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8 Phone Booths of The Future (Of the Past)

New York phone booths, once ubiquitous across the city, will soon be no more. On Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced plans to replace every pay phone in NYC—there are around 8,400—with WiFi hotspots. Each of these slender kiosks will provide free Internet access for up to 250 devices, and will also allow users to make gratis domestic calls via cell phones connected to the network.

The city hopes to eventually install 10,000 of these pillars, none of which will offer a sliding glass door, coin tray, or dangling chained phone book. The phone booth as we know it is on its last legs, but its death has been in the works for decades. The following inventions sought to either replace, improve upon, or merely repurpose the shell of classic phone booths.

1. Video Conference Booth

Phone booths looked to be a thing of the past as early as 1930, when The New York Times teased the development of a revolutionary new "sight-sound television system" that was a precursor to video chat. The paper explains:

"Suppose that a transcontinental wire or radio circuit is in use and a person in New York wishes to speak with a friend in San Francisco by television so they can see each other. They step into television-telephone booths which are about the size of an ordinary phone booth. They turn in swivel chairs and face the screen, about a foot square. The faces are rapidly scanned by a mild beam of blue light which reflects from their faces to the photoelectric cells and give rise to the current which transmit their image to the distant booth."

2. Chore Booth

In 1960, Westinghouse announced a new technology that would connect a house's appliances to a "dial control" system that would let you call in orders from any phone booth. As the Times explained, “One can sit down in a Los Angeles phone booth and cook a steak, wash the laundry, defrost the refrigerator, or switch the lights on in a New York apartment."

The future is someone turning on the gas range by calling the wrong number and burning down your house.

3. Phone Booth Vending Machine

This patent application, filed in 2010, wanted to turn pay phones into vending machine-hybrids that would dispense products while offering telephone service.

The inventor theorized, "pay phone[s] today [are] obligated by law regulations for providing and enabling accessibility of emergency calls as necessary public service to all people..Mobile phone made pay phone service neglected. Pay phone[s] must offer additional service to the market to provide answers market is demanding."

Make a phone call on your mobile device without eating a Twix, or make a phone call in a phone booth while eating a Twix. The choice seems pretty obvious.

4. Family-Style Restaurant Multi-Media Booth

This behemoth wanted to combine restaurant and phone booths, add "satellite TV, cable, broadcast TV, computer programs and gaming, internet access," and then connect them with other similar booths to "promote high quality video conferencing dining." If it sounds expensive, don't worry—"the cost for videoconferencing can be reclaimed in the price of the food and/or beverages." You mean to tell me this cheeseburger costs $39.99 and you'll broadcast video of me eating it? Yes, please!

5. Phone Booth That Charges Cell Phones

This Chinese invention is the result of seeing a market trend and then providing the very first solution that comes to mind. "The utility model provides a mobile phone charging function [in] public telephone booths, to solve the problem of low utilization of public telephone booths the rise."

It's worth noting that the kiosks New York plans on installing will feature charging stations for mobile devices.

6. Wireless, Booth-less Pay Phone

It's a pay phone, but without a wire. The patent application provides no more information, nor does it answer questions like, "What's to prevent people from walking away with the pay phone?" and, "Where do the quarters go?"

7. Drive-Thru Phone Booth

While not the most prescient idea at the time, had this 1992 invention that combined combustion engine-powered travel with tethered land lines come out in the '50s, it would have been all the rage.

8. Nitrogen Tire Inflation System

This proposed use for old phone booths makes sense, although it's doubtful New York City would want to convert 8,400 decommissioned pay phones into nitrogen dispensers.

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13 Tricks and Tips to Get the Most Out of Google Maps
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It’s hard to imagine life without Google Maps. Memorizing routes and printing out driving directions seems like a distant memory in a world where a detailed map of any location is available at a moment's notice. Still, you could be using it more. Google’s popular software is packed with secrets, tricks, and Easter eggs beyond what you might expect. Ahead of the popular tool's update later this year, here are 13 ways to get the most out of Google Maps, from one-handed use to offline location tracking.

1. CHECK WAIT TIMES AT YOUR FAVORITE RESTAURANT

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Before you head out for dinner, use Google Maps to see if you’re about to waste an hour standing in line. Just search for the name of the restaurant on your desktop browser or in Google Maps for iOS and Android. Then, scroll down to the Popular Times chart and select a specific time. There, you'll see how long the wait usually is at that time and make your plans accordingly.

2. SEE HOW STEEP YOUR BIKE RIDE WILL BE


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There’s nothing worse than unexpectedly hitting a big hill while riding your bike. Next time, plug your route into Google Maps and ask for biking directions. You’ll see a graph that shows the steepness of each part of your trip and be able to avoid those big inclines in the future.

3. ADD MULTIPLE DESTINATIONS TO YOUR TRIP

Google Maps typically defaults to simple point-A-to-point-B for directions, but it’s easy to add an extra stop to your trip. In a browser, press the “+” icon under your destination. On Android or iOS, tap on the three horizontal dots in the top right corner to pull up a menu and then select “Add stop.”

4. TRAVEL THROUGH TIME WITH STREET VIEW

Street View is a fun way to explore neighborhoods all over the world, but it’s also a treasure trove of old photos. Just launch Street View in your browser and click on the clock-shaped icon in the top left corner. From there, you can browse through all the pictures Google’s taken over the years for any specific spot.

5. MEASURE DISTANCE

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If you’re using Google Maps in your browser you can easily measure the distance between any two locations. Right click somewhere on the map and select “Measure Distance.” Then, click anywhere else to see how far away it is.

6. USE GOOGLE MAPS WITHOUT AN INTERNET CONNECTION

If you’re traveling and you know you won’t have any internet, you can download a map of the area ahead of time. Pull up that location in Google Maps on your phone. Then, open the settings menu and select “Offline maps” to save it. When you arrive, you’ll be able to view the map without any service and even track your location thanks to GPS.

7. SEE YOUR ENTIRE GOOGLE MAPS HISTORY

Google Maps tracks you everywhere you go, and you can pull that information up whenever you want. Head to this website to see a detailed map of all the places you’ve ever been. If that creeps you out, you can also click on “Manage Location History” to switch this feature off.

8. ZOOM IN AND OUT WITH JUST ONE FINGER

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Pinch-to-zoom works fine most of the time, but if you only have one free hand it’s not that easy to do. Thankfully, there’s another option that only requires one free finger: Tap twice on your smartphone screen and then hold your finger down on the spot you want to get a closer look at. Google Maps will zoom in, and from there you can adjust the scale by sliding your finger up and down.

9. REMEMBER WHERE YOU PARKED YOUR CAR

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The next time you park your car, boot up Google Maps and tap on the blue dot that shows your location. When a menu pops up, select “Set as parking location” to leave a marker on your map for later so you can easily find your car when you’re ready to leave.

10. TURN THE STREET VIEW ICON INTO A UFO

If you want to have a little fun with Pegman, the yellow Street View figure, just search for Area 51 in Google Maps. Then, grab the man-shaped icon and hover it over the map to make him transform into a flying saucer.

11. SHARE YOUR LOCATION WITH FRIENDS

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If you’re meeting a friend, this feature makes it easy for them to track you down. Open Google Maps on iOS or Android and pull up the options menu (located in the top left corner) and select “Location sharing.” From here you can decide how long to reveal your location and who to share it with.

12. MAKE A LIST OF YOUR FAVORITE SPOTS.

Google Maps makes it easy to store all your favorite restaurants (or parks or book stores) in one spot. Tap on a location and hit “Save.” Then, select “New list” and give it a name. Now, you can add new locations to your existing lists. You can also share lists with friends, and they’re even accessible when you’re offline.

13. CHECK OUT SKI ROUTES.

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Google Maps has information on almost 100 ski routes from across the United States and Canada. Head to this webpage to start planning your next ski trip.

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The 25 Most In-Demand Job Skills Right Now, According to LinkedIn
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Looking for a new job? Depending on what line of work you’re in, you may want to brush up on your technical skills—or learn some new ones. LinkedIn recently released a list of the 25 most desirable skills for 2018, and it’s clear that many employers are on the lookout for people with experience in computing, web development, and software and data engineering.

LinkedIn analyzed data from its member base of more than 500 million people to determine which skills are most needed by employers, according to Business Insider. The thousands of individual skills that can be found across member profiles were grouped into overarching categories (iOS, for instance, would go under the mobile development umbrella). Next, LinkedIn analyzed hiring and recruiting activity during an eight-month span and “identified the skill categories that belonged to members who were more likely to start a new role within a company and receive interest from companies.”

Here’s the full list:

1. Cloud and Distributed Computing
2. Statistical Analysis and Data Mining
3. Middleware and Integration Software
4. Web Architecture and Development Framework
5. User Interface Design
6. Software Revision Control Systems
7. Data Presentation
8. SEO/SEM Marketing
9. Mobile Development
10. Network and Information Security
11. Marketing Campaign Management
12. Data Engineering and Data Warehousing
13. Storage Systems and Management
14. Electronic and Electrical Engineering
15. Algorithm Design
16. Perl, Python, and Ruby
17. Shell Scripting Languages
18. Mac, Linux, and Unix Systems
19. Java Development
20. Business Intelligence
21. Software QA and User Testing
22. Virtualization
23. Automotive Services, Parts and Design
24. Economics
25. Database Management and Software

Many of these skills can be learned from the comfort of your home via online classes that are available on platforms like Udemy, Coursera, edX, and Lynda. While it couldn’t hurt to know these hard skills, 57 percent of business leaders surveyed by LinkedIn said soft skills are even more important. Those tend to be more universal across careers, with leadership, communication, collaboration, and time management being identified as the most crucial soft skills to have in 2018.

If you’re ready to start learning a new skill but don’t know where to start, check out this list of 25 ways to learn a new skill quickly.

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