April 20, 2020

Social distancing comes to the office

April 20, 2020
The Hustle
TOGETHER WITH
Felix Gray

It’s a big day here at The Hustle. It’s our 4th birthday! We decided to turn our cake day into a whole cake week (it’s our party, right?). And no need to buy us a present. In fact, we’ve got something for you: Hustle swag.

Want some? All you gotta do is share the love. Use your handy ambassador link at the bottom of this email to share The Hustle with friends, coworkers, even your Uncle Joe. We’ll have something different every day this week, so keep your eyes peeled.

Thanks for your support. It means a ton to us, now more than ever.

Office Space

Buzzing wristbands, 1-way lanes, temperature checks: What will returning to work look like?

For some of us, putting on hard pants (or, let’s face it, any pants) to go to work feels like a throwback to the Olden Times of… last month. But someday, we will have to go back to the office.

It’s probably going to look a LOT different when we do.

Welcome to the socially distant workplace

Governments around the world are flirting with the idea of reopening their economies, and businesses are getting ready for when the day comes.

Widespread testing will be the key to safe reopenings. Protocol projected that employer-sponsored testing and tracing programs could become the norm in Silicon Valley. 

The real-estate giants Cushman & Wakefield developed a concept for a 6 Feet Office at their Amsterdam HQ. The company has all sorts of ideas for encouraging you to keep your distance and keep things clean. 

  • Think arrows on the floor that direct people to walk clockwise — and only clockwise — in one-way lanes.
  • Or paper desk placemats that you throw away when the day is done. 
  • Or even plexiglass shields between desks that face each other.

At least in the short term, the days of cramming workers next to each other in rows of computer workstations are probably over.

It’s about more than just office feng shui

Your commute could look a lot different, and so could your interactions with your coworkers:

  • Bloomberg reported that employees who ride a shuttle to Unilever’s Shanghai offices must wear a mask and sit far apart.
  • Factory workers at Ford are testing out wristbands that buzz when people come within 6 feet of each other.
  • Mark Zuckerberg said last week that Facebook is canceling all in-person events with 50 or more people through June of next year (2021).

The biggest changes could involve things you can’t see

Amol Sarva, CEO of Knotel, a flexible office space company, told Bloomberg that America’s workplaces will be made “antiviral” — through things like stricter cleaning protocols and better ventilation.

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Behind The Hustle

“I do” is turning into “I Zoom.” Over the weekend, Gov. Andrew Cuomo gave New Yorkers the green light to obtain a marriage license remotely, and clerks to perform ceremonies by video conference. 

But what’s it actually like to get hitched while social distancing? To find out, we spoke to some Hustle readers who recently streamed their ceremony on Facebook Live. It’s recommended viewing for anyone who’s got a wedding coming up. Check it out here.

CAPTCHA Capers

The internet’s battle against bots is heating up

Tired of clicking on photos of school buses to prove you’re human? You may finally get a breather.

The security firm Cloudflare, which guards around 12% of the web from bots, announced that it was dropping reCAPTCHA — the Google traffic authenticator — for upstart rival hCAPTCHA.

Cloudflare said it made the jump because Google decided to charge for reCAPTCHA, which it had long offered for free, and because of long-simmering privacy concerns.

How a CAPTCHA battles the bots

A successful one prevents bots from posting spam comments or snapping up in-demand retail goods. 

When concert tickets go on sale, for instance, CAPTCHA blocks scalpers from unleashing bots that instantly buy up all of the seats. Before checking out, you take a quiz, and the algorithm decides whether you’re human.

The first rendition of the CAPTCHA hit the scene in the ’90s, when the search engine AltaVista came up with a test using skewed letters that bots (and sometimes humans) couldn’t read.

The idea captcha’d our hearts and minds

Google bought reCAPTCHA from another team in 2009. In the early days, it used excerpts from The New York Times’s archives to weed out fake traffic. By 2014, it switched to using photos from Google Street View.

For Google, reCAPTCHA serves dual purposes: It protects the web from abuse — and also helps the company refine the accuracy of Street View. 

reCAPTCHA covers about 45% of the bot-detector biz, but it’s a crowded market. Among its competitors are Anticaptcha, NuCAPTCHA, Geetest CAPTCHA, and hCAPTCHA. 

But some are calling reCAPTCHA an overreach 

Google’s newest rendition of reCAPTCHA is the simplest yet. To prove you’re not a robot, you check a box that says — what else? — “I’m Not A Robot.”

But this system uses more than an honor code. Google sizes you up using a risk score that guesses how likely you are to be a bot. It’s informed in part by your browsing cookies.

To critics, reCAPTCHA is just another way for Google to prioritize its own products. If you’re signed into a Google account, or if you’re using Google Chrome instead of another browser, reCAPTCHA is more likely to deem you a human.

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Sponsored

Move over, 4/20. 🤭 Turns out, screens are the real culprit behind your red, tired eyes

You don’t have to partake in the devil’s lettuce to know the pain of bleary eyes and blurry sight. 

According to science, it’s actually the screens in your daily routine that are hurting you. 

Yep, phones, tablets, computers, and even TVs are all major sources of blue light — the type of light responsible for headaches, blurry vision, trouble sleeping, and dry, tired eyes that no amount of Visine can help. 

Bummer, mannnnn. 

It’s high time you protect your peepers with Felix Gray

Felix Gray’s proprietary filtering technology blocks 15x more blue light than most blue light lenses (which clock in at only 2-3%).

  • 9 in 10 Felix Gray customers reported significant relief
  • Their lenses filter out 90% of blue light in the most damaging range
  • Additionally, they eliminate 99% of standard glare through industry-leading lens tech 

Order a pair now, and you’ll get: Glasses, a hard case, a lens cloth, free shipping and returns, and a 30-day risk-free guarantee.  If Felix Gray doesn’t make screens easier on the eyes, send them back for a full refund.

Talk about smoking the competition…  

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Cut, Copy, Pastebin

Changes at Pastebin have security researchers red in the face

If you’ve never been to Pastebin, it looks kinda like the internet’s biggest box of programmer Post-It notes.

Founded in 2002, the site was designed for developers who want to save and share raw text.

Typically, that means bits of code, but Pastebin will take pretty much whatever text you feed it. The vast majority of its abc’s and 123’s wouldn’t make you look twice — the Pastebin public archive is chock full of scintillating “untitled” material.

But in darker corners of the web, Pastebin is a destination for hackers and malcontents. They’re known to post lists of passwords pilfered in data breaches, violent manifestos, and other unsavory stuff.

Security researchers try to keep them at bay — by scraping the site using a special API, and paying $50 for the privilege.

But now there’s a fire in the ‘bin

Last week, Motherboard reported that Pastebin turned off access to its scraping API. According to CyberScoop, some Twitter accounts were dedicated to catching and flagging malware on Pastebin before it could do any damage.

By turning off the scraping API, Pastebin pissed off people who fought the good fight against the black hats — and folks who had forked over $50 for lifetime access to the scraping tool. A sampling of the criticism: 

“Umm @pastebin do you know how many malware payloads we collect every day from scraping you, you just made the whole Internet a little bit more scummy by removing our ability to do that,” one user tweeted. “Hope you are planning on policing your own platform from now.”

They’ve got some ‘splainin to do

Pastebin said it pulled the plug because of “active abuse by third parties for commercial purposes” — AKA services that charge people to rifle through Pastebin’s huge pile o’ Post-Its.

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Sponsored

Turn binge-watching into binge-learning with a free month trial of The Great Courses Plus  

Now more than ever, it’s smart to stay home… which also makes it the perfect time to learn. 

With access to over 11,000 on-demand video streaming lectures on topics like gourmet cooking, health and wellness, and even wildlife photography (if your balcony overlooks a public park), The Great Courses Plus can turn your free time into a learning experience.

All courses are given by award-winning professors and experts, plus they’re currently offering a free month trial with their best pricing (just $10 per month with a quarterly subscription).

Explore courses →
Cameo Cash

This rent-a-minor-celeb app is blowing up

For the rich and mildly famous, quarantine is fueling a new gig economy. B-, C-, and D-listers everywhere are flocking to Cameo, an upstart platform where you can pay a celebrity to film personalized videos for your friends or family. 

They’ll tell your inside jokes, deliver your marriage proposals, wish your weird uncle happy birthday. 

Some, like the former NFL player Leonard Marshall, will even dish out personal hygiene tips: “I need you to play defense in these crazy times. Sanitize. Wash your hands.”

It’s the Ken Bone comeback

Cameo isn’t new — it launched in 2017 with $500k in seed funding — but quarantine is bringing it to new heights. In March, the app saw a 30% bump in video postings. 

The app features an assortment of viral figures trying to cash in on their 15 minutes of fame: Ken Bone, who became an internet sensation for asking a question during a 2016 presidential debate, Kevin from “The Office,” and former White House press secretary Sean Spicer.

Some of the… can we really call them celebrities?… are turning to Cameo to make up for lost income with so many events canceled. 

Others don’t really need the money — they just have nothing better to do.

The quarantine soundtrack comes from Akon’s parked car

Akon — of “Smack That” and “Right Now (Na Na Na)” fame — just joined the service because he “wanted to keep busy” in quarantine, according to VICE. He records videos from his car. His price: $444. 

But be vigilant: Book too big of a name, and your bank account might kick into overdraft. A 21-second video from Caitlyn Jenner will cost you $2,500

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Snippets

📉 Another sign of big trouble in retail: Neiman Marcus is preparing to seek bankruptcy protection.

👩 A portrait of the quarantine-era workforce: 1 in 3 jobs held by women has been designated as essential, according to a New York Times analysis.

🎨 Even Banksy is working from home.

🍞 Essential quarantine tech? A fitness tracker for your sourdough starter.

🚀 Pretty neat: This NASA website will show you what the Hubble space telescope saw on your birthday.

Want snippets like these in your browser? Download our Chrome extension here.

The Hustle’s Birthday Giveaway
Ambassador Rewards

Happy birthday to us. Want some swag?

Today isn’t just 4/20, it’s our 4th birthday. But we’re really, really nice — so instead of asking for presents, we’re giving ‘em out!

To kick things off, we’re giving away 100 sets of our favorite stickers from The Hustle days of yore. Want some?

Easy, just share The Hustle:

  1. Copy & paste your referral link
  2. Share it far and wide

You’ll get one entry in our raffle for every person who signs up using your referral link. 

We’ll be slingin’ new swag in honor of our birthday every day this week, so keep your eyes peeled 👀

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