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Cellphones Communications Handhelds

Happy (Early) Bday! :) SMS Txt Msgs Turn 20 54

Posted by timothy
from the compression-of-need dept.
CWmike writes "In the fast moving world of technology, there are perhaps few things that have proved as resistant to change as the simple SMS text message. While a dizzying number of options exist today to interconnect people, the text message remains a 160 character deliverer of news, gossip, laughs, alerts, and all manner of other information. It connects more people than Facebook and Twitter, has brought down governments, and in so much of the world still holds the ability to change lives. Dec. 3 is the 20th anniversary of the sending of the first SMS text message. Its origins can be traced back to a Danish pizzeria in 1984. Matti Makkonen, a Finnish engineer, was in Copenhagen for a mobile telecom conference and began discussing with two colleagues the idea of a messaging system on the GSM digital cellular system."
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Happy (Early) Bday! :) SMS Txt Msgs Turn 20

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    your first (cell-phone initiated) text message?

    (My phone didn't save, but I should be able to get a copy with any luck, I hope.)

    • by arielCo (995647)

      Since mine was sent from a Nokia 6120 (TDMA) right after unhiding the corresponding menu item with a makeshift serial cable (MAX232 chip + old handsfree), I figure it was "Test" :)

  • by Provocateur (133110) on Saturday December 01, 2012 @09:40AM (#42154061) Homepage

    When you absolutely, positively must get that message across, SMS is your friend. Thank you Matti, Cope and Hagen!

    • "Merry Christmas." was first text message that is very cool.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    That SMS was invented all the way back in 1984, or that Danes eat pizza.

  • Happy birthday!
    SMS is more popular today than a few years ago because we can send it between different network operators.
    Actually, we didn't have the SMS, possible to send to any phone, until July 2011.

    • by mikael_j (106439)

      Wow, here in Sweden SMS is finally and very slowly starting to die out in favor of various online methods of messaging (Apple's Messenger thing seems to be growing and lots of people just use Facebook's chat function with push alerts on their cellphones).

      • by fukapon (469402)

        Of course, SMS isn't a leading role also here.
        We use kinds of SNS to communicate with friends but it's not useful at work.

        I often receive SMS late at night.
        "I sent you a document you need."
        And then, I work again using the document though I want to go to bed.
        Hmm... Cellphone including SMS should die at work.

    • by loufoque (1400831)

      AFAIK Japanese phones uses email instead of SMS.

  • by Nyder (754090) on Saturday December 01, 2012 @09:55AM (#42154133) Journal

    Who knew that 160 chars of text could cost so much? Almost pure profit for any cellular company.

    • by darjen (879890)

      I have google voice on my galaxy nexus. I won't ever need to pay for texting again.

    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      Actually, it wasn't always like this - in the beginning, text messages were ... well, free. Because it was assumed voice would be primary and SMS would be used sparingly, after all, you only have a 10-digit keypad to enter characters in. So even the 160-character limit wasn't a huge thing as who had the patience to type it all in.

      Then what happened is people realized that instead of paying for a phone call, they could send a text for free, so it took off in Asia and Europe because it was free.

      Of course, car

    • by Wolfrider (856)

      --Yes indeed, I'm pretty annoyed that AT&T is charging me $$/month for unlimited texting, when it's basically FREE for them to provide! ~:-(

  • by MysteriousPreacher (702266) on Saturday December 01, 2012 @10:09AM (#42154153) Journal

    Coming from the world of email, I found SMS to be pretty clunky. In Europe its bern working fairly well now, in terms if cross-carrier messenging. Still a probkem though with group SMS and large messages. MMS though remains a mess of varying implementations and price gouging, and barely worth consideration.

  • Or the only reason why I still use a phone. Sending an SMS is somehow even easier and cheaper than making a call, today.
  • by TheRealHocusLocus (2319802) on Saturday December 01, 2012 @10:39AM (#42154261)

    The 160 character limit is a hardware issue from the early SMS phones, when you would feed an 80 column punch card into the phone. The cards only encoded 80 characters per side so you would punch holes in both sides.

    Contrary to any rumors you may hear Twitter's 140 character limit is not derived from the SMS limit, it was calculated from the smaller attention span of the average Twitter user.

    As to the origin of the 80 column limit on punch cards, it was derived from the width of wheel ruts in Roman roads, which was determined by the span of horses' arses.

    So the horses' arses down through the ages to SMS messaging we have a circle which I'll leave you to complete.

    • As to the origin of the 80 column limit on punch cards, it was derived from the width of wheel ruts in Roman roads, which was determined by the span of horses' arses.

      And Remington had wider horses with rounder arses?

    • actualy SMS has a 140 octet limit - it just uses 7bit chars.

      140 * 8 / 7 = 160

      try typing a non gsm 03.38 char in a SMS and see how the number of chars left drops as it changes to utf8 mode.

  • by FridayBob (619244) on Saturday December 01, 2012 @10:49AM (#42154303) Homepage
    Darling of the telecom industry, one of the most expensive telecommunication methods ever devised.
  • by Phelan (30485) on Saturday December 01, 2012 @10:51AM (#42154311)

    So two years after CEPT approved working towards the SMS messaging standards 3 dudes who nobody ever heard of met and invented the standard.

    Unless the two unnamed people in this story are Friedhelm Hillebrand and Bernard Ghillebaert it is a myth sold to a reporter.

    Otherwise it's like the guy that copyrighted email.

  • "Merry Christmas?" I expected "mr jarvis come here coz i want 2 c u". Or at least "Merry Christmms."

    You've just invented a technology that will change the world (or at least the communication habits of my students--don't email your prof in textspeak!). What would you say?

    • by PPH (736903)

      What would you say?

      danish pzza. wtf?

      • by genik76 (1193359)
        Pizza is eaten everywhere in the world, what's weird about that?
        • danish pzza. wtf?

          Pizza is eaten everywhere in the world, what's weird about that?

          I think you misunderstand. I take him to be making a gastronomic rather than a geographic statement. Typically pizza's basis is a flatbread, not a sweet pastry. I shouldn't like a danish pizza, personally.

      • I'd rather have a røde pølser anyway...
  • SMS has some good uses but it is a device put out there to milk money from customers. I use to work for a cell phone company that will remain nameless for the time being. They said to their customers that SMS had to be on, you can't turn it off. You would get charged for SMS messages even from the phone company and you can't stop people from sending you one. You get charged 10 cent for each SMS. That was a blatant lie. In fact in their cell tower make up you can assign options to allow/disallow certain feat
  • But obviously not the first SMS sent ever.

    SMS was developed by Ericsson. Their initial use case was to be able to send out service notifications to phone users (e.g. text messages about technical issues of the phone service, billing info, etc.). the first phones that supported SMS actually couldn't *send* SMS messages - just receive & display them!

    I wish slashdot would be more prudent when selecting stories.

  • The main reason SMS is still widely used today is because there is no alternative that works on every cellphone out there.

    All phones can txt. But all the other services run on certain types of phone.

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