16 October, 2006

secret messages

A friend recently told the story of a young woman and her elderly (aunt? grandmother?) at a restaurant. The older woman had once been a Morse code translator during the Second World War. In the restaurant, the young woman's phone received a text message and emitted the familiar generic alert sound. You know the one:

bip-bip-bip beep-beep bip-bip-bip *pause* bip-bip-bip beep-beep bip-bip-bip

The older woman listened to the tone, bemused, and asked, 'What does "S M S" mean?'


Could the familiar message-alert tone really be spelling out SMS in morse code?

See for yourself:

In morse code,
S= . . .
M= – –

SMS = . . . – – . . .

which is bip-bip-bip beep-beep bip-bip-bip

So that elderly, Morse-Code-trained lady really had heard the letters SMS emanating from her (grandaughter? niece?)'s handbag.

Am I the only one who finds this fascinating? Am I the only one now wondering whether my alarm clock is really shouting, 'Get Up!' and my smoke alarm, 'You've burned the fucking toast again!'?



Blogger Mars said...

That's pretty clever... I suppose it makes sense in a i'd-never-have-thought-of-that sort of way.

I like your blog, by the way. It's filled in the best part of an afternoon at work for me. :)

October 17, 2006 6:19 pm  
Blogger fluffy said...

cool! that is officially going to become one of Fluffy's Fascinating "Did You Know?" stories.

October 18, 2006 4:39 pm  
Blogger Sanna said...

I can see the scene in a movie, sort of like Keeping Mum, except it would be called Code: Grandma or something.

In it, a quiet, respectable suburban family finds out that Nan has a Bourne Identity-sort of secret past, and even though they all suspected her being able to karate chop would-be purse thieves - or know what the 'alternative' teenage daughter Dinah was arranging with suspicious car-driving boyfriend Chad just by hearing the tones of her Nokia keypad and thereby prevent her attending an unsavoury party and subsequent moral ruin - was a bit odd, after the inevitable "I don't know who you are anymore"-whingeing they all come to think it's pretty cool Grandma used to kick Nazi ass.

In the final scene slightly overweight (read: unpopular) Alex - who had the most trouble adjusting to the new information and even says bad things to Grandma during his greatest moment of preteen disillusionment - gives a talk on Grandma at school ('My Hero'), and everyone thinks she's so awesome Alex gets invited to birthday parties again.

Roll credits.

November 07, 2006 10:34 pm  
Blogger mindlessmunkey said...

mars ~ Glad to be of service. Wasting time at work (my own and others') is practically my raison d'etre.

fluffy ~ Oh do! I stole the story from someone in the first place. Share the love, I say.

sanna ~ I can't believe Hollywood hasn't already beaten a path to your door.

November 22, 2006 12:32 pm  

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