'The old computer' that was to blame for issues with the phone book

In Saskatoon, it was a time of more phone numbers and more problems, back in the fall of 1987.

In 1987, SaskTel planned to print a phone book supplement to deal with the mistakes

Mo' phone numbers, mo' problems

34 years ago
A Saskatoon phone book published in 1987 had dozens of mistakes in it. 1:44

It would seem it was a case of more phone numbers and more problems in Saskatoon.

In the fall of 1987, a growing number of errors were being spotted in the new phone directory printed by SaskTel.

"It's a record year for the Saskatoon phone book," the CBC's Laura Herperger explained to viewers on Midday in September of 1987.

"There are more listings than ever before, there are also more mistakes."

Herperger said those mistakes included businesses that hadn't had their numbers included, while other businesses had the wrong number listed.

SaskTel said an "old computer" was the cause of the listing-related errors in the Saskatoon phonebook that was sent out to the public in 1987. (Midday/CBC Archives)

But who or what was to blame? Technology, apparently, with SaskTel pointing to a problem "old computer" in its offices.

"The telephone company has traced the mistakes to an old computer," said Herperger. "It's had trouble accepting new software."

SaskTel was considering printing a supplementary phone book to list the businesses that were mistakenly left out of the regular one — though those same businesses wanted to see the phone company simply reprint the whole thing. 

In the fall of 1986, the latest Saskatoon phonebook had more phone numbers than ever. But it also had more mistakes. (Midday/CBC Archives)

The following April, CBC's Newsday reported that production of the forthcoming 1988 Saskatoon phone book would be delayed as those same computer problems were ironed out.

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