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Last Updated: Sunday, 9 May, 2004, 13:49 GMT 14:49 UK
How text messages changed my life
By Dan Collyns
BBC News Online

Instantaneous, mobile, global. There is no denying the power of text.

Ever since mobile phones became de rigeur, sending text messaging has rarely been out of the news.

James Trusler and his fiancée, Komila Chandra
Text-mad: James and Komila both work for Vodafone Australia
It was perhaps only a matter of time before this hip form of communication created its own stars - famous not for the content of their texts but for how they send them.

One such star is James Trusler - a 30-year-old from Sussex - who is the world's fastest texter.

Speaking with an Australian twang after six years of living in Sydney, he talks at a similar speed to his own texting.

And that is fast - he has recently broken his own world record by a huge margin.

Upwardly mobile

He has been confirmed world text champion by the Guinness Book of Records since September 2002, when he was crowned Australian Champion.

He then beat the then Finnish World champion, knocking almost a minute off his time of two minutes 58 seconds with his own time of two minutes six seconds.

If I wasn't texting my life would be totally different
James Trusler

Not satisfied with that time he went live on Australian television in September last year and shaved another minute off his own record.

He had to type: "The razor-toothed piranhas of the genera Serrasalmus and Pygocentrus are the most ferocious freshwater fish in the world. In reality they seldom attack a human."

He typed the message in just 67 seconds without using predictive text or text jargon.

BBC News Online caught up with him waiting with his fiancée Komila Chandra at the departure lounge at Heathrow Terminal Four.

"I've been texting for about eight years", says the self-confessed textaholic.

Once I went to Sydney for two or three days and during that time we sent around 2,000 text messages
James Trusler

"I send about 2,500 text messages a month. Once up to 4,000."

Mr Trusler works for Vodafone as a mobile phone network engineer which might explain why he doesn't run up a huge mobile phone bill.

"If I wasn't texting my life would be totally different - using my mobile phone is how I got my job, met and communicated with my fiancée - it's everything to me".

The joy of text

His amazing thumbs - you should see him in action - have attracted the attention of technophiles from around the globe.

The engineer has now set up his own website, jamestrusler.com, offering would-be contenders for his record an array of texting tips as well as an SMS speed tester.
James Trusler and his fiancée Komila Chandra
The couple who text together stay together

"The feedback I have got back from my website has been excellent.

"Because text messaging can often be a very positive thing.

"It opens up a lot of doors for people romantically who perhaps are a little bit more shy.

"They might go to the movies and text each other and there are a lot of people who are having long distance relationships. Texts can help a lot.

"It's a lot cheaper than making phone calls".

Text is the future

Both James, who comes from Shoreham-on-Sea, West Sussex, and his 26-year-old fiancé are permanent residents in Australia. They met while working at Vodafone about three years ago.

They both travel regularly around the Pacific region on business and are now living in Fiji where Mr Trusler has been posted and Ms Chandra originally comes from.

"Once I went to Sydney for two or three days and during that time we sent around 2,000 text messages", he confessed.

Text competition
How long does it take to text
"Fiji - paradise of the Pacific"?
James's Trusler - 14.5 secs
Dan Collyns - 47.3 secs

I couldn't resist the challenge of a quick texting competition at our meeting. Needless to say he soundly thrashed me.

He texts with two hands and doesn't need to look at the keypad of his Sony Ericsson T630.

But surprisingly he doesn't play computer games, can't touch type and says he's not naturally good at spelling.

As a child he preferred playing football and roller hockey rather than Nintendo.

With their fascination for all things technical, Mr Trusler and his fiancée seem well matched.

"We share a real interest in technology and gadgets", Ms Chandra said.

"And we like to go to the cinema where James puts his phone on silent rather than switching it off.

"I think texting is just going to grow and grow .

"It's a part of daily life - even in Fiji!"




SEE ALSO:
Father and daughter's SMS lifeline
23 Apr 04  |  Technology
Fingertips 'read' text messages
22 Apr 04  |  Technology
Are you a text addict?
06 May 04  |  Your Comments
Young 'prefer texting to calls'
13 Jun 03  |  Business
It's the w**d on the s****t
18 Dec 98  |  UK News


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