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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