Morse Code has been in use for more than 160 years in various forms of communications. It was originally designed and adapted for use in the telegraph as a simple and easy way to get messages from one point to another. In morse code each letter is made up of a combination of short and long sounds called dits and dah’s. These dits and dahs are often represented by dots and dashes when writing, although traditionally these have been interpreted as short and long tones in most practical usage. One of the interesting points about morse code is that it can be interpreted by sound, touch, light, almost in any way you can imagine to communicate ideas as long as the pattern of short and long groupings is kept.
Many people in today’s world see morse code as a thing of the past, something that is a relic of communications that is now a museum piece. I think there are many practical applications of morse code in modern communications that are often overlooked. For starters, text input on cellphones is one area that I would personally love to see a morse input method. It would be vastly simpler to tap morse on the case of your cellphone than the hunt and peck method that I currently have to suffer through. Don’t know morse? Fine, then offer the morse input as an additional option to the current number pad kludge.
Ringtones though are the area that I have been focused on. I’ve created a website at morseringtones.com that has mp3 format audio of morse code for over 9000 common names and locations such as home, work, school. I’ve also generated 27,000 morse code ringtones for various initials up to three characters. Why? Because I use them on my cellphone to identify callers. Tagging contacts with a ringtone has been a tedious and frustrating process for me. What song to pick for each person? How will I remember that for those that it’s not obvious? Not to mention the thought….. do I really want that song coming on anytime this person calls?
So, my solution was to generate morse code of the names in my contact list. It’s simple, short, easy to assign. It helps me to brush up on my recognition of the code also known as cw, which had become a bit rusty and I know exactly what my phone is beeping about, whether it has a new voicemail for me, a new text message or a call from a client. Believe me, if you don’t know it you will learn quickly with this practical use of morse in today’s society.
As I’ve worked on the project of creating these morse code mp3 ringtones I’ve also found several other innovative uses of morse code. Some of these, I think, illustrate very clearly why it should never become a relic of the past, but a useful and necessary tool for communication well into the future. One use in particular was the use of morse as a computer input for paraplegics whose only interaction with a computer can be through a puff sip tube. What of voice recognition for them then you say? There are people that cannot speak either. More often than not people tend to use the most efficient means of communication and that is perhaps why morse is not in as widespread use today as more efficient modes of communication are accessible for most of us. But it’s important to remember that not everyone has access to a keyboard to type or the ability to pick up the phone and call someone.
These are just a few ways that I think morse code is still relevant today and can remain relevant and useful in the years to come. Using morse ringtones can be a quick and easy way to restudy and recognize morse code, but beyond simple ringtones it needs to be available as an input method for computers and possibly even phones if not only for the convenience of those that understand it, but for those that have little choice but to use that as an input method due to disabilities.