Because expressing subtle emotion in e-mail and chat messages is so difficult, the smiley, also known as the emoticon, was born.
These combinations of punctuation and letters let you smile, laugh, and otherwise emphasize a point. Apple's iChat swaps in a graphic when you type text smileys.
If you find smileys annoying, here's how to banish them from your chats. (Other people will still see the graphics on their Macs when they
chat with you, unless they also follow these instructions.)
If you've upgraded to OS X 10.4.3, you're lucky. All you need to do is go to the View: Hide Smileys menu to disable them all. (Go to the Software Update preference pane to make sure you have the latest version of the OS.)
If you're using Panther (OS X 10.3), follow these instructions:
First, quit iChat. Control-click on the iChat application and select Show Package Contents from the pop-up menu. Navigate to /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/InstantMessage.framework/Versions/A/Resources/English.lproj.
You'll find a file there named SmileyTable.plist. Hold down the Command key, and then drag the file to the desktop. Your Mac will prompt you for your password. Enter it and then restart iChat, and you'll find that all smiley graphics have vanished.
If you want to get your smileys back, Command-drag the file back to its original location, and then restart iChat.
Whether you're using the newest version of Tiger or Panther, you might find that only some smileys are intrusive.