Thursday, September 20, 2007

Happy Birthday :-)

How'd we miss this? Alas, the birthday was yesterday, but it's never too late to :-) about it.
It's smiley's 25th birthday

IT was a serious contribution to the electronic lexicon.

:-) Twenty-five years ago, three keystrokes - a colon followed by a hyphen and a parenthesis - were first used as a horizontal "smiley face" in a computer message by Carnegie Mellon University professor Scott E Fahlman.

Language experts say the smiley face and other so-called emoticons, or emotional icons, have given people a concise way of expressing sentiments in e-mail and other electronic messages that otherwise would be difficult to detect.

Fahlman posted the emoticon in a message to an online electronic bulletin board at 11.44am on September 19, 1982, during a discussion about the limits of online humour and how to denote comments meant to be taken lightly.

"I propose the following character sequence for joke markers: :-)," wrote Fahlman. "Read it sideways." The suggestion gave computer users a way to convey
umour or positive feelings with a smile - or the opposite sentiments by reversing the parenthesis to form a frown. Carnegie Mellon said the smileys spread from its campus to other universities, businesses and eventually around the world as the Internet gained popularity. Variations, such as the "wink" that uses a semicolon, emerged later.

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