Monday, April 27, 2009

Google FAIL

Today is Samuel F. B. Morse's birthday! (What did you get him? An iPhone?)

Google gave him "Google," spelled out in Morse Code! Only not. Here's a screencap:And indeed, this does spell out "Google" in the most commonly-used telegraphic and radiotelegraphic code. There is just one wee little problem with it: It's not the telegraph code Morse (and Alfred Vail) invented!

Nope. It's in International Radio Code*; what Morse invented is known as "American Morse Code" or "Railway Code." It uses a more complex arrangement of symbols, one in which O is . . not - - - and L is a longer than usual dash though not as long as the even longer dash used for for zero. American Morse has a higher symbol rate for a given "clock" speed than International but it's trickier.

But hey, Google: the "G' and "E" are right! Hurrah, you!

International Radio Code is used by many anateur radio operators, a few shipboard operators and a few militaries even today; American Morse is preserved by a largeish handful of dedicated hobbyists, including some of the few remaining ex-railroad operators. Most of the latter are staggeringly fluent in both kinds of "Morse Code" and an encounter with one of them on the amateur bands is a delightful experience. In skilled hands, telegraphy is as much a language as whatever it is you speak or sign; sadly, there are fewer of those hands with every year.

Google, at least you tried. Half a point and a chance at a retest. Next time, do your darned homework!
____________________________
* Vulgarly called "International Morse Code" or even just "Morse Code," but invented in Germany. And not by Mr. Morse.

8 comments:

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

Zing!

Hey, can you grok both American and International?

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

wv: consince - noun. the patter of a flim flam man toward a 'Mark'

Roberta X said...

Alas, I can't copy American Morse. Most of the FB OTs who can, however, cope with nternational just fine, with "accents" that sound the wy fine penmanship reads.

farmist said...

International is also used in Civil Aviation for beacon identifiers, etc.

D.W. Drang said...

I knew all that. Really I did. Ignore the evidence otherwise...

Gewehr98 said...

Now one doesn't even need to know the code for their amateur radio license. Too late, my father taught both myself and my sister nigh unto 30 years ago. She and I would stay up late at nights, with a length of zip cord between our bedroom windows, telegraph keys, batteries, and flashlight lamps blinking out silent coded conversations till late in the morning...

(How's that for weird!)

Roberta X said...

I don't think it's weird at all, G98. I think it;s kinda kewl!

Blinker code is harder for me to copy than audible code. I've heard it takes some getting used to. Hams who served in WW II told yarns about flashing out a quick "CQ" from the deck of a troop transport ship and getting several replies!

Roberta X said...

I don't think it's weird at all, G98. I think it;s kinda kewl!

Blinker code is harder for me to copy than audible code. I've heard it takes some getting used to. Hams who served in WW II told yarns about flashing out a quick "CQ" from the deck of a troop transport ship and getting several replies!