the twitter secret code book!

Your secret or not-so-secret message is

and your code book is , so what you're looking for is

Sometimes it's hard to find phrases that you can get code for since this is all from 1891. For a kick, try "the epidemic has broken out again, do not leave if you can help" or "i'm going to dinner," or use the search below to track down some phrases it knows.

Important fact!: The box up at the top translates both to and from secret code messages. It uses the hash tag #tweetcode to know that you're using the telegraph code, and knows that any longish word in all caps is code.

what is this?

Once upon a time they made code books for telegraphs - common phrases could be replaced by short, uncommon words. Instead of sending a mad expensive message, you could abbreviate parts like "when you think stock has reached about highest limit, sell all of my shares" by just using the word sereno and be done with it. The New York Times wrote about one book, The Anglo-American Telegraphic Code Book, and thought it could be fun if someone applied to Twitter.

So I did! Type in a phrase and see it translated into telegraph-speak. The telegram codes are all in caps so the translator only gets mixed up when you're pretty angry. It also gets a hash tag, because we love fun. I've put the book up for browsing over here, if you're interested.

how'd you do it?

The book came from Google Books (direct link), transcribing was done courtesy Amazon's Mechanical turk, and the rest is Ruby/Sinatra.

who are you?

I'm Soma! I live in Brooklyn and make things like web apps, cupcakes and shoes. Some other neat things I've made are an interactive singles map that guarantees everlasting happiness, a map of subway travel times in NYC and a wicked streamgraph of what everyone in Japan is doing at any given moment. You can track me down on Twitter @dangerscarf or via email at jonathan.soma@gmail.com.

i do not find "there are___ tons of ore in sight in the mine" very useful

Me either! If you're adventurous, go ahead and submit some alternative dictionaries. Huffman encode popular words, translate stuff into French, do whatever. Just make sure it has over, say, 1000 entries and is a .csv formatted as word, definition on every line. And don't worry, you can have multiple definitions for the same word.


Yeah, yeah, yeah. Just hit /encode and /decode with a POST request. the text to translate goes in a variable called (surprise!) text.