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Rupert Goodwins' Diary

Tuesday 5/6/2001And here's one of them. As you'll be painfully aware -- especially if you're a nogoodnik -- many mobiles emit a short burst of morse code when they get a text message.

Tuesday
5/6/2001 And here's one of them. As you'll be painfully aware -- especially if you're a nogoodnik -- many mobiles emit a short burst of morse code when they get a text message. The code itself, dididi-dah-dah-dididi, is actually the morse for SMS; no doubt some radio amateur engineer got a pleasant buzz from ensuring the code lives on in people's pockets now it's been abandoned by shipping and squaddies. The trouble with SMS in morse is that M is dah-dah, just one dah different from O's dah-dah-dah. A report from an aviation fan says that a passenger on a flight out of Heathrow forgot to turn off his mobile; it received an SMS just after takeoff and made with the Samuel Morse loudly enough to trickle through the flight deck door. Captain Nigel misheard it as SOS through the noise of his headphones and immediately went into "Someone's in trouble, chaps!" mode -- only to be thoroughly disgruntled at having his attention distracted at such a sensitive time. The passenger got roundly spanked. Another radio amateur of my acquaintance takes great pleasure in having his ring tone set to various Morse obscenities. Me, I'm rapidly coming to the conclusion that we should replace the entire cellphone schmeer by messenger boys with cleft sticks. At least they could be bribed to keep quiet.