In the US telephone numbers can be expressed as a combination of digits and characters. The digits 2 - 9 each have three characters assigned to them.
This allows businesses (and individuals) to have a phone number that is easy to remember. For example, in Pittsburgh, PA, there is a chain of Chinese restaurants. All of its phone numbers end with RICE, which is the same as 7423, but much easier to remember.
The digits 1 and 0 do not have any corresponding characters. In addition, letters Q and Z are not on the dial.
US telephones contain both the digits and their corresponding characters on their dials. However, telephones in most other countries do not. This may make it impossible for someone outside the US to call a US company if all he has is a phone number containing one or more characters.
Numchar and phdecode are programs that allow anyone to convert a phone number to the corresponding character sequence, and to decode a character number into its respective digits.
Numchar creates all possible combinations of digits and characters for a given phone number (or several phone numbers). To use it, type numchar followed by the phone number or numbers. You can type it as any combination of digits and characters. You may also use the * and # characters that appear on all new US telephones.
If you type anything other than alphanumerics, or * and #, numchar will interpret it as a digits separator and replace it with a dash (-). If you use the letters Q and Z, numchar will print a question mark (?) in their place.
Use a blank space, or tab, to separate the numbers on the command line. If you wish to use a space inside a number, surround the number with ASCII quotes (").
This will produce the following output:
3456: 3456 345M 345N 345O 34J6 34JM 34JN 34JO 34K6 34KM 34KN 34KO 34L6 34LM 34LN 34LO 3G56 3G5M 3G5N 3G5O 3GJ6 3GJM 3GJN 3GJO 3GK6 3GKM 3GKN 3GKO 3GL6 3GLM 3GLN 3GLO 3H56 3H5M 3H5N 3H5O 3HJ6 3HJM 3HJN 3HJO 3HK6 3HKM 3HKN 3HKO 3HL6 3HLM 3HLN 3HLO 3I56 3I5M 3I5N 3I5O 3IJ6 3IJM 3IJN 3IJO 3IK6 3IKM 3IKN 3IKO 3IL6 3ILM 3ILN 3ILO D456 D45M D45N D45O D4J6 D4JM D4JN D4JO D4K6 D4KM D4KN D4KO D4L6 D4LM D4LN D4LO DG56 DG5M DG5N DG5O DGJ6 DGJM DGJN DGJO DGK6 DGKM DGKN DGKO DGL6 DGLM DGLN DGLO DH56 DH5M DH5N DH5O DHJ6 DHJM DHJN DHJO DHK6 DHKM DHKN DHKO DHL6 DHLM DHLN DHLO DI56 DI5M DI5N DI5O DIJ6 DIJM DIJN DIJO DIK6 DIKM DIKN DIKO DIL6 DILM DILN DILO E456 E45M E45N E45O E4J6 E4JM E4JN E4JO E4K6 E4KM E4KN E4KO E4L6 E4LM E4LN E4LO EG56 EG5M EG5N EG5O EGJ6 EGJM EGJN EGJO EGK6 EGKM EGKN EGKO EGL6 EGLM EGLN EGLO EH56 EH5M EH5N EH5O EHJ6 EHJM EHJN EHJO EHK6 EHKM EHKN EHKO EHL6 EHLM EHLN EHLO EI56 EI5M EI5N EI5O EIJ6 EIJM EIJN EIJO EIK6 EIKM EIKN EIKO EIL6 EILM EILN EILO F456 F45M F45N F45O F4J6 F4JM F4JN F4JO F4K6 F4KM F4KN F4KO F4L6 F4LM F4LN F4LO FG56 FG5M FG5N FG5O FGJ6 FGJM FGJN FGJO FGK6 FGKM FGKN FGKO FGL6 FGLM FGLN FGLO FH56 FH5M FH5N FH5O FHJ6 FHJM FHJN FHJO FHK6 FHKM FHKN FHKO FHL6 FHLM FHLN FHLO FI56 FI5M FI5N FI5O FIJ6 FIJM FIJN FIJO FIK6 FIKM FIKN FIKO FIL6 FILM FILN FILO
This is useful when you want to find a way of expressing an existing phone number into an easy-to-remember text string. In this case, FILM is a good word.
It is also useful to test a potential number before accepting it, to see if it may be used to ridicule you because it happens to combine into an undesirable phrase.
For example, you definitely do not want your number to be 328-7448. If you do not believe me, type:
numchar "328 7448" | more
and search for EAT-SH, then look at the 14th matching line...
This program works just like numchar. In fact, it is a symbolic link to numchar (under Unix), or simply numchar renamed phdecode.exe (under Windows).
The only difference is that it will only give you the digits of a phone number.
phdecode "BSD Unix"
The output will be:
BSD Unix: 273-8649
This is useful when you want to get a new phone number and want it to be both easy to remember, and have some relationship to who you are or what you do.
It is also useful when you want to dial a phone number which contains alphabetic characters, and you do not have a phone with chacters on its dial.
You can download numchar from the unix directory of ftp.whizkdtech.net.
If your system is Unix, type make to build the executable for numchar. Then install it to wherever you keep your executables (typically, /usr/bin/ or /usr/local/bin/).
Next, create a symbolic link to
ln -s numchar phdecode
Under Windows, use your favorite C compiler to compile numchar.c to numchar.exe, then create a copy named phdecode.exe:
copy numchar.exe phdecode.exe
Copyright © 1999 G. Adam Stanislav. All rights reserved.
Numchar is released under BSD type license. See the source code (numchar.c) for details.