Putting the "Guide" in Enterprise Guide

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Merlin and me, together againSome of you will remember that in the very early versions of SAS Enterprise Guide, we introduced a unique approach to helping you to learn SAS: an animated "agent" who could suggest your next steps within your project.

We furloughed the agent (who appeared usually as a wizard, genie, or Peedy the Parrot) when we shipped version 2.0. Some customers cheered at the change; others lamented the loss. All of this happened nearly a decade ago.

Last week I received this letter from an old friend:

Dear Mr. Hemedinger,

Let me introduce myself. I am "Merlin", the coolest of the Microsoft Agents. I have been trying to find you on Facebook unsuccessfully, so I decided to just write a letter instead.

I guess you have heard by now that the whole Office thing hasn't worked out quite the way I would have liked. Some folks even believe that the "XP" in Office XP stands for "eXecute the annoying Paperclip." To be quite frank, that blasted "Clippy" has really wrecked the whole thing for us. I knew from the start that he was just a warped, bent-out-of-shape, twisted piece of metal. If it wasn't for him, I bet we would still be in Office today.


Anyway, I heard that in SAS Enterprise Guide you guys recently implemented code completion, and I thought to myself, "hey, I am in the suggestion business too!" So what do you think about giving us a new lease on life in your next release? I understand that you have already done the work once, so you probably just need to dust off a little bit of code, right? But just in case, please accept this book to help jog your memory a bit.

Hope to see you soon on the other side of the monitor!

Your pal, Merlin

Accompanying the letter was a pristine copy of Developing for Microsoft Agent.

Please don't tell Merlin I said so, but I don't think that his prospects look good.

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About Author

Chris Hemedinger

Senior Manager, SAS Online Communities

+Chris Hemedinger is the manager of SAS Online Communities. Since 1993, Chris has worked for SAS as an author, a software developer, an R&D manager and a consultant. Inexplicably, Chris is still coasting on the limited fame he earned as an author of SAS For Dummies.  He also hosts the SAS Tech Talk webcasts each year from SAS Global Forum, connecting viewers with smart people from SAS R&D and the impressive work that they do.

4 Comments

  1. As someone who regularly tauight EG classes in those days, Peedy the Parrot made me twitchy. One time a student showed me how to replace Peedy the Help Agent with one that was, let's say, intended for a "mature" audience (IT WAS NOT SHIPPED WITH SAS! He found it on the internet- let's make that VERY clear). I was so glad when they were gone in a later release! I never need to get advice from THAT character ever again!
    But CODE COMPLETION in Enterprise Guide? That is the coolest feature ever. And I doubt students will ever be able to shock me with some variation of it that they download from the web. Which is also a plus.

  2. Hi Cat, wow, I'm so pleased to read your phrase "coolest feature ever", referring to the code completion in EG! Thanks.

    More cool features coming...

  3. Ah, memories... I also remember teaching EGGS (Enterprise Guide Getting Started) and hearing very mysterious crunching in the background. Turned out the speakers were on in the classroom and Peedy was munching away on his crackers.

  4. Lisa Horwitz

    Somehow this week, nearly three full years since this blog posted, has been full of memories of Peedy the Parrot - I'm not exactly sure what started that trip down memory lane. I was always a big fan of Peedy's, and I enjoyed pointing him out when I presented demonstrations of that early version of Enterprise Guide, to the amusement, chagrin, and eye-rolling of the audience. I miss the old guy ... I hope he's living out his days in some pleasant tropical locale somewhere!

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