Today is a historic one in the world of electronic communications. On December 3, 1992, Neil Papworth, a 22-year-old engineer with a company called Semea Group Telecoms in the United Kingdom, sent the first text message: ‘Merry Christmas.’ And, he didn’t even use his thumbs! Papworth typed the message on a large computer as an experiment for Vodafone, a European cellular carrier.
But, others claim that Edward Lantz, a former NASA employee, actually submitted the first text message 3 years earlier. Using a Motorola beeper, Lantz typed in a series of numbers that, when flipped upside down, turned into words. I suppose textaholics (usually anyone under the age of 25) can argue the semantics over that issue.
However, neither Papworth nor Lantz actually invented the text message concept. That honor goes to Matti Makkonen, a Finnish engineer who developed the idea even further back in time – 1984. We’re talking electronics here, so 8 years is like two millennia in computer-speak. By 2010, the International Telecommunications Union reported that 200,000 text messages were sent every minute.
I have to wonder how our descendants will consider these advancements. I mean, the Mayans had codices, and Johannes Guttenberg developed the modern printing press. Is there any way to preserve cloud computing in a glass jar? Just wondering.