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The First Smiley :-)

timothy (UID: 36799) posted more than 11 years ago | from the cave-paintings-be-damned dept.

469

An anonymous reader points to this excellent bit of online archaeology -- Mike Jones' effort to find the first online smiley. A bit from the site: "After a significant effort to locate it, on September 10, 2002 the original post made by Scott Fahlman on CMU CS general bboard was retrieved by Jeff Baird from an October 1982 backup tape of the spice vax (cmu-750x)." Interesting methodology and a lot of work went into the search -- shades of the Dead Media Project.

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First Smiley! (-1, Offtopic)

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Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago

No wait, post. :)

I had the first frown! (-1, Offtopic)

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Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago

But no one cares. :(

Here it is! (-1, Offtopic)

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Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago

The first post smiley :-)

Moderators, it's not offtopic! (1)

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BlowCat (UID: 216402) | more than 11 years ago

Maybe it's not interesting and not funny, but please use your moderation points on something that really deserves to be moderated up or down.

fp on the fp of a smiley about the smiley (-1, Offtopic)

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Maybe? :) :)

HEy (-1, Offtopic)

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Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago

Hurry up punk-ass! I'm hungry! :)

In all seriousness... (-1, Offtopic)

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Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago

When did this first make its appearance in Internet history? :(

WARNING CNN.COM LINK IN PARENT (-1, Offtopic)

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Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago

do not click on hyper link, thanks you

Re:In all seriousness... (1)

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ahaning (UID: 108463) | more than 11 years ago

The Internet Archive's first crawl of the site was May 08, 1999, if that helps.

There goes some trademarks bust! (1)

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Kindaian (UID: 577374) | more than 11 years ago

Because that is much prior-art then the trademarks in itself...

Well... they don't go bust... they aren't enforceable anymore... and the owners of it are the only ones that can use a ;) (tm)...

Cheers...

smileys are for fags (-1)

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SweetAndSourJesus (UID: 555410) | more than 11 years ago

you're not a fag, are you? :)

Making history on /. (0, Offtopic)

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Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago

Here is slashdots first ( 0 )( 0 ) set of knockers.

Re:Making history on /. (2)

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Pig Hogger (UID: 10379) | more than 11 years ago

Here is slashdot's first (*) asshole.

Re:Making history on /. (2)

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Jonny 290 (UID: 260890) | more than 11 years ago

No, here is Slashdot's first asshole.

In loving remembrance of good ol' WIPO.

oh my fucking god! (-1)

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Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago

its on microsoft's website! shame on you, slashdot for linking to them! what next, hosting slashdot on a windows nt machine?!

First spam (-1, Offtopic)

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Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago

They should sift through the email logs till they find the first account of a mass emailing for the purpose of selling something.

Re:First spam (-1, Offtopic)

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Re:First spam (-1, Offtopic)

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Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago

why dont u ask hemos? i remember way back in '83 him posting in all the newsgroups wanting to sell himself so he could save up to buy some clean undies cuz all the poop would leak out of his anus and make his undies all dirty (too many ass rammings).

Usenet and Emoticons (5, Informative)

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messiertom (UID: 590151) | more than 11 years ago

Here's a link to a usenet posting describing the use of emoticons/smilies (it references Fahlmen).

Re:Usenet and Emoticons (2)

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JabberWokky (UID: 19442) | more than 11 years ago

--
Evan (no reference)

Changes with time... (0)

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Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago

Interesting that the original smiley had a nose while most of the happy smilies used today go noseless...

I suppose plotting the change would need entirely different study, though.

Re:Changes with time... (2)

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MattCohn.com (UID: 555899) | more than 11 years ago

People today are way to busy to deal with the - in the :-). We've got things to do and people to see.

This is proof! (0, Troll)

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km790816 (UID: 78280) | more than 11 years ago

...that people at Microsoft do inovate!

Re:This is proof! (0)

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Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago

and your post is proof that u r an idiot!

Surprising (2, Interesting)

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_anomaly_ (UID: 127254) | more than 11 years ago

Anyone else kind of surprised that this didn't happen prior to '82?
Maybe it's just my cynical nature, but it's hard to imagine that emoticons as we know them weren't thrown around amongst colleagues in academia way before this.

At any rate, I'll sleep better now knowing... ;-]

Re:Surprising (-1, Offtopic)

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Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago

I really doubt this was an exhaustive search

First A$$in ascii (0, Funny) This comment was hidden based on your threshold setting. Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago (_(_ That's funny. Re:First A$$ in ascii (-1, Flamebait)

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Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago

whats funny is thats the size of your balls, you homo nerd faggit

>()o()< (-1, Troll)

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minigoatse

> (_(_ < (-1, Offtopic)

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Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago

goatse, before (we all know the after)

Another birth? (1)

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vstat (UID: 456161) | more than 11 years ago

I guess this could also be considered the start of ASCII artwork (http://www.textfiles.com/art/). I much perfer that to the faces which have seem to have gone overboard lately.

Whatever happened to Natalie Portman and grits? (-1, Offtopic)

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Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago

In the race for the best slashdot spammers... what ever happened to natalie portman and grits?

Re:Whatever happened to Natalie Portman and grits? (-1, Offtopic)

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Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago

jimmy fallon fucked her, remember the mtv commericals?

The lost BBS emoticon... (2)

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conner_bw (UID: 120497) | more than 11 years ago

Sure, the smiley was a winning cultural force that still exists today... but who's looking for the loser? i.e. the first

? This was short hand for GRIN back in my day.

While we are at it, who invented (spelling, to indicate the author doesn't know the proper spelling).

There are still countless man-hours and technology to be wasted people, common!

Re:The lost BBS emoticon... [PREVIEW!] (1)

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conner_bw (UID: 120497) | more than 11 years ago

Must... resist... first... post...

The symbol missing in action was <G>

The spelling symbol was <SP>

Re:The lost BBS emoticon... [PREVIEW!] (2)

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gilroy (UID: 155262) | more than 11 years ago

But since they used angle brackets, which eventually HTML also used, they were doomed to obsolesence... after all, posting them on slashdot is way too complicated. :)

Re:The lost BBS emoticon... (3, Insightful)

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singularity (UID: 2031) | more than 11 years ago

I very much agree. I still refuse to use "emoticon", instead relying on the types of things I first used on BBS's back in the very early 90's.

People I speak with on AIM still have to ask what <g> stands for.

I have added, over the years, some of my own, including <Laughter>, <Shudder>, and <Yawn>

may god forgive him for what he has unleashed (5, Insightful)

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Jamie Zawinski (UID: 775) | more than 11 years ago

Scott's a great guy -- he gave me my first hacking job! -- but he's got a lot to answer for with this one...

"The smiley is an attack on writers and readers alike. If it is funny, it doesn't need a smiley. If is not funny, a smiley won't help it. The smiley teaches writers that anything they write will pass as humor as long as it is punctuated properly. It teaches readers that they must ignore their better judgment, and look only at punctuation to determine intent." -- Jim Showalter

Re:may god forgive him for what he has unleashed (5, Insightful)

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gilroy (UID: 155262) | more than 11 years ago

Blockquoth the poster, quoting Jim Showalter:

It teaches readers that they must ignore their better judgment, and look only at punctuation to determine intent

I understand completely. That's why, when I tell a joke, I make sure to do it in a total monotone, completely deadpan. That way I don't accidentally teach my audience to ignore their better judgment or to rely on body language.

Oh, in case it wasm't clear: :)

Re:may god forgive him for what he has unleashed (2)

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tempest303 (UID: 259600) | more than 11 years ago

*clap*clap*clap*

Amen, man. There's no excuse for poor writing, but emoticons are not the scourge they're made out to be by some.

ha ha (0)

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Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago

Really funny people (like me) do deliver jokes deadpan. It's called "dry" (or "wry") humor. Check out Steven Wright for an extreme example.

Re:may god forgive him for what he has unleashed (5, Insightful)

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gilroy (UID: 155262) | more than 11 years ago

The smiley teaches writers that anything they write will pass as humor as long as it is punctuated properly. It teaches readers that they must ignore their better judgment, and look only at punctuation to determine intent.

Adding even more, it also makes sense that we should not use commas to indicate pauses -- or periods for sentence stops -- since that should be clear from context. We wouldn't want readers coming to rely upon mere punctuation, now would we?

Re:may god forgive him for what he has unleashed (2)

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pyrrho (UID: 167252) | more than 11 years ago

ug, lameness filter opposed me presenting my point in authentic form....

The romans used all capitals, no spaces or punctuation at all, if it was good enough for them... who are you to defy the Holy Roman Empire.

hmmm, I think it's lamer this way, the other way was much more funny.... better add this, :)

Re:may god forgive him for what he has unleashed (4, Insightful)

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EvlG (UID: 24576) | more than 11 years ago

Agreed.

Humor in real life conversation is conveyed not only through words, but also through body language, tone, and context.

In text, you have none of the first two, and the third can often be impaired.

The simely is one of the few universally recognized ways to do this - it breaks language barriers even!

What more could we ask for from 2 simple characters?

Re:may god forgive him for what he has unleashed (0)

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Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago

I dont use a :) cause something is funny. I use a :) cause it makes me smile. If it makes me laugh I'll use any number of laughing shorthands. Yes u smile when u laugh, but just cause u are smiling doesnt mean u are laughing.

Re:may god forgive him for what he has unleashed (2, Insightful)

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boskone (UID: 234014) | more than 11 years ago

except that we use punctuation and smileys in online media so that we can convey the grin we'd give someone. ie, if you make a jab at someone, but you're kidding, the grin is the only way for them to know you weren't ripping on them.

I think that's the most common usage.

Re:may god forgive him for what he has unleashed (4, Funny)

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Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago

Well you're just a fucking genius, aren't you?

;-)

Re:may god forgive him for what he has unleashed (3, Informative)

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s20451 (UID: 410424) | more than 11 years ago

I agree for some types of humor. However, if you try to use text (such as e-mail, or this comment) to convey sarcasm, I guarantee you will come off as an asshole unless you indicate that you are kidding by using a smiley. Humor can be conveyed by any number of signals beyond the words themselves, such as tone of voice and facial expression.

First recorded instance of RMS: (0)

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Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago

speaking out in favor of spam
boring people in a public forum
looking for a date (shudder)

And get this classic quote:

"It has just been suggested that we impose someone's standards on us"

I guess he changed his mind about that being a bad thing.

Found at

From: RMS at MIT-AI (Richard M. Stallman)
To: stefferud at USC-ISI

1) I didn't receive the DEC message, but I can't imagine I would have been bothered if I have. I get tons of uninteresting mail, and system announcements about babies born, etc. At least a demo MIGHT have been interesting.

2) The amount of harm done by any of the cited "unfair" things the net has been used for is clearly very small. And if they have found any people any jobs, clearly they have done good. If I had a job to offer, I would offer it to my friends first. Is this "evil"? Must I advertise in a paper in every city in the US with population over 50,000 and then go to all of them to interview, all in the name of fairness? Some people, I am afraid, would think so. Such a great insistence on fairness would destort everyone's lives and do much more harm than good. So I state unashamedly that I am in favor of seeing jobs offered via whatever.

3) It has just been suggested that we impose someone's standards on us because otherwise he MIGHT do so. Well, if you feel that those standards are right and necessary, go right ahead and support them. But if you disagree with them, as I do, why hand your opponents the victory on a silver platter? By the suggested reasoning, we should always follow the political views that we don't believe in, and especially those of terrorists, in anticipation of their attempts to impose them on us. If those who think that the job offers are bad are going to try toprevent them, then those of us who think they are unrepugnant should uphold our views. Besides, I doubt that anyone can successfully force a site from outside to impose censorship, if the people there don't fundamentally agree with the desirability of it.

4) Would a dating service for people on the net be "frowned upon" by DCA? I hope not. But even if it is, don't let that stop you from notifying me via net mail if you start one.

Strange. (5, Insightful)

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neksys (UID: 87486) | more than 11 years ago

It's kind of exciting that, with the modern time-scale, we can actually trace things like this to their originator. It's the like that age old question: "All I want to know is who the man is that looked at a cow and said 'I think I drink from whatever comes out of those things when I squeeze them.'" I always sort of assumed that the smiley would become much like the milk - of amorphous origins, but part of our culture nonetheless.

And I've made it my mission... (5, Funny)

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nakaduct (UID: 43954) | more than 11 years ago

To live to see the last.

YOU ARE SOOOOO FUNNY :-) :-) LOLOLOLOLLL! (-1)

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ZERG RUSH! KekekekekKEKEKEkekekeke (-1, Offtopic)

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Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago

^___________^
Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted! Reason: Your comment looks too much like ascii art.

would comment but (-1, Offtopic)

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Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago

i would comment on topic but a nigga just stole my tv.

(Almost) 20 years ago today... (2, Funny)

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Eryq (UID: 313869) | more than 11 years ago

We should throw a party in a month.
And just think! In one more year, smiley
will be old enough to buy beer legally!

{hic} :-}

Re:(Almost) 20 years ago today... (0)

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Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago

He's already old enough here in BC. Cheers! :-)

holy moly! (0)

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7*6 (UID: 258602) | more than 11 years ago

I hope that guy becomes famous!!

Geek & Naming Conventions (5, Funny)

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Myriad (UID: 89793) | more than 11 years ago

Why is it that for things like this many geeks will automatically think of the same name? Ie, way back when I first saw a :) (ah BBS days) I got its meaning and thought of it as a "smiley". Quickly I found out that was what people called it. This kind of thing happens to most geeks I know.

Yet the moment any of us start coding, damned if we don't come up with naming conventions that mean squat to everyone else. Unless, of course, we've been dictated to use someone elses nonsense! :)

11:44 (1, Redundant)

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digitalsushi (UID: 137809) | more than 11 years ago

Ah yes, I get all my most important work done in the half hour before lunch, as well.

With a face like that... (2, Interesting)

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Nakoruru (UID: 199332) | more than 11 years ago

Looks like a happy guy, how appropriate.

revolutionary (0)

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Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago

this is more revolutionary than you might think!

We now have proof - justification, if you will, that Microsoft has a *GOOD, LEGITIMATE* reason for their high software prices! Research and Development money....must have been billions to formulate a ':-)'.

Does this mean linux zealots will stop using emoticons? what will replace them? doritocons and mountaindewcons?

----------

Milk the Moose!

-Fleezarpobog

Re:revolutionary (0)

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Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago

Obvious troll, don't bother responding.

Re:revolutionary (0)

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Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago

lol yes but did you milk the moose?

First smiley? (2)

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Knife_Edge (UID: 582068) | more than 11 years ago

Well, great that they found the first smiley, but I will not be satisfied until I see the LAST one. Once upon a time, people could communicate emotions effectively simply through the tone of their writing. Now that people have apparently lost this ability, they use a crude text representation of a facial expression. This is not an improvement.

Re:First smiley? (2)

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CaptainCarrot (UID: 84625) | more than 11 years ago

You're right, but in my experience the problem isn't so much with the writer as with the reader. It's not uncommon for me to see someone post something that's obviously satirical or sarcastic only to have some brain-dead luser take it seriously at face value and flame his nose hairs off. Smileys are an invaluable guide to the illiterate.

Re:First smiley? (5, Funny)

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joshua404 (UID: 590829) | more than 11 years ago

Well, great that they found the first smiley, but I will not be satisfied until I see the LAST one. Once upon a time, people could communicate emotions effectively simply through the tone of their writing. Now that people have apparently lost this ability, they use a crude text representation of a facial expression. This is not an improvement.

Lighten the fuck up. :-)

Re:First smiley? (4, Insightful)

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gilroy (UID: 155262) | more than 11 years ago

Blockquoth the poster:

Once upon a time, people could communicate emotions effectively simply through the tone of their writing.

Once upon a time, people didn't have lowercase and so could not use uppercase for emphasis or to mark the start of a sentence.

Once upon a time, people didn't write spaces between words in their text.

Once upon a time, people didn't have vowels to help distinguish words.

Once upon a time, people didn't have question marks or exclamation points to indicate interrogatives or imperatives.
Get over it. "The tone of their writing" is simply too unreliable a mechanism for conveying in print what body language does for us in person. Why is the smiley any more objectionable as punctuation than, say, the question mark?

First smileys, what's next? (1)

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el_benito (UID: 586634) | more than 11 years ago

Ooh, let's make it an ongoing series. Where was the first usage of "pr0n"?

typewriter messages (1)

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vossman77 (UID: 300689) | more than 11 years ago

I know this is a online smiley face, but was the smiley face prominent among typewriter messages, because that would take away from the whole effect.

Uh oh... (5, Funny)

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phillymjs (UID: 234426) | more than 11 years ago

...how long before he finds himself a lawyer, patents a "method of conveying levity via a sequence of characters typed on a keyboard," and sues, well, everyone? :-)

(Oops!)

~Philly

Been there, done that.. (1)

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joshua404 (UID: 590829) | more than 11 years ago

...how long before he finds himself a lawyer, patents a "method of conveying levity via a sequence of characters typed on a keyboard," and sues, well, everyone? :-)

Despair, Inc. has held the trademark on the :-( for some time, now.

you guys are all wrong (0)

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C:\>

Patent pending (1)

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maxentius (UID: 603949) | more than 11 years ago

"It's interesting to note that Microsoft and AOL now intercept these character strings and turn them into little pictures."

Too bad he didn't patent the idea. Ahem.

Just think how that culture has evolved (0)

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Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago

;-) :-) ;-Q ;-) ;-@

Aaaah! Smilies everywhere....

8=====D (0)

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Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago

What? It's a guy with glasses and a big nose laughing.

ET holding a chainsaw... (2)

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stienman (UID: 51024) | more than 11 years ago

Forget the smiley, I want the ET holding a chainsaw picture in press format mentioned near the end of the file...

MMmmmm Aliens and powertools.....

"...just then a talking chicken told him to shut up - we knew it was all over after that..."

RFC? (2)

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CaptainCarrot (UID: 84625) | more than 11 years ago

Come on, someone must have written one!

Re:RFC? (3, Informative)

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undeg chwech (UID: 589211) | more than 11 years ago

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silvwolf (UID: 103567) | more than 11 years ago

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DinkyDoorknob (UID: 171160) | more than 11 years ago

Guess that trademark can be challenged now -- I saw a 'frownie' in that original Fahlman thread, and I'd say that counts as prior art.

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Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago

Prior-art is for patents, not trademarks?

Do you think McDonalds are worried by the 1000's of years of Scottish people by that name?
Are Ford suddenly worried because people have been walking across the the shallow parts of rivers since rivers were invented?

Leftists of the world - get angry. (3, Funny)

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(void*) (UID: 113680) | more than 11 years ago

It was :-) and not (-:. How ... ungauche! :(

Medical Hazard? (3, Funny)

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Tablizer (UID: 95088) | more than 11 years ago

It is rumored that Scott Fahlman and his original group currently have persistent neck problems due to the long-term practice of leaning to the left to read text emotion indicators.

For this reason, they have allegedly proposed "vertical ASCII" so that they can be read upright.

(-:

Re:Medical Hazard? (0)

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Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago

This is like Shaq and his taco neck sydrome.

Smileys (0)

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Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago

Imagine a beowulf cluster of these!

(This post, pertaining to beowulf clusters, is certified by me, Anonymous Coward, to be a 100% authentic and genuine beowulf troll post. All other posts in this thread pertaining to beowulf clusters are IMPOSTERS, and the reader is cautioned that clearance to imagine a beowulf cluster of the items to which this post pertains (specifically: "Smileys") is hereby granted only after reading THIS specific beowulf troll post.)

First Giant Asshole (-1, Troll)

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Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago

Years of research have lead me to the first giant asshole to grace the internet: NOT GOATSE

My plan is missing one crucial piece... (1)

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Enrico Pulatzo (UID: 536675) | more than 11 years ago

a time machine. Maybe then I can rid the world of the emoticons. Foolish emoticons, the autobots were only the beginning of your worries...

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Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago

the first "LOL"? ?

next project (1)

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jsse (UID: 254124) | more than 11 years ago

is to get the bastard who posted the earliest goatse.cx link in /.

Purpose (0)

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Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago

"Maybe we should adopt a convention of putting a star (*) in the subject
field of any notice which is to be taken as a joke."

So the smiley is the digital rimshot to lighten up!

This is news, stuff that matters? (0, Troll)

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jonr (UID: 1130) | more than 11 years ago

Jesus H. Christ on a mountain bike! I would have thought that 800-1000MHz iPaq would be more interesting.
Bleah

Ascii Galore (2, Interesting)

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Tablizer (UID: 95088) | more than 11 years ago

The ultimate use of ASCII: ASCII animation. Here is an ASCII Animation Star Wars:

http://www.asciimation.co.nz/

I think this is really cool. I wonder if there is a game version.

First ever smiley found... (2)

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I can now die.

Smiley Haiku (The first?) (1)

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roelbj (UID: 95481) | more than 11 years ago

Pray tell, smiley face
Colon and parenthesis
How am I to feel?

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willpost (UID: 449227) | more than 11 years ago

"By the early 1980's, the Computer Science community at Carnegie Mellon was making heavy use of online bulletin boards or "bboards". These were a precursor of today's newsgroups, and they were an important social mechanism in the department - a place where faculty, staff, and students could discuss the weighty matters of the day on an equal footing. Many of the posts were serious: talk announcements, requests for information, and things like "I've just found a ring in the fifth-floor men's room. Who does it belong to?" Other posts discussed topics of general interest, ranging from politics to abortion to campus parking to keyboard layout (in increasing order of passion). Even in those days, extended "flame wars" were common."

"Given the nature of the community, a good many of the posts were humorous (or attempted humor). The problem was that if someone made a sarcastic remark, a few readers would fail to get the joke, and each of them would post a lengthy diatribe in response. That would stir up more people with more responses, and soon the original thread of the discussion was buried. In at least one case, a humorous remark was interpreted by someone as a serious safety warning."

"This problem caused some of us to suggest (only half seriously) that maybe it would be a good idea to explicitly mark posts that were not to be taken seriously. After all, when using text-based online communication, we lack the body language or tone-of-voice cues that convey this information when we talk in person or on the phone. Various "joke markers" were suggested, and in the midst of that discussion it occurred to me that the character sequence :-) would be an elegant solution - one that could be handled by the ASCII-based computer terminals of the day. So I suggested that. In the same post, I also suggested the use of :-( to indicate that a message was meant to be taken seriously, though that symbol quickly evolved into a marker for displeasure, frustration, or anger." -Scott E. Fahlman - the inventor of the smiley

Smiley Lore

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Hack Shoeboy (UID: 441994) | more than 11 years ago

...the first penis bird?

Great, now someone will patent it. (1)

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dfay (UID: 75405) | more than 11 years ago

It'll start a new kind of patent, the "email method" patent. And the the patent examiner won't be able to find any prior art, even though he tried really really hard.

Twenty Years of :-) (1)

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QuantumWeasel (UID: 606327) | more than 11 years ago

\begin{ mode_:-) }

So I assume there will a fitting observance in about a week's time? Landmarks like this must be celebrated!
Happy birthday, Smiley!

\end{ mode_:-) }

And the search goes on ... (1)

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Bob Loblaw (UID: 545027) | more than 11 years ago

... for the first (Troll, -1)
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