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Cellphones Communications Handhelds

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

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 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.

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