Which is upside down? Phone or number pad?

Discussion in 'Community' started by SilentPanda, Sep 1, 2004.

  1. SilentPanda Moderator emeritus

    SilentPanda

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2002
    Location:
    The Bamboo Forest
    #1
    Why does the phone pad (at least in the U.S.) look like:

    123
    456
    789

    But then the number pad looks like:

    789
    456
    123

    Anybody? It's not a joke or a trick question or anything...

    (Yeah I'm bored)
     
  2. MongoTheGeek macrumors 68040

    MongoTheGeek

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2003
    Location:
    Its not so much where you are as when you are.
    #2
    Independent evolution. The phones evolved from a dial where you pushed it so many notches and it fell back and send a fixed number of pulses down the line moving a stepper motor to change where the next wire was. It made sense to put the one first. When they went to a keypad it made sense to put the one first because it was first on the dial.

    The computer keypad came from adding machines so that people in the 70s could use the keypad just like adding machines. Adding machines evolved from old mechanical adding machines where you set the numbers with levers and then pulled a large handle down and towards you. Every position past the lever cleared advanced the gear one spot. 9 was therefore at the top so that as you passed everything. Since 9 was at the top for the old style adding machine it was kept at the top of the newer ones to keep things simple.

    All of these things evolved 100 odd years ago.
     
  3. SilentPanda thread starter Moderator emeritus

    SilentPanda

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2002
    Location:
    The Bamboo Forest
    #3
    That's... deep. :)

    I still think they should switch it one way or the other... although I guess I don't use the number pad on either much anymore... I rarely type numbers on the computer and with cell phones I hardly use the number pad for phone number input. Ah well.
     
  4. KingSleaze macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2004
    Location:
    So. Cal
  5. MongoTheGeek macrumors 68040

    MongoTheGeek

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2003
    Location:
    Its not so much where you are as when you are.
    #5
    Not much purpose in switching one to the other. They are used in different fashions for different things. I imagine that there are a few secretaries who would be glad for it but in general there is so much inertia to the systems. Both keypads have been like that for at least 30 years. Almost 2 generations of people doing it both ways. The transition would be more painful than any value you get.
     

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