Tuesday 5 May 2009

Who Set The 160 Character Limit For SMS Messages?

160 characters seems a rather arbitrary limit, but according to the LA Times article Why text messages are limited to 160 characters, a lot of research went into this.

When the SMS standard was agreed, network bandwidth was was expensive, so uncapped messages would have cost too much and all the carriers agreed to a limit.

Three things helped them determine the 160 characters

  1. Typing out random sentences always seemed to come in around 160 characters
  2. Postcards often had less than 150 characters
  3. Telex messages also only had 15o characters
From this they surmised that a message could be communicated in 160 characters or less

Sunday 3 May 2009

Could Google have caught swine flu earlier?

Interesting piece in Wired about how Googles Flu Trends team managed to miss the increase in searches from Mexico on flu

Makes the point that computers are often only useful once they know what to start looking for, although you think they might have picked up the trend below.

Read the full Wired article - Google Could Have Caught Swine Flu Early

The Joy of Words

Over the last couple of years, the TV and papers have loved to analyse politicians speeches to see which are the most popular words that are used.

Worldle allows you to do this for any piece of text - the larger the word, the more often it has been used

This is a breakdown of all the tags in my delicous account.