Time was before the days of "smart" phones when it was standard to be able to sync your contacts between your computer and your phone, and possibly even your SMS messages and calendar. Been doing this since my first digital Nokia in 1994.
It was always a bit flakey and dependent on having the right cable and on the phone manufacturer (usually) providing software to run on the computer (PC or Mac). There were some third party utilities that worked as well and were generally better than the phone makers' offerings which tended to be clunky at best.
When I switched from PC to Mac a few years ago the fact that there was a built in bluetooth and by then most phones came with bluetooth meant that the whole thing could be done wirelessly - there was a commercial piece of software called BluePhone Elite which was pretty good, and Apple's own built in iSync worked fine for contacts.
A couple of years ago I briefly flirted with a "smart" phone from Sony as a free upgrade from O2 but pretty rapidly put it on ebay and went back to using a proper phone. I'll rant separately about the ills of "smart" phones, the issue concerning me today is Apple's abandonment of sync facilities altogether unless you are a true Apple disciple and believer in the iCloud.
It started with the deprecation of the underlying sync-services module in the Mountain Lion release of OSx, but at least iSync still worked.
Then with Mavericks they dropped sync services altogether expecting everyone to use their cloud. Thus iSync stopped working and suddenly there was no longer any way of syncing anything other than other Apple devices. I didn't notice at the time since my Nokia dumb phone (a 2720 - excellent little phone) didn't support the Bluetooth profiles needed for BluePhone Elite to work so I had simply given up syncing - a bit of a nuisance as it meant occasionally manually updating new phone numbers into the Mac contacts and vice versa.
However the trusty and much loved 2720 recently ended up in a French ditch, so I have had to source a new phone. Luckily I found my wife's old Alcatel OT-668 - another small flip phone (a style that I find the best) with all the required facilities.
First task to clear out her contacts and upload my own. At this point I fire up iSync and get an error message. A quick web search reveals the sorry tale - iSync is no longer supported by Apple.
Apparently the outcry had been sufficient for them to quietly reinstate sync services in the 10.9.3 release of Mavericks - but not to make iSync work again.
Fortunately the Alcatel PC Suite does still work on Windows 7 so I should be able to use that on a work laptop.
I am more and more convinced that my next computer when this Macbook dies will not be made by Apple. The are just as much arrogant tossers as the people who used to run Microsoft.