Smilish or Do You Still Have Your Decoder Ring?

1 Conversation

This researcher has, in the
past, been accused of writing too much and
using too few emoticons.  That set him to thinking about the falibility of writing
and the equal falibility of smilies. At the same time, this researcher had
noticed that among the languages allowed here on h2g2 was a quaint version of
Morse Code called Bubblish.  This cipher (it is not properly a code) must be pefectly readable to anyone
who knows the dot-dash sequences by heart but, to most of us, it just sits there
on the page and goes 'blub'.  Here is some plain text:
Now is the time for every person to come
o the aid of hir
Here is the same text in
.Oo..OOO..oOO.. ..O..oooo..o.. ..O..oo..OO..o.. ..ooOo..OOO..oOo..
..o..oooO..o..oOo..OoOO.. ..O..OOO..
..OoOo..OOO..OO..o.. ..O..OOO.. ..O..oooo..o.. ..oO..oo..Ooo.. ..OOO..ooOo..
..oooo..oo..oOo.. ..OoOo..OOO..ooO..Oo..O..oOo..OoOO..
The reader can easily note that the Bubblish
takes more room to write than normal text because the dots and dashes of Morse
Code require more elements per letter than does normal text.  This is the
nature of a cipher designed to use just three elements to represent the characters
of language -- dot, dash, and space.
 The effect of incomprehensibility can be achieved easily by
simply forcing normal text into a font which does not have 'A's and 'B's
assigned to the character positions.  For instance, most modern computers
have a font supplied called "Wingdings."  This font is intended to
provide graphic icons for use in writing but has
no alphabet in it at all.  Thus, if you take an ordinary
paragraph like
He said, "The quick fox leaped over the
lazy brown dog."  Then he shouted, "THE QUICK BROWN FOX LEAPT OVER THE
and then change its font to "Wingdings" you
get something that looks like this.
He said, "The
quick fox leaped over the lazy brown
dog."  Then he shouted, "THE QUICK

The result is a very low security cipher
that simply (on a computer it's simple) requires that you change the font to
be able to read the message.  Or, if one only had the message in
written form, shi could look up the correct letters in a table of icons and
their corresponding letters.  If one were to arbitrarily rearrange the
ordering of letters and graphics, shi would have all the elements of what is called a substitution cipher.

Now, consider that as this researcher
is currently tapping at the keyboard, there are currently one hundred thirty-nine
emoticons or 'smilies' available for use on h2g2.  There are two hundred
fifty six characters in the extended ASCII character set of which sixty-four
reserved for special control functions (leaving one hundred ninety-two) and many
more are reserved for special, seldom used typographical features.  Suppose
it were possible to assign the letters of the international alphabet to the
Smilies of h2g2 in a straighforward, one for one fashion.  The result would
be a new font similar in nature to "Wingdings" but superior because it would be
distinctly of h2g2 and the little icons are deliberately
designed to be cute which must improve the appearance of any page they appear on, even if their
primary iconic meaning has been stripped from them for the sake of doing service as a cipher and because there is no such font available.  This has the effect of making the de-translation process a bit more difficult.

Thus, this researcher found it
relatively easy to create, what he he jokingly calls Smilish, a text
composed almost entirely of smilies.  The ordering is of characters is straight forward and somewhat
arbitrary.  Each smiley corresponds to a letter in this

space <ale>

! <alienfrown> P <hsif> à <run>

" <aliensmile> Q <orangefish> À <sadface>

# <angel> R <fish> å <santa>

% <artist> S <schooloffish> Å <scientist>

& <bat> T <flan> ã <cdouble>

' <bigeyes> U <flustered> Ã <shark>

( <biggrin> V <flyhi> ä <sheep>

) <blackcat> W <footprints> Ä <silly>

* <bleep> Y <geek> ç <skull>

+ <blue> X <ghost> Ç <sleepy>

, <blush> Z <gift> é <smiley>

- <borg> [ <groan> É <smooch>

. <bruised> \ <grovel> ê <snowman>

/ <bubbly> ] <grr> Ê <spider>

0 <bunny> ^ <hangover> è <star>

1 <burger> _ <headhurts> È <steam>

2 <bluebutterfly> a <holly> ë <stiffdrink>

3 <orangebutterfly> b <hotdog> Ë <stout>

4 <cake> c <hug> í <strawberries>

5 <cappuccino> d <huh> Í <strawberry>

6 <cat> e <ill> î <tea>

7 <cheerup> f <injured> Î <tennisball>

8 <cheers> g <kiss> ì <racket2>

9 <chick> h <laugh> Ì <racket1>

: <choc> i <loveblush> ï <moon>

) <xmaspud> j <magic> Ï <crescentmoon>

< <xmastree> k <mars> ó <fullmoon>

= <clown> l <martianfrown> Ó <thief>

> <coffee> m <martiansmile> ô <tickle>

? <cool> n <monster> Ô <tomato>

@ <corncob> o <musicalnote> ò <tongueout>

A <cross> p <nahnah> Ò <ufo>

B <cry> q <nurse> õ <vampire>

C <cuddle> r <ok> Õ <wah>

D <cupcake> s <online2long> ö <weird>

E <devil> t <oj> Ö <whistle>

F <doctor> u <peacedove> ß <winkeye>

G <dog> v <peacesign> ú <witch>

H <doh> w <pirate> Ú <wizard>

I <donut> x <planet> û <wow>

J <drunk> y <popcorn> Û <yawn>

K <earth> z <puff> ù <yikes>

L <elf> á <pumpkin> Ù <yuk>

M <erm> Á <reindeer> ü <zen>

N <fairy> â <rocket> Ü <zoom>

O <bluefish> Â <rose> $ <zzz>

Of course, some characters could still
not be included in the list.  If a rule is included that states that any
character that cannot be translated is simply passed through with a tilde
inserted before it, it becomes possible to include any
characters in Smilish.  (The tilde is necessary for ease of mechanical
translation back to the original message.  It also permits the
inclusion of clear text within a Smilish message which will not be lost
during the de-translation process.)   See the attached posting called
"Sample" for an example of a message in Smilish.

Of course, translating any  messasge in
either direction would be a pain.  So, borrowing the concept from Hugo the Fish and the initial
concept of the code from his Bubblefish™
this researcher has constructed a program to perform the
translation in both directions. That program is freely available on the web
as the SmileyFish™ Machine 
The page may be downloaded or run from its current location freely,
for non-commercial use.

This researcher hopes that all will enjoy this fun, new way to play at ciphers.  Hopefully some of you will become able to read this 'language' without requiring translations.  If there is sufficient interest in the future and h2g2 policy changes, we can apply to have Smilish made an officially accepted language on h2g2.

For now, this researcher wishes to point out, that Smilish is not authorized for use anywhere on h2g2. The only way to see how a Smilish message looks in its full glory would be to paste it into a message box and use the preview function. It is not proper to post such messages and, this researcher has been assured, they will be removed.

The editors have made it plain to this researcher that they consider the use of this or any sort of code, cipher, or foreign language on h2g2 to be rude and anti-social. From their viewpoint, even switching languages in the middle of a conversation is is an unwaranted trial for those reading. This researcher can understand why they might feel that the coping with such situations is unnecessary work for the moderators and editorial staff.

So, even though he has developed Smilish purely as a fun exercise and an adventure with ciphers, this researcher must ask that none of you actually post any such obscured messages on h2g2 whether in Smilish, Bubblish, or even any other language.

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