You can't send a telegram anymore:
"Western Union delivered its final telegram last Friday, ending a 150-year service whose technology, in its time, astonished the world every bit as much as the internet does today."http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,70147-0.html?tw=rss.index
An interesting article, but I wonder if telegrams are still being used in the developing world. Fifteen years or so ago, the Indian railways were still using mechanical telegraphs and Morse code, so I could imagine telegrams might still be common in some places.
Alas, I've never sent a telegram! I love this statement from Western Union: "Effective January 27, 2006, Western Union will discontinue all Telegram and Commercial Messaging services. We regret any inconvenience this may cause you, and we thank you for your loyal patronage."
Inconvenience! Ha ha! Apparently Western Union posted this announcement on their web site. I can imagine some technologically archaic person in some isolated region is relying on telegraphs somehow, and will discover this news by word-of-mouth.
“Consumers eager to send a singing telegram, one of many Western Union innovations, would have to look elsewhere, the company said.
“Strictly speaking, the telegram -- by definition, a message sent by telegraph -- died a long time ago. In the mid-1960s, Western Union began sending its customers' messages wirelessly using microwave radio beams instead of wires strung on poles.”
“Western Union declined yesterday to disclose the contents of the company’s final message.”
“Probably the shortest telegram ever sent dates from the 19th century - attributed both to Victor Hugo and Oscar Wilde and thereby perhaps apocryphal - and sent from Paris to a literary agent in London. The writer sought news of the sales of his latest book and the agent replied that sales were doing very well. The message was simply '?' while the reply was an equally perfunctory, but equally informative ‘!’.”