On Thu, Mar 29, 2001 at 12:26:46PM +0200, Philip Newton wrote:
> Chris Benson wrote:
> >     (XXXX) YYYY-ZZZZ 
> Wouldn't that be rather wasteful? After all, population is distributed

What are you wasting?  Numbers?  What is the cost of extra numbers?  
Some people in small places have to type 8 digits instead of 3.
People in more populous places dial 8 instead of 7 AND DON'T HAVE TO

> unevenly. You have some cities with lots of inhabitants, and then you have
> rural areas with a much smaller population density. Does that mean that in
> rural areas, you (a) have an area code covering a *huge* area, or (b) waste
> lots of phone numbers? As I see, it's one or the other.

But you end up with the situation we've current got - everything is a 
special case:

* London (after 10? 12? years) back with 1 code (01 -> 0[78]1 -> 01[78]1
-> 020) .

* Variable length area codes means a lookup table containing every code 
because the system doesn't know what's area and what's number ... and 
that table being consulted at every digit.
> Having short prefixes with many digits for big places and longer prefixes
> with fewer digits for small places seems to make sense to me. It's how

But it doesn't make for simple/fast/scalable computer programs :-(  

* And when more numbers are needed because of the new business park/housing
estate/... ??   Have you never heard messages like:  "You have called an 
invalid number,  4 digit numbers starting with 5 now have a 62 on the front, 
4 digit number starting with 4 now have 52 on the front,  5 digit numbers 
starting with 2 now have a 7 on the front ...".  Stamford Lincs. has
had several such changes, when I worked there the local printers loved
it: an extra Christmas every other April.

> However, USA and France seem to be doing all right with fixed-length numbers

The US numbering plan worked well for ~50 years, but is now showing signs
of stress: number exhaustion, overlapping area codes, and others.   They are 
looking at alternatives: 4/3/4, 3/4/4, ...  but also appear to be mired 
in UK-like short-termism.

Think ahead, think big: Vint Cerf was thinking big in the late '60s
with 32 bit IP addresses and got it way too small.  He backed 128 bit 
IP addresses in the early '90s.

> And all this has what to do with Buffy?

Keep awake at the back there!

Try dialing "Northumbria Police" on a number pad, it seems a lot 
like the 8uffy code mentioned in another thread :-)  (Using capitalisation
to denote 0/1 bits: oNe BiT eAcH lEtTeR = 010 101 0101 010101 = 01010101,
01010101 = "UU").

Chris Benson

Reply via email to