Why 2147483647 is the most common phone number

The most common phone number

We stumbled upon an interesting story today. Why is (214) 748-3647 the most common phone number on the web? One of the many reasons a good programmer is worth his salt is being able to avoid issues down the road.

You may have had an experience when submitting a form where it cut off your text upon form submission without giving any errors - but looked just fine when you actually submitted it the form. The programmer had probably defined that database field value as having a max number of characters but not done proper error checking to inform you that you were over the limit.

When databases are faced with a situation like this, they'll just cram what they can in the field and are done with it. Do you want your 5,000 character essay to fit into a field with a max of 50 characters allotted to it? Tough! It'll put the first 50 in and it's on to the next task!

The same thing happens with integers. It just so happens that many developers have stored phone numbers as a 32-bit integer value...which happens to have a max value of 2,147,483,647 (thus the phone number). If someone has a phone number "greater" than that number, it will put as high a number as it can in it's place (so 214-748-3648, or 2,147,483,648 would be stored as 2,147,483,647).

And so through a fluke of poor database design, Google now shows 285,000 results for this phone number. Yikes!

Source: http://sharkbait.computerworld.com/node/2585