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U.S. Navy adjusts to the times; ditches its ALL CAPS message format

By Ed Payne, CNN
updated 4:45 AM EDT, Thu June 13, 2013
Communications between U.S. Navy ships will no longer be uppercase, the Navy announced.
Communications between U.S. Navy ships will no longer be uppercase, the Navy announced.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The move will save the Navy more than $20 million a year
  • Using all caps is like shouting in current Internet protocol
  • The Navy has been using all caps since the 1850s

(CNN) -- Well, it seems the U.S. Navy finally got the memo: DON'T USE ALL CAPS! IT'S RUDE!

The Navy is switching to a new messaging system that's cheaper and more efficient.

And oh yeah, one that does away with a century-old practice: communications using all uppercase letters.

"Lowercase messages are here to stay; they provide a more readable format," a Navy news release said, citing James McCarty, the naval messaging program manager at U.S. Fleet Cyber Command.

The all-caps were a vestige of a bygone era.

Back in the 1850s, the teletype machines that the military used were made up of three rows of keys -- none of them lowercase letters.

Word of the change went out to all naval commands in April. But it didn't reach the rest of us until the news release this week.

In it, the Navy said it is ditching its in-house Defense Message System in favor of e-mail. One with a very apt acronym: NICE (Navy Interface for Command Email).

The switch will save the Navy $20 million a year. And it gets them caught up with current Internet protocol.

ALL CAPS READS LIKE YOU'RE BEING SHOUTED AT.

Old sea dogs may feel differently. But they have a couple of months to adjust.

The system won't fully be in place until next year.

Once it is, naval officers will no longer feel like they're being barked at.

Except, of course, in person by their superiors.

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