working in it, while another application starts up or wants your attention, they got that right too. So many little details done right, to prevent derailing your train of thought! The dog is nonsense and incredibly annoying. Also have a look at what Google would have been, if they had used the animalistic search metaphor on their front page. Wince! http://www.secretgeek.net/ms_search.asp 2005-11-20 3:30 pm henrikmk Replying to myself: I know the speech bubbles can be removed with TweakUI, but I think the initial design decision which results in, “I know it’s annoying, but it can be removed with XYZ tool” just shows that it’s a bad design decision to keep it. Again XP offers many things that can be turned off in this manner, even from within its own interface: Webview of files in Explorer, the fancy view of Control Panel can be turned off, the fancy start menu can be turned off, the GUI can be reverted to Windows 2000 style. Those are nice choices to have, but why are they necessary in the first place? Why would MS suddenly think that their new, colorful, unnecessarily rearranged GUI just might be confusing or annoying to all those (likely the majority of Windows PC users) who have migrated from older versions of Windows? Why implement something that doesn’t hold up anyway? 2005-11-20 5:19 pm n4cer Those are nice choices to have, but why are they necessary in the first place? Why would MS suddenly think that their new, colorful, unnecessarily rearranged GUI just might be confusing or annoying to all those (likely the majority of Windows PC users) who have migrated from older versions of Windows? Why implement something that doesn’t hold up anyway? It’s not that they know the new designs won’t hold up or be confusing. It’s because they target a wide audience from novices to business and power users, and know that what some like others won’t no matter how little the change. And if it doesn’t widely affect the type of experience they want the user to have, they’ll allow the option of turning a feature off. Just reading this forum shows differences in opinion over the Agent/Search Assistants and most people here probably are just in the power user group (or consider themselves to be). There’s also the performance case. Allowing some features to be turned off can yield extra performance on low-end systems that can otherwise run the OS well. The tiered approach to Vista’s UI is an example of this. Rather than requiring everyone to meet the specs for Glass, they offer a lower point of entry even though there are benefits to using the newer UI. XP also does this with automatic management of Visual Styles features based on system spec. 2005-11-19 8:32 pm I’ve always heard that MS Bob was bad, but I didn’t know why. Maybe I’m glutten for punishment, but I almost want to play around with it (then I come to my senses). 2005-11-19 9:46 pm deathshadow We used to call it Microsoft Bobbit… Mostly because of what it did to the computers it was on. As to the damned dog… There’s a reason I use XPLite to rip all the stupid crap out of XP. It’s also why I’m worried about this “Task Driven” nonsense. 2005-11-19 11:59 pm Ronald Vos MS BOB was a ‘social interface’, as opposed to the standard desktop metaphor. I think something like this in abstracto, but radically different in theme and conceptualisation, could work. Open sourced and without any dumb characters (instead a little devil with sneakers or a penguin in a tuxedo would do) as an assistant that worked for you instead of holding your hand..it could make interfaces fresh and interesting perhaps. 2005-11-20 1:53 am I have to agree here… Things like the Paper clip, Search Dog, etc are just annoying bits of crap that people turn off or remove. Hasn’t Microsoft got the point yet? 2005-11-20 3:59 am abdavidson “Open sourced and without any dumb characters (instead a little devil with sneakers or a penguin in a tuxedo would do) ” Hold on. So a dog is a dumb character but a devil with sneakers or a penguin in a tuxedo isn’t? I can’t tell but I *hope* you’re being sarcastic… 2005-11-20 5:33 am kaiwai There are people today, even with this dumb down interface, who would STILL find it difficult to use a computer; maybe for some people, they should simply throw in the towel and admit they’re too f*cking thick to use a computer; maybe they should find a job that doesn’t require so much brain power to be used at anyone time. 2005-11-20 8:31 am there is simply no reason to create something so worthless and bloated. the dog needs to be put to sleep and not included in any other windows version. but i use linux, so it doesnt really matter too much. 2005-11-20 10:33 am my wife looked just over my shoulder at the screenshots and said it looks cute. A modern version might be useful for some people. I could imagine my girlfriend or my father using it. A 3d interface with doom like “rooms” would eventually also be also interessting to geeks. 2005-11-20 11:53 am alban A great review of some really bad software. Mac OS had a dumbed down interface mode as well, but it was just a grid of boxes to launch programs nothing as special as that Microsoft product. If you stretch the desktop user interface too far it exposes it for the sham it really is. Magic Cap is interesting as well. http://www.guidebookgallery.org/tutorials/magiccap 2005-11-20 9:47 pm Most common user oriented environments are based upon workin desk, probably that’s why they were called desktops. I have friend that objects that computer interface reflects job, work. He’d like it to represent something more pleasent. I understand that the product was poorly done, but the idea might not be as bad. DG 2005-11-21 4:57 am Sphinx Including Dos 5 and ME?