Subject: Re: Spam From: Erik Naggum <firstname.lastname@example.org> Date: 22 Jan 2004 05:14:18 +0000 Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp Message-ID: <3283737258039416KL2065E@naggum.no> * Joe Marshall | I'm not familiar with SMS. What is it? Short Message Service. GSM cell phones are equipped with the ability to send and receive text messages, like two-way text pagers, which were never popular in countries where GSM is. Originally designed to send GSM phones configuration information and even software updates from the operator, SMS messages come in many types, but only innocuous text messages (at least as far as modifying the phone's configuration is concerned) are sendable from GSM phones, and it was never intended to be an integral part of the GSM offering. (Other types are sent by operators and include ringing tones, images to fit the small display on the phone, etc, to customize phones, which is surprisingly popular and profitable.) GSM phones can send a request to a provider and pay for the returned object. This is even used for directory assistance and a host of other and very useful services, too numerous to mention. To give you a hint of the popularity of this service, the largest GSM provider in Norway, which serves about 2 million customers, served more than 2 billion SMS messages in 2003. It is not uncommon for a GSM phone user here to spend more money on SMS'es than on phone calls. Many companies make a healthy living solely from the SMS market, and we even have 3 TV stations that host night-time chat and music shows where people send in SMS'es at a hefty cost (easily equal in cost to a 10-minute phone call) to vote for the music they want to hear and a lot of other things. Serious information providers also charge for broadcasting selected news items, such as financial market alerts. Some newspapers and TV stations offer TV addicts alerts on upcoming TV programs. SMS'es are restricted to 160 characters in length and they are often hard to type, requiring up to six presses in a row on a single key, which has produced new languages that omit characters, and even the use of dictionary algorithms that find matching words for the word typed with only one keypress, such as the T9 algorithm, causing the coinage of the word "teenineonyms", words that have the same sequence of keys. A version of the Bible was published some time ago in the peculiar compressed language of teenage SMS messages. Translation dictionaries come with tables of common compressions: THX (thanks) to MR6 (merci) or RUBZ (are you busy?) to TOQP (t'es occupé?) or ROFL (rolling on the floor laughing) to MDR (mort de rir). You get the idea -- our cultures have never seen such rapid change in the way we express ourselves as the 160-character SMS messages affords. All Europeans are familiar with this phenomenon, and SMS'es are used by absolutely every owner of cell phones. Some hospitals and doctors use them to optimize their limited resources while avoiding long waits in their waiting rooms and wasting time because of absenteeism. Think of it as portable e-mail available to the entire population. -- Erik Naggum | Oslo, Norway Act from reason, and failure makes you rethink and study harder. Act from faith, and failure makes you blame someone and push harder.