connected

How aubergines and crying faces connected us all online

iStock
iStock

Between 1998 and 1999, while the rest of the tech world was preoccupied with the Millennium bug, a 27-year-old engineer at Japanese phone company, NTT Docomo, was working on a project that would define the next era of digital communication. Although he didn’t know it yet.

From his office in the Gifu prefecture, Shigetaka Kurita, was trying to create a way for customers to communicate through icons. For years his employer had been successful at selling pagers to Japan’s teenagers, and its decision to add a heart symbol to one device had proved popular. But as competitors quickly created similar features Kurita knew Docomo required more.

The result was a set of 176 icons in 12×12 pixels, which Kurita named emoji, a combination of two Japanese words: “e” for picture and “moji” for character. Drawing from manga and Chinese characters, as well as international bathroom signs, he covered everything

Read More

Five ways to stay connected with your college classmates in the era of social distancing

As schools such as UCLA move many classes online, staying engaged with your college community will be harder than usual next semester. <span class="copyright">(Cheryl A. Guerrero / Los Angeles Times)</span>
As schools such as UCLA move many classes online, staying engaged with your college community will be harder than usual next semester. (Cheryl A. Guerrero / Los Angeles Times)

Universities’ strategies to help new students form connections usually consist of packed in-person events and fairs where representatives from student groups stand at tables, talking to hundreds of prospective members in a matter of hours.

It doesn’t take long to realize how impossible that is now, as coronavirus cases continue to rise in many states.

Whether you’re starting your last semester or about to begin your college career, the old playbook for staying involved on campus has been thrown out the window. Here are some tips for connecting with your school community while social distancing.

Start on social media

Returning students, remember the summer before your freshman year when you scoured the #(school name)(graduating year) hashtag, looking for new friends and

Read More