Archives For Just For Fun

As yet another holiday season rolls around the corner, WhitePages peered into the holiday habits of Americans by analyzing the billions of WhitePages searches that happen over the holidays.

Findings show that the need for companionship may weigh heavy on the hearts of many Americans during the holiday season, with searches for both dating services and pets showing dramatic spikes that rival the surge in address searches for the sending of cards and packages each holiday season.

All I Want for Christmas is a Companion

companion

With no one to kiss under the mistletoe or when the clock strikes midnight, the holidays can make single guys and gals everywhere long for companionship. Searches for dating services see an increase of 256% leading up to the holidays. In addition, many people look to friends of the furry variety during the holidays with searches for pet stores more than doubling in the weeks between Thanksgiving and December 31st.

Wild Turkey

wildturkey

While New Year’s Eve is thought of as the most raucous of the holidays, people may be just as inclined to stock up on beer, wine and spirits in preparation for the big family Thanksgiving meal. Searches for liquor stores spike more than 614% in the days before Thanksgiving, compared with 303% at Christmas and 398% on New Year’s Eve.

Order Up

chinesefood

Despite the myth that Chinese restaurants see heavy traffic over Christmas, searches for Chinese food are actually the highest between Christmas and New Year’s, when people are tired of cooking and can’t stomach another cheese plate. Searches for Chinese restaurants are highest on December 28th, at over 225% more than the week before Christmas.

The Last Minute Rush

package

People wait a lot later than you’d think to get to the Post Office. While searches for local post offices increase steadily in the weeks leading up to Christmas, they spike, by more than 210%, in the three days immediately before the holiday.

WhitePages’ Website and mobile apps also see an increase in consumers looking up addresses for friends and family during the final weeks of December, peaking with a 217% increase on Dec. 18th. The WhitePages directory is the definitive resource for consumers to confirm mailing addresses on the Web and on the go.

Those looking to avoid a stampede should steer clear of the mall as well. Queries for Nordstrom, Macy’s, Best Buy and Target all more than doubled two days before Christmas.

Drama with your Mama

familyfeud

Every family has their own drama, which tends to amplify during the togetherness of the holidays, and it may be enough to make some people sue-happy. Whether it’s contesting the family will, suing a relative or filing for divorce, searches for attorneys spike at the end of year, perhaps in an effort to finalize legal actions before the New Year.

Battling the Holiday Bulge

feast

It’s no surprise that searches for gyms go up around the New Year but it appears people stretch their gluttony past the first day on the new calendar. Searches for gym memberships actually peak on January 10th, when they’re more than three times as high as they were two weeks prior. By the end of January, gym searches normalize, hinting that Americans moved on from their resolutions.

santaThe holiday season’s not yet in full swing, but Santa Letter Week is here, the second week in November. It’s a great way to practice the art of letter writing while getting some great ideas about what the little ones in your life might want for gifts.

Yes, the Thanksgiving turkey hasn’t even been cooked and carved yet, and “Frosty the Snowman” hasn’t even been on TV for the first time this year. Many people get into the holiday spirit by taking part in Operation Santa Claus, which has been operating officially for over 100 years.

Schools, charities, civic groups and individuals may contact their local post office in early December through December 24th via the USPS website or calling 1-800-275-8777 and ask if your post office is participating in Operation Santa Claus. Groups must make an appointment to review the letters, and present a letter of introduction on letterhead; individuals do not need to make an appointment. Both groups and individuals must present a valid ID.

Typically, these letters are written by very needy children to Santa, and often the children ask for much-needed supplies for their families like diapers, “a blanket for my baby brother” or formula, as much as a toy or game for their siblings or themselves.

The letters are coded; once you’ve selected your letter(s) and shopped, wrap and return the packages ready for mailing and the package will be coded to the letter. You, as one of Santa’s “elves,” are responsible for postage.

You may be aware of other ways to give in your community,from food banks to soup kitchens to “giving trees” at local places of worship. Everyone can play “Santa” in their own way–what’s yours?

If there’s one thing I’ve learned this summer it’s this, “start before you’re ready”. Which makes it ironic then, that I’m writing this after my internship has technically ended. The problem was, I wasn’t sure what to write about and I was also really busy shipping to production. I could have quickly written at length about the endless office snacks, the Razor scooters or the incredibly comfortable egg chairs here at the office. But from what I’ve heard, these are pretty standard fair for elite Seattle tech companies, and they’re the type of thing that doesn’t really matter in the long run. What matters to me is community, education and excellence, three values I found everywhere at WhitePages.katie chair

This summer was my first computer science internship, having only discovered the field late in my college career, as is not uncommon for women. Like Nick wrote in his intern blog, WhitePages gave me an interview when many other companies said only, “see you next year”. Even before accepting my offer, I was connected with my team and a mentor, Owyn Richen. After accepting I was in weekly correspondence with Owyn. That winter I had decided to tackle Rails for a personal project, and he helped me work out model-data organization and possible offline storage solutions. I was taking a Databases class, and he explained how the SQL v. NoSQL v. NewSql question is answered at WhitePages, which was incredibly cool to see how my coursework applied in the real world. During my internship, Owyn checked in with me almost every day, “How’s it going, what can I help you with, when are you shipping?” Even though he used Emacs, he created a fast-paced and safe learning environment.

Owyn wasn’t the only one at the company eager to help me learn and ship. When I submitted my pull request at least five people reviewed every single line of my code, which, although incredibly nerve wracking, helped me learn more about Ruby in day then I might have otherwise in a year. It also proved that WhitePages was serious about excellent code.

The commenters were all people I had met before or would soon meet at one of our twice-monthly company happy hours. The happy hours were a great place to learn more about the tech industry in Seattle, make friends with my coworkers, ramble with Devin Ben-Hur about databases and pester the design people to do a caricature of me. Katie character

In addition to the happy hours, I had another opportunity for growth at the Intern Coffee Chats. At these meetings, the interns were given an hour to talk with the leaders at WhitePages. We met with the CEO, CFO, CTO, CRO and team leaders to talk about everything from career paths to SnapChat’s business model. WhitePages takes advantage of its small size to educate all engineers about the business. At least twice this summer the Mobile team business leader gave a presentation about the plans for our products and impact on company business as a whole. All engineers were in attendance and asking tough questions that made me realize they really cared. As a new programmer, it set a great precedent for me: I was given a very challenging back-end project, but I was also responsible for understanding why the project was important and what impact it would have. Furthermore, I was expected to give an hour-long presentation about it!

A year ago, the longest time I’d talked about a computer science project was five minutes, and the longest I’d worked on a project, was five hours. Now, thanks to the encouragement and opportunity at WhitePages, I’ve spent three months writing and shipping a high quality service in a new language. I learned how to use Chef for dev-driven deployment and how Lucene indexes work. Most importantly I’ve connected with mentors who will influence me my whole career. Next month, WhitePages is sponsoring me, a former intern, to attend the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing. When I’m there I’m excited to share what I’ve learned, “Start before you’re ready. And consider starting at WhitePages.”

grandparents

Do you have memories of Grandma making “the best” pancakes on Sunday morning, or your grandpa helping you learn to ride a bike or being the first one to ask: “Who wants ice cream?”

And if you’ve got kids, they might be making some of the same memories with your parents.

Grandparents Day is today, September 8th. So why not give them a call and tell them why they’re special. Don’t have their number handy? Use our app to find their number – and make their day!

backtoschool1When the end of summer rolls around, kids might be glum because school is starting, but some parents are equally anxious, because the start of the school year means the stress and hassle of shopping for the clothes and school supplies.

If you’re a parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle, you may have experienced the “back to school shopping meltdown”. It goes something like this:

You’re in the shoe store with your kids, and you’ve agreed to get the shoes they’ve had their heart set on, but the store doesn’t have size you need.

In years past, we’d brace ourselves for a tantrum – the kid’s, or maybe your own because how…many… stores do you have to go to in order to get the shoes that fit??

I have vivid memories of my own mom having a near nervous breakdown in the middle of a mall at the beginning each school year, trying to find everything on the list for four little girls.

But now, you can shop smarter: With the WhitePages app, you can search for other nearby stores, find their numbers and call them to check on what they have in stock before you make the trip crosstown (or even across the mall).

Can’t find a clerk and the shelf is cleared of the uniform shirts on sale? Use the app to search for nearby sporting goods stores, and call them before you go. And check the price – you might find an even better deal!

Only a half-inch binder will do for third grade science? Forget about cruising aisle after aisle looking for that needle in a haystack—a quick search of office supply stores on WhitePages will give you options.

Some schools require wallet-sized photos for school or medical records. Quick—snap a shot of your dearest one while you’re thinking of it, and upload it to the photo center of nearby drugstore (that you’ve found on the WhitePages app) so you can pick them up on the way home.

My poor mom. If she’d had the WhitePages app, instead of flipping out, she’d be doing back flips.