March 20, 2017

12 Simple Alarms to Curb ‘March Madness’ Madness

    March Madness is here, which means so are distractions. I have a small window open on my computer streaming the Notre Dame v. Princeton game—it’s a nail-biter. March is the time when you start hearing basketball talk around the office.

    March is the time when you start hearing basketball talk around the office. Everyone has made a bracket, and wants to see how their projections turn out. The NCAA official website has even employed a ‘Boss Button’ this year, where your screen changes to a PowerPoint-looking design and text begins to type. The distraction is real, and it’s becoming much easier to hide it.

    No matter your stance on brackets, college sports or how much you care about your employees streaming basketball games, the needs of the business never stop, and productivity must be maintained.

    To help with that, I’ve created 12 alarms to build an ultimate March Madness alarm suite to maintain workplace productivity, minimize distractions, and avoid forcefully blocking these websites entirely (see further down for a list of cable providers and other streaming sites to block).

    Alarms & Conditions:

    Your going to want to create 12 individual alarms. Each alarm will consist of two conditions.

    The first condition will always be:

    1. Duration (sec) greater than 900 (15 minutes)

    Use one of the following for each alarm as the second condition:

    1. URL Contains Ncaa Not Case Sensitive
    2. URL contains (Insert one of your top 3-5 cable providers in your area) Cox – Not Case Sensitive
    3. URL contains (Insert one of your top 3-5 cable providers in your area) Spectrum – Not Case Sensitive
    4. URL contains (Insert one of your top 3-5 cable providers in your area) Time Warner – Not Case Sensitive
    5. URL contains (Insert one of your top 3-5 cable providers in your area) Comcast – Not Case Sensitive
    6. URL contains (Insert one of your top 3-5 cable providers in your area) Xfinity – Not Case Sensitive
    7. URL contains TNT – Not Case Sensitive
    8. URL contains TBS – Not Case Sensitive
    9. URL contains TruTV – Not Case Sensitive
    10. URL contains CBS – Not Case Sensitive
    11. URL contains ESPN – Not Case Sensitive
    12. URL contains BleacherReport – Not Case Sensitive

    Do not put more than one URL condition, the alarm would not fire appropriately.

    Post-trigger Actions:

    So, now that you’ve triggered you alarm on March Madness activity, what should happen next? Well, it depends on your policy.

    As always, we suggest doing what’s right for your organization, your office culture, and your regulatory compliance policies. With that said, here are some suggestions for polite post-trigger re-directs to remind users to maintain their responsibilities, no matter who is playing.

    Remember, we put a duration of xx seconds in our alarm, so it should only trigger if the active window is the basketball game for the specified duration.

    Email Alert:
    “$User$ is on $URL$ watching $titlebar$.”

    Pop-up message:

    “I know it’s March Madness, but you’ve been here for 15 minutes now. Please return to work. ”

    Then of course, you always have the option to terminate the browser. This a great way to get the user off the site, but may result in lost work.

    For this reason, I would recommend creating a duplicate alarm adding 120 seconds more to the duration condition (making it 1020 sec) with the terminate button selected. You may want to create another email notification to let you know what certain users disregarded the first notification, and continued watching.

    That should cover it! Remember, your local TV providers will vary from place to place, and you’ll most likely have to list more than one. I hope this helps you keep the madness at bay in your office.

    If you’re a stricter admin, simply block the following websites and cable providers to prevent users from visiting them. Please note, this is not a comprehensive list, and it lists sites and providers for streaming sports as well as cable/internet providers who have a presence in more than one state, and offer streaming services:
    Sling TV
    AT&T Wireless
    Verizon Wireless
    Level 3 Communications
    Earthlink Business
    XO Communications
    XFINITY from Comcast
    Comcast Business
    Cricket Wireless
    Global Capacity
    Frontier Communications
    Wisper ISP
    Time Warner Business Class
    Time Warner Cable
    King Street Wireless
    Charter Spectrum
    TDS Telecom
    Exede Internet
    AT&T U-verse
    FairPoint Communications
    Lightower Fiber Networks
    U.S. Cellular
    Cox Communications
    Rise Broadband
    Cable ONE
    Unite Private Networks
    Suddenlink Communications
    Mediacom Cable
    Verizon High Speed Internet
    Verizon Fios
    US Signal Company
    Bright House Networks
    Optimum by Cablevision
    WATCH Communications
    Wave Broadband
    C Spire Wireless
    Pixius Communications
    E-Vergent Wireless
    GTT Communications
    Freewire Broadband
    Mercury Wireless
    Packet Layer
    EasyStreet Online
    WANSecurity Wireless
    Let us know what you think, and what you would add to this alarm to make it perfect!

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