I don't know I can't count them

12th October 2017

The other day someone said they thought my SMS (text message) might have been truncated, so I asked them how many characters they had received. They responded "I don't know I can't count them". I found this so funny I decided to write a blog post about it.

How to perform extremely basic tasks with a computer

In the 60s and 70s, people had this wonderful idea that computers could empower people to store and manipulate information, solve problems, and communicate. Then in the 80s onwards an evil force called the software industry enslaved humanity to proprietary software and steamrolled this concept into obscurity. But, like the Terminator and Jesus et al, the idea of computers actually doing what people want never really died.

Behold: Like the free bible in a hotel room, Android includes the Unix core utilities. This is a set of small utilities, designed in the 70s, allowing non-programmers to perform basic tasks with a computer.

Using wc

"wc" does not mean water-closet, that's "WC". wc in fact stands for "word count" and it can count bytes, characters, words or lines.

Long press the text message and select copy.

Start the Android terminal[1] and type:

echo 'paste between these quotes' | wc -m

WOW! amazing! such problem solve!

OK now read and obey my article "How to use Free Software" so that you never have to be a slave to proprietary software again. Proprietary software creates stupid people who can't do anything without installing some bloaty add-infested app or loading a bloaty add-infested web-page.

[1] if you can't find Android terminal type "how to enable Android terminal" in your favourite search engine. Or install Termux for a great terminal experience on Android!