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    Rethinking corporate-issued hardware in a work-from-home world / ArsTechnica · Monday, 16 November - 14:00

Choose your weapons.

Enlarge / Choose your weapons. (credit: Aurich Lawson / Getty Images)

With many organizations now having a significant portion of staff working remotely—and as things are looking, this is going to be the longterm reality—the old model of how companies support a "mobile" workforce is not exactly holding up well.

I've already covered some of the issues related to having a home-based workforce in previous articles in this series. Some companies are now giving employees an allowance to upgrade their home office to something more suitable for longterm habitation. And we've already gone over the network security and architecture challenges that come into play as well.

But as we push closer to a full year of full- or part-time home work with no end in sight, the old model for what is considered "mobile worker" support on the hardware front is starting to show some serious gaps.

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    Re-architecting IT as 2020’s grand experiment transforms into the new normal / ArsTechnica · Monday, 2 November - 14:00

We all work from home now. We are the cloud.

Enlarge / We all work from home now. We are the cloud. (credit: Aurich Lawson / Getty Images)

We are now a solid two quarters into our new work-from-home bizarro world. Many companies found themselves in a bit of a pickle as workforces went from occasional or limited to everyone all-the-time, throwing up whatever they could provision to allow for remote access and continued productivity (or at least some semblance of it).

We're well past the emergency stage, folks. For many of us, this will be ongoing and potentially permanent. And the way we do business will have to change—including how we structure our IT operations.

Who is your daddy, and what does his computer do?

This became extremely clear to me after a conversation with a friend, a line-of-business lead who has been working from home for the past few months. His company was semi-ready for remote work, having moved many employees over to Windows Terminal for desktops a while back. But he personally hadn't transitioned, because much of his work involved a database running on his corporate desktop—on Microsoft Access.

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    Reply to chat messages, a new Movim feature coming soon!

    Timothée Jaussoin · / Movim · Sunday, 1 November - 15:02 edit

A new useful #feature has been merged into Movim today. It will also be part of the upcoming 0.19 #release.

This change relies on the standard XEP-0201: Best Practices for Message Threads and allows you to #reply to a chat message using any XMPP account using Movim.

You could already find such feature on other chat platforms like #Telegram or #WhatsApp, the flow is also quite similar: on supported messages, click on the reply button and a little preview will appear next to the chat box input, fill in your message, publish, et voilà !

You can also navigate to the original message by clicking on the little preview (if this message is currently shown in the conversation).

Reply to chat messages feature

Enjoy :)

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    War Stories: How Nintendo sold the NES to a skeptical country / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 29 October - 15:10

Produced and directed by by Justin Wolfson, edited by Chris Jones. Click here for transcript .

Today Nintendo is a household name, the family-friendly gaming equivalent of a major brand like Disney. But it wasn't always that way.

Ars Technica's latest War Stories video looks at the early days of Nintendo's 80s invasion of American shores and the marketing muscle it took to convince the American public that this Japanese company could revive a floundering video game market.

Building a brand

Perhaps more than anyone else, the person who helped massage Nintendo's early branding and image in the United States was Gail Tilden, the company's US marketing manager. When she started in 1983, Nintendo of America was still a small 70-person company focused on arcade games like Donkey Kong and one-off portables in the Game & Watch line.

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    The Internet is full of business cats: Dealing with the breakdown of the work/home divide / ArsTechnica · Monday, 19 October - 13:00 · 1 minute

A cartoon portrays a woman working at a laptop with a curious cat in her lap.

Enlarge / Artist's impression of how little your cat cares about your video call. (credit: Aurich Lawson / Getty Images )

The Friday "beer-thirty" Zoom conferences began for me not too long into the lockdown. A co-worker scheduled them as a form of stress release and socialization as we all prepared for what we already knew was going to be at least a year of not seeing each other in person—and for someone who had just started with the company a few weeks prior, I needed it.

Working from home has always been isolating, but it has become even more so in 2020. And for those of us who've worked from home full-time in the past—well, at least for those of us who have done that and have loud families and kids with no concept of personal space—it has also become a lot harder to maintain a division between home life and work life. Our spouses and kids (and in some cases, adult kids) are all home at the same time, working or studying or playing or just breathing too loudly in the same space as us.

Meow mix

For those of you who've never enjoyed the solitude of a home office when everyone else is out of the house, trust me: what we have right now is not what working at home has been like for the past 25 years for me. To adjust to this, organizations must figure out how to keep teams cohesive in the absence of regular social contact. They also must find a balance between being communicative and being intrusive into the home life of employees, all while still keeping some kind of coherent work environment going so people can talk to each other and get work done.

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    ‘Everybody Needs a Break.’ Fleetwood Mac Skateboarder Reflects on His Viral Fame and Helping People Chill Out for a Bit / Time · Friday, 9 October - 20:19 · 4 minutes

Less than two weeks ago, using the words cranberry juice , skateboarding and Fleetwood Mac in the same sentence might have only seemed possible in a game of Mad Libs. But thanks to Nathan Apodaca, or as he’s known on TikTok, 420doggface208 , they’re now synonymous with one of the best viral videos of 2020.

The Sept. 25 clip —which has racked up over 35 million views on TikTok alone—features Apodaca filming himself leisurely skateboarding down a highway while sipping Ocean Spray cran-raspberry juice straight from the bottle and lip-syncing to Fleetwood Mac’s classic 1977 song “Dreams.” (The song h as since captured its biggest streaming week ever and shot to No. 1 on iTunes .)

There are no special effects or hidden messages in the video. It’s simply a study in “good vibes only.” But as far as Apodaca’s concerned, that’s the reason it’s resonated so strongly with people.

“It’s a time in the world right now where everybody needs a break from everything that’s going on,” he says. “This video took them to a place where they could watch something and just chill and vibe out.”

When he posted the TikTok—which he filmed in one take—on his way to work at Circle Valley Produce, a potato processing plant in Idaho Falls, Idaho, that Friday morning, Apodaca had no idea how much sharing his good vibes with the world would end up changing his life. In fact, he says he almost didn’t post the video at all.

“I was getting ready to post but then I didn’t think I was going fast enough [in it],” he says. “[I thought] everybody was going to laugh at me and be like, ‘Oh look, he’s scared to go fast.’ But then I liked the way it looked. It was smooth. So I was like, I might as well just post it and see what happens in an hour or two.”

By the end of the work day, Apodaca says the video had already broken one million views—a mark hit far, far quicker than any of his previous videos. But it wasn’t until he started to get messages from his mom and aunts saying they had seen it that he knew he truly had a hit on his hands. “When I started getting notifications from my mom and everybody, I was like, ‘OK…what’s going on here?'” he says. “It was crazy.”

In the days since, Apodaca’s video has inspired others, including Mick Fleetwood , the rock band’s eponymous co-founder, to take part in the newly-minted “Dreams” Challenge by recreating the iconic clip.

“When Mick did it, that was insane. My mom was like, ‘Do you know who he is? Do you realize what just happened?'” says Apodaca, noting that he was indoctrinated into the Fleetwood fandom at an early age. “[My mom and aunts] are beyond fanatics. They’re the ones who introduced me to them growing up.”

But viral fame has altered Apodaca’s life in ways that go beyond online notoriety and being recognized at his local Walmart. Thanks to Venmo, PayPal and Cash App donations from his fans, or as he calls them, his “soldiers,” Apodaca has received over $20,000 in recent weeks.

“The highest donation was $200,” he says. “I was like, how can somebody be sitting at home and just say, ‘I’m going to throw this dude $200,’ you know? Before, I would’ve had to work at the warehouse for three or four days for that. So it’s a blessing. I thank everybody for that. I mean, there are no words.”

His merch line , which he started on his own prior to any of this, is also earning him some extra cash. “The good thing is that I don’t have to make [the merch] anymore. I’d been making my own beanies,” he says. “I bought an embroidery machine and got a four-hour tutorial from [my girlfriend’s] niece on how to use it…The next day, I got some good quality beanies, figured out the machine and started pushing those myself.”

After giving his mom $5,000 and buying his dad a truck, Apodaca, who’s been living in an RV in his brother’s front yard, is now looking to make a down payment on a house. “I’m talking to an Idaho realtor,” he says. “He’s doing his best to get me into a place.”

On Tuesday, Ocean Spray also gifted Apodaca with a new truck of his own (the bed of which was filled with his favorite juice) to replace the unreliable ride that forced him to skateboard to work in the first place.

“Sometimes my car just shuts off if I turn or hit the gas a certain way and then it won’t start unless I get a jump,” he says. [The morning I filmed the video], it went out and I was like, I’m not going to sit here and wait to flag somebody down. So I grabbed my board—I always have it with me in the car just in case—and my juice and I started heading to work.”

Looking ahead, Apodaca says he’s just excited to see what opportunities the next year brings—whether that means “relaxing and chilling” or potentially collaborating with Travis Scott .

“I’m hoping for good things,” he says. “I’ve never even been on a plane. So it’s an exciting adventure, and I’m just ready to go.”

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    Taking 5G to work, in offices, and on the factory floor—will it help? / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 8 September - 13:00 · 1 minute


Enlarge / Artist's impression of 5G. (credit: Aurich Lawson / Getty Images)

In our last 5G explainer , we talked about the potential impact of the 5G cellular protocol—and the various bands over which it operates—on gaming. Today, we're going to explore what the improved throughput and latency associated with 5G networks might mean for work rather than play.

For the most part, the improvements are iterative, not revolutionary—and they're the same ones we talked about in the gaming piece. Upgraded equipment in towers means lower network latency, and mmWave connections to outside devices mean less contention for sub-6GHz devices inside buildings.

Where mmWave connections to devices are possible—which for the most part, will mean "outdoors, in high population areas"—users can expect extremely high throughput and low latency. But mmWave has far lower range and penetration than the sub-6GHz connections we're familiar with, and we don't expect indoor users to be able to get a connection. You don't necessarily need a clean line of sight to a tower—the massive MIMO antenna arrays mmWave deployments use are highly directional and can make good use of RF reflections to get around obstacles—but punching through an exterior wall to an indoor space is almost certainly too much to expect.

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    Going all-in on remote work: The technical and cultural changes / ArsTechnica · Friday, 28 August - 15:36 · 1 minute


Enlarge / Artist's impression of working from home, three seconds before 10,000 important documents are deleted from your laptop by tiny hands. (credit: Aurich Lawson / Getty )

Welcome to the fifth installment of our Future of Business series. Over the last few weeks, we've talked about home office ergonomics , the challenges of collaborating with remote colleagues , work strategies, and the inevitable return to the office . We've also asked Ars readers to weigh in on what has been working for them as they work remotely .

We’ve left the most vital issue until now: what’s needed to embrace remote work in your company for the long haul. COVID-19 may have ushered in remote work for millions on a temporary basis, but what does remote work look like as a permanent feature of companies large and small? Our grand, improvised remote work experiment has taught us so much, there's simply no better time than now to adapt your business processes and culture to this new opportunity. Yes, it is an opportunity. But only if done well, and that means providing the appropriate resources for remote workers, as well as changing company culture from top to bottom.

We not only think this is an opportunity but an inevitable necessity. For every business with leaders whose heads are stuck in the if-I-can't-see-you-you-ain't-working past, there will be forward-looking competitors who are changing now—and who will be willing to snap up your employees when backward policies drive them to quit. They’ll also be saving money and enjoying greater access to exceptional talent, as well.

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