Feeds

Cingular applies to patent smileys :@

All your emoticons belong to us?

Security for virtualized datacentres

Cingular, the United States' largest mobile phone network this week applied to patent emoticons, better known as smileys.

The application refers to selecting emoticons on mobile phones or handheld devices over a wireless, and makes 35 claims in all. Although it uses the word 'emoticon', the application doesn't acknowledge that mutant punctuation has been livening up online communications since at least 1961.

As seems to be the practice these days, the specific 'method and system' proposed is not disclosed. But all your favorites are present and correct, including - and we quote verbatim:

) Smile ;-) or ;) Wink :-D or :D Big smile :-)) or :)) Very happy :0) Big nose smiley |-) Cool! >:-) or >:) Evil grin >;-> or >;> Evil grin with a wink :-X or :X My lips are sealed }:-) or }:) Devilish :-{circumflex over ( )}) or :{circumflex over ( )}) Tongue in cheek :-P or :P Sticking out tongue :-& or :& Tongue tied :op Puppy face 0:-) or 0:) Saint :-)8 or :)8 Happy wearing a bow tie 8-) or 8) Happy with glasses #-) I partied all night %-) or %) Drunk :-###.. or :###.. Being sick %-( or %( Confused :-0 or :0 Shocked :-o or :o Surprised :-| or :| Indecision :'-( or :'( Crying :'-) or :') Crying of happiness :-( or :( Sad

We guess that "brick of enlightenment falling on patent examiner's head" has yet to join the smiley dictionary.

You can find the outrageous application here.

Emoticons surely owe their ancestry to Victor Borge's phonetic punctuation, which older readers may remember.

And the most delightful commentary ever written about the practice of using emoticons, Geoffrey Nunberg's celebrated radio piece A Wink is as Good as a Nod - where Nunberg imagines the literary greats employing the technique.

As ASCII gave way to multimedia, we're proud to say that The Register has been at the forefront of developments. We've attempted to bring the practice up to date, with our 2001 proposal of Humour Tags. A suggestion borrowed more recently - but alas, without any apparent irony - by earnest "citizens journalists", with the idea of Honour Tags. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Bono apologises for iTunes album dump
Megalomania, generosity and FEAR of irrelevance drove group to Apple deal
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
America's super-secret X-37B plane returns to Earth after nearly TWO YEARS aloft
674 days in space for US Air Force's mystery orbital vehicle
10 Top Tips For PRs Considering Whether To Phone The Register
You'll Read These And LOL Even Though They're Serious
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.