Pogue channeled Robert Scoble and wrote a piece today about how companies should use blogs and Web 2.0 tools to open up to customers and the world.
Pogue was referring to a blog discussion that began with a September 2006 post by Microsoft’s Windows user interface group that resonated with a lot of people, and I think about it every time I see the games that come bundled with Windows. It explained how the company set out to refresh Windows’ classic “Minesweeper” game for Vista and ended up stuck in a minefield of geopolitical sensitivities.
The author, researcher David Vronay, said the initial solution was to give users the option of finding flowers instead of mines.
I was off-base in my first version of this post, which I wrote before I heard back from Vronay. He e-mailed me a few minutes ago and said he still chuckles about the mime entry himself: “Almost as much from the comments of people thinking it was serious than anything else.”
It keeps going. There’s a real product called Mimesweeper. It’s an e-mail security system sold by Clearswift, a British company with an office in Bellevue. I’ll bet they’ve heard a few Marcel Marceau jokes.