Thursday, November 11, 2010

Let your mouse do the walking.

A few days ago, I wrote about the demise of the rake. Now, another old-time implement appears destined to bite the dust...

RICHMOND, Va. – What's black and white and read all over? Not the white pages, which is why regulators have begun granting telecommunications companies the go-ahead to stop mass-printing residential phone books, a musty fixture of Americans' kitchen counters, refrigerator tops and junk drawers.

In the past month alone, New York, Florida and Pennsylvania approved Verizon Communications Inc.'s request to quit distributing residential white pages. Residents in Virginia have until Nov. 19 to provide comments on a similar request pending with state regulators.

So, there's one more thing in your junk drawer that will disappear. Besides, who knows anybody's phone number anymore? I don't, and couldn't tell you the phone numbers of the people in my cell phone's directory if you held a loaded gun to my head. They go in, and when the phone rings, their name comes up. When I call somebody, I look them up by name.

And a survey conducted for SuperMedia Inc. by Gallup shows that between 2005 and 2008, the percentage of households relying on stand-alone residential white pages fell from 25 percent to 11 percent. Dallas-based SuperMedia, which publishes Verizon's telephone directories, has instead focused on its yellow pages and paid advertising listings and their online equivalents.

I don't know where this is all going, but if they asked me, I'd tell them to give me a CD with the phone listings on it, and I'll load it into my PC and look up numbers that way. I use the Yellow Pages on occasion, but why do I need a bulky book in my house when I can have a thin CD? If some old-timer wants a phone book, let him pay for it or special-order it.

It will wind up in a closet with his Rolodex, handwritten personal phone book and his TV Guide collection. Let's move it along, gang.

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