Happy Birthday :-)

Today Is the 25 Birthday aniversary of Smiley ūüôā ¬†invented by Scott E. Fahlman, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University.

Read here Full interview With Mr. Fahlman

Question: You’re the inventor of “smiley faces,” which are used all over the world to declare things funny. Did you get that idea because nobody understood your jokes?

Answer: Yes, in a way. But not because my jokes were that horrible, it’s – as we all know – difficult to identify sarcasm or cynicism, particularly in written words. Some people aren’t able to do that in real life; on the Internet, it’s even more tricky. . . .

When my colleagues and I started to use the Internet to communicate, it wasn’t a public place. Small groups of working professionals met in bulletins – today’s newsgroups – to discuss weighty matters of the day. Naturally, a good many of the posts were humorous.

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’s how scientists are. In at least one case, a humorous remark was interpreted by someone as a serious safety warning.

Q: So the time was right to react?

Ans: We all thought about that problem. And in the midst of that discussion, which took us two days, it occurred to me that the character sequence ūüôā would be an elegant solution – one that could be handled by the ASCII-based computer terminals of the day. So I suggested that.

Q: And a symbol was born. Did you ever expect so many people would start using that sideways “smiley face,” which is now mostly called an “emoticon”?

Ans: No, I never did. Even if this convention caught on quickly around Carnegie Mellon, I never thought it would spread to other universities and research labs via the primitive computer networks of the day.

But some alumni who had moved on to other places continued to read our bulletin boards as a way of keeping in touch with their old community. And within a few months, we started seeing the lists with dozens of different “smileys”: one wearing a baseball cap or sunglasses, a pope, a cowboy and even a smiley with a mustache.

Creating such clever compilations has become a serious hobby for some people. But most of them, or even all, are not in common. The only ones in widespread use are the two originals – the smiling and the sad one, plus the “winky” ūüėČ and the “noseless” :).

Q: Many programs convert them into an animated yellow icon. Yahoo has more than 80 animated emoticons available for its clients. The real text-based smiley has seemed to die off. Does that make you ūüôĀ ?

Ans: Not only sad, but angry. I hate those symbols. Isn’t it so much funnier to experiment with text-based faces?

Source Of the Interview Philly.com

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