Actually, when you’re asking how old someone was, note that this is a recent change. Until the mid 90’s, all area codes had a one or zero in the middle. It was easy to recognize area codes from the NXX because it always had the one or zero.
After so many new phone numbers were being ordered for fax machines and modems, they needed to expand the area codes to more numbers – they simply ran out. So you can have a middle number with anything except a 9. Even ran out of 1-800 numbers so they had to create 1-833, 1-844, 1-855, 1-866, 1-877, and 1-888.
More useless trivia about me, I was working for AT&T during this switchover.
@moonhat I’m not sure! I moved to Seattle in 1998, and wasn’t hip to much of what was happening outside the city. I think the first I heard, Tacoma & other parts were already 425, so I’m not sure when that happened.
The only part I know about the assignment was due to a technical issue, you could only divide each area code into 540 individual switching stations. So if you had a large population for a state, they were given two area codes. The first had a 0 in the middle and the second had a 1.
The reason the area code always had a 0 or 1 in the middle was to distinguish a long distance 10 digit number (7 digits + area code) from someone dialing a local 7 digit number by itself.
I would also guess 0 would have caused the most wear and tear on the old switching equipment.
And I remember when the phone company actually charged me extra for touch-tone service. It was better for their systems which used relays and was faster but they charged you for DTMF. Now that was a ripoff.
@djslack I refused to pay for SMS so I had that feature turned off by my wireless carrier. I would understand them charging for any messages that I sent but it’s unreasonable to charge for messages that I receive and I cannot control who is sending me messages.
Luckily, at that time I became a beta tester for Google Voice. I gave people that phone number instead of my wireless number and they could SMS to Google Voice and it was free.
Eventually, the wireless companies all decided to give unlimited voice, text, and data* so I turned it back on but I rarely get any SMS messages directly to my real phone number since all my contacts have my Google Voice number after all these years.
@cengland0@djslack Isn’t the (near) monopoly life great? Introduce a cost saving technology, raise the price. Introduce a free service that benefits us, charge the sender AND the receiver. Not making enough money?, add data caps.
@cengland0@djslack Also a user of Google Voice. My home phone uses it (via Obihai) and we have texts to the GV number forwarded to our cells. It works surprisingly well for free. (And FTR, I don’t give a shit if Google reads my texts - they are brief and boring.)
@blaineg I know half the answer. We chose 911 because it is easily remembered, and can be dialed quickly. Also it is a unique number, never having been authorized as an area code, or service code, so it fit the long range numbering plans and tech of the industry. Now England with 999, I don’t know.
@blaineg@readnj I heard that UK had their emergency number established first and they had infants playing with the phone accidentally dialing 999. Since the numbers are all the same, the chances were higher to dial emergency accidentally.
911 used to be marketed as dial nine - eleven. But people couldn’t find the eleven button. So they changed it to nine - one - one.
Chances are harder to dial 911 accidentally than 999. It also fits in with other X11 numbers like 411 for directory information, 211 for community services, 311 for your local government services, 511 for traffic, 611 to contact your telephone company, 711 for deaf people, 811 for public utilities.
Even 011 is used to make international calls with a calling card.
Not so sure about that. When I was a child, I remember dialing 411 for information and it was free at that time (not they charge a fortune if you use it). That was way before 911 was available.
911 was picked by AT&T to be used for emergencies in 1968 and the selection of that number was due to the prior success of 411 and 611.
I cannot remember a time in my life when you couldn’t just dial 411 for information but I do remember having to program phones with the police department, fire department, and ambulance services all separately because 911 wasn’t widely available.
I was selling telephone equipment from 1983 (right after AT&T was broken up) until 1992 and the more advanced phones had single push emergency buttons you could program. So I’m thinking even though the 911 idea was thought of in 1968, it was probably into the 2000’s before the whole united states was onboard with it.
Yup, according to Wikipedia, still only 93% of the United States could dial 911 for emergency in the year 2000. In 2017, 98.9% has access to 911. But like I said earlier, I think everyone had access to 411 information way back in the 60’s or possibly earlier but that was before my time.
Another piece of trivia I found which confirms that the UK did indeed have their 999 first.
The first known use of a national emergency telephone number began in the United Kingdom in 1937-1938 using the number 999, which continues to this day
I grew up in 914 land (after leaving 212). The area originally covered Yonkers, Westchester County, Rockland County, and up into the Catskill Mountains (NY State, so you don’t have to Google it). When they announced that they would be adding the 845 overlay and dividing the area East/West of the Hudson River, there was a big campaign for each area to keep the area code. People wrote letters and made phone calls to the phone company and local/state politicians pleading their case why their area should get to keep 914.
Eventually, Yonkers and Westchester got 914 while Rockland and north got 845. Why? Because the people in Yonkers/Westchester have more money than those across the Hudson.
@mml666 Are you sure it was due to the wealth of the people in the area and not due to the quantity of residential versus business lines or other factors? I’d like to see evidence, if you have it, that they picked Yonkers and Westchester because they have more money.
In my opinion, also not based on facts but based on logic, businesses would suffer more if required to change their phone number. They have advertisements displaying their number, stationary, business cards, etc. It is so much easier for an individual person to change a phone number than it is for a business.
Imagine you have a product and the instruction manual has your phone number to order spare parts, for warranty repairs, or for customer service. The expense to change that and/or notify previous customers of the change is huge.
So I think they would have determined how much real impact is caused in each area and make the group with the least impact change their number and let the hugely impacted are keep theirs.
@cengland0 Please do not confuse me with the facts. My mind is already made up.
What you are saying is true, however there are businesses on both sides of the river. We are talking an area of hundreds of square miles. One could have driven 2 hours from Yonkers and still been within 914 land.
I’m sure if I researched it, I would be able to find the reason for the decision. But until then, that’s my story and I’m sticking with it.
@macromeh Ha,ha, that really made me laugh. I’m going to remember that sign joke – it’s a good one.
Another piece of useless trivia (I’m full of it by the way): People call the state “Rhode Island” but that’s not it’s real name. The full name of the state is the “State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.” Of course people shortened the name because that’s ridiculous to have to repeat.