Friday, October 7, 2011

The pound sign V the hash key.

a telephone key pad with the hash key/the pounds sign below the 9.
I first went to America when things were changing in communications. They hadn't quite started the dreaded menu system on the phones in Britain but arriving in America I was dropped in to getting used to it; it might have started at the same time in Britain I don't know but arriving in the so called New World I was confused.
I managed to get a few contacts on the way; on the flight over I met James Woods' manager's next door neighbour. Think that one through. The neighbour was one of the female flight attendants and would 'put a good word in for me.'
I also chatted people up in Dan Tannas, a show business bar and restaurant, and Ben Franks another show biz restaurant. But when I called their numbers there was a strange sound from the other end. I know what I didn't do now but it's too late; James Woods' manager had to make do with looking after James Woods instead of me.
Of course it was the bloody menu and the fact that they changed the exchange in Los Angeles from 213 to 213 and 310 – just accept that bit.
At the time it was not cool to have a cell phone or a mobile phone; the only guys who had them were chauffeurs, the crew or the extras. Important people just did not carry one and would rely on their acolytes who were in tow.
It's much the same now but some important people have them – Barack Obama.
People relied on their answer phone and called in to hear their messages and I remember asking someone how they did this and they said 'I press hash, star, star, hash!'
What were they talking about?
Well star was * and hash was # on the keypad.
Memorise all of the above.
When I opened a bank account in America with Wells Fargo Bank I could call in a get my balance and they would say 'please dial your password followed by pound.'
I knew what they meant; I knew what they by pound they meant the hash key!
My apartment was number 508 – in other words #508.
Over there they call it the number sign or the pound sign – I think the pound, by the way was for LB pounds; in weight – I'm not sure but I think so (see later; I was right).
So ever since then I have thought of it as the pound sign; I mean I lived in America so why not?
But now I noticed , being back here, that the British still call it the hash key and the Americans still call it the pound sign – or the pound key or . . . . the number sign.
So what a to do??
Let's go to Wikipedia:
Here's what is says under hash:
Hash key can have several meanings.
  • For its use to describe the key on a telephone keypad, see number sign.
  • For its use in data base and cryptographic applications, see hash function.
Hey – if I'm not confusing you I'm certainly confusing myself!!
It goes on to say
Number sign is a name for the symbol #, which is used for a variety of purposes including, in some countries, the designation of a number (for example, "#1" stands for "number one"). The symbol is in Unicode as code point U+0023 #​ number sign (35decimal); it is also present in ASCII with the same value.
In Commonwealth English, the symbol is usually called the hash and the corresponding telephone key is called the hash key. In American English and Quebec English, the symbol is usually called the pound sign (outside the US, this term often refers instead to the British currency symbol“£”) and the telephone key is called the pound key. In Canadian English, this key is most frequently called the number sign key. Beginning in the 1960s, telephone engineers have attempted to coin a special name for this symbol, with variant spellings including octothorp, octothorpe, octathorp, octotherp, octathorpe, and octatherp; none of these have become widely accepted.
In many parts of the world, including Australia, Canadian, French, Russia, and parts of Europe, number sign (or equivalents in local languages) refers instead to the numero sign (“No.”).
The symbol is easily confused with the musical symbol called sharp (♯). In both symbols, there are two pairs of parallel lines. The key difference is that the number sign has true horizontal strokes while the sharp sign has two slanted parallel lines which must rise from left-to-right, in order to avoid being confused with the musical staff lines. Both signs may have true vertical lines; however, they are compulsory in the sharp sign, but optional in the number sign (#) depending on typeface or handwriting style. Thus, only the number sign may have an italic appearance.
Now isn't that clear? Doesn't it clear everything up?
Look at the second line it is also present in ASCII with the same value – does that look like hash? No.
It goes on:
Mainstream use in the US as follows: when it precedes a number, it is read as "number", as in "a #2 pencil" (spoken aloud as: "a number two pencil").
In the United States and Quebec, the symbol is traditionally called the pound sign or the number sign. The pound name derives from a series of abbreviations for pound, the unit of weight. At first "lb." was used; however, printers later designed a font containing a special symbol of an "lb" with a line through the verticals so that the lowercase letter "l" would not be mistaken for the numeral/digit "1". Unicode character U+2114 (℔) is called the "L B bar symbol", and it is a cursive development of this symbol. Ultimately, the symbol was reduced for clarity as an overlay of two horizontal strokes "=" across two forward-slash-like strokes "//". Keith Gordon Irwin, in The Romance of Writing p. 125, says: "The Italian libbra (from the old Latin word libra, 'balance') represented a weight almost exactly equal to the avoirdupois pound of England. The Italian abbreviation of lb with a line drawn across the letters [℔] was used for both weights. The business clerks' hurried way of writing the abbreviation appears to have been responsible for the # sign used for pound."
In Caanada (except Quebec), the symbol is traditionally referred to as the number sign. Major telephone equipment manufacturers, such as Nortel, have an option in their programming to denote Canadian pronunciation, which in turn instructs the system to say "number sign" to callers instead of "pound sign." This same option causes the system to say "zed" instead of the United States' "zee" for the letter Z
Isn't this easy now you know?
Let's go back and look up hash!!
Its says this (and I know you are still interested):
A hash function is any algorithm or subroutine that maps large dats sets to smaller data sets, called keys. For example, a single integer can serve as an index to an array (cf; associative array). The values returned by a hash function are called hash values, hash codes, hash sums, checksums or simply hashes.
Hash functions are mostly used to accelerate table lookup or data comparison tasks such as finding items in a database, detecting duplicated or similar records in a large file, finding similar stretches in DNA sequences, and so on.
What the . . . what????
Let me leave you with one thought:
The square on the hypotinuse of a right angled triangle is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides.
I was taught that in my very first maths lesson and I knew I would have an opportunity to use it one day!!
Aren't you glad you read this today – aren't you really glad?
By the way – hold down the alt key (below the x) now type in whilst still holding down alt key type 0163 and what do you get - £ of course. The real pound sign.

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