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The most common telephone number in the world?

An electronics design engineer has discovered the reason why at least 1500 companies share the same telephone number.

While trying to establish the largest number that could be stored in a 32bit signed integer, he eventually came up with a 10 digit number. The inquisitive designer put the number ('214-748-3647') in a search engine and thousands of websites appeared, all apparently sharing this telephone number.

According to the designer, it seems a search engine programmer chose to store telephone numbers as a single integer rather than a string of characters, but only using 32bits and without checking for overflow. This means that every time someone searches for a number larger than 2,147,483,647, the system stores it as that number!

Chris Shaw

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