Entries in Texting (3)


Texting Celebrates 20th Anniversary

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Monday marks the 20th anniversary of the world’s first text message. 

Exactly 20 years ago, on Dec. 3, 1992, 22-year-old British engineer Neil Papworth sent the first-ever SMS -- Short Messaging Service -- from his computer to a friend’s Orbitel 901 mobile phone.  The message read: “Merry Christmas.”

Little did Papworth know that that one little SMS would become known as a text, with billions of them being sent around the world.

An SMS is sent from one phone to another on a narrow slice of cellular bandwidth called the control channel.  That’s an always-there connection that’s used to inform phones of incoming calls and signal strength.

The control channel’s small size is the reason for the strict character cap on a text message’s length.  The limit is 160 characters, which is why Twitter, which was originally based on SMS, limits tweets to 140 characters.  That allows it to include the text plus the sender in a single message.

On its 20th anniversary, SMS usage is declining worldwide and being replaced by a wide range of alternatives, including Apple’s iMessage and Facebook messaging.  SMS will likely continue to decline as more people buy smartphones.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Textspresso Machine Takes Text Message Coffee Orders

Gerald Zanetti/FoodPix(SEATTLE) -- If you think waiting for your coffee to brew is a total waste of time, employees at the Seattle-based company Zipwhip would agree.  After 20 days and several thousand dollars, they created an espresso machine that takes orders via text message.

The start-up tech company's CEO, John Lauer, noticed how often employees visited local Starbucks and wanted to offer a more convenient solution. "We really do drink a lot of coffee here," he told KOMO News.

After sending the machine a text machine with a word like "double" or "latte" the machine grabs a cup, grinds the beans and brews the drink.  To avoid confusion between orders from several dozen employees, edible ink customizes each cup.  The machine is comprised of over 300 parts that are stored in an Ikea cabinet.

Despite its popularity, Zipwhip isn't looking to produce more machines in the future.  Instead, the company will focus on their app, which allows users to receive text messages from their cellphone onto their computer.

Zipwhip will share the textspresso plans in the next few weeks for those coffee fanatics hoping to build a machine for themselves.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Cell Phones: Not Just for Talking Anymore

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Somebody might want to think about giving cell phones another name. That’s because Richard Wike, associate director of the Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project says, “People really are using their cell phones for way more than just phone calls now.”

The Global Attitudes Project surveyed 21 countries to find out how people worldwide are using cell phones today.  Most everyone makes phone calls, but a huge number of people use them for other tasks.  “In particular,” Wike tells ABC News, “they’re texting.”  Fully 75 percent of the cell phone users in those countries say they use their smart-phones to send and receive text messages.

Texting is most common among the poorest nations surveyed.  Ninety-six percent of cell phone owners in Indonesia say they send text messages with their phones. That is the same percentage of Indonesians who simply use them to call someone. Eighty-nine percent of people in Kenya say they use their phones for texting.

Half of the people in the global survey say they take pictures with their cell phones. The Japanese are the most likely of all the people surveyed to do that. Seventy-five percent say they use their phones as cameras.

Close to a quarter of those surveyed say they use their phones to surf the web. In some countries, the number is higher.  “In places like Israel, Japan and the United States,” Wike says, “ you’ve got more than four-in-10 cell phone owners who say they do use their cell phone to access the Internet.”

In broadening the survey, Wike also says that social networking is very popular around the world but that, “It tends to be more common in wealthier countries.” He says the reason is that people have more access to the Internet in those more developed nations.   The Pew survey also found that “Germany, France and Japan are the only countries polled where more Internet users say they do not go on social networking sites than say they do.”

Most of the people who are comfortable with and who use digital technology around the globe are under 30 years old and well educated.   “The more educated,” says Wilk, “are more likely to use their cell phone for different purposes and more likely to engage in social networking.”

This digital multi-tasking, Wilk says, is only going to grow.  “As cell phone technology spreads across the globe, as more and more people are able to access the Internet through their cell phones, “ he says, “we’re going to see a variety of uses and this is going to become more and more common globally.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio