Yeah, and a J to you too!

I finally figured out why I kept seeing a mysterious “J” frequently in mails. I use Thunderbird, and it never struck me that what was common between all these mails is that they are all from Outlook users. It seems that in all its wisdom, Outlook converts any smileys (like : - ) ) in the plain text mails to the letter “J” in Wingdings, which stands for the smiley in that font. Thunderbird doesn’t get it - the change in font is quite surreptitious. It therefore renders the text in the default font - the puzzling ‘J’.

This blog explains both the reason as well as my sentiments about this whole thing.

UPDATE: There seems to be a fix for the issue as pointed out by Leo in the comments. I haven’t tried it out but it seems others have been successfull. Please check:

CNN’s untold story - Land of missing children Forwarding jokes, are you?