The use of icons to replace words seems to be on the rise.

One reason is space, always at a premium whether it’s real estate or a web page. Instead of the words “Battery Status” on my laptop, there is a battery icon that displays a lightning bolt to indicate that my battery is charging. Moving the cursor over this icon causes the words “Energy Manager” to pop up in case I forget its meaning. My car’s dashboard has that little picture of an engine complete with a fan that lights up just before my car comes to a complete stop on a busy freeway. I worry about civilization because language and verbal communications developed to replace cave drawings that our distant ancestors used. I’m afraid icons are taking us back to those times. Icons even dominate my new smart thermostat system installed on my HVAC system. I haven’t figured out how to make it communicate with “Siri”, so I am using manual controls until my 10-year-old nephew figures it out for me. Until then I must learn what those HVAC icons mean. I’m fairly sure the plus (+) and minus (-) icons are to adjust the temperature. There is also a snowflake icon that I assume has something to do with starting the AC and not a warning for overly sensitive college students. The fan icon is fairly self-explanatory as is the little picture of the sun that must indicate that my HVAC system is in heat mode. The teardrop icon befuddles me. It may be there to indicate the humidity level. It could also serve as a warning that I may shed some tears over a repair bill if I fail to properly maintain my HVAC system with regular cleaning and maintenance by an HVAC professional.

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