Thursday, April 14, 2005

SMS gets beaten by Morse (?!)

In a race between the best 19th and 21st century communications technology, SMS got beaten.

Yesterday, at the Powerhouse Museum, Gordon Hill, 93, a veteran telegraph operator raced Brittany Devlin, 13, of Seven Hills, with two years of texting experience. The rules were simple: Mr Hill had to translate a message into morse code and send it to another telegraph veteran, Jack Gibson, 82, sitting a few metres away. Brittany had to use her mobile phone's keypad to punch out the same message, then send it to another phone near Mr Gibson.
The message was a line selected from an advertisement in a teenage magazine: "Hey, girlfriend, you can text all your best pals to tell them where you are going and what you are wearing." Mr Hill tapped out his message in full, while Brittany employed abbreviations to save vital time. She wrote "hey gf you can txt ur best pals 2 tel them wot u r doing, where ur going and wot u r wearing."
90 seconds after the race start, Mr Gibson announced he had the message down on paper. Brittany's message was delayed somewhere in the ether for another 18 seconds... Three other young competitors challenged the telegraph team and three more times the text messages came in second! Should we learn the Morse code?