CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again


Morse code on mobile phones

Morse code on mobile phones

Morse code on mobile phones
Hi, my name is Jeremy and I'm a textaholic.

Eight years ago, shortly after I got my first mobile phone -- a trusty Ericsson GA628 -- there was a three month period when my telecommunications provider offered unlimited free SMS. This led to a crazed texting binge where I developed a taste for sending short messages to friends, family; basically anyone I knew with a mobile phone. When the three months was up, the telco jacked up their prices and I was hooked.

Since then, there have been two revelations that have furthered my textual desires: discovering T9 dictionary and realising that my phone knew Morse code.

It was not until I got my second phone -- a Nokia 3210 -- that I discovered the advantages of T9 (text on nine keys) dictionary mode. Like me, you might not be able spell very well, but your phone can. While there are some words, names and places you have to teach your phone to spell, T9 allows you to type quick messages in plain English much faster than the multi-tap method of days gone by. If you're still texting the painful 20th century way, here is a demonstration of how to use T9 dictionary.

More recently, I had a revelation when I realised my mobile was alerting me to a message with Morse code. Perhaps I'm the last person to cop on to this little morsel of knowledge, but the beeping on Nokia phones when a message arrives (the one that goes "dit dit dit, dah dah, dit dit dit") is Morse code for "SMS".

It dawned on me while watching an old movie where someone was frantically trying to get out an SOS message (which sounds somewhat similar) using Morse code. When excitedly explaining this to friends I certainly got some strange looks -- most likely they were having mental pictures of men in white coats on their way with straight jackets in my size. While my excitement might be excusable in light of the revelation, there is definitely something demented about the sense of satisfaction gained every time I type the word "going" using T9 -- it's just so quick and easy (press "46464").

If you have a similar dependence on SMS, let us know any further discoveries you've had with subliminal Morse code, any words that bring you elation to type, or any SMS etiquettes or habits you've picked up along the way -- like trying to remember to delete a closing kiss when texting your boss.

Like many of our readers featured in Three I Can't Live Without, I certainly couldn't live without my mobile phone. If there are three pieces of technology you can't live without, here are some details on how to participate.