You might come across several mascots in your day-to-day life. You like some and don’t like some. But whatever be your feeling towards them, they have a “story” to tell or a “thought” to provoke. Everyone of them exist to serve a purpose. The word Mascots etymology traces its origins back to a dialectic use in Provence and Gascony, where it was used to describe anything that was lucky. But slowly with term mascots were being used to represent, primarily, some group with a common identity. I intend to take a plunge into some of the weird technology mascots that evolved over time. These are basically some attempt to personalize tech products through animal and humanoid mascots. Hope it will be an enjoyable perusal for you.
1. Clippy: How many times have you seen this unwanted volunteered helper from Microsoft office? And how many times have you been abusive to it. I remember always being rude and clicking the “Do not show me this tip again” when I see this creature called Clippy. This anthropomorphic character got the flak from almost every user of Microsoft office. The program was widely reviled among users as intrusive and annoying, and was criticized even within Microsoft. It has finally been put away with XP. There were other Assistants which came into being, although less known, but the list is quite significant:
a. Bosgrove (a bulter)
b. Genie ( a genie)
c. Kairu the Dolphin (It was available for the East Asian editions which was downloadable for Office 97)
d. Max ( a Macintosh plus computer)
e. Peedy (a Parrot)
f. Robby ( a robot)
2. The famous penguin: The Tux: Yes the penguin we are used to see with Linux. Linux Torvalds preferred a penguin to be a proper mascot for the open source OS. From among the many designs, Larry Ewing’s design won. Tux become very famous and was used by them in hundreds of games, promotions and swag items, and even in a parody of An Inconvenient Truth. The fact is it remains a very prominent and inescapable one.
3. Clarus, The DogCow: It comes from the stable of none other than Apple. It is a comically bitmapped mammal introduced by tech major in 1983. At that time Apple wanted to show the different functions of the computer like starting up, deleting files, showing your printer paper orientation etc. through small images. These images were developed by filling the squares in the graph papers. It doesn’t categorize into a mascot family. It represents paper orientation while printing. The image is sometimes referred to as the unholy hybrid and it has enjoyed a loyal cult following with numerous web shrines, movies etc. Signature cries of “Moof!”are also famous.
4. OS-tans These are the internet phenomenon or meme that originated with the Japanese Futaba Channel.
The OS-tans are the moe anthropomorphism/personification of several operating systems by various amateur Japanese artists. The OS-tans are typically depicted as women, with the OS-tans representative of Microsoft Windows operating systems usually depicted as sisters of varying ages. The instability and the frequent crashes of Windows Millennium Edition was personified with the OS-tans. That is how it all begun. The Futaba Channel personified by creating Me-tan as a fickle and troublesome girl. That was the beginning to a series of tans.
The different OS-tans that came about are :
Windows XP- The XP-tan: This girl is shown as a ribbon shaped like XP. As Windows XP is criticized for bloating a system and being very pretty without being as useful, XP-tan is commonly depicted wearing very tight clothing with huge breasts.
The Japanese suffix Tan is a mispronunciation of Chan, an informal, intimate, and diminutive honorific suffix for a person used for friends, family, and pets. The mispronunciation is used intentionally to achieve the contrived cute or charming effect that is commonly associated with its use by young children and is also sometimes added to the names of non-mascot characters. The personifications as a whole are commonly simply called mascots or mascot characters and as such the Tan suffix itself means nothing outside its role as an honorific and its implications of cuteness. Normal suffixes including San, Chan, and Kun are also used with OS-tans depending on the character and the speaker’s preference or omitted entirely.
For knowing about the other OS-tans go here.
5. Cool Duke: Here is another famous one. This one would be very known to the Software guys. They cannot simply ignore Duke. Duke was brought into existence by Joe Palrang to be the agent for Green Project at Sun. When Java technology came into existence, Duke was made the Java mascot.
6. Fiery Mozilla: It is another very common one. Its fearsome look have a story to tell. The mascot was built to showcase fearsome character to embody Netscape’s hope of creating a “Mosaic Killer”. The predator does look strange and scary, but now it is used for representation of the browser that smacked Internet Explorer, the leading browser, by being non-predatory. It sure is not one of the cutest among the other mascots but it sure makes an impact and a thump!!
All this personification attempts are not equally successful, but then they made quite a bit of stir in the minds of the users. I feel that was one of the purpose of their existence. In the quest to become technologically viable and be in the race, we might some the times tend to loose our human touch, but these mascot friends of ours help us to keep that human side alive by assigning characteristic traits in the technologies which are so ingrained in our daily lives. You can know more about Jeeves, Glenda, Hexley and many others like them then follow the link: Lamest Technology Mascots.
What I find amazing about them is that everyone of them tell different and amazing stories. Some stories of success, some of vanquish, some of abuse, some of growth, some of fame, you name it and you will find one mascot with a that story. So much like ourselves where everyone of us have one or many stories to tell.