Sunday, December 05, 2004

Would you like me to make the connection for you?

By the magic of technorati, I've discovered the owner of an admirable collection of facial hair discussing my old post about London Telephone Exchanges. He was wondering what the link between SMS and the exchange mnemonics was, and rather than post the most enormous comment on his blog, I've moved it here. Oh, Blogger, do kindly impliment trackback....

The link (between exchanges and SMS) is the labelling of buttons on phonedials with letters, and the use of a numberpad for alphabetic input. I've always wondered why, despite the fact that British phones are lettered, we've never adopted the American practice of using 'words' as phonenumbers for advertising. 0800-there's-no-q-or-o-on-the-old-style-dials, maybe?

Actually, I'm hacked off about STOnegrove because I live in PUTney. If I had a number on the Putney exchange, I'd be telling everyone that my number was Putney 30## with utter glee (and a sort of forced, clipped RP accent), because part of me wants to live in the 1940s.

(Actually, I suppose it's possible I live in GIBbon, but I don't give a monkeys for that exchange name, it's just not stylish enough)

I do remember Telegrams, and that strange thing they became... what was it called? Ah, Telemessages:

Did you know that you can now send an MMS, and for something like 5 quid have it delivered as a printed postcard, by post? Technology is finaly bringing itself back to the tangible...

Ooh! It turns out the exchange is Gibbon because the Decline and fall of the blah blah blah chap was born in putney. Well, I never.

1 comment:

RWH said...

Thank you, I have now made the connection.  But I still don't like the phrase the original text messaging - I realise it is shorthand but for me it does not expand into:  the origin of the layout of the letters on a cellphone keypad.

Blogger told you I had created a post that linked to your post.  Unfortunately it did not tell you that I changed the title and hence the URI soon after I created it.  I have put in a new post on the old title to prevent a broken a link.  (I shall be more careful about blog titles in the future.)

Letters O and Q were on 0 (zero) on the UK dial.  I have a couple at home and I will hold a little wake on the day that I discover that the exchange no longer accepts the pulses they send - loop disconnect dialling in geek speak.
There is at least one UK company trying to sell you word numbers - as they call them.  But I agree - their use has not caught on in this country.

My telephone pages were written in 1999 and have not been revised since.  That was before the SMS explosion and just before I got my first cellphone.  When I get round to revising the pages I shall point out the connection explicitly.
Thank you for telling me about GIBbon - that will philter through at the same time.

Geeky speak indeed!  (In your first post.)  At least all the words I used are in the dictionary.  I had to look up FOAF and GeoURL and I got the horrible feeling of living on a different planet when Google returned about a million references to each word. Geowonks however is undefined - you have (until Google sees this) created a one-word Googlewhack!  (Strictly speaking not valid under Googlewhack rules.)

Cheers, Roger