Microspeak: Whale Boy

Raymond Chen

Today is the tenth anniversary of Windows Live Messenger. My colleague Danny Glasser provides some history behind the product, and you can watch a tenth anniversary celebration video created for the occasion. And thus is inspired today’s Microspeak: Whale Boy. Whale Boy is the nickname for the pawn-shaped Messenger buddy icon. His normal state is green, but he changes color or picks up a piece of flair to indicate various changes in status, such as busy or away. I don’t know the etymology of the term, but I suspect it came from his somewhat rotund appearance. Sample usage (which I made up just now; not from an actual document): “Why don’t we light up Whale Boy when the user regains connectivity?”

Bonus Microsoft trivia: At timecode 3:40 in the video (spoiler alert!) Steve Liffick presents Whale Boy with a strange glass object. That is the Microsoft ten-year service award. Stick around for 25 years and collect the entire set!


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