Archive for the 'History' Category

January 1, 2022
Computing Archaeology Expedition: The First Smiley :-)

Scott Fahlman with SmileyIn September 1982, artificial intelligence professor Scott Fahlman made a post on the Carnegie Mellon Computer Science Department “general” bboard inventing the original smiley :-). I remember thinking at the time when I read it “what a good idea!”. But in 2002 when I told friends about it, I couldn’t find Scott’s post online anywhere.

So in 2002, I led a computing archaeology expedition to restore his post. As described in my original post describing this accomplishment, 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). Here is Scott’s original post:

19-Sep-82 11:44    Scott E  Fahlman             :-)
From: Scott E  Fahlman <Fahlman at Cmu-20c>

I propose that the following character sequence for joke markers:

:-)

Read it sideways.  Actually, it is probably more economical to mark
things that are NOT jokes, given current trends.  For this, use

:-(

I’m reposting this here now both to recommemorate the accomplishment nearly twenty years later, and because my page at Microsoft Research where it was originally posted is no longer available.