They say confession is good for the soul, so here’s mine. I know it’s sure to cost me several hundred Esteem Points in the IT world, but nonetheless. I have an Office Assistant running on my copy of Office 2003. Specifically Links The Cat.

The sad truth was revealed the same way truths always are – by an unintended revelation. I was demoing Windows Vista to a friend of mine and when I switched back over to my Windows XP machine, I had Outlook up with Links sitting there happily in the corner.

Yes... it's true. this is on my pc.

“What’s THAT?” he said.

“What? The cat? Oh, that’s one of the Office Assistants from Office 2003. Y’know – like Clippy.”

“Yeah, I know – but what’s it doing there?”

The fact of the matter is I happen to like Links. He (She?) reminds of a cat I used to have who’s name was Casey. Plus it’s amusing to see some of the things it does. Like the little stamping paw prints when you send something to the printer. Or whipping out a laptop and typing up an email when you use Outlook.  Casey didn’t used to do all of that, but she did like to curl up in my lap when I worked on the computer, so Links is close.

I know everyone hates Clippy. Personally, the first thing I do whenever I install Office is either turn Clippy off or swap him out for Links. The assistants can be annoying at times, and they do add unnecessary overhead, but they can be amusing, so I don’t mind. I don’t think I ever USE it for anything, but it’s nice just to have it on the screen.

I started loading the assistants back in Office 97. At the time, I loaded The Genius, who is an Albert Einstein knock-off. I always felt sorry for him, because the Office 97 Assistants were stuck in these little windows. They looked trapped in a way. The Genius is missing from later versions of Office, but Links has been a good addition.

Ok – so there you have it… it’s out in the open. Whew. I feel a lot better now.