Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Q&A: Xxxxxxxxx hed here

Q&A: Texting celebrates 20th birthday

Tracing the origins of texting

I got a text message from a friend and it got me to wonder when texting began, and who invented it?

The 160-character short message service, also known as SMS or text messaging, turned 20 this month. On Dec. 3, 1992, Neil Papworth of the Sema Group sent the first text message from a personal computer to Richard Jarvis of Vodafone using that company's United Kingdom network. The message: "Merry Christmas."

Finnish engineer Matti Makkonen, now 60, who had been working as president of the mobile communication company Telecom Finland in 1992, is widely cited as the father of texting.

He has always been reluctant to take credit. "I did not consider SMS as personal achievement but as result of joint effort to collect ideas and write the specifications of the services based on them," the Finn told the BBC.

Makkonen said text messaging could have begun as early as 1984, when he suggested the idea at a telecommunications conference. But it took another eight years for it to be incorporated as part of the developing the global system for mobile communications (GSM) network.

Amazingly, Makkonen, who is now CEO of Anvia Oyj, a Finnish-based provider of telecommunication services, never profited from his idea. He didn't know it could be covered by a patent.

Makkonen also has never fully embraced some aspects of texting. He told the BBC he doesn't use texting shortcuts, and he takes his time when composing messages. "I love touchscreen," he texted the BBC. "Slow enough to think and sometimes even edit what I write."

It's estimated there are now 200,000 text messages sent and received every second worldwide. The average U.S. teen sends 3,000 texts a month, and phone companies reportedly pull in about $70 billion in revenue a year from texting.

How to handle funny money

If you are a victim of receiving counterfeit money, what do you do with it?

If you suspect you have received a counterfeit note, follow these steps, according to the U.S. Secret Service's website (

• Do not return it to the passer.

• Delay the passer if possible.

• Observe the passer's description, as well as that of any companions, and the license plate numbers of any vehicles.

• Contact your local police department or U.S. Secret Service field office.

• Write your initials and the date in the white border areas of the suspect note.

• Limit the handling of the note. Carefully place it in a protective covering, such as an envelope.

• Surrender the note or coin to a properly identified police officer or a U.S. Secret Service special agent.

Q&A: Xxxxxxxxx hed here

Q&A: Texting celebrates 20th birthday 12/17/12 [Last modified: Monday, December 17, 2012 5:19pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Twins eventually cash in as Rays lose, fall back to .500 (w/video)

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — The Rays could only battle their way out of trouble for so long Saturday afternoon before succumbing in a 5-2 loss to the Twins.

    Minnesota Twins pitcher Adalberto Mejia, right, makes the tag at the plate on Tampa Bay Rays' Steven Souza Jr. who attempted to score on a runner's fielders' choice in the second inning of a baseball game Saturday, May 27, 2017, in Minneapolis. AP Photo/Jim Mone) MNJM103
  2. Rays Tales: The stories behind Corey Dickerson's ascension

    The Heater

    The 25 pounds DH/LF Corey Dickerson lost during the winter through diet and exercise are considered the primary reason for his ascension to one of the American League's most productive hitters, going into the weekend leading in hits, multi-hit games and total bases, and ranked in the top five in average, runs and …

    Tampa Bay Rays designated hitter Corey Dickerson (10) connects for a sac fly, scores Tampa Bay Rays first baseman Steve Pearce (28) in the fourth inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, June 15, 2016.
  3. Gregg Allman of The Allman Brothers Band dies at age 69

    Music & Concerts

    SAVANNAH, Ga. — Music legend Gregg Allman, whose bluesy vocals and soulful touch on the Hammond B-3 organ helped propel the Allman Brothers Band to superstardom and spawn Southern rock, died Saturday, a publicist said. He was 69.

    This Oct. 13, 2011 file photo shows Gregg Allman performs at the Americana Music Association awards show in Nashville, Tenn. On Saturday, May 27, 2017, a publicist said the musician, the singer for The Allman Brothers Band, has died. (AP Photo/Joe Howell, File)
  4. Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Bunning, a former senator, dies at 85


    LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Jim Bunning, a former Hall of Fame pitcher who went on to serve in Congress, has died. He was 85.

    In this June 21, 1964 file photo, Jim Bunning of the Philadelphia Phillies pitches a perfect game against the New York Mets at Shea Stadium in New York.  The Phillies beat the Mets, 6-0.  Bunning retired all 27 batters who faced him in the first game of a doubleheader to become the first pitcher in 42 years with a perfect game in regular season play.   (AP Photo/File)
  5. Trump to decide next week whether to quit Paris climate agreement


    TAORMINA, Italy —President Donald Trump declined to endorse the Paris climate accords on Saturday, saying he would decide in the coming days whether the United States would pull out of the 195-nation agreement.

    President Donald Trump, right, arrives to a G7 session with outreach countries in Taormina, Italy, on Saturday. Climate and trade were sticking points at the two-day summit in Taormina, Sicily. (AP Photo/Salvatore Cavalli)