(214)748-3647 Is the Most Common Phone Number in the World

This story reeks of "urban legend", so make of it what you will. But an anonymous poster at a Computer World forum writes:

Working on something this morning, I needed to know what the largest number is that can be stored in a 32-bit signed integer. A 10-digit number starting with "214". In other words, a Dallas phone number.

So, out of curiosity I Googled "214-748-3647" to see who has the number. After a handful of blogs noting the coincidence (and that it's a prime number), there are 1500+ websites with that phone number showing up. Why? Because some programmer somewhere didn't learn his lesson from Y2K, and decided to store phone numbers as a single integer instead of a string of characters, but only used 32 bits and didn't check for overflow. So any time someone enters a phone number that's larger than 2147483647, the system stores it as that Dallas number.

http://sharkbait.computerworld.com/node/2585 via Geekosystem | Photo by Flickr user nate steiner used under Creative Commons license

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