A long time ago (1985) in a faraway land (Germany) lived a man named Friedhelm Hillebrand. And he had a question: Just how many characters does the average person need to communicate?

Care to guess what the answer was?

Fast foward nearly a quarter-century and you can still see the fruits of Hillebrand's labor. Text messaging is as popular as ever (and often used more on phones than voice calls).

Anyhoo, the L.A. Times has a neat piece on Hillebrand and the birth of text messaging, as well as what the old guy's got up his sleeve next. Check it out.

Why Text Messages are Limited to 160 Characters