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A Number For Everything 598

jtcampbell writes: "Whilst reading the Times today I found this article about a U.S. government idea to give everyone a unique 'ENUM,' that serves as a universal phone number, email address, and fax number. Quite a cool idea, but will everyone adopt the standard? besides, i thought we left numeric email addresses with compuserve a few years back. And remembering these 11 digit numbers could be fun ..."
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A Number For Everything

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  • by Zeinfeld ( 263942 ) on Monday September 03, 2001 @09:06PM (#2249390) Homepage
    Its much bigger than just the US govt, they have a very minor role here. This is an IETF/ITU thing
  • by Anonymous Squonk ( 128339 ) on Monday September 03, 2001 @09:10PM (#2249401) Journal
    Instead of 11 numbers, you could use just four kanji characters to cover the spread. And you get the added benefit of learning Japanese or Chinese in the process!
  • by mwillems ( 266506 ) on Monday September 03, 2001 @09:21PM (#2249443) Homepage
    This way, when you give someone your phone number you are giving them your social security noumber, tax number, medical identity, etc.

    The problem with that is that it opens you up to two things: abuse and honest mistakes. Both for obvious reasons would be real problems.

    Example. The credit agency in Canada seems to think I owe BMW money for a car. That is long gone (when the lease ended, I sold that car and bought a different make). Still, it's well neigh impossible to get that off the record. Now imagine everyone had that info!

    And another example. I recently changed medical insuramce companies at work, and that needed an AIDS test. Negative, I am happy to say. But if it had not been: if all these systems had been tied together (as they will be soon, with one number) that information would quite easily have got back to the bank, or the employer, etc.

    I think we need to be very careful indeed with systems that make it easier for people bad or good to track us and what we do.

  • by CliffSpradlin ( 243679 ) <> on Monday September 03, 2001 @09:21PM (#2249444) Journal
    Does anyone else have deja vu? (THE PRISONER TV SERIES)
  • The Times. (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 03, 2001 @09:27PM (#2249466)
    That's not The Times [], that's The Times of London []. Please do not confuse the Grey Lady with her dismal foreign imitators.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 03, 2001 @09:37PM (#2249497)
    Do not fear the loss of your precious karma since you are speaking the truth. We have been living in a time of Satan for many years now ever since the evil Social Security Administration started branding children with their unique marks. You cannot work without a social security number.. the mark of the beast's administration. This is the primary reason all fellow Christian soldiers must be diligent and protect their rights to bear concealed weapons in order to protect our families from the devil government. When the time comes we will unleash a torrential firestorm against the wicked politicians and cleanse their foul stench from the planet with their own bodily fluids.

    Yea, I think it goes something like that. After we're done with the devil's government it's on to those bastards at TRW and Equifax.

    Ooh man, I bet I'm setting off those Echelon alerts up the ass with this post. :-)
  • by Squeeze Truck ( 2971 ) <> on Monday September 03, 2001 @09:38PM (#2249498) Homepage
    No need for four of them. A good Chinese dictionary (I mean the biiig ones) has 60,000 characters.

    60,000^3 = 216 Trillion combinations.

    Chinese people typically have 3-character names. A one-character family name and a two-character first name.

    So all we really need to do is give everyone on Earth a unique Chinese name! And since the characters might be hard to remember, you can tattoo it on their foreheads so the won't forget it.

    I know Southern Baptists especially will just love this idea!
  • by papa248 ( 85646 ) <> on Monday September 03, 2001 @09:43PM (#2249510) Homepage

    What about changing your number? With regular phone numbers and email addresses you can change them if you get too many prank phone calls or too much spam.

    Of course not! This way you can always be spammed, AND Microsoft can always keep track of you!
  • by fishbonez ( 177041 ) on Monday September 03, 2001 @10:11PM (#2249591)
    Prisoner: "Where am I?"

    Number Two: "In the Village."

    Prisoner: "Who are you?"

    Number Two: "The new Number Two."

    Prisoner: "Who is Number One?"

    Number Two: "You are."

    Prisoner: "What do you want?"

    Number Two: "Information."

    Prisoner: "Well, you won't get it!"

    Number Two: "By hook or by crook, we will."

    Prisoner: "I am not a number, I am a free man."

    Number Two: (laughs)

    Someone had to post it. I figure since I used to actually watch "The Prisoner" it's not entirely out of line. First it starts with the "Dr. Who". Next think you know you're watching "The Prisoner" and "The Avengers". That damn anglophilic PBS.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 03, 2001 @10:26PM (#2249627)
    18: Here is wisdom, Let him that have understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six. (666)

    This could be loads of fun if they just started numbering people from 1 instead of using a proper key. It'd mean somebody would wind up with 666. Maybe we could hack the system so that it winds up going to Falwell. :)
  • by dido ( 9125 ) <dido AT imperium DOT ph> on Monday September 03, 2001 @10:40PM (#2249665)

    I remember reading an old Peanuts comic strip (bless Charles Schulz's memory), where Charlie Brown and Lucy meet a kid whose name is '5'. He explains that his parents gave him and his sisters ('3' and '4') names as numbers as a protest of sorts. Then Charlie Brown muses that what if everyone had numbers for names, and thinks that he'd have 3.1416 as his name...

    Just a silly thought...looks like your government is insisting that everyone have numbers for names. :)

  • That's funny. I had this argument with my Systems Design prof that went something like this:

    Prof: So, of these fields for the employee database, which would you use as the primary key: SSN, LAST_NAME, FIRST_NAME, or STREET_ADDRESS?

    Me: None of the above.

    Prof: Oh? The main requirements for a primary key is that the field be unique, and that the field not change. The SSN seems to fit that bill doesn't it?

    Me: No, not everyone has a SSN.

    Prof: This is an *employee* database. Of course they're all going to have SSNs.

    Me: But these are not in anywway guarnteed to be unique or not change.

    Prof: Oh, you're just talking silly things. Of course they're not going to change or be unique.

    Me: Do YOU trust the government that much?

    Prof: Stop being ridiculous.

    So, you see... I *was* right!!! Heh.

  • by Squeeze Truck ( 2971 ) <> on Tuesday September 04, 2001 @12:07AM (#2250037) Homepage
    True story:

    When I worked at Packard Bell tech support, my friend got a call from a woman who was distraught that her AUTOEXEC.BAT file was exactly 666 kilobytes. My friend had her edit the file and add


    to the end of the file. Did a DIR and checked the filesize -- 682k (or something like that.) Problem solved. The woman said "thank you" and hung up.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 04, 2001 @12:50AM (#2250161)
    it will be mine. oh yes, it will be mine.
  • by Pablo_El_Diablo ( 324874 ) on Tuesday September 04, 2001 @01:19AM (#2250219) Homepage
    is it possible to pre order 666 for my number?
  • by Zeinfeld ( 263942 ) on Tuesday September 04, 2001 @10:12AM (#2251166) Homepage
    I don't know about other European countries, but the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg has a Social Security Number System which uniquely identifies you

    Since the entire population of Luxembourg is only 35 the devising of such a scheme can hardly have taxed the inventor.

  • by cicadia ( 231571 ) on Tuesday September 04, 2001 @04:35PM (#2252738)

    Thank you for your input, Slashdot user #202465.

    Your sentiments have been duly recorded for posterity in comment #2251343.

"An organization dries up if you don't challenge it with growth." -- Mark Shepherd, former President and CEO of Texas Instruments