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Electronic Language Contest Winners:

Best New Smiley

The electronic world has developed its own language of sorts - a shorthand for expressing emotion or just fun called smileys, or sometimes dubbed "emoticons." In the latest evolution of smileys, OíReilly & Associates has published a book explaining hundreds of the electronic mail symbols and has announced the winner of The Best New Smiley Contest.

Smileys require those not used to them to turn their heads horizontally to see the impact of these sideways expressions. Beginning as a simple smile

:)
or wink
 ;)
smileys in electronic messages have developed into more meaning-filled messages such as
 :-)
"said with a cynical smile"... and even caricatures.

Contest entrants were required to come up with a smiley not already published in David Sandersonís book, Smileys, containing 650 of the electronic footnotes. The winner of a $500 cash prize was Pete "Walsh" Elder of Falls Church, Virginia with

 >[:^)
which translates as "watches too much TV."

Runners up receive Ed Krolís The Whole Internet Userís Guide & Catalog. Some of the other entries being recognized were

::-b|d-::
"person with glasses sticking out tongue at mirror" from Galen Johnson;
 =[8]-O
"Spaceman Spiff preparing to land" by Greg Boyd;
 []:-{o
"barbershop quartet singer" from Neil Sokolowski;
 .!!!,
lion hand submitted by Laszlo Drotos;
 >*(:-? 
"wizard who doesnít know the answer" by Bruce J. Barton;
 ,,,^..^,,, 
"cat peeking over a fence (note claws)" from Ina L. Mehlman;
 #:o\:o/:o\:o/:o||
"totem pole" submitted by Michael Maier;
 (Z(:^P 
Napoleon" from Paul Curcio;
 :-8p 
"Dizzy Gillespie (puffed cheeks and trumpet)" submitted by Michael J Kahlke;
IIIIII8^)X
"the Cat in the Hat" from N. Murray;
 `,`,`,`,`:| 
"Mrs. Frankenstein" by Matthew Allen Lewis;
 `@_____ 
"snail mail" from Robert Mudry;
 
`\=o-o=/í 
"eye glasses" offered by Jose Manuel Pereira;
 oO:)& 
"a grandmother" from Maureen Zapryluk;
 /\/:/\
"mummy" by Barry Ackerman;
 ())=( 
"wine glass" from Bonnie Petry;
 #!^~/ 
"kissy profile: hair (a la Archie Andrews), shades, nose, smooch, chin" submitted by Alan L. Chamberlain; and
 <0__/\__/\_ 
worm" from Martin Frischherz.

For those who want to investigate the world of emoticons further, Sandersonís book Smileys is available for US $5.95 (ISBN: 1-56592- 041-4).

Issue 2 index

Dr Peter Horne, an interview with Paul Lavin

The new waterways

Following his speech to the Annual convention of the Chambers of Commerce in early June, Dr Peter Horne, Managing Director of Apricot Ltd spoke exclusively with InfoHighway Editor Paul Lavin about business life in the information age.

InfoHighway: Isnít the Information Highway really a concept for large business enterprises that already have an international presence and a large computing infrastructure?

Dr Horne: The Information Highway is no respecter of size. The coming information revolution will have greatest impact on small and medium sized businesses. However, all businesses must change now if they want to survive and grow into the 21st century.

IH: So where are the hurdles?

Dr Horne: Computers are pivotal but computers are still seen as difficult to use - a technology that forces you to learn completely new working practices and requires you to radically change your business in order to maximise its capability. Radical change is something that most businesses have been reticent to do.

PCs and the Information Highway will be at the core of the next revolution, enabling anyone to drive their business forward into markets not limited by geography. You will be limited only by your ability to deliver to the customer, products and services they want at the right point in time.

IH: What do you think that businesses need to do to get ready for the Ďjump to lightspeedí, then?

Dr Horne: There are two key issues a business must resolve now: How do I change my business for growth in this new era? and who and where are my customers?

The key to growth is consistent innovation in the development and production of new products and services to keep you ahead of your competition and to meet the changing needs of the customer. In addition, to increase the financial performance of your company, you need to combine product innovation with constant quality and efficiency improvements.

To maintain the pace of innovation and growth, businesses now require such a diverse variety of skills that they cannot be expected to master them all. So, in addition to investing in your work force and giving them the responsibility, training and tools to work effectively, you also need to find partnerships with companies who can provide you with the skills you lack.

IH: What kind of partnerships?

Dr Horne: I donít mean traditional supplier/customer relationships but collaborations in which each of you understands each otherís business to maximise both your opportunities. A win- win solution.

IH: So how will the Information Age company find its customers or partners?

Dr Horne: Currently most business is conducted in local markets and this is usually one that can be serviced geographically. The information revolution will change all that. With a worldwide communications and information network, which is cheap and open to all, the definition of what is local will radically change.

The information highway will become the method of finding and marketing to your customers. Highly automated database marketing companies helping you find niche markets almost anywhere in the world.

IH: So whereís the down side to all this upbeat proselytising that you are doing for the Information Highway?

Dr Horne: The down side to the arrival of the Information Highway is that you will not be alone. Already there is growing globalism in world business. Already the ability to work at a distance is causing the export of high technology software development jobs to countries like India where more software students are available and work for much less than in the UK.

Businesses will be faced with a stark choice - either take on technology and capitalise on new markets for your company or watch your so called local market diminish with the influx of products from those companies that are grasping the opportunity.

IH: What contribution is Apricot planning on doing to make the UKís transformation and perhaps not incidentally earn its crust as an Information Highway enabler?

Dr Horne: We have formed an Information Services division and are working on a number of interesting projects. Some of those projects will roll out later this year - with the balance following as the technology and the market permits. Clearly, Apricot will continue in its role as the provider of computing platforms but we will be extending our offering by joining with other partners that will enable full solutions to be delivered to comparatively non-technical users.

IH: So what kind of company do you expect to see at the turn of the century?

Dr Horne: Computers will be everywhere in all businesses. Businesses will, in general, be international, selling their products to the local markets defined by the information highway.

Business and individuals will be collaborating with electronic partners and in some exceptional cases have formed virtual companies that only exist electronically - no offices and no overheads - only customers.

Successful businesses, no matter what their size, will be characterised by two attributes: a career-long investment in the training of all staff and an IT strategy that provides access to information at a touch of a button helping you make rapid and intelligent business decisions.

Issue 2 index

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