Nobody who knows me would contest the fact that I'm a big cheese ball. No, that doesn't mean that I'm from Wisconsin (it's actually Minnesota) or that I'm constipated... rather, I've almost always got a huge smile stuck on my face, which I hear is a crime for some people too early in the morning.
What does all of this have to do with IT news? Well, there's a couple of juicy tidbits in the news recently that make me want to smile just a tad bigger.
1. Grab your party hat and streamers because there's a birthday in the houuuuuse. That's right, it's the big 25 for the smiley face in print (using a colon, hyphen, and parenthesis). Check out the news article from Monsters and Critics: "Popular 'smiley face' expression celebrates 25th birthday."
Here's a snip from the story:
Scott E. Fahlman, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, has laid claim to being the world’s first person to ever utilize the ‘smiley face’ form of communication...
"I propose the following character sequence for joke markers: :-)," wrote Fahlman in creating the world’s first emoticon, "Read it sideways." Fahlman’s original smiley face was posted to an online electronic bulletin board on September 19, 1982, which was discussing the restrictions of online humor and how to easily discern the true meaning of light-hearted comments.
By way of commemorating today’s 25-year anniversary of the smiley face, Fahlman and his colleagues at the research university in Pittsburgh are to introduce the Yahoo-sponsored "Smiley Award" which will exist as a $500 USD annual student competition for innovative technology-assisted, person-to-person communication.
2. There's a new digital camera on the market that won't take a picture until the subject is smiling. Currently, this Sony camera is available only in Japan. See the Reuters' story: "Say 'cheese': Sony technology focuses on smiles."
According to the article:
Using face-detection technology, the 8-megapixel, DSC-T70 and DSC-T200 Cyber-shot cameras won't snap a high-definition picture until a selected subject smiles.
The so-called "Say Cheese" technology has three setting levels, from a slight grin to a belly laugh.
This camera would go over like a lead balloon with my son, who is just now at the age where it's cooler not to smile in pictures. [Andrew: "'Sup? I'm chillin' here at the crib with my game face on, when my momma comes in trippin' about smilin' again. Nuh uh, not happenin' today."]
And how about people who really don't know how to smile? ["THIS IS MY SMILE!! I AM SMILING!! SNAP THE PICTURE ALREADY!!"] Or people who look like they're smiling, but they're actually in pain? ["He won't smile? Just kick him in the shin!"]
What do you think about Sony's new "smile shutter" camera?
Sonja Thompson started at TechRepublic in October 1999. She is a former Senior Editor at TechRepublic.