Ramblings, citations and "brainwaves" of a college librarian in Toronto. 475 square feet refers to the size of my home, not the size of my office or library.

Why Text Messages Are Limited to 160 Characters

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In 1985, alone in his home in Bonn, Germany, Friedhelm Hillebrand sat at his typewriter, tapping out random sentences and questions on a sheet of paper. As he went along, Hillebrand counted the number of letters, numbers, punctuation marks, and spaces on the page. Each blurb ran on for a line or two and nearly always clocked in under 160 characters. That became Hillebrand’s magic number—and set the standard for one of today’s most popular forms of digital communication: text messaging.

Los Angeles Times, May 3

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