20 candles, and still (in effect) burning strong. Good ideas are good ideas…


On December 3rd, 1992 in the little town of Newbury, Berkshire, a UK programmer sent his best mate a few lines of greeting using a unique new technique called Short Messaging Service. The programmer, Neil Papworth, was a test engineer for the Sema Group, and sent the message via PC to the phone of Richard Jarvis, a Vodafone employee. The message was “Merry Christmas.” Vodafone intended the service as a fun and easy way to communicate internally.

That obviously wasn’t the case. It took seven years after that first message for texting to take off, but now nearly 8 trillion messages cross the air every year. Adults 18-25 send 133 messages a week each.

The Guardian has a nice long write-up on the service, but let’s take a moment to doff our hats to the lowly messaging system that could. SMS was, at least in Europe, popular for a number…

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