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The First Smiley :-) 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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The First Smiley :-)

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  • :-( (pad) (Score:5, Funny)

    by undeg chwech ( 589211 ) on Thursday September 12, 2002 @10:33PM (#4248928) Homepage
    Nostalgia makes me sad :-(
  • Usenet and Emoticons (Score:5, Informative)

    by messiertom ( 590151 ) <tom AT crystae DOT homeip DOT net> on Thursday September 12, 2002 @10:37PM (#4248951) Homepage Journal

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

  • Surprising (Score:2, Interesting)

    by _anomaly_ ( 127254 )
    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 (Score:3, Insightful)

      by generic-man ( 33649 )
      According to Fahlman's own page on the subject [], there is the possibility that the smiley symbol was used by teletype operators way back in the day. However, there is no hard evidence of this occurring, and no web pages document it. As we all know, if a point has no web page supporting it, it can't be true. :-)

    • I would have thought their use would have preceded computers via typewriters or doesn't that count?

  • 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!
  • by Jamie Zawinski ( 775 ) <> on Thursday September 12, 2002 @10:40PM (#4248968) Homepage

    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
    • by gilroy ( 155262 ) on Thursday September 12, 2002 @10:44PM (#4248997) Homepage Journal
      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: :)

      • *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.

      • Perhaps you are aware of this invention called "books"? They've never seemed to need any of this shit.

        The original point stands: smileys are only needed by poor writers. It is true that the world is full of poor writers. That doesn't change the fact that use of smileys indicates an abominable grasp of the written word.

        • Perhaps... but smileys are primarily used in two-way communication, with people "talking" and interacting with each other. (E-mail, message boards, IRC, ICQ/AIM) I'd hardly expect to see a smiley in, say, a chapter of an online novel.
          • Yes. For instance, when a girl I was interested in (who had told me that she *wasn't* interested) didn't answer an email, and I gently reminded her, I used a smiley to show that I wasn't a bitter psychopath who was going to stalk her and bash her head in with a tire-iron. It's easy for good old JWZ to sit up there in his high tower and pontificate but he isn't staring down a restraining order.
        • I agree totally. Back when I was a kid we didn't have smileys. We had letters and numbers and various math related characters on our keyboards.

          Kids today have it too easy and it's making them lazy. <g>
        • Perhaps you are aware of this invention called "books"? They've never seemed to need any of this shit.

          A book takes many months to write. It is thought out, edited and (usually)long.

          On the other hand, we are having a conversation. If we were face to face, I might move my hands, make facial expressions and change tones. Emoticoms are the online forum equivilent of such :p

        • by Chuck Chunder ( 21021 ) on Friday September 13, 2002 @01:52AM (#4249641) Homepage Journal
          "Books" and personal communications are different environments. Although I do (occasionally) use smileys it doesn't mean that I need to because I have no other way of expressing myself effectively. It simply means that for the particular communication in question I determine the smiley to be an effective method of quickly and easily clarifying meaning. While I could say "Just joking by the way!", a ";)" is just as effective.

          Or perhaps I should compose all my correspondence in sonnet form, just to show I have an impressive "grasp of the written word".......
      • Are you sure it's Jim Showalter? I remember with some vividness an old CMU crusty hacker sort named Tim Showalter. Finger information follows:

        [marklar:~] max% finger
        name: Tim Showalter
        project: looking for an honest man with a stolen lantern

        login name: tjs
        new mail: none; last read Thu Sep 12 14:41 (10 hours ago)


        other e-mail: (personal) (work)

      • Except no one knows what the rules for emoticons(?) are. I know rules are uncool and all but...

        How are we supposed to put smileys into parenthesis (like :))?

        And goddamnit it always fucks up my paren-matching in emacs.

        And whats with the ^^&:o/o)) that turns into a stoned pumkin with a santa hat eating a bald chickin in yahoo messenger?

        And how much happier does three smileys make you compared to one smiley?

        Sure, I was all gung ho about smileys too. Then they started making them *backward*. WTF?

        I think it was Scott McNeally who said something like most of us don't deserve the formatting abilities of of even ASCII. This is what he means.
    • by gilroy ( 155262 ) on Thursday September 12, 2002 @10:47PM (#4249012) Homepage Journal

      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?
    • by EvlG ( 24576 ) on Thursday September 12, 2002 @10:52PM (#4249042)

      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?
    • 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.
    • 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.
      • Assholes can still be funny. Just look at Dennis Leary or Lewis Black.

        A lot of times you'll rip into someone for the entertainment of others. You don't need a smiley for that.
    • I agree with extreme restriction of smileys in formal writing - but not all emails are this formal - as many have said above there's the body language thing we use when saying something amusing, which is part of it - but emails/IMs/chatting online is closer to a conversation. Not only do we tell funnies, we respond to them in realtime/near realtime as well!. A smiley works extraordinarily well there - shorthand for '/me grins'

      a grrl & her server []
    • Go through "A Modest Proposal" and sprinkle smileys liberally. For extra credit, turn your revised edition in to your English Teacher under the title "A Modernized Proposal." When said teacher chastizes you for plagarism, simply write on the chalkboard ";-)"
    • I rather disagree (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Friday September 13, 2002 @04:01AM (#4249974)
      So much in most languages, certianly English, relies on tone. This is something that simply cannot be conveyed through text. In something like a novel you can take the time to rewrite things such that the language truly indicates what you mean to convey, and you also have teh benefit of speaking about a character's actions (eg. "And that was smart", Jim remarked with a smirk). With realtime communiactions you have no such advantages. YOu have to come up with your response quickly, and have little ability to comment on them. A simley is sucha device. YOu can indicate the general intended tone of a remark. I can think of many phrases that I would use that could mean many different things depending on how I said them. For example:

      "Well you reall screwed that up."

      Now if I said that in a jovial, joking, manner, it would mean that I'm kidding, you really didn't screw up that bad, I'm just harassing you. If I said that in a neutral, professional tone, it woul be a comment, that you did indeed mess something up. If I yelled that, it would eman that not only did you do it, but it pissed me off personally.

      While I can't truly convery that in a qucik text message, smileys can help. If I just typed it as is, it would probably be intereprted in the neutral sense I spoke of, and the person would believe that I was really indicating that I believed they ahd sincerely screwed up. Adding a :) would let them know that I am just kidding and playing with them.
  • Strange. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by neksys ( 87486 ) <grphillips AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday September 12, 2002 @10:40PM (#4248969)
    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.
    • Re:Strange. (Score:2, Funny)

      by godlee ( 100731 )
      "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.'"

      Kinda like the native amercans who first smoked weed. How many weeds did they have to smoke before they got the right one?
  • by nakaduct ( 43954 ) on Thursday September 12, 2002 @10:41PM (#4248972)
    To live to see the last.

  • 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} :-}

  • by Myriad ( 89793 ) <[moc.dosbeht] [ta] [dairym]> on Thursday September 12, 2002 @10:42PM (#4248978) Homepage
    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! :)

  • Check out the inventors home page [].

    Looks like a happy guy, how appropriate.
  • 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.
    • 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.
    • by joshua404 ( 590829 ) on Thursday September 12, 2002 @10:52PM (#4249044)
      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? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by gilroy ( 155262 ) on Thursday September 12, 2002 @10:56PM (#4249065) Homepage Journal
      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?

    • We had to walk to school through six feet of snow, year round, through the blistering heat, straight up, both ways, and we liked it.


      Just because it's possible to do things in a older, harder way, doesn't mean they should be done this way. To paraphrase, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," doesn't mean "If it works, don't improve it."

      Here's what's more or less a mathematical proof of why you'd be retarded not to use smilies:

      In information theory, information is defined as uncertainty. The more possible messages that can be received, the more information one of them carries. This means that if you are sending a stream of bits (ones and zeroes, like computers use), you'd have to send many, many bits to achieve the same level of information density as if you were sending roman charachters, of which there are 26. We humans typically communicate using words, of which we have thousands, which we represent with strings of 26 unique letters and some punctuation marks. The word "complimentary" carries much more information to its recipient than any one letter, say, "f", simply because there are too few letters for one of them to carry such a specialized meaning. As such, if we can take the formerly meaningless string :-) and assign it a meaning, if only in type, then we have contributed to the information density of every word we type. This is because not only does the person who reads a :-) know that we intend the preceeding statement to be a joke, but he or she can also deduce that based on our awareness and usage of this charachter, that we will not try to approximate it using other words. This means that if I were to use words one might otherwise use to approximate the meaning of a :-), the reciever of the message can know that I must have some reason for using the words instead of the :-). Therefor, to outlaw any potential meaning carrier needlessly cripples communication. If we can assume that each person's goal while using verbal communication is to clearly and quickly communicate a specific message, then it always serves this goal to incoorporate new meaningful symbols and thus more uncertainty (information), and it always works to the contrary to remove symbols.

      Think of '80s mallrat bimbos. They only had 3 words: "like", "y'know", and "whatever". Remember how many of these they had to string together to get meaning out of them? "Like, y'know, like, whatever, y'know?"

      Interestingly, the same argument can be used to show that it's retarded to outlaw words like fuck, shit, and ass. :-)

  • Uh oh... (Score:5, Funny)

    by phillymjs ( 234426 ) <slashdot AT stango DOT org> on Thursday September 12, 2002 @10:45PM (#4249006) Homepage Journal 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? :-)


  • 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..."
  • Come on, someone must have written one!
  • by (void*) ( 113680 ) on Thursday September 12, 2002 @10:51PM (#4249034)
    It was :-) and not (-:. How ... ungauche! :(

  • by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Thursday September 12, 2002 @10:51PM (#4249036) Journal

    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.

  • Ascii Galore (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Tablizer ( 95088 )
    The ultimate use of ASCII: ASCII animation. Here is an ASCII Animation Star Wars:

    I think this is really cool. I wonder if there is a game version.
  • I can now die.
    • I can now die.

      Fuck, dude, as far as we're all concerned you could have sod off and died long ago.

      Note the distinct lack of a smiley. The reason for its absence is left as an exercise for the reader.

  • More Info (Score:4, Interesting)

    by willpost ( 449227 ) on Thursday September 12, 2002 @11:02PM (#4249089)
    "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 []
  • Shortly after Microsoft finished patenting ones and zeros [], Microsoft decided to patent "The Smile" and "The Frown". By owning the rights to these two figures, Microsoft also owns the rights to the ":", the "-", the "(", and the ")" characters.

    Microsoft intends to capitalize on their exclusive rights to the "-" character, and sue Linux users for using them in escape characters without paying tribute to Microsoft.

    In addition, Microsoft plans to sue AOL for use of "The Smile", and estimates a total of 1 trillion dollars should be given back to Microsoft due to the approximately 1 thousand "Smiley things" which the average AOL user appears to use on a daily basis.

    Also, Microsoft plans to sue all software which uses the "-" (AKA "The Nose") operator in their code without paying Microsoft.

    The list just goes on...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 12, 2002 @11:10PM (#4249126)
    When I was in the Air Force in the mid 70s, I was stationed at Patrick AFB as a weather tty op. We'd exchange chit-chat with other ops on the wx net and jokes were often punctuated with "hi hi" or a :)

    The smiley undoubtedly pre-dates my tour. If you think it was invented in 1980s, you are wrong.

    • If you think it was invented in 1980s, you are wrong.

      I agree. Unlike you, I don't recall as specificly when I first saw smileys, but there were so many BBSes whose messages are lost, and some of those BBSes had live chat. DARPAnet likely had its share of college chatters. (I wasn't even familiar with TTY's except I thought they were just for the deaf.) It's incredibly pompous for this guy to think he found the first smiley and for the other guy to claim he invented it.

      The way I see it, anything I can think of or do has already been thought of and done long before I was born. Okay, advancing technology allows a few new "first"s, but they are infinitesimally rare, and somebody thought of it before you, anyway.

      The only interesting thing I found about this article is the obsolescence of the data storage, but that's a horse than been beaten a few times before. At least now we have CDs, and those will last us for the next few hundred years. :-)

      By the way, I was very anti-smiley for YEARS. I think I had been using BBSes and the internet for 16 years before I finally sold my soul and used a smiley. (I believe I used <sigh> and similar angle-bracketed expressions, but not smileys.) It's too late for me, but you can still be saved.
  • Not such a discovery (Score:3, Informative)

    by senbei ( 86600 ) on Thursday September 12, 2002 @11:14PM (#4249141)
    Since the man himself [] had it online [] on his website for ages.

  • Remembering from the old DOS days there was an ASCII character resembling a smiley face. A lot more efficient and keyboards would have looked cooler if that standard would have been established and keyboards designed to adopt it.

    Maybe line feed should be replaced in POSIX based systems with a smiley. It would be very entertaining to see a smiley at the end of every line in MS ASCII files.
  • by Broccolist ( 52333 ) on Thursday September 12, 2002 @11:17PM (#4249153)
    Ha. I've never seen this mentioned anywhere else on the Internet, but interestingly enough, the smiley occured to the author Vladimir Nabokov (known for the novel Lolita, which incidentally rules) back in 1973. I was reading a book of interviews with him (Strong Opinions) and I started when I saw this bit:

    [asked how he would rank himself among great writers]
    I often think there should exist a special typographical sign for a smile -- some sort of concave mark, a supine round bracket, which I would now like to trace in reply to your question.

    That's Nabokov all right, inadvertently predicting the invention of the smiley 10 years in advance :). Actually, I wouldn't be surprised if it had occured to lots of people, and the smiley has a very long history, if only someone could be bothered to dig it up.

  • Woo! Take that, MIT! In your face!! :-)
  • That's a heckuva piece of work, but the smiley appears to have been generated by parallel evolution. Several people seem to have come up with it independently. I first encountered it on Usenet around the same time period. I don't remember who it was who suggested it; all I remember is that it was a woman and hence couldn't have been Scott Fahlman.
  • by Snafoo ( 38566 ) on Friday September 13, 2002 @12:08AM (#4249314) Homepage
    Every IM and gooey IRC client [] these days is replacing the noble ASCII smile with the hideous rictus of a yellow dot. Even punctuation is threatened
    by the forces of Disnification.
  • This has got to be a hoax. First of all, it is dated almost exactly twenty years before today, so as to set a big milestone this year. Second, I find it impossible to believe the methodology used to get retrieve the message, that a university would have 20 year old backups and still have the people around with the expertise to extract them. Finally, I find the contention that this is the origination of the smiley pretty supsicious -- the fact that it started in a single message on an isolated message board and just a decade later was on every network (e.g. Usenet, GEnie, CIS, etc.) and understood by every computer user. More likely it has sprung up independently many different times in different places, since it's a pretty obvious invention.
    • Re:Hoax?? (Score:5, Informative)

      by peterb ( 13831 ) on Friday September 13, 2002 @11:21AM (#4251253) Homepage Journal
      Hi, please don't be a huge raging dickhead. You're completely, utterly, and didactically wrong.

      I used to work for the CMU CS facilities department; we did make all our backups on 9 track tapes, they are kept forever, and it was a huge pain in the ass for Jeff to track down the relevant equipment to do the restore. We're lucky he was able to get it restored -- very often, tapes that old just disintegrate, even when stored properly, as these were.

      So don't call friends of mine liars, and I won't call you a vacuous drooling moron, OK?

      And as for how it could spread quickly, don't forget the meme theory of ideas, and the fact that CMU was on Usenet from a hideously early date.

      Note that I'm not affiliated with either CMU (except as an alumni and former co-worker) or Microsoft.

  • I love that the message (and others of that time period) tell people to "turn sideways"! I can't look at ":-)" without seeing a "smiley".

    The opposite happens to me now when I say "see ya". I actually think CYA.

    Language is a funny thing.
  • Typical slashdot.... Don't give microsoft credit. It's not Mike Jones from microsoft... it's just Mike Jones. If it was any other research house, i'm sure it would have been there. But what else do you expect from Slashdot? I suppose just posting it is a step in the right directection towards no bias news.
  • ...that no-one has mentioned the Denoser [] project.

    Simply put, if your website is smiley-heavy, you can achieve up to a 33% reduction in bandwidth costs simply by removing the nose from your smiley :).

    OK, that's my contribution to Ancient Geek studies over with...
  • by btempleton ( 149110 ) on Friday September 13, 2002 @01:24AM (#4249560) Homepage
    A while ago I researched the history of the term Spam [] and found interesting things.

    But one thing I would like to find that I dimly remember is the first use (on Arpanet mailing lists in the late 70s) of the Johnny Storm "Flame On!" when getting angry in a posting.

    In those days it was always followed with "Flame Off", though this has sadly gone by the wayside.

  • About 10 years ago, my dad found a free copy of a book called "The Secret Guide to Computers" by Russ Walter and threw it my way. The book covered lots of stuff - as the cover declares, it "Guides you through all the applications, from 'Accounting' to 'Zany Sex'." It happens to be where I learned my first programming language - BASIC.

    Anyway, there was a page about emoticons, listing a bunch of variations on the smiley. It's quite amusing. I was going to put them all here, but the lameness filter isn't letting me, so I'll just post a few highlights to whet your appetite and look for a link (here's one []; click Internet in the left frame then search the right frame for "smiley"):

    :-)~ I'm drooling.
    :-)-8 I have big breasts.
    :*) I'm drunk.
    %-) I'm dizzy from staring at the screen too long.
    |-O I'm yawning.
    |^O I'm snoring.
    [:-) I'm wearing a Walkman.
    {:-) I wear a toupee,
    }:-) but the wind is blowing it off.
    [:] I'm a robot.
    }:-> I'm being devilish,
    >;-> and lewdly winking.
    E-:-) I'm a ham radio operator.
    C=:-) I'm a chef.
    =|:-)= I'm Uncle Sam.
  • I hope they're saving all the posts around it-- not just that thread, but all the backup tapes. It's hard to know what will become worth knowing in a few decades' time-- I doubt anyone would have thought that Fahlman's post would be significant twenty years on.

    I'm sure Google would take them. They've got so much old stuff [] already, and they already archive significant [] amounts [] of [] non-news-based [] discussion [].

  • by MoNickels ( 1700 ) on Friday September 13, 2002 @08:36AM (#4250475) Homepage
    The earliest (not first: you can never precisely say which was first) recorded smiley in print discovered so far was found by etymologist and word researcher Barry Popik who posted this message to the email list of the American Dialect Society: nd 0110B&L=ads-l&P=R4596

    [begin quote]

    This continues discussion of the pictograph known as the "smiley." It's authorship was credited to the late Harvey Ball (who drew it in the 1960s). "Smiley" is in an ad in the NEW YORK HERALD TRIBUNE, 10 March 1953, pg. 20, cols. 4-6. See for yourself. The ad is for the film LILI, with the "delightful" Leslie Caron. The "World Premiere Today" is at the Trans-Lux 52nd on Lexington. The film opened nationwide, and this ad possibly ran in many newspapers.


    You'll laugh :)
    You'll cry :(
    You'll love (Heart-shaped face--ed.)

    [end quote]
  • by teamhasnoi ( 554944 ) <> on Friday September 13, 2002 @09:58AM (#4250830) Journal

    'Course like all else DOS, it was backwards.

Put no trust in cryptic comments.