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Tag Archives: office

To fight the scourge of open offices, ROOM sells rooms

Noisy open offices don’t foster collaboration, they kill it, according to a Harvard study that found the less-private floor plan led to a 73 percent drop in face-to-face interaction between employees and a rise in emailing. The problem is plenty of young companies and big corporations have already bought into the open office fad. But a new startup called ROOM is building a prefabricated, self-assembled solution. It’s the Ikea of office phone booths. The $3495 ROOM One is a sound-proofed, ventilated, powered booth that can be built in new or existing offices to give employees a place to take a video call or get some uninterrupted flow time to focus on work. For comparison, ROOM co-founder Morten Meisner-Jensen says “Most phone booths are $8,000 to $12,000.   The cheapest competitor to us is $6,000 — almost twice as much.” Though booths start at $4,500 from TalkBox and $3,995 from Zenbooth, they tack on $1,250 and $1,650 for shipping while ROOM ships for free. They’re all dividing the market of dividing offices. The idea might seem simple, but the booths could save businesses a ton of money on lost productivity, recruitment, and retention if it keeps employees from going crazy amidst sales call cacophony. Less than a year after launch, ROOM has hit a $10 million revenue run rate thanks to 200 clients ranging from startups to Salesforce, Nike, NASA, and JP Morgan. That’s attracted a $2 million seed round from Slow Ventures that adds to angel funding from Flexport CEO Ryan Petersen.  “I am really excited about it since it is probably the largest revenue generating company Slow has seen at the time of our initial Seed stage investment” says partner Kevin Colleran. “It’s not called ROOM because we build rooms” Meisner-Jensen tells me. “It’s called ROOM because we want to make room for people, make room for privacy, and make room for a better work environment.” Phone Booths, Not Sweatboxes You might be asking yourself, enterprising reader, why you couldn’t just go to Home Depot, buy some supplies, and build your own in-office phone booth for way less than $3,500. Well, ROOM’s co-founders tried that.

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Net neutrality activists, not hackers, crashed the FCC’s comment system

An unprecedented flood of citizens concerned about net neutrality is what took down the FCC’s comment system last May, not a coordinated attack, a report from the agency’s Office of the Inspector General concluded. The report unambiguously describes the “voluminous viral traffic” resulting from John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight segment on the topic, along with some poor site design, as the cause of the system’s collapse. Here’s the critical part: The May 7-8, 2016 degradation of the FCC’s ECFS was not, as reported to the public and to Congress, the result of a DDoS attack. At best, the published reports were the result of a rush to judgment and the failure to conduct analyses needed to identify the true cause of the disruption to system availability. Rather than engaging in a concerted effort to understand better the systematic reasons for the incident, certain managers and staff at the Commission mischaracterized the event to the Office of the Chairman as resulting from a criminal act, rather than apparent shortcomings in the system. Although FCC leadership preemptively responded to the report yesterday, the report itself was not published until today. The OIG sent it to TechCrunch this morning, and you can find the full document here . The approximately 25 pages of analysis (and 75 more of related documents, some of which are already public) relate specifically to the “Event” of May 7-8 last year and its characterization by the office of the Chief Information Officer, at the time David Bray. The investigation was started on June 21, 2017. The subsequent handling of the event under public and Congressional inquiry is not included in the scope of this investigation.

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Ajit Pai admits FCC lied about “DDoS,” blames it on Obama administration

Enlarge / FCC Chairman Ajit Pai at Fox Studios on November 10, 2017 in New York City. (credit: Getty Images | John Lamparski ) Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai yesterday acknowledged that the FCC lied about its public comment system being taken down by a DDoS attack during the net neutrality repeal proceeding. Pai blamed the spreading of false information on employees hired by the Obama administration, and said that he isn't to blame because he "inherited... a culture" from "the prior Administration" that led to the spreading of false information. Pai wrote: I am deeply disappointed that the FCC's former Chief Information Officer David Bray, who was hired by the prior Administration and is no longer with the Commission, provided inaccurate information about this incident to me, my office, Congress, and the American people. This is completely unacceptable. I'm also disappointed that some working under the former CIO apparently either disagreed with the information that he was presenting or had questions about it, yet didn't feel comfortable communicating their concerns to me or my office." Pai's admission came in a statement yesterday. "It has become clear that in addition to a flawed comment system, we inherited from the prior Administration a culture in which many members of the Commission's career IT staff were hesitant to express disagreement with the Commission's former CIO in front of FCC management," he also said. Read 17 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Amazon is planning to give Prime Video a big makeover

Could user profiles and better personalization features be coming to Amazon’s Prime Video app at long last? The company’s new Amazon Studios head Jennifer Salke just teased that a major upgrade to Amazon’s streaming video app is in the works – and she already has it running on a phone in her office, she said. The exec was speaking at the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour in L.A., according to reports from AdWeek  paywall, TheWrap , and Deadline , when she mentioned the app’s big makeover. And while Salke’s statements were light on key details – like when such an effort would reach end users, for example, or what changes, exactly, would be in store, there’s plenty of room to speculate on what Prime Video’s app today lacks. For starters, unlike competitors such as Netflix and Hulu, Prime Video’s app doesn’t focus on making personalized recommendations about what to watch next. Instead, the interface features a number of content groupings of shows or movies that are “included with Prime.” These are organized by category and type – like “Comedy Movies” or “Recently Added TV,” for example. It also showcases content that’s top rated, popular, or trending, along with some of its own editorial recommendations, like a section for Amazon’s “Original Movies” or its “Exclusive TV.” A row may be dedicated to suggestions things to watch next based on viewing history, but it’s easily overlooked. Overall, the interface has always felt more focused on pushing Prime content in a variety of ways, rather than helping you discover new things you’ll actually like. What makes this worse is that Amazon doesn’t offer user profiles, where household members could each have their own watchlist and set of recommendations – features that are standard on rival streaming apps today, including Hulu, Netflix, and even newcomers like YouTube TV. And though Amazon does offer parental controls to lock down viewing, it doesn’t allow parents and kids to keep separate profiles where adult content is actually hidden from children. These would all be obvious areas of improvement for a new Amazon Prime Video app, along with a better mechanism for discovering Prime Video’s optional add-on subscriptions, known as Prime Video Channels. Amazon today lets users build their own a la carte TV service by selecting premium channels like HBO, Showtime, Starz, CBS All Access, and more. But the Prime Video app itself doesn’t make channel suggestions in any sort of personal way – it simply offers an interface where you can browse through all of them. But Amazon’s Prime Video Channels are rapidly becoming a driving force for over-the-top viewing,  accounting for 55 percent of all direct-to-consumer video subscriptions

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