Resiliency on top of unreliability
When telegraph usage was ramping up in the world there were two big problems for adoption—cost and reliability. To solve the problem of high cost many companies created codes that would compress a message into the lowest cost possible. The lowest cost was sometimes the shortest amount of characters but not always. Compression also helped with being able to communicate faster but that was a side affect. Messages could be encoded at one end and decoded on the other to convey a lot of information. One example I found from a theatrical code book was the word “Filander” which translated to “are you willing to appear in tights.”
As telegraph lines got longer there was another problem of how to make sure the message was correctly received. Not only could there be encoding errors but without repeaters data loss could happen regularly at long distances. In order to validate messages checksum letters were added which made the message longer but it was still cheaper than sending it twice.
That story reminds me it’s possible to build reliable systems on top of unreliable technologies. Packet switching networks and TCP/IP is another great example. By assuming an unreliable connection the creators were able to design very robust communication.