Emoji dictionary, device chargers, Windows 11 update

Bob's Tech Talk

Q. Is there a dictionary for Emoji?

A. What a delightful question. There is not just a dictionary, but an entire encyclopedia! Point any web browser to emojipedia.org, your one-stop shop for all things emoji.

While many people know about emoji, fewer people know that there is a constantly changing universe surrounding emojis. New emojis are added regularly, and illustrations for existing emoji characters change over time. For example, a recent change to the syringe character removed the red drops suggesting blood, expanding the usefulness of the syringe to communicate about vaccines.

These kinds of changes are documented on Emojipedia. Emojipedia is a labor of love founded by one person, Jeremy Burge, who refers to himself as the Chief Emoji Officer of Emojipeda. Jeremy’s site contains a wealth of information, both current and historic.

There is a searchable index of character descriptions, character lists grouped by occasion, news, release schedules, and much more.

The visual style of an illustration for each emoji character varies. A smiley face looks one way on an iPhone, and a different way on a Google phone. Some software companies also develop their own interpretation of the emoji character set.

Personal computing has come a long way from ASCII marks like :) to denote a sideways smile. Today, the right emoji can add depth and meaning to any text.

Q. Are smartphone chargers interchangeable? Can I reuse my existing charger with a new device?

A. The easy answer is sort of, but not always. Read on to get the whole story.

The power charger tale mirrors many other stories in tech. Some things get better. Some things get worse. And there is plenty of confusion to maximize the suspense.

It does appear that the days of finding a power charger in the smartphone box are numbered. What was once considered a necessity is now an accessory.

Besides quality, the difference between chargers comes down to two things: the USB connector and the power capacity. You will need a cable that matches the connectors on the adapter and your phone. When it comes to power, a little larger is better than a little too small. Your device will only draw the amount it requires. Reusing an older charger is fine if it is powerful enough.

The latest technology in power adapters is gallium nitride, usually abbreviated GaN. These adapters tend to be smaller and more powerful than previous chargers. Some of them are powerful enough to handle a Chromebook or a couple of phones at the same time. Unfortunately they require USB-C.

If you need a suggestion for your new smartphone, the Anker Nano II 45-watt charger is a great choice.

One word of caution: Avoid the temptation to go for a bargain-priced power adapter. Safety margins matter. Even a well-designed high-quality adapter can develop problems. Bargain-priced adapters are no bargain in the long run.

Q. Will my computer be able to run Windows 11 when it is released?

A. As of late summer when I write this, no one knows for sure. Windows 11 beta arrived amidst a surge of excitement a few months ago, but mixed messages have left a trail of confusion about compatibility with existing hardware.

Although beta programs can seem almost routine, most people should avoid them. Significant changes before launch are common. There is a balance to be struck which can only be found once the operating system is tested on thousands of computers.

Microsoft’s initial Windows 11 hardware requirements touched off a backlash by some customers. To make a tough situation harder, there were conflicting messages about exactly what the requirements were, and the test app to check for Windows 11 compatibility was pulled back for inaccuracies.

One of the reasons the requirements question is so challenging is because there are just so many of them. That makes simple statements like “less than four years old” impossible.

Until the official release, the best thing to do is wait. Only then will we have enough information to evaluate Windows 11.

Wander the Web

Here are my picks for worthwhile browsing this month:

Arts and Culture

Harness the power of Google to explore arts and culture around the world and across the Internet. https://artsandculture.google.com

Apple Data Collection

Visit this site and click the “Request a copy of your data” link to download everything Apple knows about you. https://privacy.apple.com

Who Let the Dogs Out?

Enjoy this long list of dog actors, dog mascots and dog heroes. Or scroll down to the link that reveals a similar list of cats. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_individual_dogs

Bob has been writing about technology for over three decades. He can be contacted at techtalk@bobdel.com.

Author Bio

A tech enthusiast his entire life, Bob can be contacted at techtalk@bobdel.com