Wednesday, April 18, 2007

We're Sorry: Telephone Company Apologies

One of my more quirky pastimes is a little game called "phone scanning". It's sort of like radio frequency scanning for interesting police/fire/ambulance traffic, which is probably only slightly less nerdy than phone scanning. So if you're still not with me, it's also a lot like surfing the net or channel surfing.

Anyway, the point is that some people like searching for cool web pages, I like to search for cool phone numbers. In the U.S., phone numbers are 10 digits NXX-PRE-XXXX. The first 3 numbers (NXX) make up the area code; the next 3 (PRE) are the local exchange or prefix; and the last 4 digits are technically referred to as "therestofthenumber". Now with 10000 numbers per prefix, your thinking "what a waste of time". And I would say something like "too-shay". I would also say that phone companies have made it pretty easy to find interesting phone numbers because they set aside a block of numbers in each exchange. This is usually in the first or last 100 number of an exchange (0000-0100 or 9900-9999).

So what can you find? Mostly telephone company apologies (Doo-Daa-Dee! We're sorry! Blablabla...). Great to give to people you don't really want to have your number (think webpages and "super saver" shopper card applications). There are also some telco test numbers that can be used to test homemade telephone interface equipment, like phone patches. But mostly they're just for "gee isn't that cool". Without further ado, here are some of the lastest finds (*** are my favs).

509-946-0040 - "Due to telephone company facility trouble..."
509-946-0017 - ***"Your line has been temporarily disconnected..."
509-946-0041 - "Your call did not go through"
509-946-0013 - "We cannot process your custom calling request..."
509-946-0043 - ***"The call you have made requires a coin deposit..."
509-946-0074 - "Your presubscribed or dialed long distance company no longer..."
509-946-0072 - "It is not necessary to dial a 1 or 0..."
509-946-0075 - "A long distance company access code is required..."
509-946-0032 - 1000 Hz test tone
817-284-7847 - 300-3000 Hz tone sweep (thanks to AOH)