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Random Thoughts

Text mess

Hudson Cooper
Posted 5/17/24

If you need a physical embodiment of the passage of time you do not have to look any further than the cell phone. Specifically, I can gauge the passing of the years by examining the development of …

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Random Thoughts

Text mess


If you need a physical embodiment of the passage of time you do not have to look any further than the cell phone. Specifically, I can gauge the passing of the years by examining the development of the doodads associated with cell phones. I remember when cell phones first started having a camera as part of the program. You could take pictures wherever you went and eliminated driving to a Fotomat to drop off a roll of film for developing. A big benefit was the ability to see the picture instantly. If you were not happy with the picture, you just took another. Seemingly every year there would be more advances on cell phone cameras.

Modern day cell phones even allow you to edit, make feature length movies and even remove unwanted photo crashers from your pictures. But if you really want to feel old, witness a member of the younger generation texting. You undoubtedly will be amazed at the speed with which they tap out those letters.

If you remember making a call by going into a phone booth, listening to the circular rotary dial on your house phone or making a collect phone call then I am fairly sure your texting skills are on the same pathetic level as mine. The younger generations grew up gobbling up the technology that frustrates us. 

I have noticed that a lot of the younger generation text with both their thumbs hitting the keyboard on a cell phone. It never dawned on me to use my thumbs. I hold my phone in one hand and with my index finger on the other hand I punch the letters. Then I tap the back button to fix what I had incorrectly typed. There is a whole generation of young people that rarely make phone calls. They communicate solely by texting.

Let us briefly explore the early history of texting. The concept of being able to type a message and send it on a cell phone began in the early 1980s when engineers Friedhelm Hillebrand and Bernard Ghiglione did the groundwork for what would become SMS or Short Message Service. The official birth of the SMS began on December 3rd, 1992. An engineer named Neil Papworth sent the world’s first text message from a computer to a mobile phone. The simple message said, “Merry Christmas.”  It is odd that he said Merry Christmas on the 3rd of December. Perhaps he was unaware how quickly it would be transferred to the recipient on the cell phone. If his SMS had the autocorrect feature, the message might have been “Me very curious.”

Eventually even SMS began to change. It became MMS or Multimedia Messenger Service. It allowed users to send images, videos and sound content. To make texting both faster and easier some companies have developed a special keyboard that gives users several options. TYPEWISE uses a hexagonal layout and offers great text prediction. It holds the world record speed of 88 words per minute. It relies on a keyboard that places commonly used letters next to each other. Another popular keyboard, SWIFT KEY, offers swiping capabilities and quicker access to punctuation. It also has predictive texts that adapt to your typing habits and support multiple languages.

Those looking to increase their speed of texting recommend auto correction and text prediction. They will vastly increase your smartphone typing speed. However, many phone users have disabled the standard autocorrect that comes with their phone because it is overly aggressive.

Who knows what the future of technology on smartphones will be? Maybe someday we will wear a helmet device capable of translating our thoughts into text. Of course, you will probably want to disconnect the autocorrect option to avoid migraines, which in autocorrect might appear as “my grannies.”

Hudson Cooper is a resident of Sullivan County, a writer, comedian and actor.


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