Previous “Emoji” posts

Lousy Emoji Suggestions

Thursday, November 15th, 2018

Since 2016’s release iOS 10, the Messages app on the iPhone has been able to make suggestions to replace text with emoji.


Emoji suggestions for “Happy”, “Sad”, and “Dog”

These are all perfectly cromulent suggestions, and this is a vaguely useful feature, or at least a vaguely enjoyable one. However, I recently noticed that iOS was giving some very flawed suggestions. It started, as these things so often do, with the word “squirrel”.

When typing the word “squirrel”, iOS suggests this:

Upon spotting this, I initially thought “that’s not a squirrel, it’s a chipmunk”. And indeed, a bit of research showed me that the official Unicode 7.0 spec lists the character in question (U+1F43F) as “CHIPMUNK”. Despite that fact, iOS is treating it as interchangeable with the word “squirrel”, which seems flat-out wrong.

Now you can call me old-fashioned, but before leaning in to my outrage, I wanted to be sure of my facts. While the tremendously common Eastern gray squirrel is monochromatic, I had to consider the possibility that some squirrels may indeed have stripes. It turns out that’s the case, and there are indeed ground squirrels that have stripes. Here’s a comparison provided by NatureMapping:

At a glance, it seems obvious that the chipmunk emoji could also substitute for the golden-mantled ground squirrel. However! The aforelinked page informs us that while chipmunks and ground squirrels are both striped, ground squirrels “look similar to chipmunks, but do not have stripes on the head”. Let’s take a closer look at the 🐿️ emoji in question. Enhance:

Enhance…

Enhance!

Oo, that’s a bingo! We’ve got head stripes, which means that’s a chipmunk, not a squirrel. Come on, Apple. Until we get a proper squirrel emoji, you simply need to not suggest any replacement for that word.

When I first spotted this, I thought it was just an amusing one-off. However, it wasn’t long before I saw another problem. While typing the word “sluggish”, I got this suggestion:

OK, come on! Even at the tiniest size, it’s clear that that is a snail, with a massive shell. That’s the biggest difference between a slug and a snail! Here’s the very first paragraph from the Wikipedia entry for slug:

Slug, or land slug, is a common name for any apparently shell-less terrestrial gastropod mollusc. The word slug is also often used as part of the common name of any gastropod mollusc that has no shell, a very reduced shell, or only a small internal shell, particularly sea slugs and semislugs (this is in contrast to the common name snail, which applies to gastropods that have a coiled shell large enough that the animal can fully retract its soft parts into the shell).

That makes at least two cases where Apple’s emoji suggest feature is missing the mark. The emoji set is of course incomplete, and always will be. But as it gets larger and more specific, it becomes ever more ridiculous to suggest we substitute in entirely different animals. We all look like idiots here, Apple.

Still, at least we don’t look as ridiculous as this emoji snail. Snails are weird, man.

I’d Love to Read the Internal Bug Report for This One 

Tuesday, October 16th, 2018

Good news, everyone! In the latest iOS 12.1 betas, Apple has updated the bagel emoji. Last week’s version was monstrously bad. It has now been upgraded to merely “very bad”.

Californians Don’t Know From Bagels 

Friday, October 12th, 2018

Yesterday’s post featured a quality real-world baked reproduction of a logo. Today, we have a terrible digital representation of a baked good. Shield the eyes of your children from the worst image I’ve posted since Gritty.

Apple's awful bagel emoji

Grubstreet has dissected this image, and they’re correct that it looks like a lousy machine-cut monstrosity. But like a duck/rabbit optical illusion, when I look at this, I can also see one whole bagel on top of half of a much larger bagel. No matter what, it’s all awful.

MLB Players Who Can Best Make Emoji Jerseys for the 2019 Players Weekend

Thursday, October 4th, 2018

When I wrote about Brad Boxberger’s excellent emoji jersey, I also contemplated a some simple options for Mike Trout ( 🐟) and Chris Sale (⛵). Since that post, I’ve conducted an in-depth review of all the MLB rosters. I’m now pleased to present my favorite emoji representations in baseball. For those that remember Emojli, this post might alternately be called “The Best Emojli Usernames for MLB Players, if Emojli Still Existed”.

The 17 Best Possible Emoji Jerseys for the 2019 Players Weekend, in No Particular Order

  • 🛡️🛡️ James Shields: Getting to use two of the same emoji really makes this one for me.

  • 🎰 Mookie Betts: I’m actually rather shocked at how few gambling-related emoji there currently are.

  • 🏰 Diego Castillo: You see, “castillo” is Spanish for “castle”

  • ❓ ❔ ❓ JT Riddle: Fans of the campier versions of Batman will surely appreciate this one.

  • 3️⃣ Trea Turner: Ridiculously, Trea (pronounced “Tre”) wears #7 for the Nationals, so this would result in a hilariously confusing jersey.

  • ➡️🐂 Spencer Turnbull: Maybe this one is too obtuse, but think of the satisfaction folks will have once they work it out.

  • 🆕🍓 Jake Newberry: There’s a “New Button” emoji, and by god, we’re gonna use it.

  • 💥👨 Glenn Sparkman: I think the “Collision” emoji can read as a spark.

  • 🤢👨 Robbie Grossman: Meanwhile, the “Nauseated Face” definitely works for “gross”.

  • ⬛🔥 Clayton Blackburn or Paul Blackburn: I’m not sure why there’s a “Black Large Square” emoji, but several players can make good use of it, including these two.

  • 🏹 Chris Archer: This one is a bit fanciful, but I think it works.

  • 🕸️ Tyler Webb: Meanwhile, this one is very literal.

  • 🍸 Nick Martini: It would be impossible to improve upon this one.

  • 💪 Shawn Armstrong: Look at that biceps! It’s very strong! Also, it’s fun to refer (correctly) to the singular as a biceps!

  • 👨🚢 Jeff Manship: These are literally the “Man” and the “Ship” emojis, making this compound very on the nose.

  • 👃 Rougned Odor: Speaking of being on the nose. I know his name is pronounced “Oh-door”, but with a name like that, he really ought to have a sense of humor.

  • 😉 Dan Winkler: Finally, this one isn’t perfect, but the wink itself acknowledges that.

In addition to the above, there are dozens of simple and straightforward options for players with common nouns in their names, like Aaron Judge (👨‍⚖️), Josh Bell (🔔), or Greg Bird (🐦). With so many possibilities, I certainly hope we’ll see more emoji on the backs of jerseys next year.

“Boxcheeseburger” Is Also an OK Nickname 

Monday, September 10th, 2018

On Major League Baseball’s recently created “Player’s Weekend”, players are allowed to customize their uniforms in multiple ways, including wearing a nickname on the back of their jersey. This year, one Arizona Diamondback’s pitcher really nailed it:


Photo via the Arizona Diamondbacks

Yes, that’s pitcher Brad Boxberger’s jersey, featuring an emoji nickname. Slate has a great interview with 📦🍔.

Do you ever look at the burger emoji and think, “Hmm, this is more of a cheeseburger”? Were you afraid anyone would misinterpret your name as “Boxcheeseburger”?

There’s always that possibility. But you can’t be too choosey when you’re going with emojis to try to spell your last name.

I hope we see more emoji jerseys in 2019. All-stars like Mike Trout ( 🐟 (“Fish”)) and Chris Sale (⛵ (“Sailboat”) or even 🈹 (“Japanese symbol meaning discount”) are obvious candidates.

Sticking With the Classic

Wednesday, March 21st, 2018

Almost exactly a year ago, I noted the upcoming “Face with open mouth vomiting” emoji (🤮). This emoji is now available on the latest OSes, but if you don’t see it at the end of the previous sentence, here’s a massive version of Apple’s take on it:


Apple’s “Face with open mouth vomiting” emoji

I have some questions for the designer at Apple who drew this, including “Where exactly is this massive stream of vomit coming from?” and “Did this poor creature eat green Jell-o with a side of Mike & Ikes?”. Artistic choices aside, however, this would seem to be an obvious choice if I needed to select an emoji for Barvd in 2018.

There’s actually now a wealth of options available for consideration. In addition to that actively puking face, there’s this guy who’s right on the cusp:

This “Nauseated face” (🤢) was introduced in 2016. Props are due to the Unicode Consortium for not incorrectly calling this the “nauseous” face.

More recently, the “Face with hand over mouth” (🤭) was introduced:

Apple’s version of this could be holding it in, but the eyes fail to show any sort of panic or plans to dash for a toilet or trash can. Worse, other platforms actually show smiling eyes and even a smiling mouth, making “Face with hand over mouth” a poor choice overall.


Clockwise from top left: Google, Microsoft, Twitter, and Facebook

Of course, as long time readers may recall, the Barvd emoji was already selected way back in 2014. In that long-ago era, life was generally worse all around. The women and people of color of emojiland found themselves largely unable to hold down a steady job (👩🏽‍⚕️👨🏿‍⚖️), and it was also impossible to ask for a glass of bourbon (🥃) or even properly flip someone off (🖕). In part because the available emoji set was far smaller, this little guy was chosen to represent Barvd:


“Speak-No-Evil Monkey”/Barvd emoji

We’ve been using this emoji for over four years, and I think he holds up well. While the above choices may be more obvious, part of the enjoyment of emoji is interpreting them. I welcome the use of alternative emoji alongside an exclamation of the word “Barvd!”, but personally, I’ll be sticking with the classic puking monkey. He never goes out of style.

Pairs Well With Smiley Faces 

Thursday, June 15th, 2017

Last week, lexicographer Jane Solomon posted an in-depth analysis of which emoji get paired with the gun emoji.

They Finally Made a Real Barvd Emoji 

Monday, March 20th, 2017

Relatively recently, emoji were updated to include modifiers. This functionality enables multiple emoji to be joined into one, thus making it easier to have multiple genders and skin tones for people. Now, XKCD suggests a new modifier.

Emoji Logos

Wednesday, February 1st, 2017

The new Logoji Instagram account is great. It takes real logos and reworks them to replace elements with standard emoji (using Apple’s emoji art, specifically).

I’ve made side-by-side comparisons of some of my favorites, to really highlight how well done this is.


Malibu Rum


The PGA Tour


Santander Bank

Frankly, I think you could swap that Santander logo in everywhere, and no one would notice.

Ancient Emoji 

Thursday, October 27th, 2016

New York’s Museum of Modern Art has just “added” the original emoji, created for Japanese mobile provider NTT DoCoMo in 1999, to their permanent collection. The New York Times has an excellent look at this bizarre artifact of a nearly pre-historic era.

Ancient Emoji