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Technology Marches On: 12 Everyday Tasks That Almost Nobody Does Anymore

NEW YORK - As technology continues its rapid evolution and growth on a near daily basis, we have found ourselves having to do less and less outside of the digital world when it comes to everyday tasks. One by one, things we used to have to do manually can now be done on a computer, or even more conveniently, from the palm of our hand via any recently-designed smartphone.

One of the things this new era of technology has deemed the most obsolete is that clunky old contraption known as the print phone directory. The mainstay of American households for over a century, in recent years phone-books have taken on a smaller and smaller role in our lives, to the point where their detriment to society has clearly outweighed their usefulness. Aside from being hopelessly out-of-date shortly after publication, there are a number of environmental factors to consider in both their creation and destruction after their admittedly short but useful life has concluded.
That said, here's a handy list of a number of activities that you may or may not have realized have fallen by the wayside in our new-and-improved digital age. While most of these changes represent a new era of convenience and efficiency, one could argue that some of them may actually represent steps backwards in our evolutionary cycle. It's up to you to be the judge.

An old beaten up phone book with, believe it or not, a phone book holder hanging beneath it. File photo: Pixabay.

In addition to many phone-book-related items, this list also includes other daily, all-too-common activities that are falling by the wayside as technology marches on. Some might read this list and grow a little nostalgic for the way things were, while others may appreciate the many advantages of technology today all the more.

1) Memorizing phone numbers

In the olden days – the olden days being the 80s and early 90s – people actually had to memorize phone numbers of their friends and loved ones, or short of that, at least carry around a small, hand-written phone book to keep those numbers within reach when they were needed. But nowadays, every cell phone has a dedicated contacts directory, and you can call anyone you know by voicing a command. That said, most people nowadays would probably have trouble telling you the phone number of their own mother or girlfriend, let alone the numbers of people they have far less contact with. While it is certainly convenient to be able to do this, one could argue that the less we use the brains, the worse off we are as a species.

2) Using a phone book to find a company to do work at your house

Modern generations, such as Generation Z and Millennials, probably don't even know what a Yellow Pages phone book is. More often than not, they regularly turn to digital alternatives, as well as websites such as Angie's List and Yelp in order to find services they need when it comes to doing work on their home. Those aforementioned websites make it easy to read user reviews and ratings before deciding to contact a given company to ensure that you're getting the best quality for your money. Today, few, if anyone at all cracks open a print Yellow Pages directory. it's straight to the internet.

3) Figuring out math in your head

This is another category that goes hand-in-hand with memorizing phone numbers. Back in the day, people used to have to add, subtract, multiply, and more within the recesses of their very own brains. Not today. In addition to the plethora of other technologies available in your smartphone, the most basic of apps they all come with is a calculator. That's right, no one has to know how to count or do any other type of mathematical activity on their own any more, and once again one has to argue if that is or is not a good thing for us as a society. With every advance in technology, there are always pluses and minuses.

4) Telling time by using the hands on a clock

Analog clocks are nearly a thing of the past. People with smartphones are buying things like wall clocks and watches and smaller and smaller numbers, mainly using them as fashion statements or – with the advent of devices such as Fitbit – wrist-worn fitness trackers. Pretty soon we won’t be seeing clocks with hands at all anymore, as a growing segment of the population wouldn't even know what they were if they saw them.

5) Having a record or CD collection

I used to have a pretty big music CD collection. Now my collection is comprised of just a couple of favorites that I couldn't bear to part with; the rest were sold to the used CD store across town. That is, I sold them after I ripped all of them to my iTunes library. Nowadays, people are using their cell phones storing their entire music collections which can be instantly retrieved and listened to at will not only through a headphone jack, but thanks to Bluetooth technology, on a number of high-end digital speakers as well, making the smartphone a truly all-in-one experience when it comes to your daily activities. With more and more storage available on even base models, you can load up your phone with a nearly endless sea of MP3 files and enjoy listening to every song you have at anytime you want. That's a lot better than having to pick out just a handful of CDs to stick in your bag for a car trip or train ride like we used to do.

6) Printing your favorite photos and making a photo album

Here's another thing that's falling by the wayside. Remember going on a trip, taking all sorts of snapshots, and then going to your local pharmacy to have all those pictures developed so you could pick out the best ones to include in a physical photo album? Those days have come and gone; again, cell phone cameras are approaching – and in many cases exceeding – the quality of many high-end point-and-shoot digital cameras, and fewer and fewer people are actually bothering to print their shots out. Instead, they are content to leave them on their phones, which serve as massive portable digital photo albums for most people these days.

7) Looking up theater or movie times through the newspaper

Remember having to look up the phone number of your local theater in your Yellow Page directory? And after doing so, calling your theater and having to listen to an endless recording of the different movies and showtimes for that day? If you don't, perhaps it's for the wasn't a very fun thing to do. But again, with the magic of smartphones, you can just simply type – or even speak – the name of any movie you're interested in seeing and your phone will provide a list of movie theaters and showtimes based on your GPS positioning. You can even purchase your tickets on your phone and have them texted or emailed to you, enabling you to skip the line at the cinema.

8) Running to the store for a last minute gift

I think just about everybody today is familiar with websites such as Amazon and their Prime program which offers free 2-day shipping – soon to become free 1-day shipping – which is perfect if you suddenly remembered your mother's birthday at the end of the week and are too busy to run out to the store and search endlessly for just the right gift. Instead, eCommerce sites offer a plethora of items at your fingertips with a variety of fast shipping options to take advantage of. No more pulling out phone books to find where stores are, or braving crowded malls and check-out lanes...instead, a few button-presses on your phone and your package will be well on its way to you. Granted, this sort of activity is shuttering a lot of local retail businesses, so you might want to think twice about doing this if you want to help support your own community. But sometimes time is a factor, and it's nice to have this option available when you need it.

9) Mailing a handwritten letter to someone

Nowadays a hand-written letter is simply a novelty and little more. With email, texting, Facebook, and a plethora of other options for staying in touch with people on a daily basis, letter-writing is seen by many as a thing of the past. It still is nice though when you want to add that personal touch to someone you are especially fond of, but otherwise it just doesn't happen much anymore.

10) Using a dictionary to see how to spell a word

With practically every program on your phone possessing a spell-checker of some sort, apparently people don't need to know how to spell anymore, either. Again, this goes hand-in-hand with knowing how to add, multiply or remember phone numbers. Like those other issues, this could certainly be seen as a negative, but there are times when you just wouldn't know how to spell a given word and it's nice to know that technology can help you from looking like a complete illiterate when it counts.

11) Making a phone call from a phone booth

I'm writing this article, and even I barely remember what a phone booth looks like. It's likely that anyone born from the early 1990’s on would even have any idea what a phone booth was, let alone what it looks like. That's probably not a bad thing.

12) Carrying cash

It seems more people nowadays are using credit and debit cards to pay for things than actual cash, but cash is still least, for now. There are more and more apps arriving on phones – such as Google Play and others – that are making even carrying around plastic obsolete, let alone paper. But while any form of payment still works these days, you're going to see that currency is going digital sooner rather than later.

As you can see, smartphones add a great deal of convenience to our lives, and while some may argue that they also can be a detriment when it comes to our personal growth and evolution – after all, it's good to know how to count, spell and memorize things – cell phones nonetheless have become a part of daily life that few people can do without. This instance, I'd say the positives outweigh the negatives. At least, that is, for now.

Instagram Allegedly Leaking Private Phone Numbers, Email Addresses of Members for Months

NEW YORK - Instagram, a photo and video sharing social networking service owned by Facebook, has come under fire recently as reports indicated that the social site had leaked the contact information of many of its users – including names, email addresses, and phone numbers – over a period of time that lasted at least four months.

Apparently the contact information for many Instagram users had been compromised hackers who had the ability to acquire information from any affected Instagram page. File photo: Pixabay.

According to data scientists, the contact information of some Instagram users was actually contained in the source code of their user profiles whenever loaded in an Internet browser, making it easy for unscrupulous individuals to access and gather it for a variety of purposes. Why such sensitive information was included in the source code for the website is anyone's guess, but it’s not considered a secure practice by any means.

Apparently the contact information for many Instagram users – but not the entirety of them – had been compromised by this issue, some of whom were minors, businesses, and known marketing brands. Hackers and scam artists would have the ability to acquire this information from any affected Instagram page, and in turn construct a database comprised of the contact details of a great number of Instagram members

Instagram released a statement regarding the issue, noting that the information that had been leaked was not considered private; it could be argued that the users who were compromised would not agree with this assessment of the situation, however, nor does the statement address why the contact information was actually contained in the source code.

"The contact information discovered in this case is not private contact information, but contact information a member of the Instagram community chose to share when converting their profile to a Business Profile," they said. "During the setup process for Business Profiles we display this information, remind people that it will be accessible to others, and allow them to update or remove the information."

According to reports, this sensitive data has already spread to various marketing companies, including one located in India that had allegedly acquired contact information of millions of Instagram users. Such use of their member’s information is against Instagram's terms of use, but it's readily apparent that any unscrupulous marketing company that is willing to engage in this type of behavior cares little for the terms of a website.

Reports indicate that phone numbers and email addresses have been contained in the Instagram source code of selected profiles for several months. The problem was reported to the Instagram tech support team in February of 2019, and was eventually rectified the following March.

In a day and age where personal information is becoming easier and easier for marketing types to find and exploit on the internet, programming and coding errors can only exasperate that problem. This is especially true when that information is relatively easy for hackers with even a rudimentary level of computer skill to obtain, such as the case with the Instagram source code. Another example of this problem involves Google, who recently admitted that it had been storing the passwords of some of their business customers as mere plain text, as opposed to an encrypted format. Practices such as these place the users of such websites at considerable risk for identity theft and fraud, and the companies involved owe it to their users to greatly enhance their security measures and to take greater care with the private information of their many millions of users.

Currently, user contact information is only available for outside viewers on Instagram if the user profile in question has selected the option for outside individuals to contact them through the website. While that is not ideal – as it still puts sensitive personal information out on the web – at least this is by choice and not through a programming and coding error that managed to slip through the cracks. And considering the fact that scraping data from a website is considered relatively easy according to experts, it's best not to give hackers and scammers and an even easier time of it than usual.

Criminals armed with a name, email address, or phone number can do untold damage, believe it or not. That information, combined with other identifying characteristics about you that could be mined from any number of web-based sources, could result in rampant identity theft that could tank your credit rating, leave you responsible for multiple expensive charges, and even more.

It's been said before, and again - in today's day and age of robust and frequent internet activity, it's best to sit back and rethink the information that you make publicly available on the web for all to see; unfortunately, most people don't tend to make this consideration until it is far too late. Just remember, if it's not something you would want a total stranger to know about yourself in real life, you probably shouldn't put it on the web, either.

AT&T, Comcast Announce Anti-Robocalling Fraud Milestone Believed to be Nation’s First

COMMACK - AT&T and Comcast announced last week that both companies have completed successful tests of new Caller ID authentication systems that are, over the course of regular use, able to verify if the phone number of an incoming call is legitimate or spoofed by utilizing digital certificates.

Before this technology is officially rolled out, a good piece of advice is to ignore calls from unknown numbers, especially if that number features the same first three digit exchange as your own; this is a common spoofing practice for robocalls, as a familiar number is one a person is more likely to answer.

TIP: By ignoring spoofed calls (not picking up), you can actually reduce the overall number of robocalls you receive in the future, as the tech behind auto dialers will tend to abandon a number that consistently fails to pick up. Also, remember to be very picky about giving out your phone number at all times, especially when it comes to sharing it online.

Top 10 Handpicked Local Yellow Pages Websites


NEW YORK, NY – It might seem like there are thousands of Yellow Pages websites out there, and that is because there probably is near a thousand of them. However, there are only a few that are well known, receive lots of traffic and actually help your website and business by being listed on them. Things that help your business are traffic, inbound web links to your site, and local citation building where your business listing information such as phone number, address, and website, match-up exactly across the web.


Below is a list of top 10 handpicked local Yellow Pages websites you will want to ensure your business is listed in. This list includes our eco-friendly Yellow Pages Goes Green as it also goes by the address




For a complete list of websites which are geared towards local citation building, see this list known as The Yext Knowledge Network (over 100 similar type sites).


Using Online White Pages Searches to Perform Reverse Phone Number Lookups

by Christopher Boyle


NEW YORK - We’ve all done it- we’ve dug into our pockets and fished out our cell phones only to realize upon swiping open the screen that we’ve missed a phone call or two; despite being certain that we had the phone on vibrate, the everyday distractions that life offers may have drawn our attention away from that vital moment when someone – or something – was trying to get in touch with us. But there are also the times that we DO notice our phones ringing and sometimes, the caller behind that ring may be originating from a number we don’t recognize. Do you answer it or let it go to voicemail? What if they don’t leave a voicemail? How do you figure out who just called, short of calling this unknown number back?


Of course, there’s a great probability that the person calling could be a scam artist out to separate you from your hear- earned money, but there’s an equal chance that it was simply a friend or legit business without any ulterior motives. Either way, if you’re just itching to know who this mystery caller was and what it is that they wanted, there are several fast and relatively easy ways to identify them with little muss or fuss.


First of all, you can go to Google and make use of a White Pages search to investigate any unknown phone number; simply type in the number and you should get instant results indicating the origin of the caller who just attempted to contact you. If the caller was from a real business or company, that number should correspond with their official website and bring it up within the first few results. If that’s the case, it’s safe to say that they’re not a scammer out to fleece you, so from there the choice is yours as to if you want to call them back.


Results for landline telephone numbers also typically come up in Internet White Page searches, as most landline users are listed in publicly-accessible phone book listings unless they purposely go out of their way to acquire an unlisted number. So, if the person who just called you is a private citizen using a landline, it’s likely that they will come back in search results as well. Again, it’s just a matter of figuring out if you know who they are and if you want to call them back at that point.


HOWEVER, if the phone number is that of a person, group, or organization that has been recognized for fraudulent and/or scam-based activity, you’re probably going to see a very different series of results when you plug their number into any White Page search., and are among the many websites that track and log the phone numbers of known fraudsters who specialize in running phone scams upon unsuspecting members of the public; if any of those sites come up – or similar ones – it’s best to count yourself lucky that you didn’t answer the phone and just move on.


Also, if you’ve discovered that your missed caller is indeed a scammer, many of the aforementioned reporting websites on such activity allow users to leave comments on their experiences with the specific phone numbers they have archived on their site. So, if you look up a certain number on one of these sites that you suspect is NOT on the up-and-up, and you notice that the comments on said number all reflect a similar trend in terms of potential scams that have been perpetrated by the caller, it’s safe to say that number is one to avoid. And if you’ve had the misfortune to have had spoken with one of these criminals yourself, feel free to add your story to the others and help people in your shoes avoid trouble down the line.


Facebook is another way to reverse lookup phone numbers for one simple reason- while traditional landline phone numbers are typically available to the public, cell phone numbers are usually considered private and are only accessible by others if the owners of said number voluntarily put them out there for others to see. Often, Facebook will request users to include their phone numbers with profile information to aid with people searches, and not all Facebook users are savvy enough to make their profiles completely private to avoid being in this list. So, if you have a missed call from a number and Google or a White Page search isn’t turning up anything, a quick cut-and-paste of the number into Facebook may turn up some results instead.


However, more often than not, you’ll get the information you’re looking for on the identity of a missed caller just by a White Pages search, and more often than not, you’ll get more than just their name in search results. You could also score their address – or, short of that, at least their basic geographical location – as well as learning the distinction between the caller’s status as a cell or landline user, and if they’re a company or an individual. From there, you should have enough info to decide on whether or not to call this unknown entity back; if not, perhaps it’s best to leave well enough alone, move on with life, and worry about more important things.

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