[PLUG-TALK] The Telephone: Hidden History of What we Take for Granted

Keith Lofstrom keithl at gate.kl-ic.com
Sun Feb 10 16:39:09 PST 2013

On Sat, Feb 09, 2013 at 06:11:29AM -0800, Rich Shepard wrote:
>   Some of us remember dial telephones and exchanges with names; I grew up
> with the telephone number of TRafalgar 7-1186. Now the 12-key
> rectangular-layout numeric pad is ubiquitous (as are all-digit telephone
> numbers).
>   The man responsible for both the all-digit numbers and the size, shape,
> and placement of the number keys died recently. His professional life is a
> fascinating story: <http://tinyurl.com/b5tem7j>.

The reverse vertical order of phone keypad to calculator keypad
still irks me.  But I'm an oddball, I use calculators 100 times
as often as I key numbers into telephones.

Now if we could only get rid of the cutsy numbers-to-letters
substitution that some companies use for their main line.  
"1-800-I-FLY-SWA" - okay, that's easy to remember, but I must
go find a keypad with the little letters large enough to read
in order to translate it.  They must have a heck of a time
with military callers, since some of their button phones have
an A-B-C-D row (does the military use base 14?)

Ah well.  The numbered phone system is being replaced by VOIP
and URLs, so in a decade or two it won't matter.


Keith Lofstrom          keithl at keithl.com         Voice (503)-520-1993

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