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Importance of Having a Landline Phone

Nearly half of all homes in America don’t have landlines. For the younger generation, even more are foregoing antiquated landlines — 71% of people age 24 to 34 use only their cell phones. With the trend toward more Americans cutting the cord on their landline, we are seeing a corresponding increase in the safety risk.


When a 911 call is made from a cell phone, emergency dispatchers are not as consistently able to determine your location. In fact, their ability to geo-locate cell phone calls can be as low as 10% in some areas of the country. Specifically, the failure rate of a 911 dispatcher to determine the accurate location of a cell phone call is 90% in Washington D.C., 71% in Virginia, 67% in Texas, 63% in California and 42% in Colorado.

While landline calls are linked to an address in emergency response systems, the outdated technology of many 911 service providers means cell phones do not offer the rapid location data of a landline call.

As John Oliver, the popular host of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver on HBO, described on his show recently about the emergency response infrastructure, your cell phone location services are more effective with apps like Dominos Pizza Delivery or Uber than when calling 911 from your mobile phone.

During an emergency, time is critical. According to the FCC, more than 10,000 lives would be saved each year if police officers, ambulance crew and firefighters could reach callers just one minute faster. And time is being lost when emergency response personnel are struggling to identify the location of cell phone calls, especially when callers either don’t know the address where they’re calling from or cannot speak to tell the dispatcher their location.

Additionally, the GPS services on cell phones are better suited to the open highway than multi-story buildings. About 58% of 911 calls are made indoors, causing difficulty in finding the site of the emergency. While landline calls placed in multi-story apartments or office buildings have a number that provides information about the story and suite number the call is originating from, emergency calls from cell phones often do not have this detailed geospatial data, making it harder for injured people to get help.

What You Can Do About It

To address this problem in a more comprehensive way, the issue will need to make its way through Congress, through phone carrier policies and through each city’s and state’s emergency response technology infrastructure. No doubt this complex problem will not be resolved any time soon.

Meanwhile, there are actions you can take to protect yourself and your loved ones in the event of an emergency. VoIP technologies like Ooma offer a landline alternative that integrate your cell phone and your home phone into a single communications solution. Using the available emergency settings, Ooma will share your address with emergency service providers so they can easily find you or your loved ones in the event of an emergency.

The settings on Ooma’s E911 service, or “Enhanced 911,” automatically transmit your address and phone number to the emergency operator when you make a call. To confirm or change your information, visitMy Ooma and navigate to “Account,” then to “Service Address.” You can then validate your system by calling the non-emergency number, requesting permission to make a test call and confirming the address after taking the test call.

Automated Alerts to Family or Friends

In addition, when a 911 call is made from an Ooma smart home phone system, the technology delivers real-time text and email alerts to family members or friends as designated by the Ooma account holder. When leaving children home with a babysitter or having an elderly loved one at home, these 911 notifications can offer both protection for your family and peace of mind for you when you are away. Ooma users have reported that these notifications are so fast that they have been able to arrive at the scene of an emergency even before the police, fire department or ambulance.

To set up these alerts, start at the My Ooma page, navigate to “Preferences” and then “911 Alerts.” To test the functionality of these alerts, dial 6-1-1 from your Ooma phone, and a recorded message will confirm the system test. Then check your text messages or email inbox for the alert messages. Confirm that the address included in the message is accurate.

A custom message can also be configured for your email and text alerts. Users can add up to 256 characters of information specifying important details about your loved ones, including names, ages, medical conditions or medications.

Smart Home Integrations

Many of the most useful smart home products and services integrate with the Ooma Telo to provide additional safety and security for family and loved ones.

For example:

Combine Ooma and Nest to automatically turn on call forwarding when you leave the home and receive a text notification (and an option to dial 911) when smoke or carbon monoxide is detected. 

Combine Ooma and Phillips Hue, LIFX or WeMo to get alerted of incoming phone calls or voicemails visually with lights.

Combine Ooma and your iPhone or Apple Watch to be notified on your device of an incoming call or voicemail when away from home.

Combine Ooma and Amazon Echo to make hands-free calls and playback voicemail simply by interacting with Alexa.

Saving Money

Not only does switching to Ooma provide you more safety in case of an emergency, it also saves your bank account from an added expense. Each month, you would save an average of$30 per month by using Ooma for access to its enhanced emergency services and for making unlimited, nationwide phone calls over the Internet.

Consumers want a landline in the home for safety, convenience and peace of mind. They simply don’t want to pay too much for it on a monthly basis. Ooma provides unmatched value with smart home phone services that give families the protection and security they seek.

Learn more about Ooma Telo here:http://www.ooma.com/shop/

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The Most Addictive Apps Throughout the Years

People are spending a lot of time and money on smartphone apps, and the numbers may surprise you. Did you know that 85% of smartphone usage is spent on apps? Did you realize that U.S. smartphone users access 26.7 apps per month?

Here’s a breakdown of what was downloaded, how it was used and how much money was spent.

most addictive apps

Time Spent

App usage has been increasing steadily each year. In 2012, users spent on average 23 hours and 2 minutes using apps each month. This increased to 30 hours and 15 minutes in 2013, 37 hours and 28 minutes in 2014, and then jumped to 68 hours and 12 minutes in 2015.

And this time was concentrated around just a few apps. Users spend almost 4 out of every 5 app minutes within their top 3 apps.
The most popular app categories based on usage are:social networking (29%), radio (15%), games (11%), multimedia (6%), chat (6%), music (4%), retail (3%) and news/information (3%); all others amount to 23% combined.

Just a few apps gain significant market penetration as well. 70% percent of all usage is concentrated in the top 200 apps available to consumers.


In 2015, there were 50 billion apps downloaded on the Android platform and 25 billion downloaded on iOS.

The most popular apps of 2015 were Facebook (127 million unique users), YouTube (98 million), Facebook Messenger (96 million), Google Search (95 million), Google Play (90 million), Google Maps (88 million), Gmail (75 million), Instagram (55 million), Apple Music (54.5 million) and Apple Maps (46 million).

Notably, 3 of the top 10 apps are owned by Facebook and 5 are owned by Google.

In 2014, the most popular apps were Facebook (118 million unique users), Google Search (91 million), YouTube (88 million), Google Play (85 million), Google Maps (79 million), Gmail (72 million), Facebook Messenger (54 million), Google+ (78 million), Instagram (44 million) and Music, including iTunes Radio and iCloud (43 million).

In 2013, the most popular apps were Facebook (103 million unique users), Google Search (76 million), Google Play (74 million), YouTube (72 million), Google Maps (69 million), Gmail (64 million), Instagram (32 million), Apple Maps (32 million), Stocks (31 million) and Twitter (31 million).

You may be surprised that Candy Crush and other games are not included in these lists of the most popular apps. While gaming represents 11% of time spent, the category is fragmented by many popular games. Therefore, no gaming apps appear in the annual top 10 lists.


In just 2 years, app spending doubled. In 2013, spending was $10 billion, and in 2015, it spiked to $20 billion.

The average iPhone user spent $35 on apps in 2015 (including downloaded apps and in-app purchases). Gaming apps accounted for 71% of all spending. Music-related app purchases clocked in at only 10% of spending. Social networking was just 5% of spending, and entertainment was 3% of spending.

While social networking tops the charts for both downloads and time spent using apps, games are where people are spending money. The top-grossing games are: Game of War: Fire Age, Clash of Clans, Mobile Strike, Candy Crush Saga, Clash Royale, Pokémon GO, Fate/Grand Order, Candy Crush Soda Saga and DoubleDown Slots & Casino.

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Use Phone Blacklisting to Stop Telemarketers and Spammers

The majority of Americans have been frustrated by unwanted phone calls. 72% of Americans registered for the National Do Not Call Registry, but the list doesn’t always keep up with the ever-changing ways telemarketers are bypassing the restrictions to deliver their spam and robocalls to customers.

With robocalls and international dialing making it easy for lobbyists, marketers, salespeople and scammers to blanket-dial phone numbers, there is a growing assault happening via our telephones. It may seem like a dream to stop the calls from bots and spammers, but it has now become a reality.

Eric Stang, CEO of Ooma, says: “With our expanded call blocking options, we’ve given consumers even greater control over who reaches them at home, halting intruders before the first ring while safely routing allowed numbers through.”


Ooma’s smart home phone service has blocked over 36 million unwanted calls. That’s 36 million times the phone hasn’t rung and disturbed people while eating dinner, helping their kids with homework or watching a film.

Customers cite the call blocking services as one of their favorite Ooma phone features, second only to savings.

How It Works

Ooma’s robust calling blocking service includes a myriad of ways that help customers block and direct calls. More importantly, these features are continually being enhanced as new threats arise. The Expanded blacklist includes numbers from a third-party database of confirmed telemarketers, robocallers and phone spammers. These 800,000 numbers are known sources of spam. The Personal blacklist is a customizable list of numbers unique to you that blocks any number you add. The Community blacklist is a crowdsourced list of numbers built by the Ooma community. Because invasive callers are nimble, easily switching their numbers, the Community list can quickly respond to new spammers and protect everyone from these calls.

For each category, you can configure how incoming calls are treated. You can send calls to voicemail, play a disconnected message, have an infinite ring or issue a call-blocked message.

And because each household faces a different set of phone spam challenges, personal blacklists have a capacity of more than 1,000 numbers. This includes the ability to use wildcard characters to block a range of incoming phone numbers or an entire area code. In your personal blacklist, you can also block incoming calls by keyword. Perhaps you’re targeted by a political party that you don’t wish to hear from; adding keywords will prevent those calls from getting through.

Ooma Premier members can access their settings from the MyOoma page by navigating to Call Blocking under the Preferences tab. 

After your call blocking settings have been established, you’ll be able to review a list of calls that have been blocked. You’ll also be able to add or subtract numbers from your Personal blacklist.

Benefits with so many phone scams preying on the elderly, an effective call blocking service will protect your loved ones from becoming victims. Families with young children also benefit from strict enforcement of customizable call blocking features that also give customers more visibility into the calls being blocked in case adjustments need to be made. And for anyone who is seeking a greater sense of peacefulness and mindfulness in their days, preventing unwanted phone calls is a big step towards limiting distractions and creating a calm space.

Taking control of one’s own phone line and preventing unwanted calls has become a matter of personal responsibility. As telemarketers advance their technology to make more calls to more people, so too must the public advance its technology to prevent the onslaught. 

Learn more about Ooma Telo here: http://www.ooma.com/telo/.


 http://support.ooma.com/home/personal-expanded-and-community-blacklists   https://docs.google.com/document/d/18CmQ3ovfIYT5yW6SabtmcsawEmaEHqvY2IhS https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Do_Not_Call_Registry  

OOMA Telo: Your Hub for Smart Home Devices

Ooma Telo is a centralized communication hub powered by a broadband Internet connection. With Ooma you can create and enjoy a fully customized communications experience that is tailored to your specific needs based on the products and services you choose to integrate with your Ooma Telo.


Let’s break down the features and services:


Home phone: With unlimited domestic calling and voicemail, this VoIP (voice over Internet protocol) service routes your calls over the Internet using either your existing phone number or a new phone number.

Accessories to the Ooma Telo include:

  • Handset (Ooma HD2): Just like the cordless handset of a typical landline phone, but this one can be placed anywhere in the house and will connect wirelessly to the Ooma Telo and features color picture ID.
  • Remote phone jack (Ooma Linx): When you don’t have the wiring in the room where you want the phone (and you don’t have an Ooma HD2 handset), all you need is an electric outlet.
  • Wi-Fi + Bluetooth adapter: Install the Ooma Telo anywhere in your home without the need for a hardwired connection into your router.

Use your cellphone (Ooma Mobile HD App): The app lets you avoid using cell phone minutes by connecting calls using Wi-Fi or a data connection.


Smarthome Integrations Include:
Call notifications on your cell phone (Apple iOS and Android): Did the contractor call your home line instead of your cell? Keep tabs on all phone lines at once by setting up iPhone or Android devices to notify you when your phone rings at your house or when a voicemail message is left on that line. Notifications can also be sent to Apple Watch or Android Wear devices.
Voice-activated dialing: Ooma seamlessly integrates with Amazon Echo’s voice-activated assistant, Alexa. The Echo typically provides information, music, news or weather by voice command. And now a voice command can be used to call your mom or check your voicemail.


Smart home integration with Nest: By integrating with the Nest Learning Thermostat and Nest Protect, you can stay connected to what’s happening at your home while you’re away.

  • If your Nest Protect is triggered by a smoke alarm, you will receive a call or text on your cell phone and have the option to call 911 from your home phone so emergency responders can easily record your address.
  • If you are expecting someone to be at your house while you’re not there, the service can call your cell phone to alert you if they did not arrive on schedule.
  • While you’re away and the Nest Thermostat is in ‘Away’ mode, you can automatically receive any calls made to your home phone, directly to your cell phone so you never miss a connection. Ooma will service automatically switch back when the Nest Thermostat detects you’re in ‘Home’ mode again.


Google integration: Use Google’s services to manage your communications; receive notifications of incoming calls via Gmail messages, archive your voicemail messages in Google Drive and log your phone calls in Google Sheets.


Customize call notifications: The WeMo suite of devices lets you customize call notifications using connected home electronics.


Go soundless: Rather than a phone ring, your lighting can be programmed to notify you of calls or voicemails through integration with the IFTTT app and either Philips Hue light bulbs or LIFX light bulbs.


Voicemail backup: Never again will you lose that message with voicemails that are automatically backed up to cloud storage on Dropbox. You can archive old messages and scroll through new messages.


Ooma’s comprehensive integration offerings let you work with whatever smart home technology you want or already have in place.

Never fret about the call from the soccer coach you missed while you were stuck in traffic. Never again worry if you left that tea kettle on. Go hands-free with voice-activated dialing. Support communications for a growing business with plans that include up to 20 users.

Whether your communications are for personal or business use, technology integrations help you stay connected no matter where your life takes you.

5 Smart Ways for Businesses to Protect Data

Did you know that cyber attacks can cost companies millions of dollars? In fact, Business Insider found that the average cyber threat cost U.S. businesses $6.53 million. And with the “frequency and sophistication of cyber attacks” at an all-time high, don’t expect those costs to drop anytime soon.

However, you can protect your business’s data if you take these five smart steps.

Security concept

1. Know What You’re Up Against

Protecting your data starts with understanding all the external and internal risks that could affect your business. These include being aware of any vulnerabilities in your security system, understanding the motives of hackers and knowing the most common threats and schemes.

These common cyber fraud schemes and threats include:

  • Phishing and spoofing, where hackers obtain usernames and passwords through fraudulent emails and websites.
  • Hacking, where unauthorized access is granted through any accounts connected to an email or website domain.
  • Identity theft, when someone steals your name or information like your Social Security number or credit card account number.
  • Social engineering, where an attacker uses social interaction to gain information.
  • Malware threats or malicious software, which are software created by hackers to steal data.
  • Keyloggers, which will track each and every keystroke you type.

Knowing what you’re up against gives you a chance to prepare for any possible threats and have a plan in place to address them.

2. Follow the Best Security Practices

This may sound obvious, but protecting your business’s data involves following the security practices recommended by leading security experts. Robert Siciliano, CEO of IDTheftSecurity.com, recommends taking the following steps:

  • Updating and patching your operating systems, system software and web browsers.
  • Installing a firewall and antivirus software.
  • Encrypting your wireless network, drives, folders and files.
  • Restricting software and setting up administrative rights so nothing can be installed without your knowledge.
  • Using filtering that controls access to data.
  • Blocking access to restricted websites.
  • Implementing a strict password policy.

3. Train Employees

“Many breaches (including the Target breach in 2014) occur because employees unintentionally and unknowingly hand over sensitive business information to a hacker presenting themselves as a reputable person in need of information, or because they click on malicious links sent to them via email,” writes Kelly Spors on the American Express OPEN Forum.

“Supply your employees with best practices — such as using strong password protections and secure networks when working remotely — whenever they use personal devices such as smartphones or laptops for work,” Spors recommends. “Training employees on how to look for — and avoid — such breaches can protect a business from being the next victim.”

4. Minimize the Amount of Information You Store

The more data you store online, the more opportunities hackers have to steal data. Because of that, only store the most essential information online, specifically in the cloud. For example, when you store the names of your customers, don’t include each and every piece of information you have about them, such as their birth dates or Social Security numbers. If possible, limit the information to only their name and contact information.

5. Disconnect

A 2014 study from Ericsson found that the average American home has more than five machines connected to the Internet. Now, just imagine how many devices a business is running and the task of keeping track of which devices are online and which are offline.

In fact, Verizon discovered that “a quarter of the breaches were the result of hackers getting in through a machine that didn’t need to be online.” Mike Denning, vice president of global security at Verizon Enterprise Solutions, tells The Wall Street Journal that you should only have the necessary machines online.

How have you been able to protect your business’s data?


Recent Interview with Ooma Office Customer: BabyWit

Screen Shot 2016-11-02 at 12.43.32 PMOoma recently partnered with Ebong Eka (www.ebongeka.com) to interview Rosalee Rester, the marketing and production manager for Baby Wit (www.babywit.com), on Facebook Live and Periscope to learn how Baby Wit markets their business. Through the interview we concluded that entrepreneurs face the following two big challenges:

The first challenge – Reasons for starting a business.

There are many reasons for starting a business. One of the most common reasons is to solve a problem the entrepreneur currently has. Whether you hear this story on Shark Tank, Entrepreneur Magazine or at your local Small Business Administration Office, the story remains the same:

“I had a problem and couldn’t find the solution in a store – so I created it myself!”-Rosalee Rester- BabyWit

BabyWit.com was started back in 2003. Babywit.com creates quirky, eclectic T-shirts that show the world your baby has serious style. They have the largest collection of comic infant and toddler T-shirts on the Internet. Babywit.com was founded by a stay-at-home mom with a sense of humor who refused to resign herself to dressing her daughter in bland T-shirts covered in bears or other equally uninteresting creatures.

The second challenge: How do you market to your customers so they buy from you? BabyWit.com solves a problem mothers and fathers had but how do they let people know they exist?

Here are some of Rosalee’s best marketing tips for your small business to tackle the second challenge listed above:

1. “Mom – Co-ops”: Find people who love your product or service to become advocates for your business through superior customer service. Improve the experience of your current customers and they will become your greatest marketing team.

2. Your phone system can be one of your biggest customer service aids. BabyWit loves Ooma Office’s “Virtual Receptionist” feature to field customer calls like a large company would have.

3. Be receptive to trends by using social media and newsletters to reach your customers!

Overcoming those two challenges has helped BabyWit.com become a household name in the toddler e-tailer space.

Cutting the Cord in the Workplace – 5 Essential Cord-Cutting Tips for Small Businesses

Digital D-Day

Homeowners aren’t the only customers contemplating whether or not to cut the cord. Small business owners are also ditching their landlines and going wireless thanks to new wireless gadgets and mobile devices.

If you’re still on the fence about whether or not it’s time to cut the cord in the workplace, here are five essential tips to go over before making an impulse decision.



1. Review the pros and cons.

Before you make the decision to cut the cord, you should first weigh the pros and cons of cutting your landline service.

Pro: Your business will save money.

No surprise here. A landline with basic features can cost you between $15 and $30 per month. And that’s just for basic service.

Even if you bundle your phone service with your cable or Internet, you’re still looking at an expensive bill that costs around $165 a month.

There are a number of free services that allow you to make calls to anyone in the world. However, there are also VoIP services like Ooma that come equipped with features specifically designed for the small business owner. These features include everything from a virtual receptionist to conferencing, extension dialing and music-on-hold for just $19.95 a month.

Con: Quality and emergencies.

Business owners who rely solely on mobile devices have claimed that they sometimes experience sound quality that isn’t as clear as a landline. There’s also the possibility that calls can get dropped. And what if the power goes out? Your wireless device is useless — and so is your smartphone once the battery is dead.

While this is definitely a concern, VoIP companies are working on improving their sound quality. Ooma offers its patented PureVoice HD technology to deliver crystal-clear calls through your high-speed Internet. Ooma also syncs with your mobile device, so you’ll always have access to a phone no matter the circumstances.

Pro: You increase mobility.

We’ll dive more into the topic later, but when you cut the cord, you are able to increase your mobility. This doesn’t just mean having phone access when you’re out of your office, but also within your home.

Instead of having to work in a location that isn’t the most productive, you can now select a better spot for your office. This is especially true if you work from home and only have a landline in your kitchen or living room. Katie Mazzocco, founder of Full Spectrum Productivity, suggests you select “a quiet, low-traffic area of the house,” as well as “a room with a door.” Mazzocco adds, “You get extra bonus points if the space inspires and uplifts you. A sunlit room also gets extra bonus points.”

Cutting the cord gives you this opportunity.

Con: Landlines are susceptible to spam.

Even if you’re on the Do Not Call Registry, telemarketers have been able to get around this. When you’re trying to prevent distractions, constantly receiving calls from telemarketers is a nuisance.

Unlike landline providers, online phone companies and VoIP services have robust blacklisting capabilities that prevent spammers and robocallers from interrupting your workday.

2. Make sure you have the right “broadband” speed.

For you to effectively cut the cord, you need to have the proper broadband speed. The FCC suggests that this is around 25 Mbps/3 Mbps.

This probably isn’t a concern for offices located in more populated areas, but rural business owners may not have access to these broadband speeds. In fact, 55 million Americans, or about 17% of the population, lack access to advanced broadband.

If you do have access to this speed but haven’t changed your plan, make sure you do so as soon as possible.

3. Select the right services.

Do your homework when selecting services that can help your business cut the cord.

The first service to investigate is your Internet provider. Compare prices and the broadband speed that each provider offers. Don’t settle on the first offer. And crunch the numbers if you’re offered a bundle “deal.” It may sound inexpensive initially, but as mentioned earlier, it can end up costing you more in the long run.

The second service you have to consider is for your mobile devices. Again, compare limited in the features they offer, as well as sound quality. Remember, free doesn’t always mean it’s better.

4. Create a wireless office.

Michael Mehlberg, co-founder focused on technology and business development for Modern da Vinci, recommends that your office has everything in reach. “Pens, paper, computer, printer, files, research books and anything else you need to get your job done. Even the smallest hurdle can cause hours of procrastination.”

Thankfully, there are more than enough gadgets to make sure you have everything in reach, as well as keep your office organized.

These gadgets include:

5. Go mobile.

As previously mentioned, one of the greatest advantages of cutting the cord is the ability to be mobile. This means you can make or receive calls no matter where you are.

Ooma, for example, offers a mobile app you can install on your smartphone so you’ll never miss an important business call when you’re not in the office.

Have you cut the cord in your workplace? If so, share your experience with us in the comment section below.

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What Happens an Hour After Your Cell Phone Is Taken Away

The panic! The mayhem! The unthinkable reality of being without your phone!!

Our phones are intertwined in our lives, our habits and our identities. The results of scientific studies continue to demonstrate just how important phones have become to our daily lives.

The data tells us that three-quarters of phone owners use their phone at least once every hour (11% every few minutes, 41% a few times an hour and 20% once an hour.) The saying “never leave home without it” rings true, as 72% of people stay within 5 feet of their phone at all times. And our phones prompt regular attention, with people checking them on average 150 times throughout their day.



Cell phone use has even been compared to drug or alcohol addiction. After compiling information from several scientific studies, here’s a look at what the first 60 minutes of withdrawal may look like:


First 10 minutes:

  • “Extreme tech anxiety”: If you’re like 51% of people, you’ll report experiencing “extreme tech anxiety” when being separated from your phone.
  • Acute stress response: Similar to fight or flight, not being able to access your ringing phone causes an acute stress response with an increase in both heart rate and blood pressure.
  • Lower cognitive performance: Research shows that phone separation decreases your ability to perform mental tasks during exams and meetings.

More symptoms include:

  • Feelings of isolation and disconnectedness from the lack of access to friends, family and social media audiences.
  • Feeling sad, awkward, fidgety and negative.
  • Phantom phone syndrome, thinking your phone is ringing when it’s not.


After 30 minutes:

  • More anxiety: Anxiety continues to increase if you’re a heavy phone user, but for moderate and light phone users, anxiety levels plateau after 15 minutes.

More symptoms include:

  • Boredom from being without media, music and other apps (a 22% chance).
  • Confusion and disorientation without GPS or Google.
  • Heightened tech cravings when witnessing other people check their phones. This phenomenon caused by the brain’s “mirror neurons” has also been widely seen in cigarette smokers.


After 60 minutes:

  • Acknowledgement of addiction: After experiencing the breadth of psychological and physical withdrawal symptoms, the word “addiction” is widely used to describe the dependence on your cell phone.


While human evolution has shown that it is valuable to have such a strong biological response to seeing a tiger, for example, the response to cell phone withdrawal does not hold the same life-preserving function. If, in just an hour, a dramatic range of physiological and psychological symptoms are demonstrated, something’s not quite right.

In line with the increasing number of recommendations for digital detoxes and technology sabbaticals, spending an hour without a cell phone can offer insight into your own relationship with technology.


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10 Years of Using a Cell Phone – ADD, Hunchback, Insomnia, Cell Addiction

Do you remember getting your first cell phone? Whether you were 10 years old or 50 years old, this technological moment was also the beginning of a series of psychological and physical changes.

A telephone is necessary, both for safety and connection. But in a short time, our phone habits have morphed from the head tilt of cradling a wall phone handset to the forward slouch of hunching over our smartphones.




Smartphone ownership is rapidly increasing:

  • The first iPhone was released in 2007.
  • In 2011, 35% of U.S. adults owned a smartphone.
  • By 2015, smartphone ownership increased to 68% of U.S. adults.

These devices have changed our habits and behaviors:

  • 52% of smartphone owners check their phones at least once an hour.
  • 46% of smartphone owners say they couldn’t live without it.
  • 50% of teens feel they are addicted to their mobile devices.

Smartphone ownership brings with it an array of scientifically proven psychological and physiological effects that increase over time and with intensity of usage.


Psychological Effects

  1. Increased convenience but also increased availability: At first, you may notice the benefits of connectivity, like the convenience of being able to look up info on a restaurant or check in with your family. In fact, 17% of smartphone owners cite convenience as the best thing about their phone. Yet this convenience comes at a cost. Being constantly available is cited as the worst thing about their phone by 24% of owners. Because when your boss calls your cell while you’re at happy hour, that voicemail is not going to wait until Monday morning.
  2. Socially connected but lacking intimacy and closeness: The apps on our smartphones keep us connected to each other, but researchers are noticing that the quality of our interactions are changing. Rather than focusing on face-to-face engagement, cell phones at social gatherings hurt the conversation and atmosphere, according to 82% of adults. Cell phones have also become an avoidance tool, with 23% of cell phone owners admitting to using their phone in public spaces to avoid interacting with others.
  3. Altered experience of life: With high-quality cameras in our pockets, there is an instinct to catch the exciting moments of our lives. Whether it’s to remember a baby’s first word or to grab a selfie at that concert for an epic social media post, we are taking more and more photos. There are 1.8 billion digital images uploaded every single day. That’s 657 billion photos in one year. The trend to capture life moments is changing how we experience them, and research has identified that it is also changing how we remember those captured moments.
  4. Shorter attention span than a goldfish: Humans have shown a sharp decline in attention span over a relatively short period of time. Having had a 12-second attention span in 2000, we have since declined to an 8-second attention span as of 2016. A goldfish’s attention span is 9 seconds, making it more focused than the average human.
  5. Heightened sense of time pressure: Being constantly available has changed our perceptions of time. With near-constant alerts from apps, emails, text messages and social media, the speed of life seems to be quickening its pace, and the urge to respond to these notifications is interfering with offline activities.
  6. Decreased happiness: Studies have found that frequent cell phone use correlates with overall lower levels of happiness. Researchers saw that limiting students’ cell phones resulted in dramatic changes in just two to three weeks, with subjects smiling more readily at the end of the experiment.
  7. Addiction: Researchers are seeing similarities between heavy cell phone use and drug or alcohol addiction. In terms of brain activity, message notifications evoke a similar dopamine spike that leaves you wanting more. This compulsive behavior is evident in that 74% of people text while driving, even though 98% believe it’s dangerous.
  8. Dependency: Being separated from one’s devices can cause desperation and panic. The majority of adults have a fear of losing their phone, and 66% suffer from nomophobia, or “no mobile phone phobia.”
  9. Trapped by technology: Psychologists are seeing an emergence of “techno-trapped persons” who avoid in-person contact, carry themselves differently, fidget and are uncomfortable in their bodies. Excessive cell phone use directly impacts psychological wellbeing and has prompted many to start taking technology sabbaticals or digital detoxes so as to promote a more balanced relationship with technology and preserve mental health.


Physical Effects

  1. Digital Eye Strain: Americans spend on average 4.7 hours looking at their phones each day — that’s about 30% of our time awake. With symptoms including dry, irritated eyes and blurred vision, digital eye strain impacts 65% of Americans.
  2. “Text Neck”: Visualize this posture: Your head drops forward and your shoulders round or lift towards your ears. After remaining too long in this texting position, you start to feel spasms and cramps in your neck and shoulder muscles. The average number of text messages sent per month has increased from 62 messages in 2005 (back when you had three letters to a number key) to 491 messages per month in 2014. We’re texting a lot, and “text neck” has been identified as a repetitive strain injury that results from hunching over smartphones.
  3. Hand pain: There has been an increasing occurrence of hand injuries, and not the kind you get from smashing your thumb with a hammer. Curling our hands around smartphones and touch typing on screens for extended lengths of time causes inflammation, aching, cramping and tendonitis.
  4. Slouching: More than just neck pain, the posture of cell phone use affects the entire spine. Back pain is also linked to hunching over a cell phone, and this bad posture has been found to alter our mood, memory and behavior as well.
  5. Headaches: Whether it’s a dull ache at the end of the day or the sharp onset of a migraine, long hours of staring at screens leads to the known headache triggers of exhaustion, lack of circulation and eye strain.
  6. Deadly consequences: One in four car accidents are a result of cell phone use. The majority of these, 81%, occur while drivers are talking on the phone either with handheld or hands-free devices. The other 19% of crashes are from texting.
  7. Ghost phone:  Have you ever thought your phone was ringing or vibrating, only to discover that you merely imagined it? Phantom phone vibration was felt by 90% of surveyed U.S. college students, making it a very common technological hallucination.
  8. Disrupted sleep: With 68% of people sleeping with their phone next to their bed, late-night cell phone use has been known to cause people to have a harder time falling asleep. Cell phone use is disrupting natural circadian rhythms and sleep cycles, which causes more harm than just a recurring tiredness. It increases the risk for diabetes, cancer and obesity.



Because the rapid adoption of cell phone technology has altered human behavior so quickly, researchers are still discovering the physical and psychological impacts.

Current studies demonstrate overwhelming evidence of the significant impact of cell phone overuse. Although withdrawal may be difficult, putting down the screen clearly results in benefits like living a healthier and happier life.


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8 Apps That Will Save Your Office Thousands of Dollars

1Regardless of the size of your business, one of the most important responsibilities is making sure you aren’t wastefully spending money. If you are, you can be certain your business won’t succeed. In fact, poor financial management is one of the main culprits in business failures. SmallBizTrends.com released an infographic which asserted that 30% of businesses are continually losing money.

If you don’t want that to happen to your business, then it’s imperative that you know where money is coming in from, how much you’re spending each month and ways to cut the fat. These eight apps can help you accomplish all of these tasks..

1. Google Drive

If you haven’t taken advantage of this incredible file storage and synchronization service from Google, then you’re definitely doing yourself and your company a disservice. Google Drive allows businesses to create, collaborate and share files like Word documents and spreadsheets with team members quickly, conveniently and for free. However, if you need unlimited storage, you’ll have to pay $10 a month per user.

Google Drive also comes with an email address, calendar and Hangouts so you can communicate with your team while keeping them and yourself organized at the same time. Google Drive can also be accessed from any device you own (Mac, PC, Android or iOS device, etc.). Ultimately, Google Drive is one of the best ways to increase workflow within your business while not having to spend a fortune.

Rikki Ayers of Be Rad Media uses Google Calendar for scheduling. Ayers starts by creating a schedule on a whiteboard. “I usually set aside two-hour blocks for client work throughout the day, but I also schedule exercise, breaks, meals, phone calls and even housework,” says Ayers. “I’ll also enter the client work and tasks required for my own business (social media scheduling, for example) into Asana, and I schedule phone calls and appointments in Google Calendar to ensure I get notifications on my phone.”

2. Ooma Office

Want a big business phone system for your office for a fraction of the cost? For just $19.95 per month, Ooma Office provides features like a virtual receptionist, extension dialing, music on hold, call transfer, virtual tax and conferencing. You can make unlimited calls to anyone residing in the U.S. and Canada, and use the Ooma Office mobile app to make or accept calls on your Android or iOS device.

Since Ooma is so easy to set up, you can install the system yourself in just a matter of minutes — which means you don’t have to worry about bringing in a technician or being charged an for installation fee.

3. Slack

Warning: If you start using Slack, don’t plan on ever going back to email or any other communication channel you’ve used in the past. It’s just that good and effective. Slack, for those who aren’t aware, is a cloud-based collaboration tool that includes chat rooms dedicated to specific topics, private or group direct messaging, group calls and file storage. Slack has mobile apps for iOS, Android and Windows Phone users so you can communicate with everyone on your team anytime, anywhere in the world.

This messaging app is free, but if you need to upgrade, plans start at just $6.67 per user per month.

4. Trello

Sometimes you and your team need to have a collaboration tool to keep everyone on the same page, as well as assign tasks and monitor the progress of tasks. While there are a lot of project management tools out there, Trello is one of the more efficient options thanks to its use of boards. This makes the tool highly visual so you can easily see on a board the status of projects or any other updates. Information is updated in real time, and team members can receive notifications so no one will miss anything important. Trello also integrates with Google Drive, Box and Dropbox.

There is a free version, but for more robust business features, monthly plans start at $8.33.

5. Mint

Are you having a tough time creating and sticking to a budget? Then Mint is definitely a tool you need to check out. You start by inputting all your financial information, such as monthly expenses and daily spending. With this information, Mint helps you create budgets so you’re aware of where your money is going and provides advice on how to keep your finances in order. You can also automate payments and receive alerts whenever there’s any suspicious activity in your accounts. With the mobile app, you can manage your money no matter where you are.

Believe it or not, you get all of this for free.

6. Wave

If you have fewer than 10 employees and are on a tight budget, then Wave was designed specifically for you. This easy-to-use software allows you to handle everything from invoicing to payroll, receipt scanning and expense tracking. Wave also connects with PayPal and your bank account, and it offers a useful tool to find accountants in your area.

Wave is 100% free, but you can add premium services like payroll or expert help for $19 per month.

7. Toggl

Do you know how long it takes your team to complete a project? If not, your business could be losing a lot of money. For example, if projects or tasks are taking too long to complete, it may not be worth it to continue. Toggl can also help you determine when you or your employees are wasting time and leverage that data to boost your productivity.

Here’s how it works: With just one click, you track every second of your and your employees’ workdays. You can then analyze that information and view it on graphs so you can see where the billable areas are for a client or project. Divide your employees into various departments and compare productivity so you can award your Employee of the Week.

Following a 30-day free trial, Toggl offer plans at $9, $18 or $49 per month.

8. StayFocusd

“One of my favorite ‘work from home’ productivity hacks comes with the help of an app called StayFocusd,” says Lori Cheek, founder and CEO of Cheekd.

“When working from home, Facebook and Twitter can be a major distraction. StayFocusd helps avoid these distractions by restricting the amount of time you can spend on them,” Cheek says. “The Google Chrome extension lets you set specific time restrictions on certain websites with a 10-minute default option. Once your time has been used up, the sites you have selected to block can’t be accessed for the remainder of the day.”

What apps has your business used to save money?