may 4

Brevity Is Fasicsm

Why text messages are limited to 160 characters. Answer: some goddamn German engineer, of course!


I wouldn't be surprised if it was limited to 140 characters soon similar to Twitter.

posted by BenBehrouzi at 11:48 AM on May 4, 2009

There is a technical aspect of the GSM encoding that most people doesn't know: It's just 140 bytes. In most encodings (the way computers represent text as 0 and 1) one character of the english language can be seen as a byte, this is because the 8 bits of the byte are used to represent 256 numbers that are mapped to letters, since there is less than 127 characters (leters and symbols) in the english alphabet, the GSM encoding use only 7 bits (less than a byte!) to represent the letters, and taking adventaje of those bits left it finds the way to have 20 more characters than bytes.

posted by Air Conditioning Filters at 12:54 PM on May 4, 2009

That's very interesting, but it's also comment plagiarism vainly attempting to disguise your spam. (Comment seen 24 hours earlier at

posted by CRZ at 5:40 PM on May 4, 2009

Thats actually pretty interesting, thanks for the info, uh... Air Conditioning Filters? I'd be bitter with my parents if I ended up with a name like that.

So I wonder why Twitter decided to stick with 140? Wasn't it initially designed to be used primarily with cell phones, via texting? I think a lot of people do use Twitter on their phones, but through iPhone/Blackberry apps, not texting - I could be wrong here.

posted by ShellMedia at 1:31 PM on May 6, 2009

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