US gov't supports single point of contact number
TR reader NoDak pointed me to this article on a proposed electronic numbering system (ENUM) that could potentially allow access to a person's telephone, email, and instant messaging through a single number.
The specific ENUM standard, known as E.164.arpa, translates telephone numbers into Internet addresses and vice versa. For example, the telephone number 1-202-555-1234 would be expressed as an Internet address as 18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.0.2.1.e164.arpa. Users would be spared typing all this out as Web browsers or advanced phones would likely automate the process.
Proponents say ENUM will simplify communications as one point of contact could be routed to a telephone, an e-mail inbox or a fax machine, depending on the application. The standard would also allow users to access Internet services through a telephone keypad.
In theory, it sounds like a pretty good idea, but enthusiasm for the project could wane if people start getting called on their cell phones with offers for herbal Viagra. I'd imagine that collect calls from Nigeria should be easy to block, though.