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A system for dialing numbers on a phone that requires you to dial the area code for every call you make. It makes sense for those in large cities, where one's next door neighbor may be in a different area code. Making the area code non-optional has several advantages:
  • never again hearing the lamest pre-recorded message ever invented, "I'm sorry, a 1 is not required when dialing this number."
  • not worrying about whether the person who gave you their phone number didn't give you the area code because they incorrectly thought you were in the same one.
  • not having to change your dialing habits when you're at work in a different area code

In short, it's definitely a feature in cities with multiple area codes. Orthogonal systems are good. It's probably a bug in places where a single area code covers tens of thousands of square kilometers.

This is also a recent phenomenon in Portland, Oregon. As is stated in the 503 writeup, the 971 areacode was overlaying the 503, forcing Portlanders to dial ten digits instead of seven. I recently talkeded to an interesting man who had an idea about, get this, eight digit dialing, wherein:

Instead of an area code to proceed all phone calls, if it's in the local area code, you just hit '*' on the phone, which, in (if you actually buy what he's saying) computer terms means 'here'. He cited the advantage that all area codes could add another million extensions, because you could therein dial *000-0000.

This guy was a little whacked, though, and also heralded the benefits of switching from base 10 to base 8, or octal. He said the government could save 10 billion dollars.


The moral of this writeup is that ten digit dialing is a pain in the ass, and you shouldn't talk to crazy guys who walk around Borders wearing a hard-hat, and claim to have written the fastest sine and cosine functions in the world.

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