Hyperallergic’s An Xiao features highlights from a new collection of digitized telegraph code books, available on N. Katherine Hayles’s website How We Think. The selections explore the sociological implications of compressing information for communication purposes by looking at early examples of code:
Whenever we zip up a file and send it through the web, we’re compressing data. Part of the theory behind lossless compression is that redundant data gets compacted meaningfully, so that they take up less space but can still meaningfully be re-opened to their original, pre-compression state. It’s a simple strategy that saves time and energy, and, if you’re counting the number of megabytes you can spend on your account, you can save a little money too.