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I Get So Emotional, Baby


Don’t be afraid to embrace the language of the future: emoji

I Get So Emotional, Baby


Don’t be afraid to embrace the language of the future: emoji

Culture > Tech


 

I Get So Emotional, Baby

May 26, 2017 / by China Daily Lifestyle Premium

image above: Adam Wright stands in front of a couple of his submersible toys

Nowadays, there are so many ways for people to communicate. Particularly in today’s digital world, the colourful little icons known as emoji have become so popular that almost everyone uses them to express their emotions. In 2015, the Oxford English Dictionary even declared the “face with tears of joy” () as its word of the year. From ordinary people’s daily messages to celebrity tweets, a single pictograph or a chain of emoji can speak more than a thousand words.

First of all, let’s take a quick test to see if you’re tuned into this new language skill. Do you have any idea what the following emoji phrases stand for?

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

The Emojipedia logo

The Emojipedia logo

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Check your answers:

(1) “Street-style star”
(2) “A-line dress”
(3) “I’m/You’re not on the list”
(4) “Hold up, I/you can’t”
(5) “No time, don’t care, bye”

Unlike most languages you’re familiar with, emoji effectively has few rules for grammar, vocabulary, syntax or semantics. The term was born in late-1990s Japan as “picture” (e) + “character” (moji) and featured prominently in electronic messages and on web pages. This quirky Japanese idea became popular on a global scale with the development of social media and the use of the emoji keyboard on Apple’s iOS operating system.

The history of humans using symbols to express ourselves dates back some 5,000 years to the Egyptians, who developed hieroglyphics to communicate and document their traditions. Although emoji are very different, according to Vyv Evans, a professor of linguistics at Bangor University in the US, they “have already far eclipsed hieroglyphics, its ancient Egyptian precursor, which took centuries to develop.”

One of the major reference points for the modern emoji era was the original version of the iconic yellow smiley face, created in 1963 by American graphic artist Harvey Ross Ball. He never applied for a trademark or copyright, however, so French journalist Franklin Loufrani registered the mark for commercial use when he used it in the newspaper France-Soir in 1972. Today, there are thousands of emoji available in digital communication and it has gone far beyond that humble smiley face.

“Emojis are the first time we’ve had a universal method of sending emotions as pictures,” says Jeremy Burge, founder of reference website Emojipedia, which he launched in 2013 to document all the emoji symbols and meanings in the Unicode Standard system. “The way I see emoji is as a one-off event that will never happen again as long as we use text keyboards for communicating. It’s remarkable that, seemingly overnight, we got an additional keyboard that’s installed by default on every phone in the world.”

EmotiKarl

EmotiKarl

A report released by real-time emotional marketing platform Emogi attests that 92% of online consumers use emoji. According to Twitter, the most tweeted emoji in 2016 were , followed by and . But Jeremy says that the most searched emoji in 2016 was the relatively new shrug , the face with tears of joy and the heart .

The usage of these ideograms differs across various countries and platforms. For example, a recent analysis of the “Emoji Usage of Smartphone Users” by scholars from Peking University says that in France, people are more likely to use emoji, with 19.8% of messages involving at least one. (The most frequently used emoji in the country is .) Russia and the US are following, but with as the most used emoji. On the other hand, on Twitter, the most tweeted emoji in France is , and Italy and Japan share a similar love of the heart. As for the US, Canada and the UK, they just don’t seem to be as happy.

The translation of emoji in different countries can also be a tricky thing. Burge explains that emoji use tends to fall into two categories: literal and figurative. “For instance, people in the US have started using the “WC” emoji to mean “woman crush” instead of its original meaning, “water closet” for the toilet/bathroom,” he says.

Versace Emoji

Versace Emoji

Nowadays, the influence of emoji is everywhere – and brands and celebrities are all catching the wave. “I see a whole new industry rising out of the emoji phenomenon, with sideline merchandise such as manga, animation, stuffed animals, clothes and shoes,” says Lin Zhang, a PhD candidate at the University of Southern California, whose expertise covers the politics, culture and economy of new-media technologies, “Sometimes it’s hard to tell which comes first – the featured emoji or the sideline products. But the fact that people use those characters on a daily basis to express themselves definitely improves the ‘stickiness’ of those icons.”

There are celebrity emoji packs by Karl Lagerfeld (emotiKarl), Kim Kardashian (Kimoji), Justin Bieber (Justmoji) and Ellen DeGeneres (Ellen’s Emoji Exploji), as well as branded emoji from Versace, Ikea and Harper’s Bazaar. There’s even Book from the Ground, an entire tome written in emoji by Chinese artist Xu Bing.

Where is emoji headed? “Far from replacing language, the visual symbols in fact enhance our ability to converse with one another – they also facilitate more effective communication,” explains Vyv Evans in his article No, the Rise of Emoji Doesn’t Spell the End of Language. On the other hand, according to Zhang, the future of mediated communication looks more like a combination of words and icons. So are you ready to embrace the future of language?

Images: Twitter; Emojipedia, Versace, Karl Lagerfeld

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Go-go Gadgets


From the hottest tech to the coolest stuff on the market, check out our curated selection of the trendiest goodies

Go-go Gadgets


From the hottest tech to the coolest stuff on the market, check out our curated selection of the trendiest goodies

Culture > Tech


 

Go-go Gadgets

March 31, 2017 / by Leung Pui Yee


Make Film Easier

The first multi-format, daylight-loading film developing tank, Lab-Box aims to help film photographers develop their rolls anywhere without the need for a darkroom. As people rediscover the classic techniques, this is perfect for anyone interested in pursuing analogue photography. (ars-imago.com)


Picture Pop

For the brand’s 80th anniversary, Polaroid has debuted the Polaroid Pop instant digital camera. The latest offering combines the brand’s nostalgic values of sharing with top technology, including a built-in printer – and its new rainbow colours are the perfect eye candy. (polaroid.com)


Audio Game Strong

Aiming for durability, high-end Korean audio brand Astell & Kern has released its stainless-steel AK380 player, which is built for all sorts of conditions. Limited to just 200 units at US$4,999 each, is your pocket powerful enough to hold this beauty? (astellnkern.com)

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A Fresh Take on a Classic

In 1947, Movado released its iconic Museum watch with the acclaimed dial and solitary dot at 12. In 2015, the brand launched the Edge, which is the new interpretation of the Museum, with a further accent on minimalism. Recently, a special edition Edge was added to the fold in two sizes, with the colour options of black-rose gold or stainless steel-blue. Perhaps this one will end up in a museum someday, too… (movado.com)


The Ultimate Training Gear

Get your home workout started today in style with Swedish design studio Tingest’s collection – aimed at being your ultimate training equipment. Bespoke dumb-bells and kettle bells? You’ll never need an excuse to skip exercise time again. (tingest.se)


The World’s First Tea Humidor

London-based interiors company Lotusier has unveiled the world’s first “tea humidor”. Handcrafted from sycamore with chrome fittings, this type of wood imparts less of a scent to your precious tea leaves, preserving their flavour from the negative influences of light, odour, heat, air and moisture. Available in five designs, pre-orders of this exquisite objet d’art are around US$8,750. (lotusier.com)

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Let’s Face It

Want some seriously personalised candy? Scan your face on your smart phone in 3D mode, then the Candy Mechanics can “immortalise” you in chocolate. You’ll arrive via the post in your sweet Lolpops form. Now the only question is: do you dare to eat your own head? (candymechanics.com)


The Bed that Does it All

A good night’s sleep is one of the best ways to achieve instant happiness. If you want to live in dreamland, you might want the help of the Sleep Number 360 smart bed, which takes care of everything while you sleep. Using SleepIQ technology, it auto-adjusts firmness with your body movements, warms your feet to help you fall asleep faster and even senses your snoring before you start and takes action to relieve it. Curious about your sleeping patterns? Connect to the bed via your smartphone and check it when you wake up. All you have to do is sleep. (sleepnumber.com/360)

 

Pizza Me ASAP

Sneakerheads and pizzaheads can now unite. For this year’s March Madness NCAA basketball tournament, Pizza Hut created 64 pairs of the “Pie Tops”, handmade by The Shoe Surgeon, Dominic Chambrone. As demonstrated in a hilarious ad by retired NBA star Grant Hill, at the simple press of a button on the shoe’s tongue, you’ll get a piping-hot pizza delivered to the sneaker’s location. Seems a little bit cheesy to us… (pizzahut.com)


Light it Up

The Hong Kong student-conceived Lumos Helmet is the world’s first smart bicycle helmet to integrate lights, brake and turn signals. Among its many accolades, it received the London Design Museum’s Beazley Design Award in the Transport category. Designed with the urban cyclist in mind for a safer ride and enhanced rider visibility on the road, Lumos has been a runaway success. Now if only we could find some bike lanes in Hong Kong… (lumoshelmet.co)


The Headphones that Let You Hear What You Want

Today, countless headphones have noise-cancelling functionality, but the latest Stages Hero takes it to the next level with its “selective sound” and “ambient directional audio filtering” technologies to create a customised listening experience. Allegedly, it knows what’s best for your ear at each moment and delivers an audio experience that can be custom-tailored from its app. You can even set audio keywords that automatically trigger music projection after they’re said. (stages.co)


The Voice Assistant Named Melody

You may already know Siri, but allow us to introduce Melody – your new smart voice assistant, who can recognise different individuals’ voices and serve in a variety of ways. Try to talk to her (or him), then let her do her job: managing your calendar, playing music and looking after your smart home. You’ll probably also notice that she has a much more tangible and cooler look than your old friend Siri. (rokid.com)


The Moto that Parks Itself

Have you ever had a fear of falling off your motorcycle? Thanks to advances in self-stabilising technology, Honda has unveiled its Moto Riding Assist prototype, which can ride and park by itself without rider control. The potential success is set to greatly reduce accidents – and your riding anxiety. Just remember, you still need a licence before you can get on the road. (world.honda.com)

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Tweety Pie


Launched in 2006, Twitter has become one of the top go-to social media sites – get to know the dos and don’ts of tweeting

Tweety Pie


Launched in 2006, Twitter has become one of the top go-to social media sites – get to know the dos and don’ts of tweeting

Culture > Tech


 

Tweety Pie

February 24, 2017 / by Joel Fischer

Donald Trump has been known to do it in the middle of the night. Kim Kardashian has done it more than 22,000 times. Many people don’t understand why you would want to do it at all. 

We’re talking about tweeting and, unlike posting your entire life on Facebook, this social media activity demands a particular set of skills.

Why use Twitter? It’s a way to have a one-on-one virtual connection with your heroes and anybody who interests you. Likewise, you can share your life and views with an almost limitless number of people. And it all has to be done within the tantalising limit of 140 characters of text – plus photos, videos and links – which really helps you focus your mind.

 

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Katy Perry has the most Twitter followers, with 95.6 million of the micro-blogging site’s 317 million monthly active users. Justin Bieber isn’t far behind with 91.5 million, followed by Barack Obama and Taylor Swift with around 83 million each. The heaviest hitters of Twitter are pop stars, heroes of sport and other celebrities. But you don’t need to be famous to create a buzz with the right tweets at the right time.

In fact, Katy Perry is a great example of how to do it well. She has a bubbly tweeting style that mashes up chat about her tours and her music, insights into her emotional roller coaster over the US election, and playful titbits about her daily life. “Done with my Christmas shopping”, she tweeted, and posted a link to her Instagram page that featured crazy gadgets like a “pet emergency evacuation jacket” and a “chocolate donut camera”.

To get started on Twitter, pick a simple, memorable user name like @KatyPerry, post a short profile and choose a photo. Some tips: avoid punctuation such as underscores in your name, post your own photo (not a photo of your dog, it’s not Facebook) and don’t be an “egg person” – referring to the default egg-shaped image when a user hasn’t posted their own picture. It’s the ultimate Twitter fail, and won’t get you any followers or respect.

Then, it’s time to start tweeting by sending your updates (“what’s happening?”) and following people. Building up an army of followers can take time. Generally, the more people you follow and the more you tweet, the more followers you’ll get. To become a Twitter star, you need to carve out a reputation for posting original, eye-catching tweets on trending topics – and maximise your visibility by mastering the use of hashtags.

Twitter Analytics will show you how your tweets are performing and who is following you – right down to their age category, country, income bracket, gender and interests. If your popularity is flagging and your Twitter ego is keeping you awake at night, you can turn to the unscrupulous tactic of buying thousands of “followers” from online sites. But do beware – there may be a lot of fake profiles in there and, at the end of the day, it’ll feel like paying a crowd of people you don’t know to come to your birthday party. Happy tweeting! 

Image: © 2017 Twitter, Inc.

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Follow Me


The CowaRobot R1 is a smart suitcase that stays by your side anywhere you go

Follow Me


The CowaRobot R1 is a smart suitcase that stays by your side anywhere you go

Culture > Tech


 

Follow Me

December 9, 2016

At peak travel times, dragging your weighty suitcase through a crowded airport is one of the most annoying things imaginable. But what if your carry-on could follow you around like an adoring puppy, keeping your hands free for your smartphone and a latte? It’s not a far-fetched idea relegated to science fiction any more – a group of robot enthusiasts have developed a handy autonomous smart suitcase, the CowaRobot R1, which is set to make your next trip that much easier.

Equipped with a variety of future-forward technologies, the R1 includes a system dubbed “Co-Eye”. With the help of a depth sensor, sonar equipment and cliff-detection monitors, the R1 can find its own way and avoid obstacles. It can communicate via a wristband and will follow by your side at a top speed of 4.5mph. The wristband also works as a keyless remote to lock and unlock the case. Even if the R1 gets lost, a GPS chip inside enables the suitcase to navigate its way back to you. 

The R1 measures 21.6 by 15 inches (meaning it fits in the overhead bins), weighs less than 5kg and has a 33-litre capacity. Its removable battery pack powers it for 12 hours – and can charge your other devices. You can also control and monitor the R1 by a mobile app, available for iOS and Android, that gives you information about the R1’s current location status and battery life – you can even activate an intelligent lock system. If you don’t feel like using the smart mode, no worries; you can just pull out the handle and switch the case to manual mode. 

The R1 ushers in a new wave of baggage innovation. While owners should rightfully be gleeful, airport staff may have a new job on their hands – keeping “suitcase traffic” in order.

Images: CowaRobot

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