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January 23, 1998

The Numbers Game

One of the handiest resources in The Post newsroom is the reverse phone book -- a hefty volume that lists phone numbers in simple numeric order, allowing you to see who belongs to what number and where they live. But if you don't work at a newspaper (i.e. you are sane), you can perform this same magic at AT&T Labs' AnyWho site. Click on the "Reverse Tel" link, enter all or part of a number -- it even translates those 800-CALLNOW phrases into their numeric equivalents -- and you get the name and address of the person or business that matches. A "Map This" button sketches out the surrounding area, or you can click on a street name to see the phone numbers along it (note: bad idea if the street in question is Connecticut Avenue). As with most phone-directory sites, the data is at least six months old, so that, for instance, only my old home number shows up -- perhaps a good thing, since this site could be a stalker's best friend. But I suspect its biggest use will be a little more mundane: Curious singles can punch in the phone number they got last night to scope out their would-be date's neighborhood.

– Rob Pegoraro

Copyright © 1998 The Washington Post Co.

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