Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 25th Mar 2012 21:28 UTC
In the News A few months ago, I wrote an article about comments, in which I said, among others things, that Twitter can never replace comments because not only is it effectively a one-to-one communication channel, Twitter messages are also far too short to foster any form of coherent conversation. Over the weekend, a silly link-bait story illustrated my point perfectly.
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RE[2]: 140 characters
by phoenix on Mon 26th Mar 2012 20:57 UTC in reply to "RE: 140 characters"
phoenix
Member since:
2005-07-11

There's ~180 bytes of padding in every single GSM control packet. This is mandated in the GSM specs.

Someone decided to capitalise on this "wasted" space in each packet, and came up with SMS, a simple way to transmit 160 characters (plus destination number and whatnot) between devices.

In effect, SMS is "free", as those 180 bytes are transmitted everytime, whether it's all zero-padding or an SMS message. The fact the telcos charge *ANYTHING* for an SMS message just shows the level of their greed. ;)

What's sad is that over a decade (or two?) later, nothing better has come along to replace it. And now, the telcos actually have to over-provision GSM channels in order to provide more bandwidth for the control packets (the part that's supposed to be the least-active). RIM's BBM is the closest we've come to a "standard" text messaging protocol to "replace" SMS, which is really sad.

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