TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Unlisted Phone Number

Re: Unlisted Phone Number
8 Mar 2007 14:38:21 -0800

> [TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Obviously, in the early days of DDD,
> Bell gave directory assistance for free as a drawing card, fully
> expecting to get the 'real call' afterward.

The free long distance information was also to save them time. In the
pre-DDD days of the 1950s and earlier, it was common for people to
call by city and person, i.e. "Long Distance get me John Jones in
Kansas City". The long distance operator would have to call KC D/A
first to get his number, then ring up Mr. Jones himself. Obviously
they wanted to free the operator from that first step and encouraged
people to keep a distant callers name and number, including the new
area code. If someone didn't know the distant number, they could find
it out for themselves, again, saving an operator's time.

I think today if you were to try to place a call by name they'd do it
for you but charge you a special fee "Information via Operator charge"
and it is not cheap ($2.50-$5.00). Indeed, if one checks modern
tarrifs operators now charge a few bucks for many services once free
(ie verification of a busy line, breaking in for an emergency call,

Bell always used to encourage "In an emergency dial 0" and operators
were trained to take down the details if necessary and pass them on to
the police. Not anymore, they push 911, they don't want their
operators involved in that anymore. I wonder if the current phone
books even say to dial an operator for an emergency. They really
discourage it.

On Mar 8, 1:18 pm, Rick Merrill <>

> The addresses that and others have do not come from
> the telephone directory and therefore they often list "unlisted
> numbers."

Those web services are inaccurate. What troubles me is that lay
people take them for gospel. (Recently the Inquirer published college
profs saying Wikpedia is NOT an allowable/authorative reference source
for papers; though many people think it is.)

On those sites I am listed with a phone I disconnected in 2001. I am
not listed with my present phone. Actually I am, but my name is
spelled wrong so a name look up won't find me.

I got upset when a distant relative called me and complained "I had a
tough time finding you, your phone is not listed." I replied that my
phone is and always has been listed in the phone book. She said
"well, it wasn't on the web."

There's a heck of a lot of crap on the web and ordinary consumers
don't know it.

Another example is these automatic routing programs from map services.
I know several people who ended up on dead-end streets in high crime
neighborhoods because the mapgen thought it was an on-ramp and it
wasn't. There are many streets on official maps that don't exist in
reality -- they were planned but never physically put in or deleted.
The mapgens don't know it. They also can't tell the difference
between a through street and an alleyway and route people wrong.

But it amazes me that otherwise intelligent people use these functions
and thing because they came from the computer/web they're perfectly
reliable. (Why they can't look themselves on a road map I don't

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