Morse Code Gets The @ Sign – But It's Too Long

from the but-why? dept

The whole point of the @ symbol is that it’s shorthand for the word “at.” So, plenty of people (well, actually not that many care at all) are confused as to why the first update to Morse Code in 60 years to include the @ symbol has it much longer than just tapping out the word “at.” The real issue is that “at” is apparently the same code as “w,” though no one seems to have asked if anyone was actually confused by this. For those who care, the @ symbol can be tapped out as dit-dah-dah-dit-dah-dit. Update: Multiple people have noted that the report is wrong that “at” and “w” are the same, since there should be a pause between the “a” and the “t” designating “at”. People who know better than I claim it’s nearly impossible to be confused. This makes sense, though, as how else would you be able to write any words without confusing the hell out of people as the letters started to run together.

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Comments on “Morse Code Gets The @ Sign – But It's Too Long”

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August Jackson (user link) says:

Re: techdirt being late!?

NPR’s “All Things Considered” also ran a piece on this at least a month ago (it might have been “Marketplace,” but I heard it on my drive home from work). It has seemed to me that this story has been dsicovered by a new news source each week. I wonder why the story has propogated so slowly.

Maybe because people are using Morse code to spread the word?

I think it’s incredible (and maybe a little neat) that people are still using the code.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Why still Morse?

Even in our very connected world, there are communications channels that are “noisy” enough not to support voice or data… they require the extreme S/N ratio capabilities of Morse.

Example: You can talk literally halfway around the world, 12,000 miles or more, on 1-2 watts of transmit power using Morse and the correct frequencys. Can’t do that with voice (unless using a lot more power).

Of course, there are satellite systems that two way microburst and can run for a long time on batterys… but you can’t build that transmitter yourself…

Rob Henderson says:

Mixed Media

What is most interesting to me is that the driving force behind the inclusion of @ in the Morse lexicon is to give key tappers the ability to send email addresses! It’s almost like inscribing a clay tablet to your neighbor, asking him to send you some data over your wireless LAN. THe longevity os some simple technology is amazing.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Mixed Media

Keep in mind the largest users of Morse today are probably Ham radio operators, which have integrated a lot of Ham radio stuff with the internet, so I’m not exactly surprised to hear this.

(Morse used to be required for a Ham license, but I think that was removed in the last year or two).

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