Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Numbers We Need

For a while when I was a kid we lived in a very small town. The phone numbers there only had four numerals and when you picked up the receiver you'd hear someone say, "Operator," then you would state the number you wanted to call. That was in the late 1940s. Back then most places already had two letters and a number before the four digits in each phone number.

And I remember reading somewhere that phone prefixes used letters because they believed most people couldn't remember more than five numbers in a row.  Now we use all numbers, also have a three digit area code, and need to dial "1" before that to call out of our own areas. We must have become smarter, right?

Also when I was a kid, zip codes didn't exist. Sometimes we'd get letters addressed to the same street and house number in a city with the same name as our town in another state. Apparently the people who sorted the mail would sometimes confuse Cal with Fla. (We used three letters for states back then. ) Having zip codes has prevented a lot of confusion.

Just a few decades ago I would never have imagined being able to remember web addresses that started with http://www. and went on to include several words. My own blog address, would have seemed impossibly long.

Maybe we really have become smarter than we used to be.

I'm glad we no longer have to type in all of that for every web address or our brains would become so full of gibberish that in a few more decades there wouldn't be room for anything else.

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